The Isle of Iona is located in the Inner Hebrides of >Scotland. The island only measures one mile by 3.5 miles so you won't have any difficulty walking the full length of the island to enjoy its delights. The original name is Chaluim Chille, or Saint Columba's Isle and it is only a mile from the coast of Mull. Isle of Iona dates back to 563 when St. Columba landed here and founded a monastery. Using this as a base, he and his followers set out to bring Christianity to the rest of Scotland and parts of northern England. Many people from all over the world made pilgrimages to Iona and it became the sacred burial place for the Kings of Scotland, Norway and Ireland. The National Trust of Scotland maintains the island and takes care of all the historic sites and monuments.
There are many that believe The Book of Kells originated on the Isle of Iona. The Benedictine abbey that stands on this island dates back to the 13th
century. The religious influence of the island is still being felt in modern times. This is the site of the Iona Community, a religious group of all denominations seeking to find their own way to live the gospel of Jesus. There are three residential centres that welcome anyone who wishes to come and live within this community.
The Iona Abbey is the site of many pilgrimages, even to this day, as people come to see St. Martin's Cross, which dates back to the 8th
century. Visit the Iona Nunnery, which also has withstood the test of time since the 13th
century. Learn about the lives of the people who have lived on this island throughout the centuries with a visit to the Iona Heritage Museum.
In addition to its religious attractions, this island is a haven for wildlife. Here you can see all kinds of animals roaming freely. Watch the dolphins and whales as they play in the water. You can hire a boat to take you around the island to see the many caves and geological formations, to see the sea birds and seals or to try your hand at handline fishing. If you like to stay on land, rent a bicycle and explore on your own. Take a day sightseeing trip in which you can see and hear the exciting stories about all the places on the island.
The Isle of Iona offers a unique shopping experience to all its visitors. The Iona Abbey Shop, operated by Historic Scotland, has a wide variety of locally made crafts and goods that make excellent souvenirs to take home from your visit. There are also general stores here and several craft stores, bookstores and a shop selling authentic Celtic jewellery. See pottery and ceramics being made that reflect land and seascapes and purchase some of the beautiful pieces to take back home with you. Whether you want to stay in a hotel, a bed and breakfast located in a traditional home or rent a cottage for the duration of your visit, you have these options when you come to Iona.