Best things to do in Mallaig

collage of photos

As a long-time and frequent visitor to Mallaig, let me share the 10 best things to do in Mallaig, Scotland. There’s something for everyone.

Are you on a day trip on the train with a short time to fill? Here’s a quick list of 5 things you can do before you have to get back on the train to Fort William. Read more on these and other longer activities below.

⛴️ Wildlife cruise
🌳 Circular walk
⚡ Visit Haggard Alley
🏛️ Visit Mallaig Heritage Centre
🐟 Wander round the town, shop and have lunch (especially seafood!)

Mallaig, Scotland

Mallaig has long been the gateway to the Isle of Skye and the Small Isles. Over the past few decades, it has transformed from a traditional fishing village to a thriving tourist destination, and more recently, creative young locals have set up some great new businesses.

view of village of Mallaig and boats in harbour

Things to do in Mallaig

Go on a wildlife cruise

Take a wildlife cruise with Western Isles. Spot seals and look out for dolphins, porpoises and different species of birds. You might even be lucky and spot an orca.

You might not see everything but I’ve been on this trip at least a dozen times and always see seals up close at the very least. The pups are incredibly cute!

seals basking on a rock, green island in background

You’ll get a checklist with photos of what wildlife to look out for when you get your tickets or on board, The boat also has a small bar inside and serves hot and cold drinks and a few snacks to keep you going.

The wildlife trip fits in perfectly with the Jacobite Steam Train timings if it’s running or with the regluar train. See timings or book at Western Isles Cruises.

Tip: Take your binoculars and an extra later as it can get cold whizzing across the sea!

Take a boat trip to Inverie, Knoydart

Knoydart is a secluded village on Loch Nevis. It’s so secluded that you can’t get there by car. You either walk from Glenfinnan or take the easier route by boat from Mallaig.

Go hill-walking or have a gentler walk on the beach. Have lunch at Knoydart Pottery and Tearoom or The Old Forge Pub. If you prefer a picnic, stop off at the village shop.

approaching remote village in boat, green mountains and blue cloudy sky in background

You can also take the afternoon boat onwards to Tarbet on the other side and come back. See timings or book at Western Isles Cruises.

Take a ferry ride to the Isles

CalMac Ferries run daily to the Isle of Skye and on certain days to Rum, Eigg, Muck, and Canna. You don’t have to stay there. Just do a day trip and come back. You can only take your car to Skye but the you can explore the other isles on foot, bike or e-bike.

Alternatively explore by kayak! Then enjoy lunch at the local cafes serving fresh produce.

bow of ferry with a Scottish flag approaching a green island

See more info on boat trips from Mallaig.

Visit Mallaig Heritage Museum

Mallaig Heritage Museum tells the fascinating history of the village with lots of exhibits. The centre staff can share lots of information too. Visit the gift shop before leaving and pick up a souvenir or a book.

Mallaig Heritage Museum is right next to the station and so makes a good option for your last stop if you’ve come to Mallaig on the train for a day.

an intricately carved wooden chair and some exhibits in the background

Get your Harry Potter fix at Haggard Alley

This is one for the Harry Potter fans, or even anyone who loves magical shops. The fabulous little shop is hidden down a little alley (well apart from the big sign outside!) and is full of Harry Potter merchandise.

sign for haggard alley  with a wooden arch and gate

Whether it’s a broomstick, a cloak, a wand or pretty much anything to do with Harry Potter, you’ll find it here. Be warned, you’re unlikely to leave Haggard Alley empty-handed!

Go for a beautifully scenic walk or hike

There are plenty of walks in the area but the easiest to do if you don’t have a car is the Circular Walk. This starts and ends on the main street and takes you up a hill, through gorgeous lush greenery and out on a small road with stunning views over to Skye and Knoydart.

view of Mallaig harbour and boats from the circular walk

For something more challenging, take the train to Morar, walk along the loch side to the end of the road and hike over to Tarbet on Loch Nevis and catch the ferry back to Mallaig. Make sure you book the ferry in advance.

Visit Morar beach

As one of Scotland’s favourite beaches, Morar never disappoints. When the tide is out, you can walk a long way out on the beach. At any time you can sunbathe, paddle, swim, take your kayak or SUP on the river or just sit back and enjoy the stunning view.

Best Scottish beaches Morar

Buy some fabulous local gifts and crafts!

Mallaig has some great wee shops. For souvenirs, toys and locally-inspired gifts, head to Mallaig Toy and Gift Shop, the Highland Koo and the RNLI shop.

If you’d like to buy yourself a beautiful painting or print to always remember the stunning local views, head to Mallaig Art Gallery & Crafts next to the Co-op.

The Raven, the Cat and The Witches Hat is the place to pick up handcrafted candles, wands, crystals and spell bottles.

shop displaying teas, soaps and a variety of goods

For home-blended tea, including special Scottish blends, stop off at The West Highland Tea Company (pictured above). Apart from tea, you can find lots of other goodies in there too.

Finally, for smoked fish to take home, head to Andy Race Fish Merchants.

Enjoy fabulous food in Mallaig

Mallaig has some great places to eat and being a harbour, there’s plenty of seafood.

Cornerstone Restaurant was runner-up in Best Seafood Restaurant Awards in 2024. You can sit in and enjoy a three-course meal or or get takeaway fish and chips to eat overlooking the harbour.

Jaffy’s next to the station has great fish and chips too along with The Cabin and newly-overhauled Fish Market and Deli. Of course, they all sell more than just fish and chips!

cafe with terrace

The Tea Garden has outside seating, lovely views and a varied menu (including of course fish and chips.) Other dine-in options include the Chlachain Inn, Steam Inn, the Marine Hotel and the West Highland Hotel.

For delicious takeaways snacks and grazing boxes, head to Bloom & Graze on Andrew’s Brae or Mallaig Bakery. The Jac-o-Bites Cafe and The Mission Bunkhouse cafe also have tasty food to take away or eat in.

Enjoy the harbour views

Take a walk around the bay stopping off to rest on benches along the way. Enjoy the view of the village and the boats in the harbour and look out for the seal who lives in the harbour. (Beyond all the shops and directly opposite the pier seems to be a good place to spot her in my experience.)

still waters in mallaig harbour with sailing boats, green hills and houses in the background

Continue up the hill and have a picnic at the picnic table and enjoy the stunning views over to Skye. On the way back, stop off for a whippy ice-cream.

See 39 Things to do in Mallaig, Arisaig and Morar for more ideas in the area

Wrap-up on Mallaig

From fun wildlife cruises and scenic walks to the delightful Harry Potter-themed shop and excellent eateries, Mallaig offers something special for every visitor to this enchanting Scottish village.

Whether you’re here for a quick day trip or staying for a few days, this list of things to do in Mallaig will help you leave with some lovely souvenirs as well as great memories of this must-visit destination on Scotland’s stunning west coast.

What to read next? Perfect alternative to the Jacobite Steam Train or 39 Top Things to do in Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig or 13 Great Places to Visit on the Way to Mallaig

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