From Gourock, the ferry terminal near Glasgow, Caledonian MacBrayne (tel. 01475/650-100; www.calmac.co.uk for information, or 08000/665-000 for reservations) sails to 23 Scottish islands in the Firth of Clyde and the Western Isles, including Skye and Mull, as well as the Outer Hebrides. The company also offers inclusive tours ideal for visiting places well off the beaten track.
For Mull and Iona, Oban is your port. These islands are part of the Inner Hebrides and enjoy fairly good connections with the mainland. From Oban, the ferries to the offshore islands run only twice a day until summer; then there are cruises to Iona from early June to late September. For details about ferry services to Mull, Iona, and the Outer Hebrides, get in touch with Caledonian MacBrayne's Oban office (tel. 08705/650-000). It sails to 24 islands, with fares ranging from £79 per car and £6.35 per adult passenger for travel to Mull, up to £97 per car plus £22 per adult passenger for travel to Barra. Book in advance, particularly in summer, as the ferries often sell out.
If you're driving from the mainland, you can take the "Road to the Isles," heading for the Kyle of Lochalsh, if your destination is Skye. The more remote Outer Hebrides are linked by car ferries from mainland ports such as Ullapool (tel. 01854/612-358 in Stornoway for schedules). The main islands to visit here are Lewis and Harris.
Glasgow has air service to the airport at Stornoway on Lewis; call British Airways (tel. 0844/493-0787 in Glasgow) for details.