Planning an Oban to Mull day trip is one of the best ways to see one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands if you only have a limited amount of time. Located within easy reach of the town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland, this gorgeous island in the Inner Hebrides has a lot to offer visitors.
Though travellers could easily spend a few days exploring the Isle of Mull, you can still cover a lot of ground and see the highlights of the island (and neighbouring Iona) within the confines of one day. So if you’re looking for a great island day trip, follow this guide to figure out how to spend one day on Mull.
Getting to Mull from Oban
Mull is easy to reach from Oban and you have two options for getting to the island – independently via car ferry or via an organised tour. There are pros and cons to both.
If you’d like to visit Mull independently, then you’re going to need to catch the ferry from the port of Oban. Ferries to the Isle of Mull leave Oban frequently, though it’s worth noting that you should book in advance in the high-season summer months because there are limited car spaces.
You will need a car to get around Mull independently – especially for a day trip – so if you don’t want to drive, then you need to look into going on a tour.
The ferries from Oban arrive in the town of Craignure, which is located about 45 minutes south of Tobermory – the largest town on Mull – on the eastern side of the island.
The ferry journey takes about 1 hour (though you need to be at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes prior to departure) and you can get lovely views of Duart Castle just before you arrive into Craignure.
If you need to rent a car for your trip, you can browse Rentalcars.com to compare prices across companies.
By Organised Tour
If you don’t want to drive around Mull yourself or simply can’t be fussed doing all of the planning on your own, then consider going on a day trip to Mull.
West Coast Tours offers a 3-island day trip from Oban that includes stops on the Isle of Mull before taking you on a boat trip to see Fingal’s Cave on Staffa and the Abbey on lovely Iona.
Alternatively, if you want to spend a bit longer visiting the Isle of Mull but still aren’t keen to go independently, then consider heading out on this 3-day tour from Glasgow or even this 4-day tour that departs from Edinburgh.
Oban to Mull Day Trip Itinerary
If you’ve decided that you’d like to go on your day trip to the Isle of Mull independently, then follow this itinerary in order to get the most out of this gorgeous island – even if you only have one day to spend! Plan to get the earliest sailing from Oban possible
Drive the Ross of Mull
After arrive at the Craignure ferry terminal, it’s time to drive south towards the town of Fionnphort. En route, you will experience some of Mull’s most beautiful scenery along the area known as the Ross of Mull.
It’s about an hour’s drive from Craignure to Fionnphort and there are plenty of beautiful lookout points to stop off at along the way for some photo opportunities.
One of our favourites is the Three Lochs Viewpoint, located just off the side of the main road, which offers views of three small lakes amongst the rolling green hills.
Keep in mind that the majority of the roads on Mull – even the main roads – are single-track with passing places every few hundred metres. Make sure to drive carefully and move over for oncoming traffic when necessary. Other than that, the roads are all in generally good condition.
After driving down the Ross of Mull, you will arrive at the small town of Fionnphort. This town is where the ferries to the little Isle of Iona take off from.
As a visitor, you are not allowed to bring your car to the island so you do need to park in Fionnphort (there is a free car park a few hundred metres away from the ferry terminal) and hop on the passenger ferry to Iona.
You can purchase tickets to the Iona ferry at the terminal and the sailing from Fionnphort only takes around fifteen minutes and ferries leave very frequently throughout the day. In order to avoid crowds, it can be a good idea to try to get here as early as possible From the water, you will be able to get lovely views of the Iona Abbey.
Once you’ve arrived on Iona, it’s only about a 10-minute walk to the main attraction of the Iona Abbey. Known as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland, this abbey was established in the 6th Century CE by St Columba. It is still an important pilgrimage spot today.
There is a fee to enter and tour the abbey, however, the ruins of the Iona Nunnery — which you will pass as you walk to the abbey — are free to enter and walk around.
If you only plan to visit the abbey while on Iona, you will only need to spend an hour or two on the island before heading back to Mull. However, you could also opt to walk (or hire a bike a cycle) to some other parts of the island and take in some beautiful beaches in a remote and tranquil atmosphere.
Otherwise, simply visit the Iona Abbey, take a little stroll around the island, pop into a shop or two and hop on the ferry
See some Beautiful Beaches
Though Scotland may not be the first destination that comes to mind as a beautiful beach destination, the Isle of Mull boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches in the country and there are plenty of them to be seen within easy reach of Fionnphort after you’ve returned from your jaunt to Iona.
Closest to Fionnphort is the lovely Fidden Beach which boasts nice white sand and a lovely atmosphere. However, if you drive a bit further, you can reach Ardalandish Beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in this area.
There is a bit of a walk from the car park to the beach itself (about 10-15 minutes), but it is easy and worth it for the views and stretch of soft white sand.
