Oban is often referred to as the seafood capital of Scotland and with the famous Oban Whiskey Distillery right at the heart of the town. Oban has earned its reputation as a holiday resort town because of its spectacular views of the port.
The popular bay view shops along the bustling road run right through the town. The town has a population of just over 8,000 and is capable of hosting up to 25,000 tourists.
In the 1700s, Oban was a village with only a few cottages but the port started growing rapidly as roads and bridges were built.
The Crinan Canal opened in 1801 and the Caledonian Canal in 1822 with fast steamer services establishing connections with Glasgow, Inverness and Fort William.
Oban Quick Facts
Population – 8120 (2001 Census)
Location – South West Scotland
Local Language – 9.4% speak Scottish Gaelic
Nearest Airport – Glasgow International, Oban Airport with limited landing and destinations
Nearest Train Station – Oban (Approx. 3.5 hrs from Glasgow Central Station)
Nearest City – Glasgow, Stirling
Recommended Cuisine – Seafood, Haggis
Top Attractions – Oban Distillery, War & Peace Museum, McCaigs Tower
Getting to Oban – Driving Recommended from Glasgow, A85 Road
Other Transport – Train from Glasgow Central
Climate – Maritime Climate, mild winters and cool summers
Subsequently, Oban became one of the most popular holiday destination in Scotland by 1850s amongst Europeans.
Oban stands for little bay in Gaelic, sheltered from the Atlantic storms in the west by the islands of Kerrera, Lismore, Mull and the Granite Mountains.
As a result, the town offers spectacular views during the sunset when the sun disappears over the mountains creating magnificent display of lights in the sky.
Things to do in Oban
Watch the sunset from McCaig’s Tower
The watch tower was built by John Stuart McCaig in 1897 with his own architectural skills using Bonawe Granite. John Stuart was a banker and he wanted to build this tower so that he can provide work for the local stonemasons and also a lasting monument for the McCaig family.
McCaig Tower is the perfect place to watch the sunset with breath taking views of the sun disappearing behind the mountains.
The inside of the 200 metre circumference tower is laid with a magnificent garden that provides a perfect picnic spot too with views of the islands of Kerrera and Mull. A quick tip for the information of our readers, alcohol is prohibited in the garden, but that is not an issue as you will find it as enchanting without having to sip anyway.
Address for McCaig’s Tower in Oban:
Post Code: PA34 5DP
Phone: 44 1631 563122
It is a short 10 minutes’ walk up hill and by uphill we mean it can be very steep for some. You can also drive up to the base of the tower and then walk up to the garden by climbing up a short flight up the stairs.
Opening times: All year round
Map of McCaig Tower
Visiting Oban Distillery in Oban
For the whisky enthusiasts, Oban may just be one of the top places to go for a whisky tour in the oldest as well as the smallest distillery in Scotland.
Oban being the only surviving distillery in the west highlands, hosts regular whisky tours starting form as little ast £10. On a whisky tour at Oban, you can expect to see the process of traditional craftsmanship of whiskyy making as well as the links between the Town Oban and the role it played in evolving of the town.
You are also given the chance to taste the Oban 14 year old West Highland Single Malt at the tasting room and there is a gift shop where you can buy whisky in gift boxes, whisky cans and tasting glasses and other gift items for very reasonable prices.
Address for Oban Distillery:
Stafford Street, Oban, Argyll
Post Code: PA34 5NH
Phone: +44 1631 572004
Oban Whisky Distillery tour opening times
January to February: Monday to Sunday – 12:00 to 16:30
March to April: Monday to Sunday – 9:30 to 17:30
May – September: Monday to Sunday – 10:00 to 17:00
October – November: Monday to Sunday – 10:00 to 17:00
December: Monday to Sunday – 12:00 – 16:30
Shopping and Restaurants in Oban
Oban boasts a large number of shops including many independents local produce offering variety of fleeces, waterproof wears, knitwear and gifts from many gifts and souvenir shops.
There are quite a few fantastic seafood restaurants contributing to Oban’s title as the seafood capital of Scotland.
How to get to Oban
Getting to Oban by car
Postcode for Oban for GPS/satnavs – PA34 5QD (This postcode will take you right to the centre of the Oban town)
Car journey from Glasgow to Oban is 98 miles and will take approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Oban is served conveniently by A85 which runs through the heart of the town.
Driving direction from Glasgow to Oban –
The drive to Oban from Glasgow involves A82 (46 miles) and A85 (36 miles).
From Glasgow, take M8 for Greenock/Glawgow Airport/Kilmarnock > then M898 exit towards Erskine/Bishopton > Continue on to A898 and drive for 2.3 miles > take the exit on to Great Western Rd/A82 towards Crianlarich > after driving on A82 for approx. 46 miles > Take A85 and stay on the A85 for 36 miles approx. and follow the signs for Oban.
Map of Inveraray to Oban drive
Getting to Oban by Train
Oban train station is around 3 hours’ journey from Glasgow, Scotland.
If you are planning to travel to Oban by Train from London, then the train journey will involve travelling to Glasgow Central train station, then from Glasgow Central to Glasgow Queen Street station (5 min journey) and the journey from Glasgow Queen Street to Oban is approximately 3 hours without involving any changes.
Oban train station is located in the heart of the town right by the port and within a few minutes’ walk from the town centre and main tourist attractions in Oban.
Getting to Oban by bus
Oban is served conveniently by the Scottish Citylink bus service. The route name/number for the Scottish Citylink bus service travelling to Oban via Inveraray is 976.
It takes just under 3 hours to arrive at Oban Station Road from Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station.
You can also take the 976 route from Inveraray to Oban and the journey is just over 1 hour.
You can visit Scottish Citylink website to find out about the timetables ahead of your journey or book a ticket at: http://www.citylink.co.uk