5 Ways to Get Active in Oban: Outdoor Activities in Oban

Discover the Seafood Capital of Scotland

The bustling seaside town of Oban promises an unforgettable experience for visitors seeking a blend of adventure, natural beauty and culture. Whether you’d like to spend your days on the water or explore the surrounding Isles on foot, there are plenty of ways to get active during your visit to Oban. 

Castle hunting, shopping, diving, kayaking, sailing, walking, cycling –  discover 5 ways to get active in Oban in this article.


Outdoor Activites in Oban

1. Cycling in Oban & Lorn

Are you a cycling enthusiast? Oban is very fortunate to have many great places to go cycling, suitable both for mountain bikes and road bikes. One prominent cycling route is the Caledonia Way, stretching 120 miles from Campbeltown to Oban. This scenic route allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes of Argyll & the Isles, passing through charming villages, historic sites, and picturesque coastlines. You can either ride the entire route in one go or break it down into manageable sections, depending on your preferences and abilities. Alternatively, you can head on a Highland adventure from Oban to Fort Williams. Most of this 48-mile route is on a wonderful, traffic-free path, with a few sections on minor roads. 

For those seeking shorter rides during their stay, Oban offers a variety of local cycling paths. The terrain around Oban features hills, glens, and forest trails, making for a fantastic active day out. Head on a scenic bike ride towards Port Appin, spotting the iconic Castle Stalker on the way, or a scenic loop to Loch Avich and Loch Awe.

We have over 70 tours mapped out and ready for you to download via Komoot for your next cycling adventure. Explore them here

2. Head on a walk

Going for a walk in Oban is amongst the most popular outdoor activities. With a variety of walking routes catering to different interests and abilities, you can explore the vibrant streets of this bustling seaside town or challenge yourself to a proper hill walk up a 'Munros' (Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet) on one of the surrounding Isles.  

As a major transport hub, it is also easy to take a ferry to the islands and join the growing number of 'island baggers' for a great day's walking offering a taste of island life.

Leisurely Walks in Oban

One of the highlights of walking in Oban is the picturesque promenade, which stretches along the waterfront, offering panoramic views of the harbour, islands, and mountains beyond. Stroll along the Esplanade and soak in the maritime atmosphere, dotted with charming shops, cafes, and restaurants serving freshly caught seafood. Another must-do walk in Oban town is the short trek up to McCaig’s Tower. Soak in the stunning views over Oban Harbour and the surrounding Isles whilst enjoying the tranquillity of the monument’s gardens.

Longer walks near Oban 

Oban boasts a network of scenic trails and pathways, including the Oban to Dunollie Castle Circular Walk. This leisurely route takes walkers on a journey through history, passing by ancient ruins, lush woodlands, and sweeping coastal panoramas. Alternatively, explore the surrounding countryside with hikes like the Pulpit Hill and Ganavan Sands Circular Walk, offering a mix of coastal scenery, woodland trails, and sandy beaches. If you’re seeking a leisurely island walk, head to the small Isle of Kerrera near Oban to complete the 18km circular loop. You can also rent bikes and complete the trail by bike instead!

Munros near Oban

Do you want to bag a Munro? Luckily, Oban is surrounded by stunning hillwalks, including several Munros. One of the most popular gillwalks to do near Oban is up to the peak of Ben Cruachan, near Oban. Rising to a height of 1,126 meters, Ben Cruachan provides stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and is a popular destination for hillwalkers seeking a challenge. The walk up to Ben More is another popular hike, located on the Isle of Mull, which can be easily reached via a scenic ferry journey from Oban. Rising to an impressive 966 meters, Ben More provides a challenging yet rewarding ascent for hikers. The climb up Ben More offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including stunning vistas across the Sound of Mull and neighbouring islands. Discover more walks on the Isle of Mull here.

3. Explore Oban on the water

From sea kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) to wild swimming and snorkelling – there are plenty of water activities to experience in Oban. 

