Is Oban Worth Visiting? (The Seafood Capital of Scotland!)

Oban Scotland

Is Oban worth visiting? That’s a question you might be asking yourself when planning out your Scotland travel. We had the chance to visit what’s become known as the seafood capital of the country on our recent Scotland road trip. Obviously, we took the opportunity to indulge in the most delicious specialties this harbor town has to offer! Yet, in between meals at the seafood hut, we would find so many more fun things to do in Oban. Here’s everything about our one day visit, where to eat, and what to know about the Oban ferry.

How to Get to Oban Scotland

Oban is a coastal town in the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Its location is 61 miles northwest of Glasgow and just 94 miles from Edinburgh, which makes it an attractive destination for travelers from the cities. 

On our own trip to Scotland we found it to be the perfect place in between Fort William and Edinburgh to spend the night. The best way to experience this vast country is by renting a car.

We recommend booking in advance in the peak summer season and compare prices. We always use this company for rental cars when traveling through Europe and have found some great deals. 

Another way to get to Oban is via public transport. There are regular buses with easy access from the major cities, and Oban also has a train station. The Oban ferry (more on this later) is a popular way to travel to the nearby islands and you will see plenty of campervans here as well.

How to Get to Oban Scotland

What is Oban Famous For?

The history of Oban dates back to Mesolithic times and evidence of humans can be traced back to 8,000 years ago. Oban in Scottish Gaelic means “Little Bay” which describes the shape of the coast near the town centre. One the oldest fortifications here is the Dunollie Castle which was built in the 12th century.

Oban found its more modern beginnings growing from a small village in the late 18th century. A big part of this was the founding of the Oban distillery in 1794, which further led to its expansion. Aside from the whisky which is still in production at the Oban distillery, the town has become more recently famous for its seafood!

Looking for things to do in Oban outside of the food and drinks? Don’t worry! There is a bustling main street which runs along Oban harbor filled with shops, museums, and boat trips. Also, be sure to check out our full Scotland food guide in the article below.

What’s the Best Food in Scotland? 26 Must Try Dishes & Drinks

What is Oban Scotland Famous For

Lunch at the Oban Seafood Hut 

As we mentioned above, Oban Scotland is the place to visit for seafood lovers. After arriving, we headed straight to the most popular spot in town to get a taste for ourselves. The tiny Oban Seafood hut is located right next to the Oban ferry terminal making it a great place for incoming or outgoing travelers.

Once we got a good look at the menu we decided on the mixed seafood platter to try a few different things. It came with langoustines, smoked salmon, shrimps, herring, smoked salmon, and other delicious shellfish.

We also ordered a side of oysters and mussels which were some of the best we’ve had in the United Kingdom. In addition to their tasty platter, you can order whole lobsters or sandwiches to go. 

The Oban Seafood Hut has a ton of reviews online and it definitely lived up to the hype! Keep in mind there is no indoor seating here. Instead, you’ll find a small group of tables to the left of the seafood shack which turnover pretty quickly. 

Oban Seafood Hut

Oban Scotland Seafood Hut

Where to Stay in Oban Scotland 

After our meal, we checked into the No17 The Promenade hotel which was just a 10 minute walk from the center of Oban. There are a mix of different places to stay around the city, but we ended up picking this one for a couple different reasons.

Many of the places we stayed along our road trip were Airbnb’s or small boutique hotels. After an epic morning bike riding at Nevis Range we knew we would need something a little more luxurious in Oban Scotland.

No17 The Promenade had a boutique and artsy look, yet with all the modern amenities you’d expect in this price range. Some rooms even look out over the water. The restaurant had wonderful food options and we liked that our breakfast was included. 

More Places to Stay in Oban Scotland 

No26 By the Sea: The sister hotel of No17 The Promenade and every bit as beautiful. Enjoy the Oban sea views while also being just a quick drive from the center of town.

Dana Villa Guest House: Cozy and comfortable rooms in a great location. You will love being walking distance from all the major attractions.

Adelphi Villa: This popular guest house has everything you need for a perfect stay in Oban. Parking is available and it’s easy to get to the ferry terminal from. 

