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The second-largest island in the Inner Hebrides – the Isle of Mull – is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations thanks to its wide range of attractions that include dramatic mountains, lush forests, historic buildings, golden beaches and stunning coastlines.
Discover the top places to visit on Mull in this guide, which features a selection of visitor favourites alongside high-definition 360° photos.
The Isle of Mull is a favourite with many visitors to Scotland for a number of reasons.
First, it’s a big island (the fourth-largest island in the UK, in fact) so there are lots of places to visit. Second, it has a truly stunning landscape that encompasses monumental mountain ranges, dense forests and one of the most dramatic coastlines in Britain. And third, there are almost as many attractions on Mull as there are on Skye, but it has far fewer tourists – something you’ll only really appreciate if you’ve ever visited Skye in peak season.
Personally, I love Mull and I have to rate it as one of the best isles on the west coast for holidaymakers.
If you’re a wildlife enthusiast you’ll instantly fall in love with the north of the island where Britain’s largest bird, the white-tailed sea eagle, can be seen soaring overhead, and if you’re an avid Munro-bagger you’ll have a wonderful time roaming the immense peaks of Ben More.
Anyone with an interest in history will be fascinated by nearby Iona and its 13th-century abbey, and all ages will enjoy exploring the pretty fishing villages dotted around the island – especially Tobermory with its iconic pastel-coloured buildings that line the picture-postcard harbour.
There are also superb roads that beg to be explored by bike, a castle with one of the best views in Scotland, and a number of immaculate beaches that are so off the grid you’ll probably find you’re the only person there.
Fitting all these attractions into one article wouldn’t be practical, so I’ve picked a few of my favourites that will give you a good insight into what to expect when you visit the Isle of Mull.
Each one has a brief overview and a virtual tour, but if you’d like to know more there are links to separate pages where I cover each attraction in greater detail.
Map of attractions on Mull
1. Ben More
Mull probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind for mountain walkers, but having climbed the mighty Ben More I can confirm the island definitely deserves a look if you enjoy scaling Scotland’s legendary peaks.
Ben More is the highest mountain on Mull at 3,169 feet (966 metres), which puts it firmly in Munro territory. It’s situated on the south-west of the island between Loch Na Keal and Loch Scridain and access is possible from either the north or the south thanks to the B8035 that circles it.
If I was to offer any advice it would be to tackle Ben More from the village of Dhiseig on the shores of Loch Na Keal and follow the moderate – but long – incline heading south to the summit.
The alternative route from the shore of Loch Scridain is more of a challenge, which starts off easily enough alongside woodland before turning into a very tough slog through boggy marshland and steep scree slopes. Guess which one I decided to take to snap the 360° photos below…
The reward you’ll get from the summit at the end of the 4-hour hike is well worth it though, and the mountainous landscape in this part of Mull has to be one of the most majestic in Scotland. There’s a lot of wildlife to see along the way too, so keep your eyes open for red deer foraging at the edges of the woodland and sea eagles gliding above the two lochs.
If you’d like to know more about Munro-bagging, check out this post: A Guide To Munros in Scotland.
2. Iona Abbey
Iona Abbey isn’t actually situated on Mull, and is instead (unsurprisingly) found on the Isle of Iona which lies just off Mull’s far south-west corner.
Getting there is a bit of a trek as access to the ferry terminal at the village of Fionnphort is only possible via the A849 which is a single-track road that scythes its way across the island’s wild and virtually uninhabited southern region.
If you’ve decided to base yourself in Tobermory you’re looking at a near two-hour drive, but to be honest the landscape is so nice it’s almost as much of an attraction as wandering around the abbey.
The sail from Fionnphort is very short – maybe five to ten minutes – after which you’ll find yourself in a small fishing village just a few minutes walk from the abbey. Before arriving at the abbey you’ll pass a ruined nunnery which is worth a quick wander around, with the main attraction located at the far end of a narrow lane heading north.
Iona Abbey is maintained by Historic Environment Scotland who have thoughtfully placed information panels around the buildings so you can read about the history of one of Scotland’s most important religious sites as well as St. Columba who founded it.
There’s a huge amount of history at the abbey including the thousand-year-old St. Martin’s Cross and the St. Columba shrine, but in my opinion Iona’s landscape is just as much of an attraction as the abbey thanks to its wee golden beaches and rugged coastline that offers a very enjoyable walk along its three-mile length.
3. Quinish Point
The northern end of Mull is possibly even more wild and remote than the south and visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding places to go for a walk. One of the highlights of this part of Mull is Quinish Point, a windswept headland that’s ringed by a near-inaccessible boulder-strewn coast.
The walk to Quinish Point starts in the small village of Dervaig where you’ll join a rough track that passes through open moorland and sweeping fields in-between a smattering of ancient woodlands where the salty tang of the sea hangs in the air. It really is a lovely part of the island and if you were to only go for one walk on Mull I’d say this is the pick of the bunch.
Because the sea surrounds the headland you’ll get great views of Mull’s wildlife so I highly recommend you pack a pair of binoculars in your bag as Quinish Point is a favourite nesting site for golden and white-tailed eagles. There are also herds of red deer (Britain’s largest land mammals), fallow deer, otters, polecats, and mink, though the latter are rarely seen.
When you reach the coastline of Quinish point you’ll more than likely see seals lazing on the pebble beaches and you might – if you’re lucky – catch sight of basking sharks in the stretch of water between Mull and the Isle of Coll. To say the north of Mull is a good place for wildlife-watching is a bit of an understatement.
