Fingal’s Cave – a guide to exploring this beautiful cave on the Isle of Staffa in 2023


It might not be the first name that springs to mind when you think of iconic Scottish locations, but in our opinion, Fingal's Cave is an absolute must-visit.

Located on the uninhabited island of Staffa, the cave isn't necessarily easy to reach. But we'd say a trip to the cave is well worth the effort. In this article we'll be looking at what makes the cave so special and what you can do during you visit to the cave.

How was the cave formed?

You may have noticed from the pictures that the cave has quite a unique look - it is formed entirely from hexagonally jointed basalt columns, which is both beautiful and strange to look at.

These columns were formed from lava that erupted from Mull volcano more than 59 million years ago. The lava cooled on the upper and lower surfaces, which caused the fracturing and created the columns. Looking at the cave you could almost think it was man-made due to the intricacies of the design, but it was all a natural accident/miracle.


What can you do at the cave?

Firstly we should mention that it'll take you around 45 minutes to get from Mull to Staffa via boat.

The trip will fly by as you'll have the chance to spot lots of wildlife along the way. Once you get to the cave, you could simply admire it from a distance on the boat, but there is also the opportunity to head into the cave to get a better look at the columns closer up, and you could even jump in the water for a wild swim in Fingal's Cave (with or without a snorkel mask).

However, our favourite thing to do is to kayak into the cave. Definitely the best way to appreciate the beauty! Again, you can hire kayaks from a local tour company and head in as part of a group.


What do you need to know before heading there?

The main thing you need to do before heading to Fingal's Cave is figure out which tour company you want to go with and how you want to see the cave. We recommend the following options:

Basking Shark Scotland

Basking Shark Scotland is a tour company that offers swim, kayak, and SUP tours of the cave. Their tours include the boat trip to the cave, as well as the hire of equipment. These tours usually last about 10 hours and will take up a whole day, plus they depart from Oban. Prices start from £200 per person.

Staffa Tours

This tour company runs daily trips from Iona and Fionnphort, which start at around £30. These trips allow you to admire the cave from a distance and usually include an element of wildlife spotting too.

Staffa Trips 

Staffa Trips are a tour company that offers boat trips to Fingal's Cave from Iona and Fionnphort. Their trips give you the opportunity to see Puffins as well as other seabirds like shags, razorbills, and great skuas. You might even see dolphins or porpoises. Their trips last around 3 hours and prices start at £30 for an adult.


Sailing at Fingal's Cave (2023)

It's popular to sail around Fingal's Cave which is not only a great way to see the cave but also a lot of fun.

Your experience will entirely depend on the weather. If the weather is rough and the water is choppy, then you'll have to make do with viewing the cave from a safe distance, which is still very enjoyable. When the weather is calmer you'll have the option to anchor and view the cave from the island.

If you'd like to use a hire company for this experience then here is a selection of sailing companies that will offer trips around Fingal's Cave:

Venture Sail -

New Horizon Sailing -

Staffa Trips -


All photos used in this article are from Wikimedia and have been released under a Creative Commons license. If you're interested in other Scottish trips, check out the Borders Abbey Way and the Kintyre 66. If you want to visit other Scottish islands, we have guides about Skye, Jura, and Arran.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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