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Solo Travel in Scotland - Best of the West

woman with dog up Goat Fell, Isle of Arran

Whether you're a resident or a tourist, visiting Scotland's West coast is an always iconic trip - and one that many travellers choose to do alone. Solo travel continues to grow in popularity as more and more people discover the flexibility and tranquillity made possible by doing it yourself. Scotland is the perfect place for a solo sojourn with the west coast islands seemingly tailor made for individual fun and reflection. CalMac's extensive network of crossings make getting to these ancient shores a treat, with time spent enjoying a meal aboard one of our vessels the perfect way to kick off your solo break.

Staying Safe When Solo

Feeling safe and relaxed is the first step of any successful solo trip. Thankfully, Scotland is a country known for its warm hospitality and inclusive social outlook, with travel across the country being very safe for women and LGBTQ+ adventurers striking out on their own. Encountering crime or antisocial behaviour is rare and we have an excellent provision of public services in case you encounter any issues on your trip.

As on any trip, apply common sense and you'll be sure to have a wonderful experience as a solo traveller to Scotland's magical west coast. In particular make sure you are well provisioned and prepared for any hill walking or hikes you may be undertaking during your travels.

All Natural

Nature is the calling for many solo travellers finding their way to the stunning islands of Scotland's west coast, and it's easy to see why. We have unrivalled natural beauty spilling forth from every corner of the Hebrides and beyond, what better place to reconnect yourself to nature? Each of our destinations has their own unique landscapes and wild hotspots but here are some of our favourites that will be a perfect fit for any solo traveller:

You may want to start out with a destination that is not an island at all but a peninsula, the always stunning Kintyre. Made famous by a certain Beatle, the verdant countryside and breath-taking shoreline of Kintyre is the perfect destination for a proper escape from the stresses of everyday life. Full of picturesque villages, stunning beaches and wild walks - Kintyre might just be the place to clear your head and get back in touch with nature. Why not explore the coast by car with the newly minted Kintyre 66 or the old fashioned way via the 100-mile long walking route, The Kintyre Way. Kintyre is also the gateway to the unforgettable islands of Gigha and Islay via the CalMac network of routes.

There's getting away and then there's really getting away. The small, but perfectly formed, island of Canna is likely somewhere beyond both. The most westerly of the small isles, it is as remote as it is beautiful, and an ideal opportunity for any solo traveller to discover the unmistakable tranquillity of the islands. In terms of nature, it is rich and diverse - the sort of destination you could spend your days just taking it all in. Canna itself is a site of 'special scientific interest,' meaning that it attracts (and protects) a huge variety of species. You can witness Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles and Puffins through your binoculars and in the summer months Canna's coastline supports over 20,000 breeding seabirds. It's not just the feathered variety that catch the attention on Canna though, keep your eyes out for appearances from Dolphins and Whales in the nearby waters.

Tarbert Castle

Community Spirit

Just because you're travelling alone doesn't mean you want to miss out on the electric atmosphere created when people come together on Scotland's islands. Here are some suggestions on where to make new friends and find that truly irrepressible community spirit that makes us famous worldwide:

Located at the Southern tail of the Outer Hebrides, the island of Barra is known for its hospitality as much as its beautiful landscapes. A place to slow down, reflect but also connect with the warmth of a destination that marches to its own beat. Long recognised for its unique take on island culture and legendary nights out, Barra is a destination to find yourself in a new light. Experience a night of live music while you mingle with locals and let your hair down. The warmth and welcome of Barra hospitality stretches beyond the borders of the island and a night here can soon become a treasured memory to take home with you.

Barra view from Heaval

The so called 'Queen of the Hebrides', Islay has been drawing solo visitors and groups for pilgrimages to its whisky laden shores for decades. The island boasts no less than nine fully functioning whisky distilleries, including many big names recognisable to even the casual enthusiast. For the solo traveller searching for a social activity, look no further than the myriad of distillery tours available across the island. Make new friends as you explore the smoky palate of the island's most precious export. You can even link up a few different tours before retiring to a local pub to put your new found knowledge into action, the ultimate trip for a whisky lover.

Treat Yourself

One of the main draws of solo travel is the chance to do everything just the way you like it, with no compromise necessary. Want to sleep in late and have a slow wander around the shops of a quaint island town - go for it! Setting your alarm at 5am to catch the best birdwatching hours in peace - you do you! The main thing is to treat yourself, and these might be the best destinations for just that:

The stunning Isle of Arran is beautiful, accessible and absolutely ideal for spending some meaningful time checking in with yourself. With a wealth of options, you can afford to follow your instincts and find your own pace. Home to awe-inspiring beaches, captivating castles, top tier restaurants and even a destination spa - you are in the driver's seat when it comes to how to spend your day. Arran has a wealth of adventures waiting to be unlocked, your only decision is what direction you want to go in.

Arran cheeseboard

One of Scotland's best known and well visited islands, Mull is blessed with a gorgeous scenery and perfect location (less than an hour from Oban with CalMac). Treating yourself won't be an issue on this well-established island, just what form it takes is up to you. The food and drink scene on the island is world-class, boasting star-laden gourmet restaurants, delightful cafes and top quality seafood fresh from the boat. Throw in some sumptuous local cheese from Isle of Mull Cheese and a dram from the Tobermory Distillery and you'll have toured the island with just your tastebuds. Or maybe you'd like to treat yourself to a night at the theatre, the award-winning venues An Tobar and Mull Theatre stage touring work and create their own highly acclaimed shows. One of the must-see destinations of Scotland's isles.

Scotland has no shortage of experiences available for the solo traveller and CalMac is here to make sure you get there. Whether you're looking for nature, adventure or an extravagant weekend away yourself - there's an island just for you. Plan your perfect solo trip today and let CalMac take you there.

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