Weekend getaways, short breaks and quick escapes to Scotland
Sometimes it's all about seizing the day, literally, and grabbing the opportunity to escape to a stunning island while you can. Whether you're on a family staycation or a head-clearing solo jaunt, we have an oasis just waiting for you.
With the thought of a quick getaway in mind we've compiled some top destinations for a day trip or short break. As always, the adventure begins the minute you board a CalMac vessel - with our range of cafes, bars and facilities available to make sure you have the most fun possible en route to your destination.
At risk of becoming cliché - but it's true! Arran is our very own 'Scotland in miniature', its geography mirroring that of the mainland while encompassing so much of what makes Scotland a magical destination. Less than an hour from Ardrossan, it's small enough to cycle round in a day, big enough to leave memories that will last a lifetime. Arran is a stunning island featuring mountains, forests, beaches and glens all in one place. From stately castles to mountain hikes, spa days to gourmet dining - Arran has a wee bit of everything.
A trip to the isle of Gigha is perfect for a short break or a day trip with a difference. The most southerly of the Hebrides, it's just a 20-minute ferry journey from Tayinloan on Kintyre. There's plenty to draw you into this wee slice of paradise, including the island's beautiful 'twin beaches' at the north end of the island - fine white sands, clear turquoise waters and a beautiful view out to Jura.
Gigha also offers some of the best food on the west coast - beautiful produce with a glorious backdrop. Make sure you try the Smoked Gigha Halibut, reared on the island and ice cream from the Wee Isle Dairy. Devine.
Just 35 minutes from Wemyss Bay on the mainland, Bute truly has a bit of something for everyone. Renowned for the Victorian splendour of its main town, Rothesay, the island also has much to offer beyond the palm tree laden promenade of its famous resort. From a day trip to Mount Stuart, the perfectly preserved neo-gothic estate to wild and woolly adventures in its many beaches and woodlands, not to mention its various bars and restaurants catering for all tastes - Bute is an island just crying out to be explored.
Only 45 minutes from Oban, Mull is deservedly one of Scotland's best known and well visited islands. Blessed with a perfect location, less than an hour from Oban, and a vast array of natural features - Mull would be an island worth visiting for its fascinating geography alone. But what really makes the island special is the people - a regular population of around 3000 and an array of independent businesses call Mull home and help to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for any traveller, be they a daytripper or there for a week. The charming town of Tobermory is the jewel in the crown, full of activities and facilities - it is a true island landmark.
Cumbrae, and in particular the main village of Millport, has long been established as an immensely popular destination for a city escape. Its proximity to the mainland (only 10 mins by CalMac Ferry!), its seaside charm and opportunities for invigorating outdoor activities has ensured its legendary status amongst Scotland's residents for generations. Nowadays it's as known for its fantastic range of water sports and route for family cycles as for its historical significance. Home to Britain's smallest cathedral, the cathedral of the isles, as well as the mythical 'crocodile rock' - Cumbrae is an island of hidden history and family fun.
When you jump on the ferry to explore the west coast, you'll find there's something for all ages and schedules. Whether you're 5 or 105. Whether you're away for the day or a little longer. With 30 to choose from, check our destination pages for travel inspiration and journey information.