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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: James Fair

This eye-catching cathedral-like cave, rising 70m over the sea on the island of Staffa, is made up of hexagonal columns of volcanic basalt that look as if they could have been moulded in a foundry.

The cave was formed at the same time (about 60 million years ago) and from the same lava flow as the Giant’s Causeway across the water in Northern Ireland.

There’s a natural walkway which allows you to wander inside at low tide and experience the acoustics – the sound of waves crashing inside inspired the German composer Mendelssohn to write his Hebrides Overture.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 6+
Frequency: monthly
When: All year around
Duration: 1 night

Getting there & doing it

The small island of Staffa can be accessed by boat tours from local ports.

Tours with Staffa Tours last from 3 hours (departing from Fionnphort or Iona), up to 12 hours from Oban. Tobermory or Ardnamurchan (6 hours) are two other departure point options.

When to do it

Tours generally only operate in the warmer months (April to October), several times a week.

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Scottish Highlands

Scottish Highlands, United Kingdom (UK)

Ruins of Kilchurn Castle on the edge of Loch Awe with brown hills behind

Magnificent mountain scenery slashed by silvery lochs and peppered with brooding castles: all laden with rich Scottish heritage, history and tradition. Drive the NC500 road trip, or ride on the spectacular West Highland Line.

Round-ups that include this experience