Peace on Iona

This is to share my experiences of Iona, a beautiful and tranquil place.

Peace on Iona

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by milliebell on October 14, 2003

If you can stay on the island, attending an evening service at the abbey is great. I visited the abbey in the afternoon, when it was empty, and enjoyed it and found it a peaceful place. Visiting for a service with members of the community and guests gave a new perspective on it. When the abbey is full of people, the choir is singing, the cloisters are floodlit and the abbey is lit by candles it is like a different place again. I still recommend it even if you have no Christian leanings just for the experience. The service was very simple but very moving.

North Shore Beach was lovely. I had this lovely clean sandy beach all to myself, and the water was crystal clear and the views were lovely. Much nicer than the overcrowded beaches you find on the main resorts, if you get the weather.

Iona is fairly flat, so it is a nice place to go strolling if you’re not a hardened hiker. ${QuickSuggestions} Iona gets up to 1200 day visitors in the summer. Most of them only stay for an hour or so, and visit only the abbey. If you only have time to do visit very quickly, it’s well worth it. However, if you have the time and can arrange accommodation in advance, staying on the Island is much better. Before 10.30am and after 5pm the abbey is very quiet to visit. Iona is so peaceful at night time after the day visitors have gone, as there are only a few hotels, B&Bs, and a small hostel. In addition, most visitors never make it past the abbey, which is a pity as there is the beautiful North Shore beach, and lots of pretty secluded spots with stunning views. If you want some solitude, this is the place. The ticket to the abbey is valid for the duration of your stay, so keep hold of it if you are staying.${BestWay} Passenger cars are not allowed on Iona and there is no buses or trains, apart from the one taxi which will take you anywhere on the Island for £2.

To get there from Oban, take the ferry to Mull (£6.45 return for a foot passenger). Buses meet four ferries a day at Craignure (not Sunday) for the 1 hour’s drive to Fionnphort (£9 return). From there, the ferry to Iona takes 5 minutes and runs frequently throughout the day (£3.50 return). Timetables are widely available in Oban.

For the most part, once you are there, you get around on foot. You can take a bicycle if you wish.

Iona Hostel

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by milliebell on November 8, 2003

This is a real gem of a hostel. You can check it out on The hostel is a good 20 minute walk from the Iona ferry terminal and the village, but it is well worth it. It is clearly signposted from the ferry terminal and easy enough to find, given that there is only one road on the island.

On my arrival, I was given a very warm welcome by the owner, and introduced to other guests who were around. I found the hostel to be a warm welcoming place overall. There is an excellent self-catering kitchen which was very well equipped, and one long table encouraging guests to socialise. There was also a drying room, and proper bathrooms--i.e. not rows of cublicles, but individual toilet and shower rooms with plenty of space to get dried and dressed without getting your clothes soaked.

I slept in a four bedded room with two other girls. They were big solid pine bunks and very comfortable. Each person had a very large storage area. Bedding is provided.

This was excellent value for money at £12.50 a night. I have stayed in many hostels in Scotland, and this wasthe best by a long shot.

The hostel is part of a working farm, and to access it from the road you have to walk across the grass around a field. It is very close to North Shore beach--off road access--just go across the fields at the back. This is a beautiful, clean beach with crystal clear water, and I had the place to myself. If you're going out after dark you will need a torch [flashlight]. There is a shop in the village, but there is a limited, expensive choice of foods, so stock up on supplies on the mainland.

This is not a party hostel. Many people come here for peace and reflection. There is no TV, payphone, internet access, stereo etc. Check out is before 10.30am. The hostel is closed 2-4pm. Check in is from 4pm-7.30pm. Quiet hours are 10pm-8am.

My only regret is that I only stayed for one night (in September 2003). I wish I could have stayed there longer.

Iona Hostel
Iona, Scotland
(01681) 700707

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