A weekend in Oban, Scotland & 3 isles tour review

It’s official, our summer of travel is over. Our holiday balances are empty and our blogging plate is overflowing. Most of our recent trips were repeat visits showing off our favourites to Yoda’s parents but we managed to visit a few new places in the process. One of these new places was the beautiful port town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. It is the home to the world-famous Oban whisky, a self-proclaimed capital of seafood (well-deserved), a gateway to the isles and definitely worth a visit!

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Tropical looking beach at Iona

The Oban Distillery

The Oban distillery is one of the most-famous distilleries in Scotland and hence we had pre-booked a tour. It was a pretty standard tour minus a warehouse visit (which is one of Dalek’s favourite parts), we saw the production line and tasted some cask strength and normal drams. It felt a bit overpriced for £10 (compared to our other favourite distilleries) but you do get a £5 voucher for buying a 70cl bottle.

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The picturesque Oban distillery

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Our tour guide with Oban bottles bringing up the rear

3 Isles tour review

We really wanted to show the Isle of Staffa to Yoda’s parents so we decided to go on the 3 Isles tour run by West Coast tours. We had done something similar by ourselves when we last visited the Isle of Mull (which I think we prefer slightly).

Cost: £60 per person

Includes 

  • Return CalMac ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull
  • Return bus from Craignure – Fionnphort on Mull with commentary
  • Staffa boat tour from Fionnphort (1 hour on Staffa)
  • 1-way CalMac ticket from Iona to Fionnphort (2 hours on Iona)

Impressions: Though there are only 3 hours of “on the ground” sightseeing on this 11-hour day trip, Staffa is such an unbelievable place that it is worth doing it (you’ll be knackered by the end). The steps to go to the top of the island are pretty steep so we chose to walk to Fingal’s cave and back.

The Iona Abbey is worth a visit but as Dalek had already seen it, he took a walk around the beautiful island. We also saw more than a dozen seals and a pod of half a dozen dolphins which more than made up for the end of puffin season.

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Serene views on Iona

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“Basking” seals

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Uber playful dolphins

Notes: It is important to use the CalMac ferry time to drink tea / eat food so that you can spend your 3 hours on the ground sightseeing (we say this but we took out some time for tea at Iona). It is also important to note that the walk can be quite crowded with 2 boatfuls of people (pictured) so be careful. More pictures of Staffa on our Mull post.

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The long line from the 1st boat, double the count

Verdict: Worth doing if you’re based in Oban and don’t have a plan to visit Mull, especially on a Sunday when the publicly-available bus times don’t allow for a self-managed tour by public transit. The cost is pretty nominal (as just the boat tour costs £30).

Food and Drink

Oban seafood shack : If you like seafood, then this place is just unmissable. For under £40, we ate a few scallops with garlic butter, oysters and this massive platter of seafood (£27.50 for a platter containing half a lobster, crab legs, hot smoked salmon and much more). But hurry, closes at 6 PM everyday, eat an early dinner if you need to.

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The freshly unpacked seafood platter

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Delicious & fresh Oban oysters

The Lorne Bar : This is not super-high rated online we guess because of its just off-centre location. It did a really good job with all the Scottish dishes we had (Cullen skink, scallops, mussels, sea bass). Comes highly recommended for Scottish comfort food.

And of course, the Creel seafood shack at Fionnphort is always a recommendation for a Staffa boat trip day out.

Walking around town

Oban is a beautiful town in the sunshine and walking around is a pleasure. We stumbled upon the Oban chocolate company on our walk and got some nice ginger chocolate truffles. And more pictures were taken of course. A steep walk up to McCaig’s tower would be done if we had time.

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The colosseum-like McCaig tower overlooking Oban

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A beautiful waterfront view from Oban #noFilter

Getting to Oban

We took the West Highland line from Glasgow Queen Street to Oban run by ScotRail. Citylink runs buses on the same route as well. On the way out, we took the Fort William bound bus 918 to get to Ballachulish near our next stop of Glencoe.

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ScotRail takes you through the Loch Lomond & Trossarchs NP

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2 thoughts on “A weekend in Oban, Scotland & 3 isles tour review

  1. mistynites says:

    If you like nature and walking away from the crowds, I recommend going to Lismore and/or Kerrera next time you are in Oban. Boats to both islands leave from there and they both feel so peaceful and away from it all.

    Liked by 1 person

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