The scenery in Scotland offers dramatics in abundance. There are those winding roads through lush and verdant forests and the rolling countryside – and framing them all is the magnificent wild coastline. It’s a country of contrasts, not only as far as the scenery is concerned but for those who are exploring its many wonders. At one moment the panic sets in while trying to navigate narrow country roads, the next moment the grandeur of the magnificent scenery has one gasping for breath.
It has intimidating Highland cattle and men with kilts, often with bagpipes in hand – it is a country of wonder. The food intrigues, from the finest of single malt whiskeys to the simple pleasure of a wonderful package of fish and chips fresh from the fryer. This is a unique place and no bucket list of travel destinations would be complete without Scotland – and one of the delights of visiting Scotland is without doubt Oban.
Located on the scenic west coast of Scotland, there are plenty of hotels in Oban. It’s a small and cozy resort town whose twin claims to fame are the wonderful whiskeys that are distilled in its environs and the fresh fish it supplies to restaurants across Scotland. It is also the gateway to the many islands that await exploration offshore.
Getting to know Oban and its surroundings is easy. It is only just over two hours away from Glasgow and a gentle 3 hours from Edinburgh. It’s the perfect weekend destination. Below you’ll find some of the most popular destinations and entertainment activities for both young and old both within Oban itself and just outside of the town.
For those in search of wonderful views over Oban and the surrounding area a 20-30 minute hike to the top of the hill that plays host to McCaig’s Tower is well worth the effort. The tower was built by John Stuart McCaig between 1897 and 1902 and is interesting in its own right.
At the heart of Oban, cradled by steep cliffs one finds one of Scotland’s oldest producers of single-malt – the Oban Distillery. Take a tour and sample some of the magnificent 14-year-old single malts with added crystallized ginger. The first sip will provide you with a clue as to why this is one of the most respected single malts in the world.
Take a relaxing stroll from the Oban promenade toward Ganavan Bay and within 20 minutes you will find yourself Dunollie Castle. This castle was built in the 13th century by the MacDougalls of Lorn – and the ruined keep is a popular tourist attraction. It is currently undergoing restoration but the small house on the property houses a museum that is still accessible to the public. Adding to the attraction are the magnificent views over Lismore and Mull.
On the way to Dunollie Castle, you will pass the Oban War Memorial and Lighthouse. This is the perfect place to take a breather and relax on one of the many picnic benches. The views of the castle and the Isle of Kerrera with the busy ferries arriving and leaving port is a balm for the tired soul.
Those with an interest in all things military will be entranced by the Oban War and Peace Museum which has exhibits including original photographs and artifacts that provide insight into the history of Oban and the culture that makes it such a special place. It also houses some fascinating exhibits outlining Oban’s strategic importance during the war – and many other items of interest.
For those who enjoy the wonders of hiking, a 40-minute stroll from Oban will deliver you to Ganavan Bay. The drive is only 10 minutes and is well worth the effort. This destination offers exceptional views over Mull, Lismore, and Morven. There are public toilets at the beach and the bay is the perfect point to set off on an exploration of the wild coast or the wonders of the interior towards Dunbeg.
As a port, Oban is perfect for those who want to venture out onto the salt water and explore the aquatic wildlife that is so abundant off the coast, as well as immerse themselves in the lochs and islands in the area. These tours are tremendously popular with nature lovers as the coastline has been designated a special conservation area and birds and other wildlife can be found in abundance. There are a variety of tour operators including Coastal Connections, Allen’s Boat Trips, and Clyde Cruises. Caledonian McBrayne offers a variety of day trips to nearby islands.
For those who want to further explore the natural wonders of the area there are sea kayaks for hire – and a variety of guided tours on the water. Lessons are available from operators like Oban Sea Kayak Guides, the National Kayak School, Sea Kayak Oban, and Seafreedomkayak for those new to the sport.