How to Spend a Weekend in Oban

weekend in Oban

Imagine a place where you can enjoy a sunny day in a café with an amazing view of the water, or explore the beauty of the town’s heritage. If you're looking for a getaway from Glasgow, look no further than to spend an amazing weekend in Oban.

In addition to being very beautiful, Oban has plenty of cultural heritage for tourists to discover. Visitors can go on boat trips to the nearby isles, take walks around the town’s historical sites, visit its art galleries and museums or simply admire its coastal views from the harbour.

Oban is a town in the West Coast region of Scotland. It’s known for its stunning coastline and scenery, which has made it popular with tourists. The area offers many hikes and other activities to enjoy while you’re there for the weekend in Oban. 

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Here's what you'll find when you arrive to spend a weekend in Oban, a charming little town on the west coast of Scotland.

Table of Contents

Day 1

Morning 

Oban is a true Scottish gem and a great place for day trips. Whether you’re looking to visit prehistoric sites or set out on a nature walk, there’s something for everyone in Oban. 

Take a walk to Dunollie Castle, or to the heights of McCaig’s Folly.

Dunollie’s Castle

If you want a history lesson and a day of amazing views, make sure to visit Dunollie’s Castle. 

Dunollie’s history spans more than 2,000 years and it’s a place where Scottish culture and heritage thrive. Dunollie Museum, Castle & Grounds is an internationally recognised centre for Scottish culture and heritage and home of the World-Wide Clan MacDougall.

Laird’s House features a 1745 house museum with highland and clan MacDougall social history displays. Dunollie’s historic woodland grounds surround the house and castle ruins.

Situated on a cliff and surrounded by breathtaking views across Oban Bay and the Isles, Dunollie Castle is just one of the must-see attractions in this part of Scotland. 

Dunollie is located about 1 mile north of Oban along the coast, in an area known to have been inhabited for at least 8,000 years. Open April-October.

A resident piper performs traditional Scottish tunes each Sunday, April to October at 2.30 pm

McCaig’s Folly 

The first thing you see when entering Oban is a remarkable stone structure standing atop the hill. McCaig’s Tower, referred by locals as McCaig’s Folly looks like it might have been inspired by the Colosseum in Rome. To get to the tower and see stunning views across the Oban Bay you need to climb the 144 steps from the town to the gardens. 

Thursdays in summer from 8-9pm, the Oban High School Pipe Band gives a sunset performance at the tower

Panorama of Oban, weekend in Oban
Panorama of Oban

Afternoon 

Visit the Oban Distillery.

It’s not a weekend in Oban without some whisky! Visit the Oban Distillery and try a tasting or simply do a tour. It’s an old, historic building and they distil some pretty delicious concoctions. It’s the perfect way to round off a full day of travelling around Scotland

Evening

Corran promenade 

Take a walk on the Corran promenade and check out some of the pubs.  You can catch live music sessions with local talent playing traditional Scottish songs in most places while spending a weekend in Oban.

Folk music enthusiasts really should take advantage of this by coming along and experiencing it in person. It’s an experience not to be missed, so make sure you don’t pass it up!

Below is a list of some of the popular Pubs and Bars around the Oban area

The Lorne Bar is a locally run traditional Scottish pub in the heart of Oban. Fabulous late-night entertainment programme including live bands and traditional music

Markie Dans  Live Music and Live Big Screen Sky Sports

The Tartan Tavern The “famous” Tartan Tavern is known as the best wee bar in town, presenting live music and local craic weekly

Day 2

Spend a weekend in Oban and visit the hidden gem Isle of Kerrera – perfect for a day trip. Here you can take a walk around the island, see the Gylen Castle ruins and have lunch or coffee and cake at Kerrera Tea Garden

Kerrera Tea Garden

This little barn, an Oban secret, is simply a charming garden below ruined Gylen Castle in the middle of a stunning landscape. A great place to be. Fresh and local, seasonal produce and homemade organic sourdough bread are the specialities. Open April to September

Kerrera Tea Garden and Bunkhouse, Isle of Kerrera, tel +44 (0)1631 566 367

3km walk each way from the ferry to the tearoom.

Gylen Castle

Overlooks the Firth of Lorn from atop a green, grassy hill, the castle is the highlight of the island. Tower House was built in the Scots Baronial style, now remain as a ruin

Walking trails

If you like to walk on this tiny island, you need to set aside around 4.5h. Make sure you have sturdy boots, as can get wet and muddy. The scenery is jaw-dropping if you like remote and untouched places.

To get to Kerrera, take a mini-ferry crossing 3min ferry from the Gallanach pier (2 miles south; along the coast beyond the big ferry terminal). You can view the full summer timetable for the ferry on the CalMac website

Gylan Castle
Gylan Castle, Isle of Kerrera

If you have one more day …

Take a boat trip to three isles: Iona, Staffa, and Mull.

During your weekend in Oban, take a tour to explore some of Scotland’s remote islands on the west coast. This exciting tour leaves from Oban and takes visitors to three isles: Mull, Iona, and Staffa along with wildlife and the sea along the way.

Staffa in particular is special for its beautiful hexagonal rock formations in a sea cave known as Fingal’s Cave. Though Staffa itself is uninhabited, it’s still one of the best places to visit in Scotland for its miraculous natural beauty. If you visit in summer there’s also a chance to see puffins on Staffa! This tour is a full-day trip from Oban but there are shorter tours that only go to Staffa with views of the nearby isles.

Alternatively, hop on a ferry from Oban to Craignure (Isle of Mull) and get a bus to Duart Castle, or take the bus to Tobermory for a day at this scenic fishing village. 

