The Isle of Iona offers picture-perfect sandy beaches, excellent walking opportunities, a quaint village experience and the possibility of wildlife sightings on both the land and sea. With this in mind, visiting the Isle of Iona is like experiencing Scotland on a miniature scale. There’s no reason you wouldn’t hop on the ferry from Fionnphort!
Table of Contents
- How to Visit the Isle of Iona
- Scottish Highlands Google Map Legend
- Save For Later
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How to Visit the Isle of Iona
If you’d prefer to be accompanied by a friendly local with pre-arranged transport, there are many guided tours that include Iona in their itinerary. Rabbie’s hosts a 3-day, 4-day, 5-day, 8-day and 9-day tour that departs from either Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Is Iona worth visiting?
The Isle of Iona welcomes around 130,000 visitors each year. Whilst many will travel to experience the island as the ‘Cradle of Christianity‘, others will discover the incredible natural beauty, slower pace and tiny community culture. Iona is absolutely worth a visit – if the weather permits!
What is the Isle of Iona known for?
Iona is often described as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland as the island had a huge influence on the movement of the religion through Scotland, England and throughout mainland Europe. The island’s religious heritage is dated back to the arrival of Saint Columbas in 563 AD when the monastery was founded. Still to this day, the Abbey is a centre for pilgrimage and a popular tourist attraction.
Where is the Isle of Iona located?
The tiny island of Iona is hidden behind its larger companion, the Isle of Mull. They’re situated off the west coast of the Scottish Highlands in a collection of islands called the Inner Hebrides.
How big is the Isle of Iona?
The Isle of Iona is 3 miles (5 kilometres) long by 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) wide. The island’s highest point is just under 100 metres (330 feet) above sea level.
How do you get to the Isle of Iona?
There are a few ways in which you might travel across to the Isle of Iona, although all of which, are by boat.
The most popular route is on the regular Caledonian MacBrayne ferry service from Fionnphort. This journey takes less than 10 minutes, and it’s only a couple of pounds!
Fionnphort can be accessed along the A849. This road leads traffic from Craignure where the ferry from Oban docks to disembark.
TIP: Check the ferry's return times before you're potentially left without signal on Iona.
How long do you need to see Iona?
It is still worthwhile visiting the Isle of Iona for a day trip, even if you cannot afford the time for an overnight stay. The ferries are so frequent that you could simply pop over for just a few hours!
If you are travelling from the mainland you will need the entire day to have enough time to travel to Craignure on the ferry from Oban and then to Fionnphort to catch the next. This journey in itself can be breathtaking between the hour at sea and hours drive across the southern part of Mull. If you are planning to do so, you’d manage approximately 2-3 hours on the Isle of Iona.
Can you stay on the island of Iona?
Visiting the Isle of Iona is totally possible as a day trip, although the island truly reverts back to its true authentic self once the last ferry transports the remaining day visitors back to the mainland.
On the other hand, the accommodation on Iona can be fairly limited in availability, so visitors should book ahead to avoid any disappointment.
St Columba Hotel is a restaurant, bar, garden, hotel and hub of visitors to Iona. This accommodation boasts family, double, twin or single rooms.
Situated only 550 yards from the ferry terminal, Ardoran House is ready for guests with a sun terrace, a private beach area and a tasty breakfast.
Iona Pods are perfect to experience the island’s scenic hills and beaches. They are located a little further from the village on a working croft.
NEARBY: Is Ardnamurchan Worth Visiting?
Are cars allowed on Iona?
As of 1978, most motor vehicles are not permitted whilst visiting the Isle of Iona. This is to ensure the preservation of the land. Iona is a small island, so there isn’t much space or infrastructure to accommodate an ever-rising number of vehicles. Therefore, visitors should leave their car or camper at either of the two car parks in Fionnphort.
If walking is not your favourite mode of transport, you can bring your own bike to the Isle of Iona. Caledonian MacBrayne allows bicycles onto ferries for free, but visitors can also hire bikes from the Iona Crafts Shop which is only a couple of minutes’ walk away from the ferry terminal.
Can you walk around Iona?
Little Iona is perfect for walking! At just three miles long by one mile wide, the island is small enough to be completely explored on foot. Whether you’d prefer to stroll along a beach, gaze into the panoramic views from a hilltop or wander the village streets, there are plenty of avenues to place one foot in front of the other.
One of the easiest hills to walk in Scotland is Dun I. You will not miss this viewpoint as it is the highest point on the Isle of Iona. The trail can be accessed through the small gate on the left in the field after the Iona Pods entrance. You’ll want to save this hike for one of the clearer days to be rewarded with amazing views over the island and far beyond!
Are you looking for other island adventures? Check out…
- Your Complete Guide to Handa Island
- Isle of Rum Island Guide
- Isle of Canna: Everything You Need To Know
- The Outer Hebrides Island-Hopping Guide
- Visit Lewis & Harris (The Island Road Trip)
Scottish Highlands Google Map Legend
This Google Map Legend showcases 140+ need-to-know coordinates within our bonnie Scottish Highlands & Islands:
- Awesome Wild Camping Park-Ups
- Best Walks, Viewpoints, Beaches
- Bucket List Locations
- Accessible Showers & Fresh Water Taps
- Relevant Links to Online Travel Guides
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