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Travel and Transport on Mull Archive

Island Hopping: Scottish Islands You Can Visit From Mull

When you arrive in Oban, ready to make the ferry crossing to Mull, you’re bound to hear the west coast town referred to as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. But Oban isn’t the only place from which you can explore the surrounding Scottish islands. It’s possible to visit several from Mull too. Here’s how to do it.

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

The view from the nearby island of Ulva looking back across to Mull

Iona

Perhaps the most famous of Scottish islands surrounding Mull, Iona has attracted visitors for centuries. In fact, over a thousand years ago in 563AD, St Columba arrived, bringing with him Christian teachings that are still felt on the island to this day.

Iona Abbey dates from the Middle Ages. It is one of the most popular attractions to visit, alongside the 13th-century nunnery and St Oran’s Chapel.

But that’s not all there is to explore on Iona. Three miles long, this wee island is a natural treasure trove waiting for you to discover it. Wildlife enthusiasts flock to hear the elusive corncrakes, while walkers make their way to the island’s highest point, Dun I, or to the beautiful white sand beaches, like the Bay at the Back of the Ocean.

You’ll find Iona just off the south-western tip of Mull. The passenger ferry from Fionnphort takes as little as 15 minutes.

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

Discover the quaint cottages and charming coastline of Iona

Ulva

Ulva is one of the most accessible of the Scottish islands surrounding Mull. A boat will take you across from the aptly named Ulva Ferry on Mull’s west coast on weekdays, and Sundays between June and August too.

Ulva is a nature-lover’s paradise, with no end of waymarked trails that allow you to explore the island’s diverse scenery. There are rocky shorelines, picturesque woodlands and open countryside to discover. With this range of habitats comes an amazing array of species, with unusual wildflowers to spot, as well as birdlife and mammals.

Much like Iona, Ulva has its own interesting history. Visiting Sheila’s Cottage is a great way to experience what island life was like in the 20th century, before walking to ruined buildings or Livingstone’s Cave.

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

Hop across to Ulva and enjoy woodland walks

Staffa

Many visitors to Mull embark on one of the many boat trips to Staffa for the day. Staffa’s claim to fame is for inspiring the musician Mendelssohn with the acoustics in Fingal’s Cave.

But Staffa is iconic in its own right, with towering basalt columns lapped by foaming blue waters. In the summer months, the puffins arrive, attracting many visitors to the island. But whatever time you choose to visit, you’ll have the chance to spot sea birds. You can also look out for marine species, like dolphins and porpoises, from the boat.

There are a variety of boat trips available to visit Staffa, departing from both Tobermory in the north and Fionnphort in the south. Find out more about boat trips on Mull.

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

Marvel at the magnificent basalt columns on Staffa

Treshnish Isles

From a vantage point on the north-west of Mull,you’ll spot the silhouette of the Treshnish Isles.

Much like Staffa, several boat trips enable visitors to access this archipelago of Scottish islands, with the opportunity to make landing. Tours typically depart from Tobermory because the islands lie off Mull’s north-western coast.

The Treshnish Isles are a haven for wildlife. Puffins nest here during the summer, before the grey seals have their pups in autumn.

Boat trips tend to land on the largest of the islands, Lunga. Once off the boat, you can cross the rocky beach to explore the island and see the puffins, taking care not to disturb any nests.

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

Meet puffins on the Treshnish Isles during the summer months

Erraid

Erraid lies just off the south-west coast of Mull and while it’s not well known, it is easy to reach if you time it right. Boats can anchor in Tinker’s Hole while visitors can cross over the tidal sandbar on foot when the tide allows.

Small but beautifully formed, visitors will be blown away by the views, from white sand beaches and pink granite outcrops, to the panorama back across to the Ross of Mull.

There are many walking trails that make exploring the island relatively simple. Just remember to check the tides and cross back before the waves cut you off!

Discover six Scottish islands you can visit from Mull, with boat trips, walks and historical attractions to see, as well as abundant wildlife.

The tidal Isle of Erraid lies off Mull’s south west coast

Gometra

One of the lesser known Scottish islands on Mull’s west coast is Gometra, perhaps because it is one of the trickiest to reach. But if you fancy an adventure, a few days on Gometra could make a unique extension to a week on Mull.

You reach Gometra by first taking the boat from Mull to Ulva, then walking a challenging eight miles over hills to reach the bridge to Gometra. The route is as rugged as the landscape and is best tackled only by experienced walkers.

This isolated isle is home to just a handful of islanders and runs off the electricity grid. It’s a true wilderness, with both the challenges and beauties that come with it. Few will discover Gometra first hand, making it a hidden gem for those who do tackle the journey.

The view to Gometra from Mull

Find out more about visiting Mull’s outlying islands and plan your next holiday with our helpful island guide.

A Guide to Visiting the Treshnish Isles and Staffa

Boat trip to the Treshnish Isles and Staffa

With Dave Sexton, RSPB Mull Officer

Stand on a high point and gaze out to sea off Mull’s west coast and you will see them. A chain of mysterious, glistening jewels in the Hebridean sea that will set your pulse racing. The sense of anticipation of the wildlife gems they might hold is palpable. From Staffa in the south, up to the Dutchman’s Cap, onwards to Lunga and Fladda and finally to Cairn na Burgh Beg in the north, the Treshnish Isles archipelago will lure you in.

