The first fact you should know when planning your trip to Iona is that visitor cars are not permitted on the island. Iona is a special place and is appreciated by our visitors for its peacefulness and tranquillity. As a tiny island our infrastructure is fragile and because of this Iona is subject to a "Prohibition of Vehicles" Order that controls the type of vehicles allowed onto the Island. This Order was first introduced in 1978 to ensure the preservation of Iona’s unique environment.
If you are a blue badge holder with mobility issues then you will be eligible to apply for a blue permit to bring your vehicle (please note, the Order requires that the car can only be driven if the blue badge holder is in the vehicle). The permits are issued by Argyll and Bute Council and you can enquire about your eligibility or apply through the Council’s website.
For more information, and to learn about how to get around on Iona, please visit our Vehicles on Iona page.
Getting to Mull
The first stage in getting to Iona is to sail to the Isle of Mull, which is served by three different ferry routes operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. The main route is the Oban to Craignure service which connects with buses and trains to Glasgow and elsewhere. This sailing takes around 50 minutes and is served by two ferries: the MV Isle of Mull which is a large ferry with good onboard facilities, and the smaller MV Coruisk. Advance booking is recommended for both cars and foot passengers (essential in the busy summer months) and vehicles must check in 30 minutes before departure. Tickets must be purchased before boarding.
The shorter Lochaline-Fishnish crossing is useful for those travelling from the north of Scotland and with their own vehicle.
Getting across Mull
Ferries from the mainland will take you to the East coast of Mull. The Iona ferry departs from Fionnphort (pronounced fin-a-fort), at the southwestern tip of Mull.
Follow the A849 to Fionnphort, just over an hour’s drive from Craignure and slightly longer from Fishnish. The road is mostly single track; there are regular passing places to allow you to pull in and let oncoming traffic pass. It’s also important to let others overtake if there is traffic behind you. This short animation provides useful advice about driving on single track roads.
As you enter Fionnphort there is free parking signposted to your left as well as 'pay and display' parking on the way to the pier. If you have a lot of luggage you may want to unload bags and passengers down at the pier area and then take your car to the free car park. Visitors are not normally allowed to take cars on to Iona, more information can be found here.
A scheduled service (96/496) from Craignure to Fionnphort meets certain ferries – see West Coast Motors for timetables. Buses are parked on the left as you disembark the ferry, and tickets are purchased from the driver.
The local Taxi can collect you from the ferry at Craignure and take you straight to your accommodation on Iona.
Fionnphort - Iona ferry
The sound of Iona is less than a mile accross, served by a short and frequent ferry operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. The ferry runs every half hour or so in summer – less regularly in winter – and the crossing is around 10 mins. Tickets can be purchased at the small ticket office or from staff on board if this is closed. Visitors are not allowed to take cars on to Iona unless a special permit is granted.
Getting to Oban
Traveline Scotland provides a useful service for planning journeys in Scotland.
There is a direct service from Glasgow Queen Street station which takes around 3 hours and travels through spectacular scenery. Details at Scotrail.
The station is adjacent to the ferry terminal. Oban is connected to UK mainline routes via Glasgow. Visit Trainline for more information.
Scottish Citylink operate direct services from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee and Fort William; Visit Citylink for more information.
Bus stands are within 5 minutes walk of the ferry terminal.
The local Taxi can collect you from your mainland arrival point and take you straight to your accommodation on Iona.
Glasgow International Airport
(90 miles/140km from Oban) operates international flights from Europe, the U.S.A and Canada, as well as frequent domestic flights from London airports. For details visit the Glasgow Airport Website.
(112miles/180km from Oban) Operates international flights from Europe, the U.S.A and Canada, as well as frequent domestic flights from London airports. For details visit the Edinburgh Airport Website.
(120 miles/190km from Oban) serves as a hub for low cost airlines such as Ryanair. For details visit the Prestwick Airport Website.