The Atlantic seaside town of Oban (Gaelic: little bay
) has been renowned as a place of unparalleled beauty since the dawn of Scotland. Queen Victoria herself called it "...one of the finest spot's we have seen." No visitor can forget their first view of the harbour as they crest the hill at BealachAnRigh, the avenue along which it is said the Scottish kings of old were paraded on their way to their tombs. This "King's Highway" is also the site of the historic Kings Knoll Hotel.
Located on Scotland's west coast, Oban is less than two hours from Stirling by train or car, or some three hours from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Oban is the "unofficial" capital of the Western Highlands, with a regular population of almost nine thousand souls. It was once the true capital of Dalriada, the original Kingdom of the Scots, testified by the magnificent ruins of Dunstaffnage Castle to the north of town, which once housed the Stone of Destiny brought from Ireland via Iona.
Oban Bay is watched over by McCaig's Tower, a recreation of the Roman Colosseum erected by the money of local banker John McCaig at the turn of the twentieth century.
The surrounding coast and especially the Sound of Mull are reputed to offer some of the most spectacular underwater diving experiences in all of the British Isles, including a plethora of undersea shipwrecks. Boats can also be hired from the town centre for charters to the picturesque Isle of Mull and Iona, reputedly the point from which St. Columba's Christianity was spread to the United Kingdom.
Among other seasonal events Oban plays host each year to the Inveraray Highland Games (July), the Lorn Agricultural Show (August) and the Argyllshire Highland Gathering (August).