The bustling town of Oban is located on the west coast of Scotland. This charming coastal town has been one of the most liked vacation destinations of Scotland since Victorian times, and it is only 49 miles (an hour’s drive) south of Fort William. From a boat journey to the islands of Staffa and Iona to fantastic excursions to Highland lochs and mountains. Oban provides a large number of places to explore.
Our selection of the best things to do in Oban will help you organise your trip to this stunning area of Scotland.
Visit Oban Distillery
Oban is famous for its oldest and the smallest distillery in Scotland. Oban distillery was established in 1794 and is currently owned by Diageo is best known for its 14-year-old malt. The slow, traditional method was set up when the distillery opened its doors and is still used to make West Highland single malt.
Oban offers visitors a sensory tour to visit the Oban Distillery. An experienced guide will show you around the distillery as you learn about each step in the making of whisky.
It is one of the top places for Scotland whisky tours. On a whisky tour at Oban, you can expect to see the process of traditional craftsmanship of whisky making as-well-as taste the Oban 14-year-old West Highland Single Malt.
Climb to McCaig’s Tower
Known locally as McCaig’s Folly, McCaig’s Tower offers a good vantage point to observe Oban and its surroundings. This impressive building, an intriguing reinterpretation of the Colosseum in Rome, was created at Battery Hill at the end of the 19th century by the wealthy banker John Stuart McCaig.
The 144 steps from the town to the gardens and the folly are well worth ascending for the breathtaking vistas. Additionally, it has become a preferred location for wedding pictures.
Take a stroll along Corran Esplanade
Take a stroll along the shoreline after taking in McCaig’s Tower’s stunning views and relaxing in its lovely gardens. A leisurely walk along Oban’s Corran Esplanade is among the best things to do in Oban.
Oban, which resembles the seaside towns, is typically associated with England. It flourished during the Victorian era as wealthy visitors used to arrive at its inns and guesthouses from Glasgow and other locations throughout Scotland. The Esplanade, which continues to be surrounded by stores, hotels, cafés, and restaurants, has not changed much.
Take a ferry to the Isle of Kerrera
Taking the local ferry to the island of Kerrera from Gallanach, a little town south of Oban, is one of the best things to do in Oban. The island has only 45 people and no paved roads. As a result, the trip is short and only ideal for foot passengers.
However, at only four miles, there is an ideal hideaway for hikers looking for a new location to discover. The proximity of the island to the mainland is a big attraction for Kayakers.
You can also see the remnants of Gylen Castle. The castle is reachable through a mile-long route that is simple to find after leaving the ship. After all your climbing and touring, visit the Kerrera Tearoom, the only restaurant on the island, for a well-deserved meal.
Visit the Oban War and Peace Museum
A little museum detailing the intriguing past of this bustling port city is called the Oban War and Peace Museum. The museum highlights the strategic importance of the town during the two world wars as it used to have RAF Flying boats stationed in the bay. You can find out about the fishing and maritime history of the town, see a stunning model flying boat with a 14-foot wingspan and discover how local men and women contributed to the war effort.
To make your trip relaxing, you can choose any of the best places to stay in Oban, United Kingdom.
Take a boat trip to Staffa, Iona, and Mull
You will not need to travel far to experience a Hebridean island trip in Argyll & the Isles. The Islands of Mull, Iona and Staffa can all be easily visited together and are all accessible as day trips from Oban. From the sandy beach of Mull to the interesting history of Iona to the basalt caves of Staffa, each of these magnificent islands offer something unique. It takes about 40 minutes to go on the CalMac ferry from Oban to Mull. After that, you can board a boat to Staffa from Iona. The boat rides are enjoyable parts of the trip. As you cruise between these three islands, keep an eye out for marine animals, such as dolphins, basking sharks, and sea eagles.
A wide variety of local cuisine is available on the islands, including the freshest seafood along with locally raised beef, lamb and hog. As you tour these picturesque islands, use the Mull and Iona Food Trail to find all the best places to eat and drink.
Visit Dunollie Museum, Castle, and Grounds
The ruins of Dunollie Castle, which are close to Oban, are fascinating to explore. Along with breathtaking views of the island of Kerrara, the location has a fantastic museum and a lot to see and do.
Highlights of a trip to 1745 House are a collection of its antiques and exhibits about the MacDougall clan along with their neighbourhood.
There are daily guided tours with a range of interactive exhibits and seminars, including weaving demonstrations. If you go on a Sunday, you will witness a local piper perform. The charming garden café at the castle is also noteworthy.
See Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel
Four miles north of Oban, on the entrance to Loch Etive, is Dunstaffnage Castle. The three round towers and the walls are among the oldest in Scotland, originating in the 13th century when the Campbell clan owned the castle. The walls are 10 feet thick in some areas. The residential tower, which was constructed in the 17th century, is only a few more yards ahead. The remains of a church from the 13th century merit special attention because of the belief that numerous early Scottish monarchs and Campbell family members had been buried here.
Loch Etive and Ardchattan Priory Gardens
Loch Etive is only reachable by boat or a rough dirt road. Here, majestic golden eagles soar with wingspans as large as eight feet, and they occasionally engage in hunting. Getting on a cruise boat to see the loch and take in its breathtaking natural beauty is one of the best things to do in Oban. You can experience many enjoyable excursions here.
On the north side of Loch Etive are the Ardchattan Priory Gardens, established in 1230 by Valliscaulian monks. It has more than 200 different types of flora, including some lovely bush roses. There are also several yew trees in this area.
Take a Cruise on Loch Awe & See Kilchurn Castle
The charming Loch Awe is one of the largest lakes in Scotland. It offers spectacular views of a breathtaking mountain backdrop, including the magnificent twin peak of Ben Cruachan and the River Awe.
A pleasure cruise down the loch leaves from the pier in the village of Lochawe and travels south via several islands, including Priest Island, which used to be a priest’s colony, and Inishail, which used to be the location of a Cistercian abbey.
At the northern end of Loch Awe, you can visit the ruins of Kilchurn Castle, located on a magnificent tiny peninsula. Popular TV productions like Outlander and the Harry Potter films have used the castle as their setting.
Try sea kayaking
With miles of beautiful coastline, numerous islands and varied wildlife, Oban is one of the best locations in Scotland for sea kayaking.
Sea kayaking in Oban gives the thrilling opportunity to paddle to some stunning islands like Kerrera, Lismore, the Slate Islands of Seil, Easdale, Luing, Scarba, Shuna and Garvellachs. Each has unique geology and topography, like high cliffs, vast sea caverns, vertical volcanic intrusions and deserted sandy beaches. It is a lot of fun to kayak underneath the ‘Bridge across the Atlantic’, known as the Humpback Clachan Bridge. It connects the mainland to the Isle of Seil.
Take a Drive to Kilmartin Church and Castle Sween
The village of Kilmartin is worth a visit when in Oban. The odd gravestones at the Kilmartin Church cemetery, the oldest of which dates to Pictish times, are of particular interest. The oldest standing stone, the Nether Largie South Cairn, dates to the early Bronze Age, circa 5000 BC.
Another exquisite location is Castle Sween, which is believed to be the earliest stone castle on the Scottish mainland and is another 30-minute journey to the south.
Best place to stay in Oban:
Oban is a perfect holiday destination for adventure, scenic beauty, the oldest whisky and much more. MGM Muthu Hotels offer three gorgeous hotels in Oban – Muthu Oban Hotel, Muthu Alexandra Hotel and Best Western Muthu Queens Hotel. Experience luxury living with us while exploring Oban.