Iona Abbey and Nunnery

Iona Abbey and Nunnery

Iona Abbey - One of Scotland’s most historic and sacred sites

Take a ferry ride to Iona and discover one of Scotland’s most sacred sites. This small island by Mull has been a vibrant centre of Christian worship ever since St Columba arrived in AD 563. Despite various Viking raids, Columba’s monastery managed to survive until the end of the 12th century. In the early 1200s, the sons of Somerled, ‘King of the Isles’ founded a Benedictine abbey here. Pilgrimage to St Columba’s Shrine continued to develop, although monastic life on Iona ended with the Protestant Reformation of 1560.

As a celebrated focus for Christian pilgrimage, Iona retains its spiritual atmosphere. Little remains of the original buildings. A restored 13th-century medieval abbey, founded by Benedictine monks, now stands on the site of Columba’s church. Beside it there are tall, intricately carved crosses, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries. Visitors follow a route to the abbey taken by pilgrims of old – Sràid nam Marbh, ‘the street of the dead’. Look out for Reilig Odhráin – the little cemetery beside Sràid nam Marbh where many ancient Scottish kings were laid to rest.

Getting There:

Iona is reached by public ferry from Fionnphort, Mull. The crossing takes 5 minutes and the walk to Iona Abbey about 10 minutes.

Access to the monument is through the main gate only.

Opening times:

1 Apr to 31 Oct:

  • Mon to Sat, 10am to 4pm
  • Sun, 1pm to 4pm

1 Nov to 24 Dec:

  • Mon to Sat, 10am to 4pm

5 Jan to 31 Mar:

  • Mon to Sat, 10am to 4pm

Please make an online booking to guarantee entry.

Contact details