Arisaig to Eigg and the Best Things to do on Eigg (2023)
The Isle of Eigg is not only a wonderfully scenic place to visit but also a great community. With a population of just over one hundred, the Eigg community managed to establish a community trust to buy over the island back in 1997.
The inhabitants of Eigg focus on conserving local heritage and wildlife along with boosting the economy and sustainable development of the island. All electricity on Eigg is produced by renewable sources on the island itself. More importantly, they’re wonderfully welcoming people!
This post was first published on 27/6/22 and updated on 10/6/23. It will be updated again in July after my next stay on the island.
How to get to Eigg
Unless you have your own boat, the only way to get to Eigg is by ferry and you can go from Arisaig Harbour or Mallaig Harbour. You can also combine it with a stop in Rum, Muck or Canna depending on how much time you have. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have your own boat, you can sail from Arisaig to Eigg yourself!
Arisaig to Eigg Ferry
The boat trip from Arisaig to Eigg is as much of the day out as the time on the island itself. You’ll often see Minke whales and sometimes Orcas, sharks, dolphins, porpoises and seals too. You’ll likely see lots sheerwaters and in fact the boat to Eigg is called MS Sheerwater.
It goes without saying that you’ll pass some great scenery. The day we went was grey but the water was still and it all looked very surreal. The sky and sea and anything in between was different shades of grey and yet it was so mesmerisingly beautiful.
The skipper often lets children into the cabin to have a look and will point out wildlife to them. There are posters on the boat to help you identify them too.
MS Sheerwater has both indoor and outdoor seating and can take 45 passengers. Apart from the standard Arisaig to Eigg ferry trip, Arisaig Marine also offers trips sailing around Eigg looking out for wildlife and other things of interest and you can also charter a boat for a private sailing. See more here.
Arisaig to Eigg Ferry FAQs
- Can I take my dog on the boat from Arisaig to Eigg? There are usually a few aboard so as long as they’re on a leash, they should be fine. Dogs go free but you should pre-book in case the boat is busy.
- Can I take my bike on the ferry from Arisaig to Eigg? Yes, there is a charge of £5 and there is a limit of six bikes. You can also hire bikes on Eigg. Electric bikes are not allowed.
- How long is the ferry from Arisaig to Eigg? – It takes about an hour but if there’s lots of wildlife to see that day, it can take longer to let the visitors get a good look. They’re really a friendly, accommodating team!
- Does Arisaig to Eigg ferry go all year round? No, only from April to September
- Where do I get the ferry from Arisaig to Eigg? At Arisaig Marina opposite Arisaig Hotel
- Do have to book the ferry from Arisaig to Eigg in advance? Yes, you should book in advance
- How do I book the Arisaig to Eigg ferry? You can book directly on their website, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 06187-450224. Collect your tickets from the cafe.
Arisaig to Eigg Ferry Timetable
- The ferry service from Arisaig to Eigg runs from April to September. In Summer 2023, the ferry will leave Arisaig at 10 am on Wednesday and Saturday.
- From May to August, it will also sail on Mondays.
- The boat continues on to Muck and comes to take you back to Arisaig from Eigg around 4pm.
Arisaig to Eigg Ferry Fare
- The fares are all one-way so if you’re going for a day trip, make sure you book two sets of tickets for Arisaig to Eigg and Eigg to Arisaig.
- Adults £12.50, children 2-16yrs £7.50, under 2 free, dogs free but must be booked, bikes £5 (no electric bikes allowed)
Mallaig to Eigg Ferry
Mallaig to Eigg Ferry FAQs
- Can I take my dog on the boat from Mallaig to Eigg? Yes, but if you want to sit inside with your dog, you need to pre-book.
- Can I take my bike on the Mallaig to Eigg ferry? Yes, they go free but there is a limit on numbers and they are cannot go on all sailings. You can also hire bikes on Eigg.
- How long is the ferry from Mallaig to Eigg? – It takes about an hour and a half
- Where do I get the ferry from Mallaig to Eigg? At Mallaig Harbour
- Do have to book the ferry from Mallaig to Eigg in advance? No, you can usually turn up but it might be better to book in busy times.