Kayaking in Oban

Kayaking in Oban is an unforgettable adventure and one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in the stunning coastal scenery and rich marine life. Whether you're a seasoned paddler or never sat in a kayak before, there are plenty of kayak experiences tailored to suit every skill level and interest. Join Sea Kayak Oban on a guided sea kayaking adventure to hidden coves and sea caves or further afield during one of their multi-day excursions. Along the way, you'll have the chance to encounter a diverse array of marine wildlife, including seals, seabirds, and perhaps even dolphins playing in the waves. If you’re an experienced sea kayaker, you can also rent equipment and explore Oban’s spectacular coastline at your own pace. 

Paddle boarding in Oban 

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fantastic way to get active in Oban whilst soaking in the beautiful coastal landscapes at a relaxed pace. Don’t worry, you can stand, sit or kneel on your board! Join Basking Shark Scotland on one of their guided experiences, perfect for beginners and intermediate paddlers. You’ll discover sandy beaches and epic scenery with panoramic island and Highland views together with your small group whilst your expert guide – a qualified marine biologist – provides you with interesting facts about the local wildlife and critters. Finish your trip by enjoying one of Oban’s famous West Coast sunsets on your board, most likely one of the most tranquil experiences in Scotland.

Wild Swimming in Oban

From a paddle in a loch or a swim across the open sea, wild swimming is about immersing yourself in nature. Oban has a magnificent choice of sheltered anchorages, moorings, harbours and marinas, providing the perfect backdrop for your wild swim. If you’re new to wild swimming in Scotland, we recommend joining an experienced wild swimming guide on a day trip. Bekah’s Wild Swimming offers a variety of private and group tours, showing you some of Oban’s hidden gems and guiding you safely through the experience of wild swimming in Scotland’s waters. A little further afield, Emma from Hebridean Wild Swimming offers immersive wild swimming retreats to the Isle of Mull and beyond. The Dip & Chill Retreats are the perfect way to detox from everyday life and reconnect with nature. 

Whether you’re joining a guided on-the-water activity or are exploring by yourself, make are you follow Scotland’s Water Safety Code and properly prepare for your adventure.

4. Go Castle Hopping

Want to get active in Oban whilst learning a thing or two about the region’s fascinating highland history? Get active in Oban by exploring one of the many fascinating historic sites and experience some stunning scenery along the way. Among the notable castles to explore is Dunstaffnage Castle and Chapel, located just a short distance from Oban. This historic fortress, dating back to the 13th century, overlooks the picturesque shores of Loch Etive and boasts impressive stone walls and towers. Another fantastic castle to explore is Dunollie Castle, located only a short walk from Oban town. Perched on a wooded hill overlooking Oban Bay and the Inner Hebrides, this majestic ruin offers breathtaking panoramic views. You can explore the remnants of the castle, which include an impressive tower, and immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the MacDougall clan. A short drive from Oban, you’ll find the iconic Kilchurn Castle, one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Make sure you stop at St. Conan’s Kirk on your way, a beautiful ancient church that offers spectacular views over Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle

5. Enjoy a Guided Outdoor Experience

There is an array of guided outdoor activities available in Oban that cater to adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. For those wanting to head out on the water, several sailing providers offer hands-on sailing experiences exploring Oban’s beautiful coastline. Operators such as Stravaigin Sailing or Provident Sailing offer a variety of day- or multi-day tours, from leisurely cruises to adventurous voyages. 

In addition to sailing, Oban boasts a variety of boat tours that take you to some of Oban’s best wildlife spots and iconic sites such as Fingal’s Caves or the Corrywreckan Whirlpool. Seafari Adventures, Sealife Adventures and Basking Shark Scotland are fantastic choices for your on-the-water adventure!

If you prefer to stay on land, why not join Explore Lismore on one of their adventurous 4x4 tours on the nearby Isle of Lismore? Together with your expert guides Robert & Iris, you’ll explore the rugged terrain and ancient ruins of the small Isle before having a delicious – and incredibly scenic – picnic. There’s also an option to head on a unique shepherding tour, venturing into the wild with local shepherd Arthur, his sheepdog and Shetland sheep.

If you’d like to hire a tour guide for your time in Scotland, Glen 2 Glen Tours as well as Bespoke Argyll Tours are fantastic options. Both operators offer fully private tours, including your transport and expert guide.