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Tour or Own Vehicle?

NH
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Tour or Own Vehicle?

We're staying in Oban for 2 nights and plan to visit the isles of Mull and Iona at least one of those days (most likely combining them into one day). Should we just do one of the bus tours that takes us to both? Or should we ferry over with our rented vehicle and explore on our own? Typically we'd prefer to take our own car and explore at our own pace, but not sure if it's practical for one day, plus I've heard the tours there are better than most. Opinions? Thanks!

Manchester, United...
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1. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

The 'bus tour' means basically getting off the ferry at Craignure on Mull, sitting on the bus for 1 hour 20 minutes as it crosses Mull to Fionnphort, and then catching the ferry for the short crossing to Iona. You then reverse that procedure in the afternoon. So I'm not sure that counts as a tour of both islands!

Using the bus will probably work out cheaper because you won't be paying for your car on the ferry, but I think it's preferable to pay a bit more and have a car, which gives you more flexibility.

Tobermory, United...
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2. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

You certainly need more than one day to do justice to Mull and Iona.

Dhmellor is right about being a car over as it does give you more flexibility but if you are happy to do the trip to Iona and back, coach is the way.

Mull is a lot bigger than most people realise. it's 2.5 times the size of the Isle of Wight and it takes a lot longer to drive between a and b than you would think. Tobermory to Fionnphort (52 miles) takes at least 1hr 45mins.

Public transport really limits you to either Craignure to Iona or Craignure to Tobermory in a day.

Not sure when you will be making your visit but if before the end of June, I would warn you that Knock Bridge on the B8035 is under repair and closed to traffic (See https:/…knock-bridge-b8035-mull for latest updates.)

Enjoy your stay on our beautiful island

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

I doubt you'll sit on the bus in the ferry, I'm sure they'll let you off to go out on the deck! In fact, I'm fairly sure you aren't allowed to stay in your vehicle. By the time you've made the crossing each way and gone to Iona I don't think you'll have time to get round all of Mull. You might make it to Tobermory but to do the west side of the island I think would be too much.

I'd also explore the option of going a second foot passengers and using the public bus service on Mull. It's not cheap to take your car on the boat for just a day trip.

If you self drive are you happy on single track roads with passing places?

Edited: 13 May 2017, 03:25
Biggar, United...
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4. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

If you only plan to do it in a day you would be just as well taking an organised tour. You would not have additional time to fit in much else if self-driving. In the event you do take your hire car you should note that you won't be able to get it on the Iona ferry - visitors can only travel as foot passengers.

Glasgow, United...
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5. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

I'd opt for car hire.The cost of the ferry has come down so much now , it is pretty good value given the extra flexibility to stop en route and enjoy some of this beautiful island properly.I would be very frustrated sitting on that bus from Craignure all the way to Fionnphort and then back again.

Wales, United...
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6. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

THe bus doesn't go on the ferry. You travel as a foot passenger and there's a bus waiing at Craignure that takes tour passengers to Fionnphort. Then you get on the ferry to Iona, and return in time for the bus back to Craignure, which leaves at the rather early time of 1515 or thereabouts.

I don't think it's enough time to do justice to Iona. The bus journey across Mull is nice enough, the scenery is outstanding, but to my mind it will be much better to have your own vehicle as far as Fionnphort, as you'll then have a lot more flexibility to decide when you want to return and if you want a short detour on the way - but don't miss the last sailing from Craignure!

NH
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7. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

All great tips, thanks everyone! I did word it wrong...we'd board the tour bus once we ferried over to Mull, not hop on the bus right out of Oban. One day is all we can budget for those islands unfortunately, we wish we could allocate more time but there's so many other places we also want to visit in that beautiful country with the vacation time we have. We will be there before June 1 so thanks Ian for the very handy construction notifications, good to know.

Wales, United...
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8. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

I was more replying to edinem's comment that you;d be allowed to get out of the bus on the ferry!

Scotland
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9. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

I think edinem misread Dhmellor's post about sitting on the bus for 1 hour 20 minutes as it crosses Mull to Fionnphort as being the ferry crossing *to* Mull.

I would take a car. It's only £26 return (plus £6.90 per person), which isn't as much as it used to be, and is well worth it to give you that flexibility to stop off on the way at Duart Castle, or divert to Lochbuie and Moy Castle. You could even manage a West coast loop - the last ferry back is as late as 7.15pm giving you lots of options.

Tobermory, United...
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10. Re: Tour or Own Vehicle?

West coast loop would be good but not until the end of June. See my posting at number 2.

Just want to make it clear that the 'west coast loop' would include the closed bridge.

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