Check out my recommendations for birdwatching binoculars here.
One tip I have for you if you set off on this walk is to look for the standing stones located in a field halfway along the route. These nine-foot monoliths are some of the oldest in Scotland and it’s amazing to think ancient people somehow managed to sit them upright.
4. Carsaig Arches
I’m not going to lie to you. The walk from Carsaig Pier to the Carsaig Arches was one of the worst I’ve ever done. But it was also one of the best.
When I say ‘worst’ I mean that only in the sense that it was so difficult. On that occasion, I’d arrived on Mull in the middle of a very stormy week in 2018 when the waves were crashing against the island, bringing with them colossal boulders that were unceremoniously dropped on the path running along the bottom of the cliffs, turning the walk into an incredibly laborious scramble.
Whether those boulders have now been cleared I don’t know, but if they have you’re going to love the scenery at every step you take.
From Carsaig Pier you’re greeted by colonies of seals that rest on the rocks in the bay, but don’t spend too long admiring them as the eight-mile return route to the arches takes around six hours to complete. Once you get going you’ll have spectacular views south to the Isle of Jura and you might be lucky (as I was) to have curious seals accompany you as you follow the water’s edge.
The south of Mull is a favourite spot for red deer, guillemots and black shags, but the big surprise are the herds of wild goats that roam around the rocky coastline. The shingle beaches are a good place to stop for a wee break as there are so many boulders to perch on and I guarantee at some point you’ll find yourself sharing the beach with a goat or two.
The arches themselves are quite impressive with the waves thundering into them but I would not recommend trying to get down there as the narrow track is precarious at best and downright dangerous if it’s wet. However, if you’re content with standing on the edge of the cliff and looking down at the foaming water you’ll have an experience you won’t forget for quite some time.
5. Mull Cycle Routes
I’ve already mentioned that mull is a large island, but what I haven’t said is that its combination of gorgeous scenery and lengthy roads makes it a superb place to go on a cycling holiday.
Admittedly, most of Mull’s roads are single-lane so you’ll need to stay alert for cars coming ahead and behind, but there are lots of passing places on either side of all roads and in most places the verge is low and wide so it’s easy to swing off the tarmac and trundle along the grass if a rogue camper van suddenly comes hurtling towards you.
Mull is a moderately hilly island so if you’re unfit you might consider giving it a miss and go for a cycle around a flat isle like Tiree instead, but if you’ve got a little fitness you shouldn’t have too much bother getting around.
Highlights have to be the A849 heading west from Loch Beg Bridge to Fionnphort, and the coastal road on the B8073 heading north to Calgary Bay, but to be honest, all of Mull’s roads offer a different and equally enjoyable experience if you’re on two wheels.
The only downside is the fact that because the villages are spaced so far apart and the island is so big you’ll struggle to find places to hide away from the elements if the weather close in, but on the upside there are untold numbers of spots to set up a tent if you’re on a cycle/camping holiday.
I’ve included a few 360° photos from my last visit to Mull that will give you an idea of what to expect in regard to scenery and road conditions, but bear in mind no photo can ever portray just how beautiful this island is in real life.
The top attractions on Mull
|Iona Abbey||Aros Park||The Old Byre Heritage Centre|
|Iona Nunnery||Mull Aquarium||Langamull Beach|
|Ross of Mull Historic Centre||The Mull Musuem||Calgary Beach|
|Carsaig Arches||Quinish Point||Calgary Bay|
|Lochbuie Standing Stones||Dun Ara Castle||Eas Fors Waterfall|
|Ben More||Ardmore Forest||Craignure|
|Duart Castle||Kilmore Standing Stones||Tobermory Distillery|
Frequently Asked Questions about Mull
Where is the Isle of Mull?
The Isle of Mull is located on the west coast of Scotland, west of Oban and south of Loch Linnhe. It is the second-largest island in the Inner Hebrides and is part of the Argyll and Bute council area.
At 338 square miles, Mull is the fourth-largest island in Britain after Shetland, Skye, and Lewis and Harris. Getting to Mull is easy thanks to regular ferries that sail direct from Oban on a journey that takes just 45 minutes.
What is the Isle of Mull famous for?
Mull is best known for its wildlife which includes white-tailed sea eagles, golden eagles, red deer, otters, Atlantic and common seals and more than twenty different species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
The island is also known as a tourist destination thanks to its stunning landscape which includes visitor favourites such as Ben More, Calgary Bay and Quinish Point.
How do you get around Mull?
Ferries from Oban run seven days a week so it’s easy to take a car across to Mull. Once on the island, there are single-track roads that circle from north to south. Plan at least two hours to drive around the perimeter of the island and much more if you take photo stops (which you will).
Why visit the Isle of Mull?
1. Duart Castle: An 800-year-old castle perched on a rocky outcrop on a very scenic peninsula. The castle is the historic home of one of Scotland’s oldest clans, the Macleans.
2. Wildlife: Mull is one of the top destinations in Britain for wildlife watchers and it’s one of the best places to see minke whales, which number just 300 in the UK.
3. Tobermory: This is a pretty harbour village that gained fame as the setting for children’s TV show Balamory, but it’s also home to Tobermory Distillery, the Mull Aquarium and the Mull Museum.
4. Tours: Mull is an ideal location for setting off on a sea tour, with the most popular being Fingal’s Cave on the nearby Isle of Staffa.
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