If you’re looking for an incredible Scottish adventure, Scotland’s Isle of Skye is the perfect destination. It’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Scotland! Isle of Skye is filled with breath taking landscapes and places to explore. After you visit, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most visited places in all of Scotland!
Let this guide be your roadmap to an unforgettable trip to Scotland. Keep reading for all the detail about visiting Scotland’s Isle of Skye!
- Best time to visit Scotland’s Isle of Skye
- How to get to Isle of Skye
- Must See Places on Isle of Skye
- Our Ultimate Scotland Road Trip Youtube Video
Ultimate Guide to Scotland’s Isle of Skye…
Best time to visit Scotland’s Isle of Skye
The best time to visit Isle of Skye is from May to September. The weather tends to be a little warmer and more enjoyable. July and August tend to be peak season making it the busiest time to visit! But no matter what time of year you visit, expect rain! Scotland is known for its moody and rainy weather. That’s part of the charm though!
We visited during off season in April and we loved it. The weather was a little chilly and gloomy but that’s what we expected. The crowds we also very minimal!
Wondering how long you need to explore? We would recommend spending at least 3 full days on Isle of Skye! There is so many places to explore and not all of the destinations are right next to each other. You could easily spend a full week here!
How to get to Scotland’s Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye is about a 5 hour drive north west of Edinburgh. Scotland is one of those places you enjoy the journey to the destination as much as the destination itself! Below are the best ways to get to Scotland’s Isle of Skye.
In our opinion, this is the best way to get to Isle of Skye. Driving gives you the most freedom and flexibility. You can get to the different locations before the crowds or stay longer to enjoy sunset. Plus, there are so many incredible places to stop by on your way to Isle of Skye! Such as Glencoe, Glenfinnan Viaduct [for all our Harry Potter Fans], the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, and so much more!
If you don’t want to drive yourself, since they do drive on the opposite side of the road, you can book a tour to Isle of Skye. There are great options from Edinburgh, Inverness, and even Portree [see below]. Of course, the downside to this option is you will arrive to every destination with everyone else on the tour bus and your schedule will be a little more strict.
By Public Bus
While you can get to Isle of Skye but public bus, we do not recommend it. There is no direct bus route from Edinburgh. You’ll need to get to Inverness or Glasgow. From there, you’ll take the Scottish Citylink coach service to Portree. This journey can take anywhere from 8 to 13 hours.
Once on Skye, you can take Stagecoach to get around the Isle. The DayRider bus pass makes the most sense if you plan to go to different locations in one day. It offers unlimited travel for one da.
If you do choose to take a public bus to Isle of Skye, we recommend staying in Portree. That way you’ll be able to walk to restaurants or even hire tours from there to explore more. Portree is not very large but it is the biggest town in Isle of Skye!
If you are coming from another city in Scotland, you can fly directly to the Isle of Benbecula Airport (BEB). It’s a very small airport located on the island of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, off the West Coast of Scotland. It’s the closest airport since there is no airport on the Isle of Skye. From there it’s about a 3 hour drive so you’ll have to hire a very expensive taxi or rent a car. Since this option is quite complicated and can be a lot more costly, we don’t recommend getting to Isle of Skye by plane.
If you are flying from another country, you’ll still have to connect through one of the larger Scotland airports. So we recommend just taking one of the other transportation options to get to Skye!
Keep in mind, once you get to Skye, you’ll still need to hire taxis [no Uber], take public buses, or hire a tour company to take you around Isle of Skye.
Want to experience our Scotland adventure with us? Watch our Youtube video below all our our Ultimate Scotland Roadtrip!
Must See Places on Scotland’s Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye is filled with so many beautiful and diverse landscapes, you’ll have a hard time choosing which places to visit first! From beautiful waterfalls to rolling green cliffside’s to medieval castles. Scotland’s Isle of Skye is one of the best places to visit in all of Scotland!
The Quiraing – Scotland’s Isle of Skye
The Quiraing is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on Isle of Skye. Looking at this landscape makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Be sure to get here early in the morning to avoid summer crowds!
While you can take in the stunning views a few minute walk from the car park. Most people choose to do the 4.25 mile [6.8km] hiking loop. The entire loop can take anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how quickly you walk or how many times you stop for photos. Be sure to wear sturdy boots, as it can often be muddy, and stay on the proper walking trail.
Weather can change quickly in Scotland so always be prepared for rain, mist, fog, or wind. The trail is along a cliffside so use your judgment to decide when the conditions may not be safe. Click here to read more about the hiking/walking terrain and what you should expect during your visit.
Parking: Small, paved parking lot [or car park as they say in Scotland] right at the start of the Quiraing trail loop. It’s a self-pay meter parking. During our visit we paid only £3 for 3 hours!
Toilets: Please note that as of April 2022 there are no bathroom facilities at the Quiraing. I would highly recommend stopping in Portree before making the drive up!
Old Man of Storr
Old Man of Storr is located on the north of Skye in the area known as ‘Trotternish’, about 15 minutes from Portree. It’s one of the most famous and busiest spots in Isle of Skye. We recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset to avoid crowds and see it at the best time of day!