- How do I book the Mallaig to Eigg ferry? You can book directly on their website.
Mallaig to Eigg Ferry Timetable
The timetable for the ferry to Eigg from Mallaig is much less straightforward. The 2023 summer timetable is currently Mon 10:10, Tues 9:55, Thurs 10:20, Fri 8:00, Sat 13:20, Sun 14:45. You can see the full timetable and arrival times and routes on their website here.
Mallaig to Eigg Ferry Fare
- Adults £4.35 single, £8.70 return, children 5-15yrs £2.20 single, £4.40 return, under 5 free but must have a ticket, dogs free but must be booked, bikes £2 (no electric bikes allowed)
All in all, taking the ferry to Eigg from Arisaig is generally much easier but only sails April to September.
To get to Eigg from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fort William or any other town, you can get a train to Arisaig or Mallaig station and walk down to the harbour. There are three trains a day via Fort William and you might want to combine with the Jacobite Steam Train. Alternatively you can travel with Shiel Buses from Fort William.
Things to do on Eigg
What are best things to do on Eigg you’re wondering. Well, there’s quite a variety of activities on Eigg to choose from.
Cycling on Eigg
Although the island is small, you’re only there for the day, the best way to see more is by cycling around Eigg. If you want to bike on Eigg, you can either bring your own over on the ferry or you can hire one from Eigg Adventures. They have mountain bikes, touring bikes and even electric bikes. If that’s not enough, they have child seats, trailers and more.
Rental rates start at £20 a day depending on the bike and £15 for children. If you’re staying on the island and hiring for a few days, you can get a better rate. All bike hire come with helmets included. They are located right on the pier. Save yourself the hassle of taking your bike on the boat from Arisaig to Eigg and book bike hire at Eigg Adventures.
Walks on Eigg
If you’re like me, you might prefer to walk about the island. I didn’t walk from the harbour though. I took advantage of the island taxi. It took us pretty much to the end of the road where we continued to the Singing Sands of Eigg. We had this beautiful Eigg beach pretty much to ourselves and walked up and down listening to the singing caused by the level of quartz in the sand.
The taxi dropped a couple of other passengers off to walk down to Laig Bay. You can take a long walk around here through the forest trails but you probably need an overnight stay to do it. (A word of warning – our co-passengers didn’t turn up for the pick up back to the ferry from Eigg to Arisaig)
Along the road we stopped off at the Cleadale Crofting Museum Croft No 6. It’s definitely worth a visit to see how the islanders lived until not too long ago and learn a bit of history. See photos further down.
If you want to walk to the Singing Sands beach, it’s just over two miles. At the other end of the scale, you can do the much more challenging Sgurr of Eigg climb which is around five miles but suited for more advanced hikers. See excellent details and maps on walks on Eigg at Walk Highlands
There are several Eigg walks you can go on straight from the harbour to Koldonan or the caves but not quite as easy as the one we did. Walkers have been advised not to go in the caves recently.
Kayaking at Eigg
The crystal clear waters around Eigg make it perfect for kayaking and you can stop off at one of the many gorgeous private spots around the nearby bays and explore scenic Eigg beaches
You can hire a kayak at Eigg Adventures for £20 for two hours and £30 for 4 hours. They have both single and tandem kayaks. Children up to 11 can only go in a tandem kayak. Hire includes all safety equipment. You can book your kayak at Eigg Adventures.
Eigg Wildlife Walks
Guided walks with Scottish Wildlife Trust normally take place on Wednesdays at 11am in the spring and summer but I’m not sure that they’re running at the moment.
Learn about Crofting on Eigg
There are two ways to do this. The first is to visit the museum at Croft no 6 and to follow the Cleadale Crofting Trail starting at the crossroads.
The second is to book a Croft Tour in Cleadale with Eigg Organics. It’s £10 for adults and free for children. Contact Eigg Organics to book your croft tour.
