The Inner Hebrides by Public Transport

Good integration of bus, train and ferry means it is quite straightforward to sample many of the Inner Hebridean islands. Even if time is limited, there are plenty of options for ‘there-and-back-again’ day cruising options for at least a glimpse of island life – and some great views of seabirds, seals and probably whales as well!

Perfect Time To Go

April - October

Number Of Nights


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    Day 1

    A good bus service links the central belt of Scotland (Glasgow) with the Kintyre Peninsula, where Kennacraig is the ferry terminal for Islay. A local bus service connects both Port Ellen and Port Askaig on Islay with Bowmore, suggested overnight. It is also worth considering using a local guiding service to see the best of the island sites.

    Day 2

    Visit Bowmore Distillery and the Italian-influenced Bowmore Round Church. To sample the more peaty flavours of the distilleries at the south end of the island, take a bus to Port Ellen, and a connecting bus to your selected distillery – for example, Ardbeg. Best to pre-book a tour. Return to Bowmore.

    Day 3

    An optional route back to Oban in the summer months (Apr – Sept) is to take the ferry from Port Askaig to the island of Colonsay. N.B. Check ferry timetables in advance to explore this trip. Spend some time on this beautiful little island, which also has direct links with Oban on the mainland. There is lots to discover: visit the woodland gardens of Colonsay House or cross the tidal sands to the ancient Oronsay Priory. Otherwise, return from Islay to Kennacraig and bus to Lochgilphead, then change for Oban. Overnight Oban.

    Day 4

    Explore the busy ferry port of Oban with its pleasant harbourfront and promenade – excellent shopping, seafood restaurants, distillery, local museum and much more. Make a short excursion to see Dunstaffnage Castle. Overnight Oban.

    Day 5

    Depart by ferry for Craignure and bus connection to Tobermory on the island of Mull. There is an option in Craignure to catch the coach that connects with some ferries to take visitors to Duart castle, the ancient seat of the Clan Maclean on a spectacular sea-edge location. Overnight Tobermory.

    Day 6

    From the town it is possible to link up with operators for a wildlife excursion – sea eagles a speciality! There are also several cruising options and the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Conservation Trust have a shop on the main street. Overnight Tobermory.

    Day 7

    Return to Oban from Craignure, then go by ferry from Oban to the nearby island of Lismore on Loch Linnhe. Overnight Lismore.

    Day 8

    Explore the island. Bikes are available for hire on the island to make the most of the stunning sea views. The local heritage centre has a café for refreshment with delicious local produce on offer. Take the passenger-only ferry from the north end of the island for Port Appin on the mainland and overnight.

    Day 9

    Go to the main road (A828) for the Fort William bus – about 45 minutes walking or take a low-cost local taxi from Port Appin to the main road (tel:07530 830 030). If time permits, explore this important town. From Fort William, there are good transport links to Glasgow. Alternatively, for an unmissable visit to the Small Isles (Rum, Eigg, Canna and Muck), either catch the train at Fort William for Arisaig (overnight) or continue to Mallaig (overnight).

    Day 10

    Explore the Small Isles. Both the Arisaig and Mallaig links allow a combination
    of islands to be visited, depending on departure days. Canna, Rum, Muck and Eigg are all welcoming, each with a different character, with wildlife, walking and geology important themes. However, accommodation is limited and should be booked in advance. Train connections from Arisaig and Mallaig enable an easy return to Glasgow with spectacular scenery on the way.

    Included in this package:

    • 9 nights hotel accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis
    • Calmac Hopscotch Ferry Ticket
    • VAT at 20%

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