How to Spend Three Days on Isle of Mull, Scotland

Find puffins, historic sites and spectacular local seafood on this sleepy Scottish island, located about two and a half hours from Glasgow.
 

Photo by E55EVU/iStock

The Isle of Mull in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides is a place where life slows down, partly because of its beachy and bucolic charms, and partly because of its system of winding single-lane roads—occasionally blocked by Highland cows. Remote, but easily accessible, Mull is only a 50-minute ferry ride from Oban (a two-and-a-half-hour drive northwest of Glasgow) and is best explored by car and on foot. Make your base in Tobermory, Mull’s picturesque and seaside capital, and start exploring.

Day 1

Tobermory Distillery

Morning

Go to Main Street to see the iconic row of colourful buildings, and stop by the Tobermory Bakery & Tea Room for a full Scottish breakfast, which includes eggs, beans, toast, black pudding and square-shaped Lorne sausage. Browse the waterfront shops for local crafts and Hebridean tweed.

Afternoon

The whitewashed Tobermory Distillery at the south end of Main Street has produced single-malt Scotch whisky since 1798. Sign up for one of the hourly tours and taste its famous Ledaig whisky. A two-minute walk down the harbour takes you to the Mull Aquarium, a catch-and-release marine education centre. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet a curled octopus.

Evening

Walk to Calmac Pier at the other end of Main Street and get a table at award-winning Café Fish. Start with caviar served with Scottish oatcakes, then treat yourself to the Café Fish Roast Shellfish Platter with langoustines and lobster caught that day.

Day 2

Iona Abbey, photo by Paul Tomkins/Visit Scotland

Morning

Drive five minutes from the centre of Tobermory to Isle of Mull Cheese, a working dairy farm with a self-guided tour and a café where you can breakfast on handmade scones. Drive clockwise around Mull to Fionnphort, a scenic hour-and-a-half journey.

Afternoon

Park in Fionnphort and board the 10-minute foot ferry to the Isle of Iona, one of the oldest Christian sites in Western Europe. Walk the pilgrim path to Iona Abbey, founded as a monastery by St. Columba in 563 AD. The Abbey Church of St. Mary is said to be the burial place of Macbeth, a former king of Scotland and inspiration for William Shakespeare.

Evening

Drive to Calgary Bay, a two-and-a-half-hour trip. This white-sand beach is a great place to explore rock pools. A 30- to 40-minute drive returns you to Tobermory. Order haddock and chips from the Fisherman’s Pier Fish & Chip Van and eat overlooking the waters of Tobermory Bay.

Day 3

Isle of Staffa, photo by Wilpunt/iStock

Morning

Breakfast on scrambled eggs and smoked salmon at the Tobermory Scullery on Main Street and grab a ploughman’s lunch to-go. Walk to Tobermory Harbour and board a Staffa Tours boat. Book ahead and don’t be late—this all-day experience almost completely tours Mull’s coastline. Keep your eye out for whales, basking sharks and dolphins.

Afternoon

Picnic at the Isle of Staffa, a volcanic island off Mull’s west coast made from hexagonal basalt columns, and walk the pathway from the mooring to Fingal’s Cave. This geological curiousity was immortalized in a Felix Mendelssohn overture 200 years ago. Continue your boat ride to Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles—a series of islands off the coast of Mull—where a 15-minute hike takes you to a clifftop puffin-nesting site.

Evening

Drive southwest of Tobermory for dinner at the Am Birlinn restaurant near Dervaig. Give the haggis rolls a try and don’t miss the locally caught seafood stew.

[This story appears in the April 2019 issue of WestJet Magazine.]

Email: