The 7 Best Things to do on the Isle of Skye

“Sing me a song of a lass that is gone say, could that lass be I? Merry of soul she sailed on a day over the sea to Skye”

The Isle of Skye is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland, with a rugged landscape and a magical feeling you will feel as though you have been transported in time.

If you love nature with a hint of magic, then the Isle of Skye is the place for you. From fairy pools to Highland Cows and views that you will have to tear yourself away as there are plenty of things to do on the Isle of Skye.

I first discovered the beauties of the Isle of Skye when I was living in Inverness and it is a place I return often when I visit Scotland.

On our most recent journey to the Isle of Skye we enlisted the help of a “local tour guide” also known as, a friend from Inverness. As we were short on time, we embarked on a whirl wind tour from Inverness, around the Isle of Skye and back to Inverness in one day.

Whilst this is not the recommended way to visit the Isle of Skye it is better than nothing. If you have a little more time in the Highlands of Scotland I recommend stretching out your time on the Isle of Skye and enjoying all this beautiful place has to offer.

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Things to do on the Isle of Skye

For a place that is relatively small you will be amazed by all of the things to do on the Isle of Skye. I will admit, this guide does not cover all of the things to do on the Isle of Skye (for example you might want to hike the the Quiraing) it does cover some of the absolute best things to do on the Isle of Skye.

Eilean Donan Castle

Whilst Eilean Donan Castle is not actually on the Isle of Skye, it should still be on your list of things to do on the Isle of Skye.

Eilean Donan Castle is a small island where three lochs (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh) meet the sea. The castle is located 8 miles from the bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh where you cross to the Isle of Skye.

Even you are short on time, make sure you stop to admire the beauty and to snap a few photos.

Old Man of Storr

A grassy mountain with big rocks sticking up from the ground overlooking water

The Old Man of Storr is located in the North and is one of the must do things on the Isle of Skye. The views of and from the Old Man of Storr are some of the most beautiful and mystical in all of Scotland.

One of the best things to do is to hike to the top of the Old Man of Storr. It is quite easy to locate the head of the trail from the road and the view of the Old Man of Storr is stunning from the road, but make sure you get out and hike!

The hike to the top of the Old man of Storr is approximately 2.5 miles round trip. To complete the hike you will need a medium level of fitness, however, you can take it as slow and steady as you like. Depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop for photos, the hike with take around one and a half hours.

As with most things, it is busiest during the day, so head out before 10am or after 3pm for the off peak times. Besides, sunset and sunrise make for some of the most magical views.

Kilt Rocks and Mealt Falls

The Kilt Rocks and Mealt Falls are probably one of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Skye. The cliffs are 90 meters high and are named because they look like the pleat of a kilt (can you seem the resemblance?)

No matter the weather, it always seems to be very cold at The Kilt Rocks so make sure you have jacket in the car!

Fairy Glen

Circle of stones below a rocky rugged cliff with green grass

The Fairy Glen is without a doubt one of the most magical things to do on the Isle of Skye.

Walking around the stone circle makes it feel like fairies actually walked here, despite there actually being no real reason why it is called the Fairy Glen.

The rock formations are known as Castle Ewan. However, they are not the ruins of a castle tower, they are in fact natural rock formations. But, they are cool to climb onto and to get a good view of the Fairy Glen.

If you’re short like me (5’2!) you will need to stretch your legs to climb up to the top!

Getting to the Fairy Glen is a little hair raising! There are a lot of one way roads and the roads are quite narrow. Be mindful of traffic coming towards you (including trucks!) Locals fly around the roads so when you get a chance, pull over and let the locals passed.

Portree

Colourful houses on the edge of a harbour with an old boat tired to the side and mountains in the background

The “capital” of the Isle of Skye. You cannot make a trip to the Isle of Skye without visiting Portree.

Portree is tiny, there are few streets and harbour. Although it is tiny, Portree is very pretty. There are few places to grab food and a few places to stay if you would like to stay the night.

