Experience a visit to Isle of Skye in Scotland in its purest form. On the island, you will find pristine nature with amazing landscapes. Skye is also called the world’s largest art gallery for good reason. Whimsical rock formations, huge waterfalls, mystical lakes and remote areas define the picture. Our week on the island was the most impressive of the entire tour of Scotland. These highlights of Isle of Skye stole the show for us.
Highlights of Isle of Skye
In fact, the island is one big attraction. But these highlights of Isle of Skye you definitely don’t want to skip. At several of these sights, we also took a beautiful walk. There will be an extensive blog about that soon.
Old Man of Storr
The extraordinary rock formation with its jagged points “Old Man of Storr” is a real attraction on the island. Many tourists want to see this natural phenomenon. At the car park and the viewpoint, it is therefore always very crowded. But if you walk a little further and take a fantastic walk around the rock formation, you have this surreal landscape almost to yourself. The peace and quiet is only disturbed by grazing sheep.
Dunvegan Castle has been owned by the MacLeod clan for almost 1,000 years. In the castle, you can admire special family heirlooms and heirlooms of the clan, such as the Horn of Rory Mor. The clan chief’s son had to empty this large drinking horn in one gulp to take over as clan chief. Be sure to visit the magnificent castle garden with its beautiful round garden and equally beautiful walled garden. The castle is located on the water. From here you can take boat trips to go seal watching.
Neist Point Lighthouse
Neist Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland. It is located on the westernmost tip of Skye, not far from the township of Glendale. The lighthouse served from 1909. It also acted as a backdrop in several feature films. The short but steep walk to the lighthouse is spectacular. Especially because of the view of the jagged cliffs and the lighthouse at the tip of one of those cliffs. Experiencing a sunset at this spot is fantastic. Experiencing that moment is definitely one of the highlights of Isle of Skye.
Portree is the largest village on the island. The village is surrounded by rocks. Neatly wedged between those rocks is the harbour. It was from here that many Scots left for America in the 18th century in search of a better future. Fishing and fishing exports did Portree no harm. Fishing is still important to the village. Several shipping companies offer interesting cruises to spot seals and puffins. Along the coastline you will find the beautiful coloured houses that Portree is so famous for.
For us, this was one of the absolute highlights on Isle of Skye. In terms of natural beauty, this is the most beautiful place on the already plentiful island. It lies in a remote corner of the Trotternish peninsula. Quiraing was created by a landslide centuries ago. Still the area is shifting some more. Most visitors walk from the car park along the paved path. Then they take some photos and head back. For the most spectacular views, however, do the amazing Quiraing hike. You’ll need some mountain hiking experience for this. The trails are sometimes narrow and the precipices sometimes deep. If you dare, you will experience a unique hike with fascinating views.
Of course, a visit to Isle of Skye is not complete without experiencing a whisky tasting at a whisky distillery. On Skye, you’ll find two. The most famous is Talisker. This oldest distillery on the island is located in Carbost. But you can also visit the lesser-known distillery Torabhaig. It is located in Teangue. At both distilleries you can book a whisky tour and tasting.
These mountains are literally the high points of a visit to Isle of Skye. In fact, the Cuillin Hills are the highest mountains on the island. The highest of the bunch, the Sgùrr Alasdair, stretches to just over 3,000 feet. Some mountains are black, others red. This is because the rock of the mountains is different. In total, the area consists of 20 mountains. This is why it is nicknamed the “Alps of Scotland”. It is a spectacular hiking and climbing area. Unfortunately, it was so foggy on our walk that we were unable to admire much of the area. A reason to go back!
Armadale Castle & Gardens
If you arrive on the island by ferry, you’re in for a treat. Right from the port, you’ll already find one of Isle of Skye’s highlights: Armadale Castle & Gardens. The castle was the seat of the MacDonald Clan. Now the castle is little more than a ruin. You are therefore not allowed to visit it either. The museum, where you learn all about the clan’s history, is accessible though. But the best thing is a visit to the enormous gardens surrounding the castle.
Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls
Many people visit the equally beautiful Quiraing after Old Man of Storr. On the way there, you pass another of Isle of Skye’s highlights: Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. The cliff has large basalt columns that resemble the folds of a kilt. From about 200 feet up, the water from Mealt Falls plunges along the cliff into the sea. The viewpoint for this spot can be very crowded in high season. Therefore, try to get there as early as possible. You can easily reach that spot from the adjacent car park.
Isle of Skye has many remote and downright quiet spots where you won’t meet anyone. One that really appeals to us is Waternish point. This is the northernmost point on the peninsula of the same name. In utter solitude, the lighthouse stands there. Only a few sheep and some cows graze on the green land. This spot gives you fantastic panoramas of the surrounding area and the sea. It is the perfect place to spot whales and dolphins without other tourists.
