- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Despite its size, spanning only three miles long and one mile wide, the Isle of Iona's influence on Christianity in Scotland, England, and mainland Europe is monumental. Its historical significance was cemented in 563 AD with the arrival of St. Columba and his 12 followers. On the island's pristine sandy beaches, they built the first Celtic church and established a monastic community, initiating the conversion of much of pagan Scotland and northern England to Christianity. Iona's reputation as a missionary hub and esteemed learning center spread throughout Europe, transforming it into a pilgrimage site for centuries. It's a sacred island where the kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Norway were laid to rest. Over the years, the monks of Iona crafted countless intricate carvings, manuscripts, and Celtic crosses, including their masterpiece, the Book of Kells, on display at Trinity College, Dublin.
Visit to Iona Abbey:
Over a century ago, the Abbey and monastic buildings were restored, and in 1938, the Iona Community was founded to continue the tradition of worship and teaching. Explore the Abbey at your own pace, taking in the cloisters, the graveyard (the final resting place of numerous early Scottish, Irish, and French kings), and an impressive collection of over 180 medieval-carved stones and crosses.
The petite island of Staffa, found among the Inner Hebrides, is lauded for its remarkable geology. The Vikings named it Stafyi-øy or 'stave island', as its rock formations evoked images of their vertically placed log houses. Staffa is an intriguing spectacle of hexagonal columnar basalt, formed sixty-five million years ago when erupting lava cooled rapidly. Over time, the relentless Atlantic waves eroded a weakness in the rock, resulting in the legendary Fingal’s Cave. Known previously as ‘The Musical Cave,’ it's famed for the mesmerizing sounds produced by sea water echoing against the cavern walls. This is a unique chance to explore the same island that Sir Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook’s naturalist, promoted in 1772. Numerous illustrious figures, including Jules Verne, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, the artist JMW Turner, and young Felix Mendelssohn, have also graced Staffa with their presence.
Join the expert expedition team for a Zodiac cruise around this extraordinary Scottish island, echoing the journeys of the illustrious 19th-century visitors. Keep your eyes peeled for the charming Atlantic puffin, marvel at the view into Fingal's Cave, and learn about the columnar basalt that shapes this steep-sided island.
Established in 1788 as a fishing port, Tobermory gracefully wraps around the harbor and ascends into the hillside beyond. Its name, derived from Gaelic, alludes to ''Mary's well,'' a feature you can still find at the bay's end.
INCLUDED SHORE EXCURSIONS:
Option 1: Panoramic Mull Experience
A panoramic tour of Mull's ruggedly beautiful coastline. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Sound of Mull, the mountains of Morvern, and Ben More, Mull’s highest mountain. Pause for a short while in Craignure, an important ferry port, as you make your way to the spectacular Glen More.
Option 2: Tobermory Town and Lighthouse Experience
Discover the vibrancy of Tobermory's Harbour, a bustling hub for fishing vessels and yachts. The multi-colored seafront houses have earned Tobermory a starring role in the award-winning children’s TV program, Balamory. Your guide will share intriguing historical insights as you stroll along the seafront.
Option 3: Aros Park Coastal Walk Experience
Embark on a coastal walk from Tobermory Harbour through the enchanting Aros Park. Enjoy splendid views out to Calve Island and learn about the Allans, a shipping family who gifted the park to the people of Tobermory. Marvel at the Celtic rainforest's diverse flora and fauna, and if time permits, visit the Bronze Age Standing Stones at Baliscate, a significant pre-historic location on the Isle of Mull.