If you’re looking for an easier-to-reach but still impressive beach, then head to Uisken Beach. The car park here is right by the sand, so there is no need for a long walk in order to take in the beautiful views. On a sunny day, the beaches can be magical, however, they are just as lovely if the weather doesn’t cooperate (as is common in this area of the world!).
Take in the Views of Loch Na Keal
If you haven’t seen enough spectacular natural scenery yet, then you’re in for a real treat as you continue venturing on for your Mull day trip. Instead of retracing your steps back through Craignure to reach Tobermory, direct yourself along Loch Na Keal to experience one of the most beautiful scenic drives on the island.
As you drive along Loch Na Keal, you will be treated to incredible coastal views of the dramatic cliffsides and the Atlantic beyond. You may also be able to spot the Hebridean isle of Ulva on a clear day.
This is also an excellent opportunity for wildlife spotting – especially for eagles and otters – so make sure to go slowly and pull over in a safe spot every so often if you want to experience some of the incredible fauna that Mull has to offer.
This is especially fun as, with just a day trip to Mull, you don’t have time to go on a wildlife tour to see the puffins on the Treshnish Isles.
The road along the loch is quite narrow and single-track, however, there are frequent passing places. Just make sure to go slowly and keep a look ahead of you to be aware of oncoming traffic.
If you have more time to play around with, then consider continuing your drive to Tobermory along the west coast of the island instead of cutting across from the village of Knock. If you take the longer drive, make a stop at the gorgeous Eas Fors Waterfall that cascades directly into the sea.
And if you’re keen to visit more beaches, you can also make a stop at Calgary Bay Beach, which is one of the most popular sandy stretches on Mull. Nearby, you can also visit the Calgary Art in Nature, which is an open-air gallery filled with interesting sculptures along a lovely woodland pathway.
Visit the Tobermory Distillery
After spending the majority of your day seeing the incredible wild scenery that the Isle of Mull has to offer, it’s time to end your day trip in the island’s largest town – Tobermory. But before we wander around and explore the town itself, make a stop at the Tobermory Distillery.
This distillery has been in operation since the late 18th Century and produces both single-malt whisky and gin on the premises. You can opt to go on a tour of the distillery and learn more about the whisky and gin-making process or, if you’re keen just to taste the products, they do offer counter tastings in their visitor’s centre, as well.
Tobermory Distillery makes two different kinds of whisky – the unpeated Tobermory label and the peated Ledaig label. And if you’re a fan of peated whiskeys, then the Ledaig is really delightful to sip. You can also buy bottles and other souvenirs at the visitors centre, however, there are also plenty of shops in the town itself where you can pick up some to take home.
Note that if you are driving, then you will not be able to participate in a tasting as Scotland has a zero-tolerance drink-driving limit.
Wander through Tobermory
Finally, end your day trip to the Isle of Mull by taking the time to explore colourful and charming Tobermory.
If you’re up for a little bit of a walk, then consider heading out on the Tobermory Lighthouse Path. As the name may suggest, the pathway leads to the Tobermory Lighthouse.
It’s about 2 kilometres long, is an easy ramble, and takes about 20-30 minutes to reach the lighthouse. The views you get, once you’re out of the thick woods, are absolutely lovely.
Otherwise, there are plenty of cute souvenir shops, a number of cosy pubs and a few art galleries that you can pop into, as well. If you’re after a sweet treat, then grab a scoop from Isle of Mull Ice Cream, which offers a number of delicious and unique flavours.
Tobermory is also a great place to grab dinner before heading back to the ferry to Oban – there are a number of different restaurants to choose from in the town depending on what you’re after.
From Tobermory, it’s about a 40-minute drive south back to Craignure where you can catch your return ferry. Again, keep in mind that you do need to be at the terminal at least 30 minutes prior to the sailing to ensure that you get on the ship.
Where to Stay in Oban
Adelphi Villa – This cosy guesthouse is a great, mid-range option on a quiet street minutes from the centre of Oban. They have a handful of clean and cosy rooms to choose from, parking on the premises and friendly owners. Click here to check availability
The Manor House Hotel – Those looking for a bit of a luxury stay in Oban will love this classic manor house. They have a range of plush rooms to choose from, sophisticated grounds and plenty of luxe amenities for guests to enjoy. Click here to check availability
EDEN Apartment – This funky flat is the perfect choice for those looking for their own, self-catering option in the centre of Oban. The one-bedroom apartment comes fully furnished with everything you may need during your stay. Click here to check availability
Oban Backpackers – If you’re sticking to a tight budget while going on your day trip to Mull, then this hostel is a great choice. They have both dorms and private rooms available along with good common areas and self-catering facilities. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Oban hotels!
Visiting the Isle of Mull as a day trip is one of the best ways to get a taste of this island (and neighbouring Iona) in just a short amount of time.
Are you planning to do a day trip to Mull? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!