Oban, Scotland

An Antipodean travel company serving World Travellers since 1983

Oban, Scotland

Oban, Scotland
Oban, Scotland

The seafood capital of Scotland and the gateway to the Hebridean Islands, Oban is a beautiful waterfront town on a near perfect horseshoe bay. Located within the Argyll and Bute council area, Oban is surrounded by dramatic shores and spectacular country wilderness, making it a great place for exploring the coast and the Highlands. It is a great place for a holiday and there is nothing quite as relaxing as enjoying the country’s freshest seafood while watching the sun set over the dark blue waters of the Firth of Lorn.

What to See in Oban

The ruins of Dunnollie Castle
The ruins of Dunnollie Castle

Oban’s town centre is compact and it is easy to walk to most landmarks. You can wander along the seafront to Dunnollie Castle, built by the MacDougalls of Lorn in the 13th century. The castle is ruined, after being abandoned by the MacDougalls in 1746. Today, it is open to the public as part of the Dunnollie Museum, Castle and Grounds, which features exhibitions about the history of the castle, the MacDougall family and life on the west coast of Scotland. From the site of the castle, you can see the island of Kerrera and enjoy amazing views over the town, its harbour and nearby isles.

Oban Distillery
Oban Distillery

Oban Distillery has been in operation since 1794 and is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, and actually older than the town of Oban itself. The distillery has proudly never moved or expanded and there are currently seven employees and every drop of whisky is made by their hands.

McCaig’s Tower, overlooking Oban Bay
McCaig’s Tower, overlooking Oban Bay

McCaig’s Tower was built in 1897, commissioned by local banker John Stuart McCaig, as a way of providing work to local stonemasons and creating a monument to the McCaig family. You will find well-maintained gardens inside the tower and its locaiton atop a hill above the town means there a spectacular views over Oban Bay.

Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll and Bute
Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll and Bute

Just over three miles north from Oban is Dunstaffnage Castle, built by the MacDougal Clan around 1220 on a huge rock above the Firth of Lorn. Since 1470, it has been in the possession of the Campbell Clan, the most powerful family in the area.  Today, it is partially ruined but is considered one of Scotland’s oldest castles. It is open to the public, with the exception of the 16th century gatehouse, which is private property.

The Falls of Lora
The Falls of Lora

A short drive from the castle are the Falls of Lora, a tidal race at the mouth of Loch Etive. Loch Etive is an Atlantic fjord which means it has a slightly different tidal regime to the open ocean so at times water rushes in or out the loch at breakneck speed. Watching this spectacular force of nature against the backdrop of verdant scenery is a unique Highland scenery.

For lovers of the outdoors, Oban is considered to be one of Scotland’s best sea kayaking destinations. The waters around Oban offer both sheltered shores and wild rapids which means beginner and expert kayakers can enjoy an adventurous experience. The great thing about kayaking around Oban is the chance to see some incredible wildlife including otters, whales, seals, basking sharks and sea eagles.

Of course, Oban is known for being one of the best points to access the Inner Hebrides. The port is the key mainland ferry terminal for ferry crossings to Mull, Kerrera, Lismore and Iona. If you’re interested in visiting Oban, please take a look at our Prehistoric Britain tour, which spends two nights in Oban. On our Tracing 5000 Years of Scottish History tour, we spend two nights in Oban and use it as a base to visit the Isle of Mull. On the History of the Jacobites tour we visit Dunstaffnage Castle and stay overnight in Oban.

Oban Scotland

Articles about Scotland published by Odyssey Traveller.

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Related Tours

Explore the stunning scenery and the remarkable history of Scotland. This tour focussed on the history of the Jacobites commences in Edinburgh. During the 19 days you visit 19 locations as you travel from Edinburgh as far north as Inverness to finish in Glasgow. You stay in 8 locations. Learn from 10 specialist guides about the Jacobites visiting 28 places and experiences during the tour.

17 days
British Isles
Departing Aug

Explore 3,000 years of life on the mainland and on three of the islands. Only have time to examine segments of the country’s long and varied past. We will, delve deeply into a number of the events that shaped Scotland.

22 days
British Isles, Europe
Departing Jul
Prehistoric Britain small group history tour
Pre-guaranteed

This program examines human occupation in Britain some 500,000 years before the Romans arrived. It begins in Shetland, the northern extremity of Britain and works its way south to Stonehenge, exploring the landscapes that represent some of the most important prehistoric sites in Britain. Most of the focus of this program will be experiencing these megalithic and earthen structures constructed between the Stone Age and Iron Age.

21 days
British Isles
Departing Aug