Tarbert (Loch Fyne) and Kintyre

Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Transport / Travel

Tarbert (Loch Fyne) is 50 miles south of Oban.

A regular train service operates between Gourock and Glasgow. From Gourock you can get the ferry which plies back and forth to Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula. You have a choice of Caledonian Macbrayne or Western Ferries on this route. The CalMac ferry terminal is adjacent to the train station. The Western Ferries terminal is slightly further on - at McInroy's Point. No vehicle reservations are required on either ferry.
From Cowal you can then get the Calmac ferry from Portavadie across Loch Fyne to Tarbert on the Kintyre peninsula.

From Kintyre, you can take CalMac ferries from Kennacraig to Islay, from Claonaig to Arran, from Tayinloan to Gigha.

From late April to September Caledonian Macbrayne operates a summer ferry service from Ardrossan (Ayrshire) to Campbeltown.

Loch Fyne photo
Rainbow seen from the Tarbert - Portavadie ferry
Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland


British Airways operates flights between Glasgow and Campbeltown.

Map of Argyll & Arran
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Free tourist map of Kintyre (downloadable PDF courtesy of The Oban Times).

Tarbert harbour
Tarbert (Loch Fyne) photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Local Events for 2022:



This is a busy little fishing harbour which is conveniently situated between Loch Tarbert and Loch Fyne, this is a ideal base for a touring holiday of Argyll and Kintyre. The Calmac ferry from here plies back and forth to Portavadie which has a new marina complex on the Cowal Peninsula.

Loch Fyne Gallery

Amenities in Tarbert include B&Bs, hotels with restaurants, general stores, post office, bank. The Loch Fyne Gallery near the tourist office on the main street is a great place for books, cards, prints, gifts, etc.

Craft shop and Loch Fyne Gallery photos copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

craft shop
Tarbert photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Good places to eat include The Anchor Hotel, the Tarbert Hotel and The Victoria which are all situated around the inner harbour and many participate in the annual Tarbert Seafood Festival.
Cafebarge is a Dutch barge permanently moored in the harbour - it serves meals, coffee and wines/beers. Vegetarian food and seafood are specialities. Tel: 07949 723128.

You will see plenty of fishing boats and also a lot of yachts, particularly when races are taking place such as the Scottish Sailing Series when Tarbert is full to capacity.

Up on the hill you may spot the ruins of Tarbert Castle which date from the 15th century. The original castle has links with King Robert the Bruce.
The 18th century parish church topped by a crown and lantern is also worth a look.

Just outside of the town to the south is the heritage centre of An Tairbeart (tel: 01880 821 212) where you will also find a coffee shop, crafts and gallery (open for the summer, closed in winter).

Tarbert parish church
Tarbert parish church photo copyright
The Internet Guide to Scotland
Claonaig bay
Claonaig bay
Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Continuing south out of Tarbert you will come to Kennacraig which is the ferry terminal for the Isle of Islay. There is a ferry office, toilets and car park. Day trips are possible depending on the ferry timetables.
Near here you can take the small B8001 road across country to Claonaig which is the ferry terminal for the Isle of Arran. Please note there is no ferry office at Claonaig (only toilets) but you can easily buy your ticket on the ferry when it arrives.
Along the coast from Claonaig is Skipness Castle (a ruin in the care of Historic Environment Scotland) which is worth the detour if you have time. The nearby chapel with its ancient carved tombstones can also be visited.

Two miles outside Tarbert to the north is Stonefield Castle Hotel. You don't have to stay there to enjoy a meal in the bar or restaurant, or explore the gardens which go down to the shores of Loch Fyne. Built in 1837, it is set in 60 acres of woodland gardens with a fine collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons which are free to explore.

Stonefield Castle photo
Stonefield Castle photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

For keen walkers, The Kintyre Way stretches for just over 100 miles from Tarbert to Dunaverty Bay with various diversions possible. You will see blue posts which point you in the right direction. A free leaflet is available - click here for details.

The Kintyre peninsula can be visited via the circular road which goes right around the coast with spectacular sea views. Places of interest include:

  • Ronachan Point where you can often spot seals and see across the sea to the hills of the Isle of Jura and Gigha.
  • Tayinloan is the Calmac ferry point for the Isle of Gigha - well worth a day trip. The island has various historic sites to visit, beautiful views, hotel, general store and the well known Achamore Gardens. These 50 acres of beautiful woodland gardens including exotic plants and trees, walled garden and greenhouses are open all year. Tel: 01583 505254. Established in 1944 by Sir James Horlick, then owner of the island who was a keen gardener and plantsman, with a particular interest in rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. The gardens are now owned and managed by the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust on behalf of the islanders.
    More information and photos can be found on the Isle of Gigha community web site and Gigha page of southernhebrides.com
  • Glenbarr Abbey - although not actually an abbey - it is in fact a large historic 18th century house which is open to the public for guided tours by the laird from Easter to mid October (closed Tuesdays). It is also home to the MacAlister Clan Visitors Centre. Tel: 01583 421247
  • The historic Royal Burgh of Campbeltown is a large town with a population of over 5,500 and many shops and facilities including an airport (thanks to its wartime past). Visitor attractions include the heritage centre in a church, museum & library, leisure centre with swimming pool, tourist information office, the famous art nouveau Wee Picture House, Linda McCartney’s Memorial Garden and the Campbeltown Cross. Once known as the Whisky Capital of the World thanks to its 34 distilleries, today it has just a few left including Springbank (tel: 01586 552085 for tours). Boat trips operate to Davaar Island which has a cave painting of the Crucifixion.
  • Mull of Kintyre - made famous by Paul McCartney's song.
  • Saddell Abbey - historic ruins with carved grave slabs on the east coast of Kintyre.
  • Carradale - pretty village with harbour, golf course, heritage centre with exhibitions, tearoom and shop.

Ronachan bay photo
From Ronachan looking towards Gigha
Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Achamore House & Gardens photo
Achamore House & Gardens
Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Davaar Island from Campbeltown
Davaar Island from Campbeltown
Photo copyright 2009 The Internet Guide to Scotland

Ferry from Gigha
Ferry approaching from Gigha - Photo copyright The Internet Guide to Scotland

Self catering links:

  • Carradale Cottage is near the golf course in Carradale, on the east side of the Kintyre peninsula. 25 miles south of Tarbert. Sleeps up to 6 people with 2 bedrooms plus a sofa-bed in the living room.

Youth Hostels / Camping:


Useful Books and Maps

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One of the great Pevensey Guides written by Norman S. Newton.
Lovely colour guide book covering the local heritage and culture of the area, nature, the landscape, place names, history, places to visit, etc. Even if you don't get chance to buy it before you go, you will certainly want a copy for a souvenir when you have visited Kintyre! Also includes Gigha.
Paperback. 112 pages.
(The front cover photo seen here is of Tarbert harbour)
Available from Amazon UK and Amazon.com (commission links)
Walks Around Kintyre
Map with 8 easy to follow walks. Published by Footprint.
Available from Amazon UK (commission link)

Useful local maps from the Ordnance Survey include:
Kintyre North (Explorer scale)
Kintyre South (Explorer scale)
North Kintyre and Tarbert (Landranger scale)
South Kintyre and Campbeltown (Landranger scale)

Argyll and the Western Isles
Part of the Exploring Scotland's Heritage series and is a very useful guide to these parts of the country. Produced by well-known archaeology experts Anna & Graham Ritchie. Paperback edition. 156 pages.
Available from Amazon UK and Amazon.com (commission links)


Tarbert (Loch Fyne)
Kintyre (community web site)