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What Is Oban Famous For?

What Is Oban Famous For?

Despite its small size, Oban is famous for a number of things that attract visitors from all over the world and is known as both the ‘Gateway to the Islands’ and ‘The Capital of the West Highlands’ by locals and visitors alike.

But what makes Oban such a fantastic place to visit for tourists? Well, throughout this article, we’ll explore the myriad of reasons that makes Oban one of the most famous towns in Scotland. From a rich whisky heritage to world-class eateries, we have it all!

Access to the Outer Hebrides Islands

As mentioned earlier, Oban is widely known as the ‘Gateway to the Islands’ and is a fitting description of our seaside town.

Oban’s ferry terminal is a constant hotbed of travellers throughout the year. It has ferries departing to a wide range of islands, including Mull, Tiree, Coll, and many more! Over the years, the town has become the hub for tourists to gather before leaving to visit the stunning Outer Hebrides islands.

What many people often forget, is that it’s the first stop for those from the islands visiting the Scottish Mainland. Islanders who visit the mainland, whether it be their first time or on a weekly basis, will have to pass through Oban every time.

Alternatively, Oban is also home to a small airport that provides transport to a select few islands. Although the airport doesn’t host the same volume of passengers each day, it’s become a crucial link for those looking to travel to the islands in a hurry.

Fantastic Seafood

Oban is renowned for its seafood cuisine, which is fresh, delicious, and in abundance. The town boasts a variety of seafood restaurants that serve up fantastic dishes all year round!

One restaurant is Waterfront Fishhouse, a delicious seafood restaurant that overlooks the stunning Oban bay. The restaurant offers an incredible selection of seafood, that includes lobster, langoustines, crab, oysters, and mussels.

If you’re not in the mood for a sit-down meal, Oban isn’t short of some of the most authentic fish and chip takeaway shops in the country! One in particular is the amply named ‘Oban Fish and Chip Shop’ which offers both takeaway and sit-down meals.

They’re very popular with both locals and tourists, which can be seen by their 4.5-star Google rating and almost 2,000 reviews!

Although we’ve only mentioned two examples of fish restaurants, Oban is home to many more respected restaurants and takeaways that provide freshly caught seafood. If you’re a fish fanatic, you won’t be disappointed by your trip here!


Arguably what pulls most tourists to visit Oban is our long-standing heritage with whisky. We recommend lovers of whisky to visit two attractions – Oban Distillery and a tasting experience.

Oban Distillery

Established in 1794, the Oban Distillery is one of the oldest and smallest in Scotland. The distillery is run by only seven talented and dedicated employees, producing a limited supply of whisky every week due to its traditional process.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the Oban Distillery to learn about the whisky-making process and the history of the distillery. The tour includes a visit to the distillery’s traditional still house, mull room, and filling store. Visitors are also treated to three drams of the famous Oban whisky!

Whisky Tasting Experience

There are two key whisky tastings held in Oban. They’re organised by the aforementioned Oban Distillery and The Oban View, a local bar and music venue. If you’re interested, click either of the links below to be directed to their websites.

Architecture & Landmarks

Oban is a town that is known for its beautiful architecture and landmarks. Visitors to the town will be impressed by the stunning buildings and structures that are on display.

McCaig’s Tower

One of the most iconic landmarks in Oban is McCaig’s Tower.  This impressive structure was built in 1897 by local banker and philanthropist, John Stuart McCaig. The aim of the tower was to provide work for local stonemasons and to serve as a lasting monument to the McCaig family.
Visitors can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding area, all year round.

We’ve written a full article that discusses the famous McCaig’s Tower, touching on its history, influence on the local economy, notable features, and more! Click here to learn more about our most visited local structure.


Many people visit Scotland to learn about our rich history. Castles that are found across the country capture this history and stand as evidence of how people lived all those years ago.

Oban is famous for having two historic castles nearby – Dunollie and Dunstaffage. We’ll discuss both below:

Dunollie Castle

Dunollie Castle is found only one mile north of Oban and can be reached by foot, cycling, or car. Now a ruin, the castle is thought to be inhabited for over 8,000 years and was once the home of the MacDougall Clan.

Visitors can visit the castle ruins from between March and November, with events held all across that period. Surrounding the castle is the stunning Dunollie woodland which is the perfect place to spend a day with the family or dog!

Visit Dunollie Castle’s Website

Dunstaffage Castle

A short ten-minute drive north of Oban will take you to another historic castle – Dunstaffage Castle. Thought to be around 800 years old, Dunstaffage Castle was built during the time in which Scotland and Norway were battling for control of the Hebrides islands. This violent past can be clearly seen by its defensive structure.

The building is also popular with those interested in the paranormal. Dunstaffage Castle is thought to be haunted by a ghost known as ‘Ell-maid of Dunstaffage” which people often say is dressed in green.

Unfortunately, there is no website for the castle; however, visitors are more than welcome to visit. Click the link below to be taken to Google Maps and plan your journey there!

Visit Dunstaffage Castle


As you can see, Oban is rightfully famous for a wealth of different aspects. From being the ‘Gateway to the Islands’ to having strong historical landmarks, our town offers plenty to do while visiting.

If you’re planning a trip to Oban, don’t forget our luxury, dog-friendly hotel boasts stunning views of the Oban shorefront and is the perfect place to indulge in all that our town has to offer!

Click the button below to explore our website further.

Visit Our Hotel’s Website