No 17 Oban Scotland

Dinner in Oban Scotland

That afternoon we took a stroll through town and took in the sights of the stunning islands of Kerrera off the coast. Luckily, this worked up our appetites because we had big plans for dinner! 

Later that evening we went to the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant and enjoyed an upscale dining experience on the water. Here we had scallops, lobster, and a delicious salmon plate.

One of the best tips we can share for Oban is that you absolutely need reservations for dinner. This is especially important if you are visiting during the popular summer months. We booked two days in advance and got one of the last openings at 6pm here for dinner.

Know that the Oban Seafood Hut is the #1 place no traveler should miss in this seaside town. However, you’ll find great food at Etive, Coast Restaurant, the Olive Garden, and Tralee bay Fish and Chips. 

Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant

Beautiful Views From Mccaig’s Tower

After a fun day eating our way through Oban we were ready for bed. Needless to say, we slept well after all that amazing seafood! The following morning we woke up and headed up to a peculiar structure above the harbor of Oban. 

At first glance, the walls of Mccaig’s Tower honestly resembles some sort of Roman colosseum. Yet, we would find out the prominent landmark was built in 1897 by John Stuart Mccaig to provide work for local stonemasons.  

The tower itself is very unique, but the real reason to visit here is the views! This great viewpoint gives you a look at Oban Bay from above, and the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area.

To get there you can either hike up from the busy town or drive and make use of the small parking lot. If you’re taking a car just know that the streets are narrow and you may have to stop to let others pass. 

Mccaig's Tower Oban Scotland

Oban in Scotland

Best View in Oban

Oban Ferry & the Isle of Mull

One of the first things you’ll notice about Oban Scotland is the lively ferry port and islands in the distance. It’s location makes it a great jump off point to the Isle of Kerrera, Isle of Mull, and Lismore.

These islands make for fun day trips from the town of Oban to experience small villages and castles on the West Coast of Scotland. You should definitely consider the other fantastic places you can get to when considering “is Oban worth visiting?”

After seeing what was going on at the Oban ferry terminal it’s easy to understand why it’s known as the “Gateway to the Isles.” If this sounds enticing to you then look into staying overnight on one of these incredible destinations. The Isle of Mull has many wonderful places to stay and is very popular for travelers in the summer months. 

There are also smaller boat tours to book from town if you’re not planning on using the Oban ferry. You can even do some sea kayaking right from the centre of Oban! Keep an eye out for grey seals, eagles, and other rare birds on your boat trip.

Oban Ferry

Is Oban Worth Visiting in Scotland?

Yes! We are so glad we included Oban in our Scotland Road Trip. Honestly, eating at the Oban Seafood Hut was worth a visit in itself.

This small town is a destination that every history and seafood lover will appreciate. From the fresh fish to the island views, we enjoyed every moment of our stay.

Oban is small enough that you won’t need more than one day to experience it. That is unless you’re using it as a base to take ferry trips to the islands. Either way, be sure to add Oban to your future Scotland itinerary! 

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Is Oban Worth Visiting in Scotland

So is Oban worth visiting after reading our article?? Let us know in the comments below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Oban

Scotland Travel Planning

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 Rental Car: The best way to get around Scotland is by rental car! We always use Discover Cars when traveling in Europe and have found some great deals by booking in advance.

Transportation: Omio is a great place to search for trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Scotland.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Scotland. You can find everything from a Scottish Highlands tour from Edinburgh to a Loch Ness boat cruise, Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour, and even chocolate making classes.

 Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from London to Aberdeen for $30 USD and Edinburgh to Budapest for less than $80! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites for the best prices such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

 Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials

Scotland Travel

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2 Comments

  1. Ken Pattie
    November 26, 2023 / 4:44 am

    Yes we love Oban, but as a couple of golden oldies we always let the train take the strain.
    Really enjoyed reading your piece and looking at the pictures. However two items which I would bring to your attention. EE Usk is the most wonderful sea food restsurant overlooking the bay, and you don’t spell whisky with an E, especially in Scotland.

    • Brigitte & Jake
      Author
      November 26, 2023 / 5:26 am

      Good to know! Thanks (-:

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