Calmac website search form

Welcome toBarra

Wild flowers and rare birds, long white beaches and turquoise seas: there's a reason this island is known as Barradise.

1 of 5 Cows on the shore, Barra

More about Barra

Ideal for:

History & heritage Nature & wildlife Running Wildlife Watching

The garden of the Hebrides

Not your average garden, though: Barra has 1,000 species of wild flower, and some of the rarest birds in Scotland, including the elusive corncrake. On the approach to Castlebay on the ferry, look out for the dramatic profile of Kisimul Castle, built on a tiny rocky outcrop in the middle of the bay. On land, there's the 12.5-mile run, the barrathon, at the end of June, and a visit across the causeway to Vatersay will reward you with a long stretch of white sand and turquoise seas. For a more seafaring adventure, go on a boat trip in search of common and grey seals, dolphins, and the occasional killer whale in the seas around the island. 

For more information on Barra visit the Visit Outer Hebrides website.

Take care on our coast: slips and falls can happen in all locations, not just high cliffs. Check out these  RNLI Safety Tips   #RespectTheWater

For more information on what to expect in the Outer Hebrides now it is gradually opening its doors once again, watch the video below.

 Find out about Scottish Island Passport here


How to get here

The main route to Barra is by CalMac ferry from Oban, on the mainland. The crossing takes 4 hours 45 minutes.

You can also get a ferry to Barra from the island of Eriskay which takes 40 minutes. Vehicle reservations are recommended on these routes. You can book travel online, and when you do, you'll immediately receive an eTicket direct to your inbox - ready to board..

Buy Tickets

Looking for the best form of travel to and from our ports? Our Public Transport Journey Planner can help you plot your journey from anywhere in the UK, using a wide range of public transport companies.

We have also listed some travel information below that you may find useful:

Getting to Oban from Glasgow

By car

It takes 2 hours 30 minutes to drive to Oban from Glasgow, 3 hours from Edinburgh, 4 hours from Aberdeen, and 2 hours 45 minutes from Inverness. If you are travelling with an electric vehicle, charging points are available at Argyll College.  High speed electric vehicle charging is available on Barra at the Castlebay Council Office approximately 300m from the terminal building.

Postcode for sat nav

Oban Port: PA34 4DB

Travelling without a car

By train

If you're coming from the east coast, Edinburgh, or the South, you'll need to travel through Glasgow. There's a regular direct train to Oban from Glasgow Queen Street Station, and it takes just over 3 hours. 

By bus

The bus route to Oban from Glasgow takes just under 3 hours, traffic permitting. The bus from Inverness to Oban takes 3 hours 30 minutes, with a change at Fort William. Bus services operate regularly (Monday to Saturday) throughout the Outer Hebrides. Passengers can expect limited seating capacity where groups of 6 or more are advised to contact the operator in advance. Services from Castlebay (Barra) link directly with Ardmhor (Barra) and surrounding areas. 

Plan your Journey with our Public Transport Journey Planner

Active Travel

By foot 

Referred to as Scotland's most beautiful Hebridean island, the Isle of Barra offers an array of walking routes for easy to moderate levels along sandy beaches taking between 1 - 5 hours. For more information about walks on Barra go to Visit Outer Hebrides.

By bike

Looking to cycle on the Isle of Barra? The island is encircled by a single track road that gives you access to amazing scenery and links into the 185 mile Hebridean Way Cycling Route that crosses 10 islands, 6 causeways, and 2 ferries. Bikes are available to hire on Barra, details can be found at Visit Outer Hebrides.

Note: If you're bringing your bike, please add your bike(s) to your booking, - this means that you have more certainty about space. This ticket will remain free of charge.

Plan your cycling route at CycleStreets.

Have you thought about alternate routes to get to your chosen destination?

With many routes to and from the Outer Hebrides and great connectivity throughout the island chain the travel options available have never been greater.

Whether you are looking to explore on a Island Hopping holiday or find a different route home we offer a variety of daily sailings to ensure that you can reach your ideal destination.

Here are the route options to the Outer Hebrides

Castlebay (Barra) from Oban
Lochboisdale (Uists) from Mallaig
Lochmaddy (Uists) from Uig (Skye)
Tarbert (Harris) from Uig (Skye)
Stornoway (Lewis) from Ullapool

Useful information for your journey

For those travelling onward without a vehicle find out more about the  bus services  offered throughout the Outer Hebrides.

Download the free Ultimate Outer Hebrides App  your ideal journey companion.

Keep up to date with all our CalMac services and Service status & info.

Helpful tips for driving on Barra

Travelling with Campervans/Motorhomes/Caravans

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) request that visitors in caravans, motorhomes and campervans stay in official campsites and or designated overnight spots. Plan your trip carefully by booking sites where you can and do not stay out with these campsites/overnight spots. This will help to manage numbers, alleviate pressure on our fragile environment and avoid excessive impact on our communities. Please follow our P.L.A.C.E visitor code and help to keep the Outer Hebrides special. Find out more about changes that have been made to taking  Motorhomes and Campervans in the Outer Hebrides  

In addition motorhomes, campervans and those vehicles towing a caravan will not be able to join standby queues at ports on the following routes. Find out more about changes that have been made to the motorhomes, campervans and caravans standby process.


Video transcript - How to drive on single track roads

View on interactive map
Close Don't show again