St Columba Bay on Iona, photo by Mark Richards

The sacred Isle of Iona, off Scotland’s rugged West Coast, has been a place of spiritual pilgrimage for thousands of years. Many people have felt a unique, almost tangible energy as they step onto its stones and feel drawn into its mystery and light.

This fabled isle is small – just three miles long and barely a mile wide – yet its magic has been recognised over the centuries, as the home of Celtic spirituality, a centre of learning, and the burial place of Scottish and Norse kings, including Macbeth.

But perhaps it’s the effect of spiritual connection over millennia, from monks, nuns and pilgrims to pre-Christian sun worshippers, that makes a retreat on Iona so heart-opening.

Our retreat house Traigh Bhan on the island of Iona at sunset with rainbow behind (Photo by Graham Meltzer 2007)

Our retreat house on the beach

A variety of retreats are held in our magical retreat house, Traigh Bhan, on the peaceful north end of the island, right on the water.

Sleeping just five to six guests, the house is a gentle space to rest a while, away from life’s busy-ness, within a safe, small group that allows you to reconnect with the invisible, the mystical and the magical.

Combined with the energies of Iona, the Sanctuary at Traigh Bhan is a powerful place to connect with spirit.

The story of Traigh Bhan

The retreat house was given to the Findhorn Foundation by a woman named Jessica Ferreira, thanks to Katherine and Roger Collis, both Findhorn Fellows. Jessica had created a Sanctuary – still a space of beautiful energy – to shine light into the world, and she wanted to ensure that impulse would continue after she was gone.

As custodians of Traigh Bhan, the Foundation continues to honour Jessica’s legacy when members are in residence, by holding morning meditations in the Sanctuary, with another peaceful meditation every Wednesday at 12 noon, which is open for anyone on the island to join.

Traigh Bhan on the island of Iona, with the beach and sea behind (Photo by Mark Richards - Aurora Imaging)

Retreats on Iona

A retreat on Iona gives you space to focus on your inner life in a supportive environment of natural beauty, inspiration and peace.

There’s plenty of opportunity for quiet contemplation, while the island itself – with its wild and spectacular coastal scenery – will tempt you outside to rest in healing contact with nature’s beauty.

Certain retreats have a special themed focus, allowing you to deepen into a specific aspect while on Iona. Please look out for …

– Gardening by Attunement on Iona

3-10 June 2023

Ground yourself in the garden at Traigh Bhan, our retreat house on Iona, as you connect with and explore the unseen realms around us.

– Summer Solstice on Iona

17-24 June 2023

At this moment of greatest light in the turning of the Earth, take a life pause on retreat to reflect on how we can open up our own paths to light and abundance.

– Iona Pilgrimage

15-22 July
12-19 August

Slow down, connect with the sacred in nature and consider your life’s next steps, as you experience this mystical island as a pilgrim rather than a tourist.

– Transform key life issues

9-16 September

Retreat to the Sacred Isle of Iona and play the Transformation Game® to clarify important issues, resolve conflicts and enhance relationships.

– Autumn Equinox on the Isle of Iona

16-23 September

Rest and rebalance as you celebrate the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumn Equinox at Traigh Bhan, our retreat house on the West Coast Isle of Iona.

More dates below!

From personal to planetary change

The subtle work that happens through meditation in Traigh Bhan’s Sanctuary flows simultaneously through two different channels: our own inner journey and evolution, while also raising the level of energy flowing along the etheric web and strengthening the physical space. While a retreat on Iona is designed to support our inner work, at the same time we’re supporting others and giving back to the energy of this special place.

Arriving at Traigh Bhan

Need to know

These are some key points to bear in mind when planning a trip to Iona.

  • Only Islanders are permitted to take a car onto the island. There’s free parking at the ferry port.
  • It’s a roughly 25-minute walk to Traigh Bhan, along the road to the north of the island, and then across two fields.
  • So travel light! You carry your own gear (there is a cart you can use). A taxi is an option.
  • Iona is reached via a short ferry from Fionnphort on the island of Mull. The ferry takes about 10 minutes, and runs regularly between about 8.30am and 6pm in season (there are fewer crossings in winter). In high winds or storms the ferry is cancelled.
  • The Foundation runs a bus service between The Park/Cluny and Iona when the retreat programme is running.
  • You can reach Mull by ferry from Oban, or from Fort William via two ferries – at Corran and Lochaline.
  • If you’re joining a retreat, please note that there are just two bedrooms in Traigh Bhan (sleeping three or four people), so accommodation and the bathroom is shared.

Main image by Mark Richards

Choose your dates and book!

03/06/2023 Gardening through Attunement Retreat on Iona Spaces
10/06/2023 Spaces
17/06/2023 Summer Solstice on Iona Waiting list - Please call Bookings
24/06/2023 Spaces
01/07/2023 Spaces
08/07/2023 Spaces
15/07/2023 Iona Pilgrimage Spaces
22/07/2023 Spaces
29/07/2023 Spaces
05/08/2023 Spaces
12/08/2023 Iona Pilgrimage Spaces
19/08/2023 Spaces
26/08/2023 Spaces
02/09/2023 Spaces
09/09/2023 Transformation Game workshop Spaces
16/09/2023 Autumn Equinox Spaces
23/09/2023 Spaces
30/09/2023 Spaces

How to get to Iona

On a Findhorn Foundation bus

This is generally the easiest way – depending on numbers, the Foundation bus leaves from Findhorn early on a Saturday morning, to reach Iona around 12 noon, and brings you back a week later.

Contact the Findhorn Foundation Transport Department for inquiries:


Making your own way to Iona

The nearest travel hub is Oban, which is easily reached from Glasgow (about 2h40 by car, or 3h30 by public transport).

From Oban:

  • Take a Calmac Ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull (about 1 hour – you can take a car)
  • Craignure to Fionnphort (about 1 hour by car, or 1h30 by bus)
  • Take a Calmac Ferry from Fionnphort to Iona (about 10 minutes) – leave your vehicle in the community centre car park (free).

Another main centre is Fort William (this is best done by car):

  • South of Fort William take the Corran Ferry from Nether Lochaber to Ardgour Terminal (about five minutes)
  • Drive to Lochaline (about an hour)
  • Cross to the Isle of Mull on a Calmac Ferry from Lochaline to Fishnish.
  • Drive to Fionnphort (just over an hour).
  • Take a Calmac Ferry from Fionnphort to Iona (about 10 minutes) – leave your vehicle in the community centre car park (free).


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