Exploring Isle of Mull and Iona

We travelled to the Isle of Mull which took about an hour on the ferry from Oban. Mull has been somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for a while so I was excited when our family holiday to Oban meant we could go and explore a new island.

Onboard the ferry there was a shop with snacks, games and a random assortment of electricals including dashcams! There was plenty of inside seating and an arcade machine for those who felt they might have a lucky streak on water.


Once we arrived on Mull, we headed for Fionnphort so we could catch the ferry to Iona. The journey took an hour, and we found a free car park to leave the car as the ferry to Iona is a passenger ferry. If you need to take a car, you have to apply for a permit or use the taxi service. I really liked that tourists couldn’t take cars to Iona as it’s so small that the cars would ruin the pretty landscape. We bought tickets to Iona on the day as there’s no need to book in advance. After about 11.30am, the ferry comes and goes regularly so no need to keep checking timetables. The ferry to Iona only takes ten minutes too.

Passengers walking off the ferry boat at the port at Iona.
Getting off the ferry which arrived at Iona

As the ferry cruised into the port at Iona, we were all drawn to the turquoise water, water that you would expect to see in much sunnier places. Iona seemed to be a little sun trap of an island, we had donned heavy jackets because of the rainy weather in Oban and Mull which definitely wasn’t needed in Iona. At the port, there’s lovely houses and one building is a shelter created by the National Trust for Scotland as they own the island. You can find some more info about Iona there. We had a wander around Iona which took about two hours as we stopped in all the shops and had a slow wander around the Abbey.

There’s a lot more in Iona than I expected, and it really reminded me of the Katie Morag books I used to read when I was wee. There are a couple of lovely craft shops, a little shop, a hotel, a cafe, a jewellery shop, a food shop, a museum and a gallery and pottery. I think the true beauty of Iona can only be seen by those who visit, I don’t think any pictures do the lovely little place justice. Visiting Iona has definitely been a top highlight this year.

Stone cottages with a bright blue sky
A jewellery shop and some craft shops in these lovely stone cottages.
George MacLeod lived here who restored Iona Abbey and created the Iona community.

What’s the story in balamory?

Wouldn’t you like to know! After visiting beautiful Iona, we got back in the car and travelled for an hour and a half to Tobermory – 10 year old me would have been jumping like Josie with excitement. Unfortunately, my pals Archie and Edie McCreadie were nowhere to be seen. Tobermory was a bustling wee place with lots of shops and cafes. We popped into each shop which all sold really nice gifts, there was even a shop with a Womble sitting outside! You can go into the shop which was used for the filming of Balamory where there are a few Balamory branded toys. The iconic colourful shops in Tobermory make for a great photo, of which I took loads. We didn’t spend too long in Tobermory as we then needed to catch the ferry back to Oban.

Red terraced house with a sign that reads 'Tobermory corner shop'
Red Tobermory shop that features in Balamory

Driving on isle of mull

I should have researched Mull more before we went as I had no idea that the majority of it is single track roads. This isn’t a problem but it just means it can take a little longer to get around. Here are my tips if you are not used to driving on single track roads.

  • Always keep to the left of the road – this might seem odd as it will feel like you are in the middle of the road but try to keep as left as you can.
  • There are lots of passing places, if you see a car coming and you are the closest to a passing place, you will need to go into the passing place even if that means reversing into it. If the passing place is not on your side, stop your car next to the passing place so that the oncoming car can then drive into the passing place and you can both get around each other.
  • Don’t park in passing places.
  • Allow people to overtake you if you are going slow. This is one thing I noticed was really good about drivers on Mull is that the tractors, slow cars and buses would all stay in a passing place to allow faster vehicles to pass. It is recommended that if you are driving quite slow to go into a passing place to allow people who are maybe driving to a hospital appointment, catching a ferry or needing to rush to someone.

I’d like to go back to Mull to explore more of it as a day was just enough for visiting Iona and Tobermory. Now that I’ve been to the Isle of Mull, I’ve got a Scottish Island bug and want to try and visit them all over the next few years!

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