Where to eat on Eigg
Galmisdale Bay Cafe, Restaurant and Bar
On our last Arisaig to Eigg trip, I packed sandwiches and snacks for a picnic but when I saw the delicious food at Galmisdale Bay Cafe, Restaurant and Bar, I instantly regretted it! We did have a very nice coffee at least.
The restaurant is right at the harbour of Eigg, Galmisdale Pier so is an ideal spot to fuel up for a hike or cycle or to feed the appetite you’ve worked up exploring the beautiful Isle of Eigg.
They serve snacks, cakes and meals and try to use local produce as much as possible and everything is fresh. You can sit in or out on the terraces. You can also get a take-away for a picnic later.
Isle of Eigg Shop
Another great option for picnic food is the Isle of Eigg Shop that sells just about everything kind of food you need and again it’s local produce as much as possible. Supporting local is really important to the people on Eigg. It’s also on Galmisdale Pier so you can pick something up for your Arisaig to Eigg day out or stay or pick up some goodies on the way home.
The Isle of Eigg Shop also delivers daily if you’re staying on the island and even better you can make an order in advance to be picked up or delivered upon your arrival on the island. See more on the Isle of Eigg Shop website.
If you’re staying on the island, be sure to have dinner at Lageorna one night – a set three course meal using local produce from Eigg and neighbouring islands and organic where possible. It’s rated four stars on Visit Scotland, the prices are very reasonable and the view is stunning. You can also stay there and enjoy breakfast too!
Rest and Be Thankful Tea Room at Cleadale
Stop off and enjoy delicious home-baking at Rest and Be Thankful tea room in the tiny village of Cleadale.
Volunteer on Eigg!
If you fall in love with Eigg, you can volunteer to do work with the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust or with the Scottish Wildlife Trust for between two weeks and two months. I quite fancy doing that myself! Find out how to volunteer here.
Places to stay on Eigg
If you decide to add on a few days to your Arisaig trip or break it up with a night away, you might be wondering where to stay on Eigg. Despite being a small island, there’s a variety of accommodation on Eigg. Let’s take a look.
- Eigg Camping Pods are right next to the pier so perfect for kayaking, hiring a bike for a couple of hours, shopping and the ferry. They’re basic pods with an outdoor cooking area. There’s a shower block at the pier so you have all you need to put your head down before another day of adventure. Book directly at their website here.
- Laegorna has an ideal location for exploring the other end of the island. With wonderful views over Laig Bay, they offer bed and breakfast in the main house and also have a self-catering cottage. Dinner is also available for residents and non-residents. Book directly here.
- Glebe Barn hostel and apartment is possibly only catering to private hire at the moment. See updates and more here.
- Eigg Organics have a bothy, a yurt and also tent pitches to rent. Dogs are not allowed. See more here. (Update: the yurt seems not to be available this year.)
- Eigg Log Cabin and Camping cabins are in Cleadale. See here for more info.
- Laig Beach Bothy, Sweeney’s Bothy and the Amazing Eigg Shed are three great options with modern interiors and stunning views. See more here.
- Kildonan House offers bed and breakfast on Eigg, amazing views and an authentic experience in their 18th century farmhouse. See more here
- Laig Caravan is another one with great views and a childhood holiday feel to it See more here.
- Selkie Yurt has a great view looking over to Rum and is close to the beach. See more here.
- St Franny’s Bothan is a few minutes from the pier so also close to amenities. See more here.
- Camping on Eigg – you can camp on Eigg but, of course, you should follow the camping code and be a responsible camper. Leave no trace, don’t cut trees, don’t disturb wildlife, be responsible with a fire or use a stove. A tent pitch at Eigg Organics costs only £7 per night pp.
So now you’re all set to plan your day trip from Arisaig to Eigg or maybe even a longer stay on the Isle of Eigg.
Books about Eigg
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Now just need one more thing to make your Arisaig to Eigg trip perfect – some books about Eigg to read before or during your trip! Just tap/click on the book to see more and then to buy if you like it. Some of them are available in Kindle.
More Books on the area around Eigg and Arisaig
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