The island only has two major settlements, Baile Mor and the Iona Community. There are 70 permanent residents, but 500,000 visitors each year.
The monastic community on Iona was founded in 563AD by Colum Cille (St. Columbia) from Ireland. This was the home of celtic christianity for six hundred years until King David suppressed celtic christianity in the twelfth century. Iona remained a major pilgrimage site until the reformation when the island was sacked and the community scattered. In the early twentieth century, the abbey was rebuilt and a new monastic community has begun here, providing much of the tourism for the island.
The ferry from Fionnphort connects with a bus number 496 to Craignure, which connects with a Caledonian Macbrayne ferry service to Oban. Oban has a train and bus service to Glasgow. The journey from Iona to Glasgow takes approximately 5 hours. The bus and ferries will wait for incoming services to try to keep the connections.
Iona has one Taxi. If you stay in one of the retreats or hotels, then you may be collected from the quay by car. You can hire bicycles from the Finlay Ross shop in Balle Mor. Otherwise you need to walk.
Walk to the top end of Iona where there are several beaches with white sand, clear water and beautiful rocks. The views are stunning views back towards the Ross of Mull or to the North to Tiree, Coll, The Treshnish Isles, Staffa, Eigg, Muck, and Skye. This walk can be combined with a visit to the Abbey, which is enroute to the beaches.
Walk to South West coast of the island to the beach at | Camas Cuil an t-Saimh]. To the south of the bay there is a spouting cave.
There is a bar near the quay in Balle Mor, and in the hotels.
The biggest danger on Iona is from the elements.
The Lewissian Gneiss rocks on the Western half of Iona are ~ 2 Billion years old and are some of the oldest in Europe. They are a mixture of pink, white, red, green and black.