As you’ve no doubt figured out from previous posts, I really liked my time in Scotland. There are several places near and dear to my heart, and one of them is Mallaig and it’s nearby islands. Since I’m going about my travels by feel, there’s a lot of information I am learning in the moment. Most recently, some information about seeing some of the beautiful Scottish isles.
Mallaig is a wonderful town to base yourself if you want to see Isle of Skye and some of its neighbors. So is Arisaig, about a 15-minute drive away. Here are some things to consider for your journey, should you end up in this area of the world:
- Distance and Timing. Mallaig is a 5 hour direct train ride from Glasgow. It’s really only about 2.5 hours if you drive, but the train stops at EVERY station. Cool tip – if you take the train, you go over the bridge used in the Harry Potter films!
- Book in advance. I tried to find a place to stay 3 days in advance. I spent hours at it because every website said all accommodation was booked. I ended up calling places though and found a wonderful B&B, so don’t give up!
- Consider The Ferry. Mallaig offers easy access to a ferry which brings you to every isle you’ll want to see. BUT, it goes to different isles on different days. So, if you spend a few days in Mallaig, the first thing you should do is figure out which isles you’ll visit. The second thing you should do is review the ferry schedule to see which days the ferry goes to each island, and then you can work out your schedule.
- Have a backup plan. If you change your mind or mess up the schedule, Arisaig offers a ferry (and is another lovely small town to stay in if Mallaig is booked). Note – this boat is much smaller. Instead of a ferry it’s a boat that carries up to 84 people. If the sea is rough, well, carry some seasick medicine.
- Do you like seals? There are three that reside in the harbour of Mallaig because the fishermen feed them every afternoon. If you like watching cute seals swim around, this is a perfect spot.
- Eat fish-n-chips. Pretty much any place you go to in this area will have fantastic fish and chips – but also eat the local seafood like mussels. I had the best mussels of my life on Isle of Skye.
- Touristy or Quiet? As you choose a place to stay, consider whether you prefer something more touristy with easier access to food and hotels, or something more remote. Isle of Skye was rather touristy, whereas Isle of Muck was serene. Isle of Eigg and Inverrie seemed inbetween – know your options!
- Consider transportation on the island. If you’re not renting a car, the islands tend to have local buses. However, they only run about once every 3 hours. Many of the islands I visited did not have any tourist office, so I just jumped on the first bus I found, which was a good thing. For a few pounds, I got a tour of the island and decided where to stop and view the part of the island that seemed most interesting.
- Must love dogs. Seriously. They are everywhere which is wonderful if you’re a dog lover like me – on the boats, in the pubs, just everywhere you are. 🙂