Summer 2023: Islands of Possibilities
'The future is unwritten,' and thankfully so is our summer. A blank page waiting to be filled with memories made and stories to be told. Let CalMac help you to make this one unforgettable.
Choose Your Own Adventure
The best part about a holiday in Scotland? There's more than one Scotland... Don't believe us? Get out there and choose your own adventure. Your Scotland, your unique mix of characteristics and interests, is out there just waiting to be discovered. An island-hopping itinerary full of kayaking, mountain climbing and horse riding? That Scotland exists. A spa break to a sleepy coastal village followed by a gourmet tasting menu? That Scotland exists too. Secluded cabins. Distillery tours. Bird watching. Munro bagging. Castle hunting. YourScotland exists and CalMac is here to take you there.
Our robust network of routes link up the islands and the mainland leaving you to create your own trip around the magical west coast. Check out our itinerary blog for details of some of the most famous routes - our Hebrides loop, the small isles, or a whisky soaked jaunt through Islay, Kintyre and Oban. Or throw the guidebook away and tread your own path - pinpointing the destinations that get your heart racing and enjoying the journey as CalMac takes you there.
From homemade to Michelin star, Scotland's food scene is a rapidly expanding draw for food lovers from around the world. The excellence of our local produce from our vast natural larder alongside a new generation of innovative chefs has put Scottish cuisine on the map. But where are the best destinations for the food buff in your life this spring and summer?
Skye is a must-visit on any foodie pilgrimage to Scotland. Famous gourmet restaurants can be located around the island, often accompanied by breathtaking views to go with the incredible meals. Expect traditional Scottish fare with a modern twist, fresh local ingredients and an attention to detail that brings the whole thing together with aplomb.
On Mull it's all about the seafood, whether it's seaside shacks selling fresh catch direct from the boat or award winning destination restaurants - you'll be spoiled for choice when enjoying the fruits of the sea. More off the beaten track, the tiny island of Gigha is famous for the Gigha Halibut, a smoked island delicacy that draws visitors from miles around. Take the short hop from Tayinloan on the Kintyre peninsula and sample the acclaimed fish for yourself.
For many people, the good weather means a chance to indulge in the kind of outdoor pursuits that can't be enjoyed fully the rest of the year. Thankfully, Scotland is ripe with opportunities to feed that adventurous spark and get out there amongst the wilderness. But where should outdoor loving travellers make their next stop?
Blessed with large quantities of sun and a warm gulf stream, Tiree has been nicknamed 'The Hawaii of the North'. Though perhaps not able to replicate the year-round temperature of its namesake, it does give it a run for its money in terms of windsurfing opportunities. In fact, Tiree hosts its own annual professional windsurfing competition - The Tiree Classic - as well as providing plenty of opportunities for beginners to get involved.
Over on the Kintyre peninsula, things are slower and firmly on land - but no less beautiful. The Kintyre Way is a zigzagging 100 mile walk from Tarbert to Machrihanish taking in abandoned beaches, untouched countryside and hidden bays along its lingering pathway. If catching a glimpse of nature is more your thing then consider a trip to the tiny island of Canna, a paradise for migrating birds. 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 all about hitting those Instagram hotspots, no, 2023 is the year of discovering something new. CalMac has you sorted with a range of surprising destinations that will open your eyes to all Scotland has to offer and have you whispering about the latest must-see location before it appears on TikTok.
Skye is on every Scottish island itinerary, but most travellers don't make the short hop across to its tiny sister island of Raasay. Those who do are rewarded with stunning views across to Skye's mountain ranges, an array of secluded beaches and one of Scotland's newest distilleries - producing whisky and botanical infused gin.
Another oft-overlooked small gem of an island is Kerrera. Due to its prime position facing the busy seafront of Oban, Kerrera is seen and appreciated from afar by hundreds of thousands of travellers a year - yet it is largely unexplored by most visitors. An array of beautifully rugged walks, teeming wildlife, a 16th century castle and a traditional tearoom will greet any intrepid traveller who makes the mere 5-minute journey across the Sound of Kerrera to check out this smashing wee island. Or consider booking a visit to the remote island of Coll which is enveloped by an array of beautiful beaches and officially designated as a 'Dark Sky Community,' meaning it's one of the best places in the country to look up and enjoy the majesty of the starry night sky.
Of course, this is all a mere taster of what Scotland has to offer. There are islands of possibilities out there waiting to be discovered, memories just begging to be made. So, you make the plans and let CalMac do the work of taking you there while you relax and enjoy our famous hospitality and first-class food & drink on the way. Our new summer timetable is coming soon so get ahead of the crowd by outlining your dream itinerary now, ready to snap up your ticket to paradise as soon as it goes live.
Check out our destinations pages for the lowdown on all our magical locations.