10 Awesome Things to Do in Tobermory, Scotland

Mull, the second-largest island in the Inner Hebrides, is the stuff of romantic fantasies. Its mountainous core, dominated by the 3,196-foot peak of Ben More, is encircled by 300 miles of coastline, with blinding white sandy coves lapped by emerald waves.

To me, it’s a magical, wildly beautiful place.

Featuring an impossibly picturesque waterfront, set against the backdrop of rolling hills and leafy woodland, Tobermory is Mull’s biggest settlement. Even if you don’t have a car, Tobermory is an easy day trip from Oban on Scotland’s western coast.

In this article, I’ll share how to get there and the best things to do in Tobermory.

mull scotland sea and rowan berries

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How I visited (& why you should too!)

I visited Mull as a solo traveller on a day trip from the lovely town of Oban using the CalMac ferry service. Even though I travelled on a busy weekend in August – slap-bang in peak season – there was no problem getting a ticket as a foot passenger on the spot.

This was an easy day trip, with the journey almost as good as the destination.

Leaving Oban’s solidly Victorian waterfront, the ferry passed the tip of Kerrera island offering a close-up view of Lismore lighthouse. Entering the Sound of Mull, the island’s mist-capped peaks came closer into view as we approached Craignure.

a small car ferry and small boats in a harbour
Craignure, Mull

Tobermory is somewhere that melts away the stresses of everyday life. Although there was not a huge amount of things to do, there was enough to easily occupy me for a day. And there’s a lot to be said for just being in a place without having to dart between attractions.

The best things to do in Tobermory

Explore Tobermory harbour

I began my day in Tobermory by wandering its main street, browsing its shops and stopping for a coffee.  

With its houses coloured like a box of children’s crayons, reflected in the harbour’s still water, it is one of the most attractive harbour towns I have visited. Yet, despite its popularity, it manages to retain an air of calm and friendliness.

candy coloured houses along seafront in tobermory mull scotland
Candy-coloured buildings of Tobermory, Scotland

Did you know that Tobermory shot to fame as the filming location for the children’s TV series Balamory?

Walk to the lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall

The easy 2 km walk through woodland to the lighthouse at Rubha nan Gall was the highlight of my day.

On one side, there’s a sheer drop to the ocean; a heather-clad bluff rises on the other side. The initial short, steep climb levels off to a path gently winding its way to the lighthouse.

There are sensational views across the Sound of Mull over to Ardnamurchan with the peak of Ben Hiant receding into the horizon. When I visited, rowan trees in full bloom provided occasional splashes of scarlet.

long path leading to a lighthouse on mull scotland

To reach the lighthouse, walk along Tobermory’s main street until you reach Tobermory Lifeboat Station. From here, take the signposted path that goes diagonally into the woods.


Visit Tobermory Distillery

Are you in the mood for whisky tasting? Then visit Tobermory’s distillery.

Established in 1798, this tiny distillery has had a chequered history. It was forced to close no fewer than three times but is now back in business and open to visitors.

It’s one of the best things to do in Tobermory, Mull on a rainy day!

exterior of Tobermory distillery which is one of the best things to do in Tobermory mull on a rainy day
Tobermory Distillery: One of the best things to do in Tobermory on a rainy day

Visit Mull Aquarium

Tobermory has an aquarium with a difference.

This community-owned venture is a catch-and-release aquarium, the first of its kind in Europe. All marine life you see here is released back into the sea within four weeks.

Visiting here is another excellent thing to do in Tobermory during wet weather. Mull Aquarium is in the Harbour Building in Tobermory’s main car park.

2024 UPDATE! As the aquarium is being relocated, its wet display section will be closed until 2025. The retail space remains open. 

waves in harbour with hills and boats in background in tobermory mull scotland

Visit Mull Museum

This is yet another good wet weather activity in Tobermory. Let’s face it; in Scotland, it’s wise to have a few of these up your sleeve.

