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Day trip from Glasgow to Iona?

Is it reasonable to drive from Glasgow in the morning, board the ferry to Iona for a day trip and then return to Glasgow that evening? I'm not sure if the driving time and ferry schedules make this practical.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, b.merritt326,

It's not reasonable, but it can be done if you're driving. You'd need to get a very early start out of Glasgow. Count on at least three hours driving to Oban. You'd probably catch the 9:50 a.m. ferry to Craignure, which arrives at 10:40 a.m., but you need to be at the ferry terminal in Oban at least 30 minutes before departure, so that you don't lose your place on the ferry.

After you arrive on Mull, you'd have about a one hour drive to Fionnphort, so you'd probably catch a ferry to Iona around 12:30 p.m. That would put you on Iona by 12:40.

The last ferry out of Craignure departs at 7:15 p.m., arriving Oban at 8:05 p.m. So you'd probably want to catch, at the latest, the 5:15 ferry from Iona to Fionnphort, giving you about one hour and 45 minutes to get back to Craignure in time to get in line for that last ferry.

Given that schedule, you'd have a little over four hours on Iona, and have an additional three hour drive back to Glasgow, after you arrive in Oban.

It's not something I'd want to do. If I suggested it to Mrs. Auchterless, she'd have my guts for garters! :) But if it's your only opportunity to go to Iona, than go for it!


Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: If you definitely want to try this, advance ferry reservations are imperative, as you'll be on early and late ferries. Fionnphort-Iona is walk-on, so you don't need reservations for that part of your travels. Fionnphort-Iona runs less frequently on Sundays.

Posted by
5563 posts

So, while looking for tours I saw a reference on TripAdvisor to someone who took a Seaplane from Loch Lomond to Iona! It can't possibly be cheap, but it would be a heck of an experience. Here the link that she provided to the seaplane business. My brother-in-law did a brief seaplane tour in the Adirondacks a few years and really loved it. I have too weak a stomach. Do report back if you do this!

On the more prosaic side, you can get a tour out of Oban to Iona. You still have to arrive early, but you don't have to take your and are bussed to Fionnphort with some sightseeing on the way. As Mike said you there are no cars on Iona.


Posted by
82 posts

Although it might be possible on paper, personally I wouldn't recommend it, it's just going to be very rushed and tiring.

Posted by
1293 posts

There is a seaplane company that leaves near the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, but appears now to be a) roundtrip only, and b) just a specific pair of tours. Nice tours, but only tours.

In terms of transport. - 4 hours by train or road to Oban, 1 on the ferry. 1 and a half to Fionnphort. Then another ferry.

Each way.

Surface alone suggests a sixteen hour day of just travelling.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you all! This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. And we won't be trying to cram in a day drive from Glasgow to Iona.