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The west coast of Scotland has some of the most stunning scenery in the world with its rolling hills, lochs, and glens. It is no surprise then that so many people choose to visit Scotland each year, and especially to travel around the magnificent Highlands.

Within the council area of Argyll and Bute is the picturesque town of Oban, which has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the West of Scotland. Oban is a small town but is the largest between Fort William and Helensburgh, making it a hugely attractive destination for those visiting the Highlands.

The town of Oban lies in the Firth of Lorn, and the bay is protected by the nearby island of Kerrera.

Oban From The Air

History of Oban

Archaeologists discovered remains of cave dwellers from the Mesolithic times in the town, and there are many ruined castles in the surrounding areas, which all tell stories of Oban’s colourful history. Dunollie Castle overlooks the bay and dates back to the Bronze Age.

In 1794, a distillery was established in the location that is now the town, and it is from this that modern Oban emerged. During the 1880s, Oban began to be serviced by rail, meaning more and more people moved to the town as it prospered. Oban also became more popular as a tourist destination from this point.

Dunollie Castle Oban

*Image From Wikipedia

Visiting Oban

There are many reasons why Oban is so popular with tourists, but one of the main ones is its proximity to the Highlands. There are many fabulous places to stay and so much to see and do. Every year, the town hosts the Argyllshire Gathering, or Highland Games, and this is a huge draw for locals and visitors alike.

Much of Oban has been built around the tourist industry, with many shops, restaurants, and bars to cater to the thousands of visitors that arrive every year. The town has a chocolate factory, distillery, art galleries, and a glass studio for people to enjoy.

One of the most prominent features of Oban is McCaig’s Tower. This gothic Colosseum-style building was commissioned in 1897 by wealthy businessperson John Stuart McCaig. When McCaig died in 1902, work on the building stopped and never resumed. However, the shell of the building stands proudly over the town and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Getting About

There is a train station in Oban from which visitors can travel to Glasgow, Fort William, or Mallaig. Many people choose to hike or hill walk in the areas surrounding Oban as it gives them the opportunity to explore. There are also some bike trails for those who want to hire a bike during their time in the area.

Making the Most of the Water

As Oban is situated in the Firth of Lorn, the water plays a significant role in terms of tourist attractions. Many visitors choose to go swimming in the bay or hire kayaks for a day exploring. Another great way to explore the surrounding area is by opting for Oban cruises.

The opportunity to see some of Oban’s and the surrounding area’s many castles as you sit back and relax on a riverboat is something that many enjoy. Those who love the outdoors can enjoy a chilled out cruise among the sea lochs, islands, and inlets in and around Oban. From here, they will enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery with fantastic views of castles such as Dunollie, Gylen, Dunstaffnage, and Duart. There will also be the chance to see some truly magnificent marine creatures including dolphins, whales, and porpoises.

For those who fancy heading a bit further out, there are also cruises from Oban to Corryvreckan Whirlpool. This cruise offers the chance to really see more of the stunning surroundings, including the beautiful Garvellach islands.

Staying in Oban

The great thing about Oban is that, because it has been designed with the tourist in mind, there are many fabulous places to stay in Oban. No matter what budget you have, you will find the ideal accommodation in many hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs, hostels and self-catering accommodation.

There are plenty of places to eat and drink, with many fabulous restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels all serving delicious food and, as Oban is a fishing town, be prepared to see seafood on almost every menu.

The town also has a number of quaint little shops selling souvenirs and various local crafts and delicacies so tourists can take back mementos of their stay.

Oban offers -lenty of great accommodation.
Oban offers plenty of great accommodation.

Places to Visit

There is so much to see and do in the areas surrounding Oban that tourists will never get bored. As the town is known as the Gateway to the Islands, it is hardly surprising that there are a number of opportunities to take a boat to the Hebrides to explore islands such as Kerrera, Mull, and Lismore.

Many tourists will not want to miss the chance to see the stunning views of the bay and the islands from McCaig’s Tower, and a tour of the Oban Distillery is always popular.

With so many castles around Oban, many visitors will choose to see at least a few of them, lots choosing to take Oban cruises in order to see as many as possible.

The Falls of Lora, Inveraray Jail, and St Columba’s Cathedral are also popular with tourists visiting Oban.

Enjoy a Cruise

Clyde Cruises offer Oban tourists the chance to enjoy two fabulous cruises from the town. The Corryvreckan Adventure Cruise is a five-hour round trip starting at Dunstaffnage Marina, taking in Corryvreckan Whirlpool, the Sound of Kerrera, the Atlantic Bridge, and the Garvellach Islands along the way.

Dolphins next to boat, Oban

The Oban Dolphin, Whale & Castle Adventure cruise allows passengers to sit back and relax while taking in the stunning views of a number of majestic castles while also trying to spot dolphins and whales.

If you would like to see Oban from one of our cruise liners, contact Clyde Cruises today to book.

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