Aerial of an amazing sunset with sailing vessel at Loch Creran, Barcaldine, Argyll,Scotland

West Scotland, otherwise known as Scotland’s Adventure Coast, is renowned as one of the top destinations for sailing holidays in the world with its pristine waters, beautiful scenery and abundance of harbours.

There are a number of mental and physical health benefits to sailing and spending time amongst nature. Whether you are a beginner looking to learn to sail, or an experienced skipper looking to charter a vessel, Scotland offers an unforgettable sailing holiday for everyone. Explore the peaceful islands and coastlines, revel in the stunning surroundings and enjoy spotting the local wildlife.

Sailing holidays in Scotland are not just for summer. The changing seasons offer stunning experiences all year round, but remember to check the weather and tide conditions first!

A popular destination when sailing the Scottish Highlands is Argyll & The Isles, where visitors can explore 3700km of dramatic coastlines. A real treat for enthusiasts and explorers alike, you will find a great choice of secluded anchorages throughout Argyll & The Isles along with moorings, harbours and marinas for those looking to spend some time on dry land.

Here are some tips to make the most of your sailing holiday in Scotland…

Sailing for Beginners: Courses on The West Coast

Sailing is a popular hobby and a fantastic way to experience Scotland’s great outdoors, and there is no better place to learn to sail than the beautiful settings of the west coast.

There are a number of schools, such as Tighnabruaich Sailing School, which offer a variety of sailing courses for every expert level to learn from an experienced team and take advantage of their local knowledge.

For those looking to dip your toe into the world of sailing, you can learn to hoist the sails, helm and anchor, steer a course, handle the lines and tie essential knots. If you discover you have a natural talent, there are more advanced courses to sign up for.

The More Experienced Sailor: Bareboat Charter on The West Coast

For the more experienced sailor, you can enjoy the freedom of being in charge of your own adventure by exploring Argyll & The Isles with your own boat. Argyll Yacht Charters offers a variety of fully equipped yachts for bareboat charter.

The west coast promises an unforgettable opportunity for solo travellers and groups alike. It is also a fantastic setting for a family holiday. Set sail for a different destination each day, discovering charming towns and lesser-trodden villages, and improve your skills in the crystal clear waters that the west coast has to offer.

Luxury Sailing Holidays: Yacht Charter on The West Coast

For a more luxurious sailing holiday, why not charter a skippered yacht with a fully qualified and professional captain from Beagle Cruises. Take advantage of their local knowledge and expertise as you adventure from Tighnabruaich around the greater Clyde area, showing you all of the hidden gems that the west coast has to offer. A skippered sailing holiday means you can sit back, relax and take in the stunning scenery around you.

Top Sailing Destinations on The West Coast

You will be spoilt for choice when sailing around the Argyll & the Isles with over 3700km of coastline, 23 islands and many towns and villages waiting for you to explore!

It’s not hard to see why the Kyles of Bute is known as one of the most beautiful open-water passages in Scotland. This narrow stretch of water winds between the hills and the unique and densely forested coastline which is rich in biodiversity. There are a number of popular holiday villages along this route that you can anchor at for the night or during the day to find a spot for lunch.

Enjoy a relaxing sail through the Clyde Sea Lochs and take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. The Gare Loch is an ideal stopover where you can step ashore and discover Scotland’s first national park. It is also recognised as one of the first locations to embrace leisure boating in Scotland and is home to one of the oldest yacht clubs in the UK.

From here, you can sail along “Britain’s most beautiful shortcut” the Crinan Canal, to take in the peaceful surroundings and stop to enjoy the pubs and hotels at Cairnbaan and Crinan. When heading north from Loch Crinan, you can experience the fantastic sailing area of Loch Melfort.

Explore the beauties that the Sound of Jura has to offer, where Islay, Jura and Gigha will be waiting for you to explore. Islay and Jura have world-renowned whisky distilleries where you can spend the day on one of their tours, and Gigha is home to a picturesque beach where you can take advantage of the Scottish sunshine! This is also where you will find the famous Corryvreckan Whirlpool, one of the largest permanent whirlpools on Earth.

You’ll want to add the Sound of Mull and Tobermory to your itinerary, which is not only a great refuelling point but is rich in wildlife. Be sure to take your camera to capture magical moments with sea eagles, whales, basking sharks, dolphins and porpoises. Why not make the most of your visit and check out the distillery while there and take part in one of their popular tours.

Oban is a very popular sailing destination and is the hub for many sailing events throughout the year. This picturesque coastal community is known as the “Seafood Capital of Scotland” and is a must-visit for any foodies. Transit moorings allow visitors to step ashore in the heart of the town to discover everything Oban has to offer.

You will find some of the best sailing waters on the west coast at Loch Fyne. Whilst there, make sure you visit Tarbert on the western side. The magnificent marina is a must-see with great shore-side facilities including shops, bars and restaurants. You can also bask in the illuminated remains of Tarbert Castle which overlooks the harbour at night. Just 3 miles away you will also find Portavadie, where you can discover a range of facilities including a luxury spa, leisure centre, gift shop, restaurants and cafes.

West Highland Yachting Week

The West Highland Yachting Week is a week-long sailing regatta starting at Croabh and finishing at Oban Bay with a few stops in between.

Celebrating its 75th year this July, over 100 yachts are expected to take part. Those looking to put their skills to the test will be treated to amazing sights of islands, mountains, lochs, castles and wildlife along the way. For those looking to spectate, it is a true sight to behold and there are many social events to enjoy throughout the week including live bands.

Loch Melfort Hotel

loch melfort hotel from the sky

Loch Melfort Hotel has four free moorings for vessels up to 40ft and 15 tonnes. The moorings operate on a first come first served basis and can be found Lat 56-13+907 and Long 5-33-177. After that, it’s just a 5-minute walk to our unique, 4-star country house hotel.

It is also a great place to view the start and finish of some of the races taking part in the West Highland Yachting Week.

Whether you’re looking to spend a night on dry land, somewhere to eat and drink or looking for a gift shop to purchase the perfect souvenir, join us at Loch Melfort Hotel. We’re pet friendly, offer a range of dining options for you to enjoy from afternoon tea to private dining and even host music nights on the first and third Friday of each month.