Staffa National Nature Reserve

Volcanic rock columns are home to black guillemots, fulmars, puffins and the magical Fingal’s Cave

Planning your visit

Staffa is an extraordinary place unlike anywhere else in the world.

Getting here

The easiest way to visit Staffa is with one of the local tour boat operators, easily found online. Landing is highly dependent on suitable weather conditions.

For your safety and full enjoyment of your time on Staffa, please note the following before setting off on your journey:

  • The weather and sea conditions around Staffa can change very quickly, and sometimes plans have to change. It is always advisable to be prepared for almost any weather for the boat trip out and once you arrive on the island.
  • The famous hexagonal basalt rocks on Staffa are very uneven and extremely slippery when wet.
  • There are high cliffs and some places are quite narrow with big drops. You must ‘watch your step’ at all times. You can view the terrain on Staffa in advance of your visit using this Google Street View.

What to expect when you arrive

Landing jetty
All boats landing at Staffa arrive at a jetty on the east side of the island. The jetty is quite narrow and on busy days there can be a lot of people in quite a small space. Please be cautious and mindful of the safety and comfort of others.

The jetty leads to steep and uneven steps and a staircase to the top of the island. The staircase is narrow and can be intimidating if you don’t like heights.

At busy times, there may be a lot of people going both up and down the stairs – please be cautious and mindful of the safety of others.

Route to Fingal’s Cave
From the base of the staircase you can walk along a natural ‘causeway’ to Fingal’s Cave. In places the route is very narrow and follows the base of the basalt column cliff.

Please note that the hexagonal black rocks between the boat jetty and Fingal’s Cave are very uneven and are extremely slippery when wet. Beware of rockfalls.

At busy times, there may be a lot of people going both ways – please be cautious and mindful of the safety of others.

The cliffs above the causeway to Fingal’s Cave are made up of basalt columns. The upper layer of rock is quite loose. Please be aware that rockfalls are rare but can happen. Please take careful note of any advice given by our ranger service.

Fingal’s Cave
The entrance to Fingal’s Cave is very narrow, with a steep drop into the sea on one side. There is a railing along the cave wall to assist to provide some assistance.

Please note that at busy times the cave entrance can be quite congested – please be cautious and mindful of the safety of others.

The top of the island
There is much to discover from the top of the staircase: fantastic panoramic views, extraordinary basalt columns viewed from above, fascinating habitats and, of course, the puffins going about their daily business.

In all the excitement, please remember to take care near cliff edges. Some footpath work has been undertaken to protect habitats from erosion, but there are many unmanaged paths that are uneven and often very wet in places.

There are no visitor facilities or toilets on the island.

Please do not bring your dog to Staffa

Staffa is a haven for ground-nesting birds such as puffins and storm petrels. In line with other important seabird islands, we ask that during the breeding season (1 April to 30 September), when the birds and their young are particularly vulnerable, dogs are not brought to Staffa.

Dog-sitting services are available on Mull and the mainland. Where no alternative has been possible to arrange, your dog, on a lead at all times, may land on the pier on Staffa but must not be allowed up the staircase onto the upper island, where there are vulnerable and nesting birds.

Many seabird populations are currently under increased pressure from avian flu and changes to the prey they depend on. Keeping dogs away from their breeding sites at particularly vulnerable times is one way to help relieve any additional stress on these populations. We are grateful for your support.


Staffa is a ‘no-drone zone’ between 1 April and 31 July, to prevent disturbance to breeding seabirds. Outwith this time, amateur unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) operators should seek permission from the property before flying. Commercial operators should contact the Trust’s Filming Manager at

Landing charges are applicable for commercial operators. Please contact for more information.

Avian flu

Avian flu (H5N1) is still potentially affecting seabirds. The risk to human health is very low but you may see dead birds on your visit, so please follow these simple rules to keep yourself safe:

  • Do not touch any dead or dying bird
  • Wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking
  • Report any dead birds to Trust staff, either in person or using the contact details below. If the dead birds are marked with paint, they have already been counted so there is no need to report them.

H5N1 is a highly infectious disease in birds and can be spread through their faeces. You can help limit the spread to other places and species by keeping your distance from the birds and by checking for notices on the island about areas to avoid.

If you have been to, or are going to, another seabird colony or have birds at home please:

  • Thoroughly clean your boots, especially the soles
  • Wash your outer clothing

Thank you for your support.

Read more: The impact of avian flu at our places

Get in touch

For more information about planning your visit, please see our frequently asked questions.

If you’d like to speak to us, we can be contacted by email: or telephone 01681 700659 or 07717 581405.

Facilities & access

  • Due to the terrain, access onto Staffa is not advisable for wheelchair users.
  • For those with mobility difficulties, the ferry is accessible with assistance.
  • There are steps to the top of the island.
  • The path to Fingal’s Cave is uneven.

We have an ongoing programme of accessible content development. Detailed accessibility guides for the most visited Trust places are available on our Accessibility pages as well as links to useful resources.

We’d love you to visit the Euan’s Guide website to review the accessibility of Trust places and tell us (and others) what’s good and where we need to do better.

Please note that there are unfenced, steep cliffs around most of the island.


Opening times


Current period 1 Jan–31 Dec, open daily

Entry prices

One adult family

Members go free

At all Trust places, admission is free for members.

Join us today