Mull Museum tells the island’s history through the exhibits packed into its tiny room.

The museum is open from Easter until the end of October, Monday – Saturday, 11 am – 4 pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome. It is on Tobermory’s Main Street.

Walk to Aros Park

Pick up the walking trail to Aros Park in Ledaig car park, just past Mull Aquarium. A more strenuous walk than the one to the lighthouse, it covers a distance of three miles.

This woodland walk follows the coastline heading east out of Tobermory, with sensational views over the harbour and the Sound of Mull. As you make your way through the woodland ferns, you’ll pass a few waterfalls until you reach a loch dressed with lily pads.

Aros Park was once a private house and estate owned by the Allan family, Although the house is long gone, the park remains for all to enjoy. 

Go on a wildlife-watching tour

Tobermory is an excellent place to pick up a sea safari, with boat trips promising opportunities to spot Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoise, eagles, seals and dolphins.

Boats leave from next to the main car.

Sea Life Surveys’ flagship Whalewatch Explorer cruise runs three times a week from April to October.

Take a boat trip to Staffa and Treshnish Isles

Uninhabited Staffa is one of Scotland’s most romantic islands. It is best known for the basalt columns on its southern side, which the sea has carved into dramatic caverns. The most famous of these is Fingal’s Cave.

Treshnish Isles are known for their rich wildlife, particularly seabirds, puffins and seals.

Staffa Tours operates two wildlife boat tours out of Tobermory. A four-hour cruise visits Staffa and Fingall’s Cave; a four-hour whale-watching tour explores the waters between Mull, Ardnamurchan and the Isle of Coll.

woman sitting on sand in tobermory with brightly coloured houses in background

Go shopping

Wave goodbye to vanilla chain stores. What you get in Tobermory is a handful of great independent shops.

From illustrated children’s books featuring the famous Tobermory Cat to Scottish knitwear, there’s something for everyone back home. Or perhaps a gift for yourself?

the clock tower in the centre of tobermory scotland

Eat the freshest seafood

I feasted on a pile of fresh-off-the-boat scallops at the Pier Café at the ferry terminal. Its patio is perfect for dining al fresco on a sunny day, the food is fantastic and not expensive.

people sitting outside a restaurant in tobermory mull scotland

How to get to Tobermory from Oban

Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) operates a ferry service from Oban to Craignure on Mull’s west coast. The journey takes 45 – 60 minutes.

The cheapest way to get from Craignure to Tobermory is to take the 95 bus. As this service does not meet every ferry, I recommend checking the bust times here.

landscape of gentle hills and sea on mull scotland

Solo Travel  in Scotland

For my money, Scotland is one of the best solo travel destinations in the world, especially if you are travelling alone for the first time.

Scotland is home to some of the most striking and diverse landscapes to be found anywhere. From its lush rolling hills and mirror-like lakes to its blindingly white beaches, it’s a walker’s and photographer’s paradise.

The country is relatively safe, and the locals are friendly and speak English. There is a wide variety of accommodation, from a thriving hostel scene and cosy bed & breakfasts to boutique and castle hotels.

It’s easy to get around. Although driving is the easiest way to explore Scotland, this is not for the faint-hearted. Some roads in the Highlands and Islands are single lanes punctuated with passing places that you can pull into if necessary.

I travelled in Scotland without a car and managed very well using buses, trains and day tours.

Scotland’s major towns and cities are linked by train and bus (Scottish Citylink runs long-distance express coach services).

I have taken day trips with the local Rabbie’s Tours who were excellent. Group sizes are small and the knowledge and humour of their drivers/guides are first-rate.


bridget coleman the flashpacker 2

About Bridget

Bridget Coleman has been a passionate traveller for more than 30 years. She has visited 70+ countries, most as a solo traveller.

Articles on this site reflect her first-hand experiences.

To get in touch, email her at hello@theflashpacker.net or follow her on social media.