Do not need to take a car – On arriving on the Isle of Mull there is a regular bus service to Tobermory from Craignure ferry terminal. Please note that the bus does not meet every ferry, so it is very important to check the bus times in advance.

Click here for West Coast Motors, who operate the bus service on the Isle of Mull. The bus departs immediately on the promenade as you come off the ferry. Turn left and look for Bus number 495 which will take you up to Tobermory. Tickets are purchased on the bus.

Caledonian MacBryne Ferry

Four hidden gems to discover during your weekend in Oban

Dunstaffnage Castle & Chapel

Dunstaffnage Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, which dates back to the 12th Century. The castle was built before 1240, probably by Duncan MacDougall, son of Dubhgall, Lord of Lorn, and grandson of the great Somerled, the self-styled ‘King of the Isles’. Historic Scotland members get free entry

St Conan’s Kirk

This beautiful St Conan’s Kirk church was designed and built by Walter Douglas-Campbell.  The Kirk is unique in having an example of almost every style of church architecture. Robert the Bruce Scotland’s most famous King bones are kept in the church. Entrance is by donation which goes towards the restoration and upkeep of the Kirk (suggested £3pp)

Kilchurn Castle,
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe
Kilchurn Castle

The Famous Kilchurn Castle at the head of Loch Awe is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Built by Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Lord of Glenorchy, in the mid-1400s.  Kilchurn Castle is free to visit. Open 1 April to 30 September:

Glen Lonan Road Taynuilt

Glen Lonan Road Taynuilt or “Road of the Kings”  scenic route (12 miles) can take you past standing stones that tell the story of this land’s history. This quiet glen will transport you back to the era of Scotland’s great kings as the landscape is overflowing with ancient sites: duns, cairns, standing stones. You might find a close encounter with Highland Cows or other wildlife that are endemic to these hills.

Five restaurants to visit in Oban

Oban is seafood heaven and declared itself the Seafood Capital of Scotland. Numerous chef celebrities from Rick Stein, a famous trio – Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix came to taste local seafood. Great chip shops too. But Oban is not just about seafood. Oban is a popular foodie destination also because of the locally produced whisky and innovative chocolate production.

  • Waterfront fishouse restaurant has not only fantastic food but also stunning views of the bay. Book a diner and watch the beautiful sunset while you dine in.

Waterfront fishouse restaurant, No 1 Railway Pier, Oban tel +44 (0)1631 567415

  • Oban Seafood Hut (the green shack)

It’s a simple concept, fresh seafood, no-frills, affordable prices. It is obvious that this place is popular. Not much seating but sitting on the side of the harbour adds to the experience. Crab salads, scallops and oysters and the hot smoked salmon are to die for!

Oban Seafood Hut, Open 7 Days [10.00am – 6.00pm]

116 George Street (Near Cinema)

  • Poppies Garden Centre & Tea Room is the best for a very relaxing lunch or afternoon by the sea. Seafood platters and cakes, all homemade, are the speciality here.

Saulmore Shore, By Oban +44 (0)1631 565718]

  • Oban Chocolate coffee shop is a place to go for coffee, cakes and apparently chocolate, which is made on the premises and made entirely by hand. The shop and cafe are open plan and you can see the chocolatiers at work through a viewing window into the factory. The place is usually packed, so you may have to wait a little for the table.

Oban Chocolate Company, 34 Corran Esplanade, Oban, Tel: +44 (0)1631 566099

To watch the chocolate production, the best is Monday – Friday (plus some Saturdays in the peak season) and the most action takes place late morning to early afternoon.

Plan your visit

How to get there:

       By train: the average journey time Glasgow Central to Oban is 3h20 min. Trains run up to 1 time per hour. Buy your tickets here

       By bus: There is a direct bus departing from Buchanan Bus Station station and arriving at Oban, Station Road station. Services depart three times a day and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 2h 59m. Buy your ticket here

      By car: 2 hr 21 min (97.1 mi) via A82 and A85

   Car hire: Rent a Car from a local  Celtic Legend who offers the most competitive rates for car rental in Scotland

Or find great deals on worldwide car rental here

  By air: Flying to Glasgow (90miles) or Edinburgh (115miles) You can also fly to Oban directly by private charter flight to Oban Airport at North Connel. Check the tickets here

       By sea:  There are regular ferries to and from the islands of Mull, Colonsay, Coll, Tiree, Lismore, Barra and South Uist. Many of these ferries also link up with other islands. For more information about the ferries, you can visit the Calmac website.

 

Where to stay during your weekend in Oban

Complete your weekend in Oban and stay in some great accommodation. Depending on your budget you can choose between a romantic stay in a castle, B&B with a sea view or a family-run hotel. 

Barriemore B&B

Victorian 3 storey townhouse, situated by the water on Oban’s seafront. All rooms are ensuite. 2 elegant ground floor suites overlooking Oban Bay and the other rooms either overlook the water, or local woodland.

Barcaldine Castle 5*

Luxury Bed and Breakfast and one of only a few ancient castles on the Scottish mainland that you can stay at. Make your booking early, as the castle is extremely popular for weddings and often booked out.

Falls of Lora 3*

Family-run hotel located in the village of Connel (5 miles from Oban)Hotel overlooking Loch Etive

Knipoch Hotel 4* country house located on the shores of Loch Feochan and with panoramic views of rugged mountains.

About me
kasia

My name is Kate and I created Scotland Itinerary Planning to give you those life-changing experiences right in the beautiful country I call home.

I’m proud to live in Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities. Living in Edinburgh has provided me a base to explore extensively around this magical little country.

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