Oban, in Argyll & Bute, is a popular seaside town in the Highlands. Its remarkable scenery, landscapes and seascapes attract many visitors, along with the area’s sensational seafood. Meaning ‘The Little Bay’ in Gaelic, Oban is fondly known as ‘the Gateway to the Isles’, with regular ferries leaving for nearby islands including Mull, Coll and Tiree. If you’re thinking of going on a mini break with amazing sea views and fantastic local food, be sure to read on for our pick of the best things to do in Oban…
Take a walk up to McCaigs Tower
This Roman style colosseum is a prominent local landmark, dating back to 1897. It was built by local banker John Stuart McCaig, with the aim of providing work for local stonemasons during the winter months, with the structure also standing as a reminder of the McCaig family. Get the full experience by leaving your car behind, and climbing the hill to the tower. The view at the top is certainly worth the effort, with panoramic views of Oban Bay and the surrounding area, including the Isle of Mull to the west.
Eat fish & chips on the beach
Not to be missed in Oban! The local fish and chip shops are fantastic, offering an abundance of freshly caught fish. We recommend The Oban Fish & Chip Shop on George Street, with daily specials which include seafood platters. After eating there seafood aficionado celebrity chef Rick Stein dubbed their chippie as the best one he’d ever tried. Make sure you take your order away and enjoy your meal as you look out onto the water. If you’re optimistic and think you can squeeze in dessert, then we suggest you finish up with ice cream from one of the local ice cream shops, such as the ingeniously named The Pokey Hat on Stafford Street. As well as specialising in the frozen classics, they also have a variety of unusual flavours which include Mince Pie and Liquorice Allsorts!
Copyright Oban Fish & Chips, All rights reserved
Spend an afternoon on Kerrera Island
Oban’s closest island neighbour is waiting to be discovered. Take the ferry from Gallanach Road over to the six and a half mile long Kerrera Island – the ride takes 10 minutes max. Home to around 40 people and plenty of wild goats, this is a peaceful place where no cars (apart from resident vehicles) are allowed. It’s easy to walk or cycle around – you’ll see Gylen Castle on the circular walking route (it dates back to 1587), you’ll take in breath-taking views of neighbouring islands Lismore and Mull…and if you’re really lucky you might even spot a golden eagle. Remarkably, there are no shops, but the island is home to Kerrera Tea Garden & Bunkhouse, which is open during the summer months, closing at the end of September.
VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.
Take to the open water
Oban’s waters aren’t only popular with fishermen - you too can uncover Oban’s spectacular waters. Seafari Adventures has a range of wildlife and nature boat tours, so if you’re determined to spot whales, porpoise, dolphins, basking sharks, otters, golden and white tailed sea eagles in their natural habitats, then this activity is for you! The tour operators also recognise how important it is not to disturb nature and wildlife in this area, which has been named a European Special Area of Conservation. If you’re not afraid of getting wet then you should give kayaking a go whilst you’re there too – Oban is the sea kayaking capital of Europe, so it’s the perfect place to paddle.
Seafari Adventures, All rights reserved
Visit Oban Distillery
Frankly - whether you enjoy a dram or not - no trip to Oban is complete without a visit to Oban Distillery & Visitor Centre. The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery, which opened in 1794, increasing in popularity in 1880 when the railway arrived, bringing more visitors. Choose from a variety of whisky tours and find out about one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries and the interesting craft of whisky production. You’ll finish up by sampling complimentary drams of the Oban 14 year old West Highland Malt. Slainte!
Book your accommodation at our 5* Oban Youth Hostel today!
Hostelling Scotland’s Crianlarich and Glencoe hostels are also nearby. Book today so you get the best price guaranteed!
Take a virtual tour of Oban below.