Iona & Craignure (Isle of Mull), Scotland

Part of the Rural Scotland series.

Location: Craignure is a town with a ferry terminal on the east of the Isle of Mull in Argyll & Bute. The small island of Iona is a scenic westward ride from Craignure followed by a short ferry hop from Fionnphort on Mull.

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Duart Castle, one of the oldest inhabited in Scotland

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Tiny beach at Iona

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Marble statues of the 8th Duke of Argyll & his wife, Iona Abbey

Getting There: Craignure is a 1 hour CalMac ferry ride from the port / railway terminus of Oban on Scotland’s west coast (£3.45 single). West Coast Motors runs buses from Craignure ferry terminal to Fionnphort (and Tobermory) connecting with the ferry timings for a relatively hefty fare of £14 return. Iona is a short ferry ride from Fionnphort (£1.65 single).

Note that Fionnphort & Iona are the starting points for the Isle of Staffa boat trips so they can be considered a great base location if your trip focus is on Iona with a visit to Staffa.

Recommended Walks: It’s a short walk from the Iona ferry terminal to the historic Iona Abbey with a short stop in the middle to see the ruins of the Iona Nunnery. The Iona Abbey has a great significance to the Christian faith having been setup in 564 AD & withstood many Viking raids to be a place for pilgrimage. It’s a nice place to visit even for the casual tourist as its steeped in history.

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Iona Abbey cloister

Note: Both the island of Iona & the south of the Isle of Mull (which connects Craignure & Iona) has many walks & hills, but we did not have time to explore them. Ben More is the highest walk of the region.

Other Things To Do: Duart Castle is the seat of Clan MacLean & is in a picturesque location near Craignure (3.5 miles). There was a bus that also connects with the ferry that sells a combined bus + castle tickets  making it extremely convenient to visit for non-car folk. It seems that service has been discontinued. The entry to the castle is £6.

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Scottish storyteller at Duart Castle

Craignure is also a great place to relax in one of the most unique holiday accommodations we have lived in called Shielings (large tents that sleep up to 6). The sea & mainland views from the campsite itself are to die for & you can also spot adorable rabbits & seals with a short walk. We highly recommend Shieling Holidays (TripAdvisor).

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Shieling holidays, Craignure

Food & Drink: As mentioned in our Isle of Staffa writeup, the best plate to grab food in the entire region is The Creel Seafood Bar (TripAdvisor) with its uber fresh seafood sandwiches & platters. Apart from that, we ate at MacGregor’s Roadhouse (sandwiches & salads), the Craignure Inn (our only sit down meal, decent grub) & fish & chips near Iona Ferry terminal.

Tip: If possible, try to line up your visit to Craignure with an instance of the Producer’s market, held once a month starting April. We chanced upon being on the island during that time & it paid off as we got great souvenirs to take back home along with great food produce. Our top picks are Isle of Mull Jam & Chutneys (with handpainted jars) and incredible pistachio Biscotti baked by the island’s resident bus driver & baker pictured below (he was a pleasure to talk to).

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The amazing baker & bus driver of Mull

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