Transport on Mull & Iona
West Coast Motors run bus services from Craignure (the main ferry terminal for Mull) to Tobermory and Fionnphort (for Iona). The Tobermory bus calls at the Fishnish ferry in both directions. There is also a service from Tobermory to Dervaig and Calgary.
West Coast Motors also operate tour buses to Tobermory and Fionnphort for Iona, Staffa and Lunga.
Mull is a surprisingly big island. The road from Tobermory in the north to Fionnphort in the South West is the main road on the island and is a combination of single and double tracks. In summer, you should give yourself a good two hours for this journey.
However, when you leave this road, you enter the world of ‘Highland miles’. All these roads are single track, narrow and beautiful, and you probably won’t average more than 25 mph when on them – less if you are stopping to admire the scenery, which you will want to do! The trick is to give yourself plenty of time and enjoy it.
Whenever you are driving on single track roads, keep an eye on your mirror for faster traffic behind; pull into a passing place and let them pass (Check out our guide to prepare you for island driving).
Iona is unusual in that only those who live there can have a car on the island, so be ready to leave your vehicle in Fionnphort, breathe out and slow down. There is a taxi on Iona if you are not inclined to walk, but the distances on the island are short, and most of the accommodation is within a 15-minute walk of the pier where you arrive.
Ferries to Mull & Iona
There are three ferry routes from the mainland to the Isle of Mull, and one from Mull to Iona.
All ferries are run by Calendonian MacBrayne (‘Calmac’), who handle all bookings through their Port Offices or online. All ferries that run from the mainland to Mull are passenger and vehicle services.
All ferries are subject to disruption or cancellation in severe weather (i.e. winds gusting over 40 knots).
Oban to Craignure
Oban is the principal ferry port for Mull and (indirectly) Iona. Ferries run seven days a week, Summer and Winter, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Crossing time is 50 minutes on the main “Isle of Mull” ferry or 55 minutes on the smaller ferry, the “Coruisk”. Vehicle booking is recommended.
Getting to the Oban Ferry
A train service runs from Glasgow (Queen Street station) to Oban. The train journey takes about 3 hours 20 mins. Most trains are timed to meet a Mull ferry, but trains do not generally wait for late ferries.
For more information and to book tickets visit ScotRail Trains.
There is also a bus service that departs from Glasgow (Buchanan Bus Station) and goes via Inverary to Oban. The bus journey takes approximately 3 hours.
For more information and to book tickets visit Citylink Buses.
Lochaline to Fishnish
Lochaline ferry port is an unattended slipway. Tickets cannot be booked in advance for this sailing. Just turn up, wait for the next available sailing, and buy a ticket onboard.
Getting to the Lochaline Ferry
There is a bus service that runs from Fort William Bus Station to Lochaline. The bus journey takes approximately an hour and twenty minutes and includes an additional short ferry sailing from Corran to Ardgour.
For more information visit Shiel Buses.
Kilchoan to Tobermory
Kilchoan, located in western Ardnamurchan and the most the most westerly village in mainland Britain, has another unattended slipway. This service sails directly into Mull’s capital, Tobermory. Tickets cannot be booked in advance for this sailing. Just turn up, wait for the next available sailing, and buy a ticket onboard.
Getting to the Kilchoan Ferry
There is a daily bus service that runs from Fort William to Kilchoan. The bus journey take roughly 2 hours 55 minutes.
For more information visit Shiel Buses.
Fionnphort to Iona
Fionnphort, located on the south westerly tip of Mull, is where you will find the ferry port for Iona. It’s not required to book this service, just show up and buy a ticket. The sailing takes just 10 minutes.
Getting to the Fionnphort Ferry
To get to Iona, first you need to get to Mull. The most direct route for Iona is via the Oban to Craignure Ferry (see above). It is then a 1 hour drive from Craignure to Fionnphort.
There is also a bus service which connects with the ferry at Craignure. The bus journey from Craignure takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.
For more information visit West Coat Motors.
Mull & Iona by Road
The routes outlined below are the principal ways of getting to Mull, and they all end at one of the three ferries.
There are, of course, alternative routes and variations on those below. Much depends on the time you have available.
From Southern Scotland and England
Go to Glasgow, then take the A82 north along loch Lomond to Crianlarich and Tyndrum. Just beyond Tyndrum, fork left onto the A85 for Dalmally and Oban. In Oban take the ferry to Craignure (Mull).
As an alternative, half way up loch Lomond, at Tarbet, turn left for Arrochar and continue via the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ pass to Inverary, where you turn right for Dalmally and Oban (rejoining the first route just west of Dalmally). The distance is much the same, but it avoids the narrow and congested road at the upper end of loch Lomond.
Go to Stirling (M9), then at Jn 10 take the A84 to Lochearnhead, joining the A85 to Crianlarich and Tyndrum. Just beyond Tyndrum, fork left onto the A85 for Dalmally and Oban.
From Perth, Dundee and Tayside
From Perth take the A85 west through Crieff to Lochearnhead. Then follow the Edinburgh directions above.
From further north on the A9, you can take the A827 through Aberfeldy and Killin to Crianlarich. Then follow the Edinburgh directions above.
From Northern Scotland & Skye
Go to Fort William, then take the A82 south to Corran Ferry and cross to Ardgour. Take the A861 towards Strontian, turning onto the A884 for Lochaline about a mile before Strontian. The A884 is a single-track road. At Lochaline, take the regular ferry to Fishnish (Mull). If you have time (and good weather), as an alternative to going via Strontian, take the B8043 along the west side of Loch Linnhe (signed Kingairloch).