Please note that this does require a hike to get to. It is about a 2.5 miles [3.8km] hike to get to the top of Old Man of Storr and takes about 1 hour 15 minutes to get all the way to the top viewpoint with no stops. The trail is straight up [and then straight back down] so I would budget it taking around 1.5 – 2 hours with stops for breaks. Around 4 to 5 hours total to hike, explore, take photos. Similar to many other hiking trails in Scotland, the trail can get very muddy.
We would recommend keeping right when the trail splits as you hike up. It’s the quickest/shortest way up to the Old Man of Storr. Click here to read more about the hiking/walking terrain and what you should expect during your visit.
Parking: Large paved parking lot at the base of the trail with a self-pay parking meter [a few pounds per hour].
Toilets: Nice bathroom facilities in the parking lot but you do have to pay 50p to use.
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens is at the heart of the 42000 acre MacLeod Estate on Isle of Skye. Dunvegan is said to be “one the greatest Hebridean castles and the only Highland fortress to have been continuously occupied by the same family for 800 years”.
This castle was one of the only castles we visited that’s interior is well maintained, rather than in ruins. The grounds are quite large so you could easily spend 2 to 3 hours exploring it all.
While you can book your tickets online in advance, there’s not a huge need to. You can easily purchase tickets upon your arrival. If you do not wish to go inside the castle, you can purchase tickets for the Castle Gardens only. The Gardens are beautiful so make sure you have enough time to walk around and admire their beauty!
Please note Dunvegan Castle and Gardens are only open from April 1 to October 15th.
If you want to visit mores castles in Scotland, read our blog – 7 Must Visit Castles in Scotland!
Parking: Free paved parking lot across the street from the entrance to the Castle.
Toilets: Free bathroom facilities in the parking lot and within the Castle & Garden grounds.
Neist Point Lighthouse
Neist Point Lighthouse is located on Neist Point on the Isle of Skye. It’s one of the most famous lighthouses in all of Scotland.
You can walk down a 1.4 mile [2.2km] paved path down to the lighthouse. It looks shorter than it is, but the walk takes around 45 minutes without stops. We’d recommend budgeting 2.5 to 3 hours total for the walk and to enjoy the lighthouse once you walk down.
If you don’t want to walk down to the lighthouse, you can enjoy it from the cliffside. If you keep walking right along the ridge, you’ll find lots of rocks and areas to sit and enjoy the view. It’s the perfect place to end your day and watch the sunset!
Parking: Free, small parking lot and does fill up quickly. Further back along the road there are more spaces along the road.
Toilets: No restrooms
The Fairy Pools are at the foot of the Black Cuillins near Glenbrittle on the western part of Isle of Skye. The walk to the Fairy Pools is around 1.5 miles [2.4km] and takes about 2-3 hours round trip depending on your walking pace and how many times you stop to take photos.
You will see beautiful waterfalls all along the path.During the warmer months, people actually do swim in the water! Click here to read more about the hiking/walking terrain and what you should expect during your visit.
Parking: paid Forestry Commision gravel parking lot on the road opposite of the trail leading to the Fairy Pools. There’s a sign that says “‘Glumagan Na Sithichean” with “Fairy Pools” underneath it, pull in there! When we visited there was an attendant explaining where to park, how to pay [self-pay meters], and how to start the trail. It was £6 for the entire day as of April 2022.
Toilets: Nice, free bathroom facility to use in the parking lot.
Fairy Glen is located in the hills above the village of Uig on the Isle of Skye. This unique landscape was also created by a landslip. The name comes from an old folklore tail that said fairies created and hide within this landscape.
While it is a smaller area, there is a lot to walk around and explore. There’s a 1 mile [1.6km] loop that can take 45 minutes to an hour to walk and enjoy for the sites. Castle Ewen is one of the most famous landmarks and photo spots and the Fairy Glen!
Parking: Pay and display parking lot
Toilets: Free bathrooms located off Fairy Glen Road.
Portree – Scotland’s Isle of Skye
Portree is the largest town and capital of Isle of Skye. It’s a cute little coastal port village. This is where you’ll find the public buses, restaurants, shops, and grocery stores. Portree is a great home base to stay and explore all of Isle of Skye!
Please keep in mind that since it is a smaller town, many places stop serving food between 8:00 and 9:00pm. During our visit, the sunset around 10:00pm so we were out exploring until then so everywhere was closed afterwards. Either eat before sunset [if you plan to enjoy that out in nature] or stock up groceries to cook at your Airbnb once you head in for the night!
Duntulm Castle once was a stronghold by the Macdonalds on a beautiful cliffside. What’s left of it is ruins and crumbling stones. It’s not much of a castle anymore!
It’s a quick stop on the road to walk out to the ruins and enjoy the views for a few minutes. But we wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see this “castle”! For your safety, do not climb or walk around on the ruins. They are very unstable and have been eroding into the ocean.
Please note, once you pull over, you do have to walk through a gate and dirt path between farmers fields. It very much feels like you’re trespassing on private property, but you’re not!
Parking: Very small pull out on the side of the road [free]
Toilets: No bathroom facilities
Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls views are just a short few steps from the parking lot. Since it is more of a viewpoint from one area, you may need to wait your turn to get a photo or get a better view point.
This is a quick stop on your way to other sites on Isle of Skye. You won’t need more than 10 or 15 minutes here!
Parking: Small, paved parking lot [free]
Toilets: No restrooms