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West Coast Tours to Mull/Iona or Mull/Iona/Staffa

Visiting Scotland in September 2019. We definitely want to go to Iona but can't decide between the Mull/Iona trip or the 3 Isles, Mull/Iona/Staffa. Whoever has done this trip, please give us your thoughts. Thank you!

Posted by
3658 posts

We took the 3 isle tour. We thoroghly enjoyed it. I will say that trip to Staffa is in a smaller boat which didn't bother me but made my sister uncomfortable. When you arrive at Staffa there are a fair number of stairs to climb up the cliff face and then you are on top and the paths are not too hard to explore. It was quite thrilling to sit at the cliff top and have puffins so close to us.

I felt that we still had plenty of time on Iona for a quick meal (we brought a picnic) and a long walk and explore around the island.

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, hbo6,

You'd be better off driving to Fionnphort, then boarding the 10 minute CalMac ferry for the trip to Iona. That way, you can spend as much time as you want (or the ferry schedule allows) on Iona. There are boat trips out to Staffa from Fionnphort. They're operated by Staffa Tours. You can look up their information on the internet.

By taking that route, you spend less time at sea, and you get to enjoy Mull as well.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
941 posts

Hi, Carol,

According to their initial post back in February regarding their holiday, hbo6 will have a car. I'm assuming that that will still be the case; however, I know what they say about making an assumption! :)

All the best,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
1872 posts

Absolutely recommend that you do the three isle tour! A highlight of our 12 days in Scotland last summer! And I will keep my fingers crossed you get the perfect weather we had!

Posted by
216 posts

Is the Three Island Tours with a specific tour group or self driven?

Posted by
21 posts

We did the wildlife tour out of Oban on 18 June that took the CalMac ferry to Craignure onMull, bus to Fionnphort, then the Staffa boat to Lunga, Staffa, and Iona. Then CalMac back to Fionnphort, bus to Craignure, CalMac back to Oban. A bit over 12 hours overall. Loved it. I know we could have ferried and driven to Fionnphort ourselves but on Mull the road is a single track with little pullouts, and we were actually happy to not have to worry about our car. We walked from our b&b on the esplanade to the ferry terminal in Oban. We had two hours on each of Lunga (awesome puffin and razorbill viewing, etc., birders and photographers will love it) and Iona, one hour on Staffa. Two hours on Iona was plenty IMHO. The bus driver on Mull told some great stories too. Great day overall.

Posted by
21 posts

Oh and as someone else also mentioned, the walking on Staffa includes a scramble over a rocky shore before you get to the path, and it does go up, and some of the path may be tough for anyone with height concerns. Lunga has a bit of climbing as well. Iona was easy walking from the pier to the nunnery and monastery.

Posted by
31 posts

Thanks All! Yes we will have a car but actually didn't even think about putting it on the ferry. I was just debating whether it was worth the extra money to go to Staffa. I have seen puffins in the past so that is not a draw.

Posted by
2158 posts

Staffa has more than puffins -- you'll see the basalt rock formations like Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. IT's really fascinating. It was also a beautiful place to hike, even if you don't see any puffins, which alas I did not. : (
I would definitely recommend the three isle tour.