Just off the west coast of Scotland on the Isle of Iona, the Iona Abbey has long been a symbol of Scottish history and religion. It served as a mausoleum for many early Scottish kings, with more than fifty accounted for by the 16th century. It is one of the oldest religious centers in Western Europe. The Irish monk Columba arrived to the island in 563, establishing a monastery that survived for centuries to come. In around the year 1200 the historic Abbey and Nunnery were constructed.
Responsible for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland, it remains a symbol of Scottish Christianity that many still pilgrimage today. There are four impressive high crosses remaining, all of which can be seen in the abbey museum. The oldest, St. Martin’s Cross, dates back to the 8th century. The isle has a spiritual atmosphere and is today maintained by the Iona Community.
To get to the Isle of Iona, you’ll need first to catch a ferry to the Isle of Mull. The abbey is all year-round, though summer and winter hours vary. Generally it is open to the public daily from 10 am to 4 pm. Entrance is £7.10.