We spent a couple of hours in Portree but most of that time was eating (and trying Haggis!) I definitely recommend that you add it to your list of things to do on the Isle of Skye.

Fairy Pools

Sadly, we were not on the Isle of Skye long enough to visit the Fairy Pools but they are a must.

The walk at the fairy pools is one of the main walks on the Isle of Skye and you will pass a series of natural pools with super clear water and some stunning waterfalls.

The walk at the fairy pools is mostly downhill but you need to remember that on the way back you will need to walk up hill.

Spot a Highland Cow

A highland cow standing in green grass

When you are visiting Scotland you need to always be on the look out for Highland Cows, also known as Heilan Coo.

If you keep your eyes peeled you are bound to come across one of these gorgeous shaggy cows roaming around the Isle of Skye.

Getting to the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is very easily accessible by car from Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh.

From Edinburgh the drive to Portree on the Isle of Skye is around 230 miles and will take you roughly 4 and a half hours. For a more scenic route you may decide to drive through Glen Coe but this will take a little longer. Glasgow is a similar distance from Portree and will also take around 4 and a half hours.

To drive to Portree from Inverness will take around 2 and a half hours. The hundred mile journey may take a little longer in the summer as there is considerably more traffic on the road.

If you would like to drive but you do not have a car, you can easily hire a car in most places around the United Kingdom.

Just remember that they drive on the left in the United Kingdom and many of the roads on the Isle of Skye are one lane roads (pull over and let the locals fly by).

It is possible to take public transport to and around the Isle of Skye it does take a lot longer.

From Inverness you can take a train to the Kyle of Lochalsh and then a bus from the Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree. The trains buses run four or five times a day. The journey will take you around 4 hours.

From Edinburgh you can take the train to Inverness and then on to the Kyle of Lochalsh and a bus to Portree or you can take a bus which goes via Inverness and then on to Portree. Both of these trips will take between 8 and 9 hours.

Finally, if you are travelling from Glasgow you can take a bus from Glasgow to Portree and takes about 6 hours.

For more information on planning your public transport route you can check out Rome2Rio, Citylink or The Trainline

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye

Foxwood on Skye is a B&B which allows you to get away from it all and enjoy the serenity that the Isle of Skye has to offer.

Dunvegan Camping Pods are self contained pods that include a kitchen, dining and lounge area. These one of a kind pods are located 22 miles from Portree.

Skeabost Hotel is a piece of luxury. The hotel is located on the edge of Loch Snizort and most rooms offer stunning views of the beautiful grounds or of Loch Snizort. If you are looking to treat yourself during your trip to the Isle of Skye, this is the place to be.

The Crofters house is an original crofter’s cottage from the 1830s. The house is located next to Camustianavaig Bay and whilst it is in rural location it is only 5 miles from Portree. This renovated cottage allows you to enjoy the stunning landscape and really feel as though you are “getting away from it all”.

How long to spend on the Isle of Skye

It is possible to drive around the Isle of Skye in one day, especially if you are travelling in summer. The long nights give you plenty of daylight hours to explore the best of the Isle of Skye.

However, to truly explore the all of the things to do on the Isle of Skye, take some of the beautiful hikes and experience life on this stunning Scottish Isle, I recommend spending at least one night and two full days.

You can easily spend up to five days exploring the Isle of Skye, so take your time and explore the rugged beauty that Isle of Skye has to offer.

What to pack for a trip to the Isle of Skye

The summer season is one day in either June or July! Not really, but even in summer the weather can be unpredictable in Scotland and rain is very likely, especially on the Isle of Skye.

Make sure you are dressed in layers and have a warm jacket, preferably a waterproof jacket.

As a lot of the things to do on the Isle of Skye are nature based, you want to make sure you have comfortable and sturdy shoes.

Have you visited the Isle of Skye? What do you think are the best or must do things on the Isle of Skye? Let me know in the comments below.

Fiona xoxo

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