Oban is a small town and port located in Western Scotland with a population of nearly 9000. It was one of the places that I was lucky enough to visit whilst on an amazing holiday around Scotland. After having some time to explore the town I thought I would share some of the places that I visited whilst there. So here are my top 5 things to do in Oban.
This was one of my favourite places that I visited whilst in Oban. As a lover of all things chocolate, this shop was a dream come true! It had a menu filled with chocolate delights. From rich and creamy hot chocolate to homemade cake or freshly made scones.
This shop has wonderful views across Oban Bay as you sit back and enjoy the food and drink on comfy leather sofas. It has such a cosy feeling inside as you step in from the cool breeze outside into a warm shop filled with the faint scent of chocolate.
As you walk in you are greeted by a range of handmade chocolates for sale. These are all made in-store by the chocolatiers. Towards the back of the shop, there is a viewing window that lets you see the staff making a range of different chocolates as well as marshmallows.
After exploring the town this was the perfect spot to relax and enjoy some chocolate. I ordered my all-time favourite snack… strawberries and melted milk chocolate! At home, I normally make this with Nutella.
Boat trips are a great way to see a city or town from a whole new perspective. This is something I like to do when visiting new places that have canals or rivers running through them.
In Oban, there are a few different companies that run boat trips. These will take you around the shoreline as well as some of the surrounding islands. The boat trip that I went on was from Allan’s Wildlife Boat Trips. This is a great opportunity to see the local wildlife and birds with plenty of Cormorants and Seals to be spotted. If you’re lucky you might even get to see some Eagles.
The prices for this were really affordable, at £12 for adults and £6 for children. Making it a really great activity for families! This boat journey lasts for an hour and offers some wonderful views of Oban from the sea.
On the trip, I did manage to see a seal pop its head up out of the water as the boat was going past. There were plenty of birds, but the best part was just relaxing on the boat as it sailed along the sea!
If you have a few days in Oban, it might be worthing booking a ticket for the ferry over to the Isle of Mull. With a population just over 2500 people, the Isle of Mull is the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides. A lot of the population is based in the colourful harbour town of Tobermory. Which is the capital of Mull.
Tobermory brings me back to my childhood. I used to watch a show called Balamory which was filmed in all of the multicoloured houses in this little town.
It takes about 2 hours to get to Tobermory from Oban. The ferry is from Oban which then takes you to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. This part of the journey takes about 45 minutes. From there you have a scenic drive up to Tobermory.
Tobermory has a few different boat trips which range in time. They offer wildlife boat trips which take you out to see the Whales and Dolphins that roam the waters around the island.
There is also an Aquarium, Distillery and Museum. As well as plenty of shops and places to eat. This all makes Tobermory a wonderful place to visit if you want to spend the day somewhere.
Looking over the town and the harbour is a very striking piece of architecture, McCaig’s tower sits at the top of Battery Hill. The tower was built back in 1897 by a local banker called John Stuart McCaig. This was created to provide work for local stonemasons as well as creating a monument for the McCaig family. It consists of 94 arches over two tiers with an overall circumference of 200 meters.
The climb up to McCaig’s Tower takes you up quite a steep hill. This walk is about 15 to 20 minutes to get there, but the views from the top are glorious! Inside the tower are well-kept gardens which are a great place to escape to after a busy day exploring. But the true wonder of this place is the view you get over the town.
During my stay, I actually went to McCaig’s Tower twice. The first time that I went there, I was caught out by fog that rolled in from the sea. It created a really eerie atmosphere as you could just make out the tops of buildings and the trees. It was quite peaceful to see the fog come into shore from a higher perspective.
The second time I visited was when I had a spare day to relax in the town. I decided to go back up to Oban’s tower to enjoy the last light of the afternoon before the sunset. This time there was no fog to ruin the views! I think I stayed there for almost two hours just watching the boats come in and out of the harbour as the sun slowly set below the horizon.
I’m glad I went a second time. Evenings at Oban can offer some really beautiful sunsets, and the best advantage point is at the tower. Whether you visit morning, midday or evening, McCaig’s tower is a brilliant place to visit. Make sure you take a camera as you will want to take pictures of the views after climbing that steep hill to get there.
The castle, now in ruins, can be explored for a small entrance fee. There is also great views of the castle from the road or from a boat. You can see the castle every time you come in and out of the harbour.
It’s a pleasant 15-minute walk from Oban town along the seafront. With entrance fees for adults at £6 and for children at £3. There’s a castle, museum and grounds to explore making is another great place for children and families. In the grounds, you can explore the woodland trails and gardens. As well as a 19th century Weaving Cottage.
Oban distillery is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland and it was established back in 1794. This actually predates Oban! It is also one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland.
The building had refurbishments done back in the 1890s but the building hasn’t changed much since then. You can easily access this distillery as it is in the heart of the town so you won’t have to travel very far to get there.
There are various tours of the distillery where you can learn about the process of making Whisky with prices starting at £12. On the tour, you get to learn about the whisky-making process as well as the unique taste of Oban within the drink. You also get to enjoy a complimentary drink of the Oban Whisky whilst on the tour!
There are so many things to do in Oban, I hope you have found some things which you would like to do whilst there. I’ve included a map at the end of this blog post so you can use it to help you on your travels in Oban. As well as some places to eat and shops to visit. Be sure to stick around for sunset as the sunset there are incredible!
I would love to know what area of Scotland you would like to visit or have already been to in the comments?
PLACES TO STAY
There are plenty of places to stay across Scotland. Oban is such a great base if you wanted to explore some of the islands Western Coastline. Click the image below to view accommodation and places to stay around the area.