What do Queen Victoria, Mendelssohn, and Pink Floyd have in common? If you guessed Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa, then you’re correct. Since it was found, “Uamb-Binn” – the Gaelic name for the cave, which translates as “Cave of Melody,” – has inspired artists and writers alike, having appearing in the queen’s journal, along with the rock band’s and composer’s compositions. The cave itself, however, has its own story. According to legend, a giant named Fionn Mac Cumbhail built a bridge connecting the cave to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland in order to fight his Scottish rival. The cave has countless hexagon-shaped columns of basalt lining its interior walls; they’re similar to those seen along the Giant’s Causeway.When to go: Plan a trip to Scotland any time between March and May or September and October to avoid tourists and enjoy comfortable weather. Tourism peaks across the pond from June to August so you’ll be able to take advantage of smaller crowds at the cave.
What to do: The best way to see the sea-battered cave is by boat. Tours depart from Iona and Fionnphort, take about 2.5 hours, and cost about $40/person. You’ll sail along the island’s edge and then dock for an hour on land. During that time, you can hike on the columns towards the cave to get a closer look. On your way back, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins or minke whales playing in the surf.