There are a number of ways to travel to the region from the south. Take the M74 up to Glasgow and then join the A82 which runs alongside Loch Lomond. Here you can join the A83 towards Kintyre and the Cowel Peninsula or continue further north on the A85 to Oban, the gateway port to many of the area’s beautiful islands. From the north, the main route that leads to the region is the A82 from Inverness to Oban, which takes just over two hours.
Within Argyll & The Isles you'll discover main roads and delightful country lanes that offer picturesque routes through stunning landscapes. As an alternative to the main trunk roads, why not explore along the Argyll Coastal Route, one of Scotland‘s National Tourist Routes. The route starts in Tarbet and continues for almost 150 miles (240km) via Oban to Fort William.
In rural areas you may find single-track roads and will need to use passing places with care and courtesy to other road users. You may also encounter livestock by or on the roads themselves, so caution and slow speeds are always recommended. If you are planning to take your car to any of the islands by ferry, make sure that you read about travelling by ferry below.
If you plan on travelling by bicycle, take a look at our information on cycling in Scotland.
To help you with your journey read about driving in Scotland, find up-to-date traffic information from Traffic Scotland, or plan your route with Transport Direct. Information on car parking in the region can be found on the Argyll and Bute Council site.
For information about all public transport in Scotland, the best place to check for information and timetables is with Traveline; you can also download their handy mobile app or call them on 0871 200 22 33.
National coach services run from cities and towns across Scotland to many of the larger towns in the area, including Campbelltown, Tarbet, Lochgilped and Oban, from where you can link to local services.
Argyll and Bute Council offer detailed public transport guides which includes local bus companies that operate across the region. Larger islands including Mull and Bute have regular bus services, whilst smaller islands are more likely to offer minibuses or taxis.
There are also a couple of Postbuses operating in the region, which provide a minibus service along rural postal routes.
There are good mainline rail links to the region on the west coast line. Travelling from Glasgow to Oban is an excellent way to begin your visit. Running alongside stunning lochs and mountains, this route is often considered one of the best train routes in the world. From Oban, you will find connecting ferry and road links to other parts of Argyll and the Isles. For all train times to Scotland and fares across the UK network, visit National Rail Enquiries.
Discovering the West Highlands and Islands by car and passenger ferry is a pleasure in itself. Although some ferries allow tickets to be bought on the day, it is recommended that they be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
Visitors from Ireland can travel from Larne to Cairnryan with Stenaline or from Larne to Cairnryan and Troon with P&O Ferries, who also offer express ferries to Troon between March and October. From Cairnryan and Troon, in south west of Scotland, you can travel north to Argyll within a matter of hours. A smaller passenger-only ferry service also operates between Ballycastle and Campbeltown in Kintyre.
Around Argyll by ferry
Ferries are an important mode of transport in Argyll, given the area’s many islands and peninsulas.
From Troon, Cairnryan and the south west, you can either drive north into Argyll via Glasgow, or travel to Weymss Bay or Colintravie. From here you can take a ferry across to Bute with Caldonian MacBrayne, who also provide the main services to the Inner Hebrides. CalMac's offer passenger or car ferry services from Oban to many islands, including Mull, Tiree, Coll, and Iona. Some islands only allow residents to take their car, so it is advisable to check in advance. Gigha, Isaly and Colonsay can also be reached from Oban as well as from Kennacraig in Kintyre. You can find out more about travel to Argyll destinations with Caledonian MacBrayne.
You can reach the Cowal Peninsula with Argyll Ferries who operate a daily frequent passenger service between Dunoon and Gourock which has connections from Glasgow Central Station.
There are many smaller ferry services accross the Isles, and a list of local ferry services is available from Argyll and Bute Council. See Travel around by ferry for more details including ferry tickets and island hopping.
There are several options for flying to Argyll & The Isles - the best way to find the most competitive fares for flying around Scotland is to search on comparison sites such as SkyScanner, Travel Supermarket and Cheapflights.
There are national and international flights to Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport which offer great transport links by rail or road to Argyll & The Isles. Flights from Glasgow Airport to Campbelltown, Tiree and Islay are ran by Loganair, and flights from Oban to the islands of Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and Islay are available with Hebridean Air Services. Hebridean Air Services and Loch Lomond Seaplanes also offer scenic day trips over the isles.
Find out more about travelling to and around Scotland.