Iona Abbey / Isle of Iona ***

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This ancient place remains a vibrant centre of Christianity. Founded by St Columba in 563, the early monastery on Iona was a powerhouse of Christian learning. Great works of art were created here, including the world - famous Book of Kells. Thriving despite Viking raids, the abbey was transformed into a Benedicitine monastery in about 1200. Its buildings were restored in the 1900s and in 1938 the Iona Community was founded to revive its traditions of work, worship and teaching. Highlights include the abbey church, iconic high crosses, Columba's shrine and the site of the saint's writing cell. Iona also boasts Scotland's finest collection of carved stones and crosses, now on display in the Abbey Museum.

Today, more than a thousand years later, the abbey is one of the most well-preserved ecclesiastical buildings survived from the Middle Ages on the Scottish Isles.