Luckily for us all, they are not ‘forbidden islands’. We are blessed here on Mull and Iona with a variety of choices of ways to get to the Treshnish Isles and Staffa, with daily boat trips in season leaving from Ulva Ferry, Fionnphort, Iona and Tobermory. Skippers and crews who know these waters intimately will welcome you on board, provide a warming brew en route and set sail for these distant, enticing lands.

Mull is an island surrounded by many other magical islands, home to seabird colonies and amazing marine sightings en route. We recommend the Treshnish Isles

Where To Visit On The Sound of Mull

Make the most of your journey alongside the Sound of Mull

Stretching along the Isle of Mull’s eastern shore, the Sound of Mull is the strip of water that divides the island from the west coast of mainland Britain. Visitors will cross it on either the Oban or Lochaline CalMac ferry. Naturally, many set straight off for their accommodation around the island, but there are lots of places to visit along the Sound on the way, and plenty lying within too! So take a bit of time to explore the Sound of Mull and all of its interesting sights en route with this guide.

Summer view over Grasspoint on the Sound of Mull

Looking over Grasspoint at the southern end of the Sound of Mull

Getting to Mull by Ferry, Plane, Car and More!

Getting to Mull

Getting to Mull rewards you with a picturesque drive to your cottage

Road along Loch na Keal on Mull

The wild and rugged Isle of Mull is one of the most accessible of the Inner Hebridean islands. It lies only a short ferry ride away from the pretty port town of Oban on the west of Scotland. Even though the island, with its craggy shores, inland lochs and high peaks, has managed to keep a remote charm about it, cheaper and more frequent ferries mean that getting to Mull is now easier than ever.

Isle of Mull Location Map - getting to Mull couldn't be easier

Map showing the Isle of Mull’s location off the west coast of Scotland

Getting to Mull from Glasgow Airport

For overseas visitors, the international airport at Glasgow is just a couple of hours’ drive away from Oban, meaning you can make the hop to the Isle of Mull for a relaxing break in no time at all.

Getting to Mull usually starts with the ferry from Oban

Oban from where the ferry departs to the Isle of Mull

Taking the ferry to Mull from Oban

The journey to the Isle of Mull is all part of the fun. It begins in Oban, a small port town perched on the west coast of Scotland. Arrive with a couple of hours to spare before the ferry and you can visit the legendary Oban whisky distillery, have a dish of delicious, locally caught shellfish on the pier, and watch the fishing boats bobbing in the bay.

In the summer, the ferries to Mull leave around every hour. With the new scheme, a ticket is now around half the usual price for a car journey, making trips more affordable than ever. Hop on the ferry, take in the views and the fresh sea air from the top deck and enjoy the cruise through the islands as you travel to the Isle of Mull.

Lismore lighthouse with the mainland mountains in the distance - getting to Mull is a scenic experience

Lismore lighthouse with the mainland mountains in the distance

Wildlife and landmarks to look out for from the ferry

Around half way through the ferry journey to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, you’ll pass on the right hand side the beautiful lighthouse at Lismore, one of the smaller islands in the Inner Hebrides. This island lies long and narrow in the waters of Loch Linhe.

Beyond the island, and on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, surrounded by the rest of the Grampians. In winter, these are white-peaked and make for a beautiful backdrop as you cruise towards Mull.

Travelling onwards, the rocky ridges of Morvern, the most westerly part of mainland Britain, come into view as the ferry travels up the Sound of Mull towards Craignure. In summer, whales, dolphins and porpoises swim these waters, so be sure to take a boat trip out to see if you can catch a glimpse of them. When the stone edifice of Duart Castle, a 13th-century castle perched on the rocky shores of Mull, looms into view, you know you’ve nearly arrived on the island.

Getting to Mull will be a treat as you spot Duart Castle, a key landmark on the Isle of Mull

Duart Castle, a key landmark on the Isle of Mull

Getting to Mull takes just 45 minutes from Oban to Craignure, but whether you’ve been taking in the view and sunning yourself on the top deck or watching the landscape pass by from within the cosy ferry bar (if the weather is being particularly Scottish!), you’ll already have started to enjoy your holiday.

The Isle of Mull Ferry passing Lismore on the sailing to Mull, a tranquil way of getting to Mull

The Isle of Mull Ferry passing Lismore on the sailing to Mull

Mull’s single track roads

Once you arrive on Mull, it’s just a few minutes before you’ll be heading toward your chosen Holiday Cottage   The majority of the roads on the island are single track and offer a great way to see the landscapes and wildlife of Mull. Just remember to allow cars behind to pass using the passing places provided. Car hire is available on the Isle of Mull, though with limited availability, so it is worth booking in advance.

Buses, taxis and bikes on Mull

West Coast Motors operate the island’s main bus services and there are taxi services here too. Bicycle is another good option for exploring Mull once you are here. Mull Electric Bikes offer electric bikes for hire and can deliver them to your cottage. A range of mountain and road bikes can also be hired from On Yer Bike in Salen.

One of the most accessible inner Hebridean islands, getting to Mull is simple, whether from Glasgow airport, public transport or the ferry to Mull from Oban

West Coast Motors bus heads past Ben More on the Isle of Mull

You can also find more information and contact details for getting to and travelling around the Isle of Mull on this page.