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August, 2016 Archive

A Quick Guide To Exploring Iona & Iona Abbey

When you visit the Isle of Mull you can also visit the other islands that are situated off Mull’s coast.  Iona is undoubtedly the most popular of them all and it’s easy to see why, not least because of the stunning Iona Abbey.

Iona from St Ronan

Arriving at Iona and the waters of St Ronan’s Bay

The journey starts in Fionnphort, Mull’s most south westerly village.  You can tuck into fresh seafood on the slipway whilst you wait for the ferry.  The return ticket will set you back a very reasonable £3.30 for an adult or £1.70 for a child.

The crossing takes ten minutes and you will arrive at Iona’s largest settlement, Baile Mor.   The sea in St Ronan’s bay is such a striking blue colour, the white sandy beaches and stone cottages couldn’t be any more picturesque.

Watch our video guide to visiting Iona:

Most visitors make a bee line for the Abbey, a short walk that takes in some of the sights of Iona on the way.

Iona Abbey as you arrive on the ferry

Iona Abbey as seen across St Ronan’s Bay

Iona bench

A bench on Iona encourages visitors to absorb the peace

Iona post office and ferry

Iona post office with the ferry turning in the distance

The site of Iona Abbey dates from 563, when St Columba established a monastery on the island.  Tickets to enter the Abbey are purchased at the Historic Scotland ticket office.

There’s lots to see in the abbey including the impressive cloisters, which have undergone restoration and feature many impressive stone carvings:

Iona abbey cloiseters

The cloisters in Iona Abbey

Abbey Iona cloisters

A face carved in stone in the cloisters of Iona Abbey

stone carving on iona

One of the corner carvings of Iona Abbey cloisters

Abbey cloisters columns Iona

Detail of the stone columns of Iona Abbey’s cloisters

After you have looked around the Abbey you can enjoy lunch at one of Iona’s eateries before exploring other areas of the island.

Iona from above

The whole of Iona from south to north

Many visitors climb Dun I, the island’s highest point.  North beach at Iona’s northern most tip is a stunning beach too, with great views back to Mull.

Dun I sign on Iona

A sign points the way to Dun I, the highest point on Iona

Iona north beach Mull

The white sands of North beach on Iona with Mull in the distance


On Iona’s west and southern coast you can enjoy relative peace and quiet as most visitors stick to the island’s east coast and the area around Abbey.

Iona makes a great day out from Mull and is on most visitors ‘to do’ list.


Have you visited Iona Abbey? What’s your favourite spot on the island?