Have you ever heard of a wee Scottish town called Oban? Coming from the Scottish Gaelic word meaning “bay,” this little town sits on the western coast of the Scottish Highlands. On our little Scottish adventure, my boyfriend and I spent seven short hours at this touristy destination. In this post, I would like to give a little recap of our time there, which can serve as a mini “what to do in Oban” for the interested traveler.
It rained a bit during our little visit to Oban, which meant that we were ducking into restaurants and cafes for the first part of the day. One cafe I would recommend is the Oban Chocolate Company. If you are lucky enough to get a seat, you will be delighted to see the assortment of sweet treats on the menu including Belgian waffles, cakes, and, of course, chocolates, as well as a variety of coffees and teas. The Oban Chocolate Company also sits right along the bay, which means you can enjoy the picturesque oceanic views while you relax in one of the love seats.
Dunollie Woodland Trail, Museum, and Grounds is a complex located just a few paces north of the Oban metropolitan area. Wanderers can walk down the woodland trail past the farming land and right up to the Museum and Grounds entrance. The trail is free and worth seeing if you’re in the area. However, the Museum and Grounds require visitors to pay a fee. I did not pay to enter, but was still able to see some of the ruins from the trail.
Oban Distillery Tour
When I first stepped foot in the Glasgow airport, I was immediately confronted with whisky ads. The Scots like their Scotch! Built in 1794, the Oban distillery is one of the oldest (built before the city itself!) in Scotland. Though rather small, this little distillery boasts a variety of both smoky and sweeter malts. Even if you’re not a fan of whisky this tour also educates visitors of the whisky-making process: malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, and aging (did I get that right?). At the end of the tour, visitors can try a few of the batches and are given a Oban shot glass as a souvenir. With your glass in hand, make sure to cheers the Scottish Gaelic way — Slange Var!
If you decide to look up Oban for yourself, you will likely find beautiful, scenic views of the bay from high above the city. You don’t have to be a professional with a drone to capture these views, you just need to hike up to McCaig’s Tower. Though architecturally reminiscent of Roman aqueducts, McCaig’s tower is a rather new structure, built at the turn of the 20th century as a monument to the family of the same name. Within the tower you will find a garden with small trees, grass, and a few benches.
There is so much to do in Oban that we simply didn’t have time for on our short trip, including wildlife boat tours and ferry rides to the surrounding islands. Is Oban worth the trip. Yes! If you found the above to be interesting and fancy a day trip to a small port town. However, if you are looking for something not as touristy, you may want to reconsider. I was so lucky to be able to experience Oban. This town is vastly different from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Seeing all three places makes me feel as if I’m putting together the puzzle pieces that make up Scotland.
If you plan to see Scotland, Dear Reader, see as much of it as you can!