(Gaelic name meaning: Isle of Iona)
Iona is well known as a place for spiritual pilgrimage, its abbey at the heart of Scottish Christianity. Others are drawn to Iona for the peaceful atmosphere, strong sense of community and magical landscapes. A visit here takes you to beautiful white beaches and spectacular seascapes with a remarkable light and serenity that seems to envelop the island.
Your journey to Iona takes you across the Sound, where turquoise waters sparkle and bottlenose dolphins frequently visit. You might also spot seals along the shore, or bobbing in the sea. Take a wander around the majestic abbey, through the picturesque streets, along the pristine shores, and breathe in this magical place.
A bit about the site
Taking the ferry over turquoise waters, you arrive at a lovely spot for looking out to sea. Take a visit to the National Trust for Scotland information hub which is the red-roofed building by the ferry - there is lots of fantastic information about Iona’s stunning natural environment.
Ferries from Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull across to the island. It is foot passenger only (except for Blue Badge holders) and runs regularly throughout the day
The Ferry and slipway are fully accessible
Wondrous creatures in the waters
Look out for
Minke whales Basking sharks
Grey seals Puffins White-tailed eagles Shags Oystercatchers
Dolphin on holiday
Bottlenose dolphins are one of the species regularly spotted from here year round. These big and charismatic dolphins pick up marks, scars, and nicks in their fins that make them individually identifiable. Using photographs of these markings, scientists from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust are able to track individual dolphins. Dolphins spotted from Iona have also been seen at different places all over the Inner Hebrides. The odd individual has even been spotted further afield, as far as France!
Monster of the deep!
Iona is well known as the home of St Columba where he founded his abbey around 563 AD. This famous saint may also have encountered local whales and dolphins, and was said to have warned two monks traveling from Iona to Tiree of a “monster of the deep”. These monks encountered “a whale of extraordinary size, which rose like a mountain above the water, it’s jaws open to show an array of teeth” … could this have been a killer whale? What will you encounter on your visit?