Sligachan Bridge is a mythical spot on the Isle of Skye. It is located near the island’s main road. If you drive from the Skye bridge to the capital Portree, you will pass it. The bridge was built in 1810. What makes this place so special? That’s the many legends that circulate about it. One says that if you hold your face in the – ice-cold – water, you are guaranteed eternal beauty. But above all, you enjoy the mesmerising view from the bridge over the river with the Cuillin Hills in the background.
Isle of Raasay
Not far from Isle of Skye is the tiny island of Raasay. You can get there by ferry from Sconser in just over 15 minutes. You go here for your peace and quiet, as few inhabitants live in the few small villages. Still, it is fun to do some hiking here, for example to the Dun Caan. At 1,400 feet, this Table Mountain is the highest point on the island. And you will find a relatively young whisky distillery. It has only been producing its first single malts whiskies for a few years. You can book a whisky tour at Raasay Distillery.
You can get to Loch Coruisk via a unique boat trip through spectacular scenery. As icing on the cake, you will most likely see seals. The glacial lake is about 2 miles long and a few hundred yards wide. From the lake you get unprecedented views of the imposing peaks of the Cuillin Hills. Take an early boat, then you will also have time to hike through these impressive surroundings. The boat trip starts in the village of Elgol. This village also offers fine views of the surrounding mountains. And because it is not on the through route, many tourists skip this remote spot. So you can enjoy amazing panoramas in peace and quiet.
The Fairy Pools are beautiful natural pools and small waterfalls, fed by water from the Cuillin Hills. The name is no accident; many fairy tales and legends speak of this place. For instance, elves are said to still dance in the water. We did not see them, but it was also foggy. It is a hugely popular spot. Therefore, visit the Fairy Pools especially at the beginning of the day or just the end. Most people only walk a short distance to the falls. If you walk further, it becomes much quieter. Several people change clothes on the rocks and then lower themselves into the ice-cold water. So if you want to take an ice bath, you can do so here.
Just before Isle of Skye: Eilean Donan Castle
This fascinating castle is not on Isle of Skye. But just before you reach the island via the road, this gem lies right by the road in the lake. It’s really worth making a stop here to visit the castle. As you walk across the long bridge towards Eilean Donan Castle, you’ll feel like a member of the Scottish clan MacRae. It is one of the most iconic places in the country, also because of its magnificent location on Loch Duich.
Highlights of Isle of Skye – frequently asked questions
Isle of Skye is located in the west of Scotland. The Isle of Skye is the largest and also the northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides.
There are two ways to get to Isle of Skye. The first is via the Skye Bridge, which has been there since 1995. The bridge is toll-free. The other way is to take a ferry from Mallaig to Armadale. The crossing takes about 45 minutes. If you want to take the ferry, you should book it in advance, especially in high season.
The best time to visit Isle of Skye is in the months of May to September. The island has a maritime climate. That means it doesn't get very warm. Precipitation can also fall regularly. Fortunately, the
often brisk winds ensure that the rain passes quickly. In the months of June to August, keep an eye out for the infamous midges. These mini mosquitoes can be a real pain.
If you love hiking, Isle of Skye is definitely not to be missed. The choice of great walks is huge. We spent a week on Isle of Skye and did a special hike every day. The people at the iCentre visit Scotland in Portree can give you very specific advice. But the Walk Highlands website is also an excellent source of information.
Every place on Isle of Skye has a good restaurant. And of course, you'll find Fish & Chips bars everywhere too. For some villages, we list some suggestions. It is advisable to book in advance. In high season, even several days in advance!
There are several restaurants to choose from in Portree and other places. These are some good ones:
- Dulse & Brose at the Bosville
- The Rosedale
- See Breezes
- Dunvegan: The Old School
- Edinbane: Edinbane Inn
- Uig: The Ferry Inn
- Broadford: Red Skye Restaurant
It is incredibly important to book your accommodation well in advance! Isle of Skye is popular and in the summer holidays everything fills up quickly. So plan your trip well in advance and book your accommodation right away. We were quite late (a month and a half in advance). As a result, there was hardly anything suitable and affordable left. We ended up in a camping pod in Edinbane. In itself a great place to stay in a great location. But just a bit too small for a week, especially the bathroom with its tiny shower cubicle.
- Portree - all accommodation
- Dunvegan - all accommodation
- Edinbane - all accommodation
- Uig - all accommodation
- Broadford - all accommodation
This is the full choice of places to stay on Isle of Skye