Oban is a town in Scotland. The names sounds familiar? The resort is home to one of the most famous Scottish whiskey distilleries, established in 1794 and today well known for its production of a 14-year-old-malt. But whiskey is not the only thing to be found in Oban. Close to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the village is a quiet, peaceful coastal village with beautiful scenery and an array of coastal wildlife - not to mention the walking opportunities. If you’re looking for an outdoors holiday, a setting to write your latest novel, or a romantic getaway, then Oban is the perfect place.
The name Oban actually comes from the old Gallic for ‘The Little Bay’. The bay may be small, but in the summertime it’s heaving with people. Informally, it is known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’. Despite its size, and rather remote location, Oban is actually a pretty popular holiday resort. The area is also used as a through route to the other Scottish islands, which means the port can get quite busy. The business adds to the atmosphere. As well as beautiful scenery, spectacular coast and excellent walking opportunities, there are also several pubs, great restaurants and of course, the opportunity to visit the other islands yourself.
Where to Stay
Holiday homes in Oban are somewhat unique. Many of them look reminiscent of the log cabins that can be found in the French alps. Though all types of accommodations can be found here, from family friendly holiday homes to cosy locally run bed and breakfasts. There are some real hidden gems to be found: self-catering holiday homes with spectacular views of the sea and large spacious cottages hidden in the rolling hills.
When it comes to things to see and do in Oban there is not exactly much in the way of tourist sites, historical monuments, museums and galleries, but there are plenty of activities on offer, particularly if you’re the outdoors type. Day trips run to the nearby islands, moorlands and mountains, where you can enjoy the astonishing beauty of the Scottish highlands. Trips also run from Edinburgh and Glasgow. You can also take kayak lessons in the choppy Atlantic waters and kayak your way to the islands. Instruction courses for beginners run all through the summer. If you’re visiting in late August, the Argyllshire Gathering, a two day pipe-band competition is considered to be one of the most important ‘sporting’ events of the town.
If you’re looking to pick up a few gifty items from your trip to Oban, the Oban Chocolate Company, which specialises in hand crafted chocolates is a great place to pick up something special. You can even request they make the chocolates of your choice and watch them being hand crafted from the leather sofas in the window. For a more traditional souvenire though, why not visit the whiskey distillery and pick yourself up one of the 14-year=old malts they specialise in.
As its origins are in fishing, locally sourced seafood is the staple cuisine in Oban. The resort is actually known as the seafood capital of Scotland, with a range of outstanding restaurants to choose from. The Seafood Temple is a great place to discover the best of it. The restaurant is actually officially Oban’s smallest restaurant but certainly packs a punch when it comes to the food. You can order a whole lobster, baked locally caught crab, or a seafood platter. Waterfront Fish House Restaurant provides a more sophisticated seafood dining experience. During the daytime, there’s the renowned Kitchen Garden cafe, a deli serving up some delicious homemade picnic style food.
Getting In and Around
Oban is a only small part of Scotland, nevertheless the soggy moors, unpredictable weather and winding contours make it difficult to navigate. Getting in from Edinborough is easy enough, as you can get there by car or boat in under half an hour. To get around Oban you are probably best off hiring a car, or bike. Unless you’re there specifically for walking purposes, in which case, a pair of good hiking boots is probably fine.