The Ultimate Guide to the Isle of Skye, Scotland

If you are planning a trip to Scotland, the Isle of Skye is a must see. This article will help you get an idea of what the most famous sites are on the island and help you lay out your perfect Skye holiday.

lonely planet

While Skye is large and there is an endless lists of things to see and places to go, the following is a list of the places you won’t want to miss.

First, some pro tourist tips:

  1. Make sure you come prepared to hike. Many of the sites require some hiking to, so wear appropriate shoes and bring water!
  2. It’s Scotland, be prepared for rain. Umbrellas will get ripped to shreds in the Scottish wind. Opt for a good rain jacket instead.
  3. While driving may give you more freedom, the island roads are narrow, confusing and dangerous. Also, many points of interest are not marked and are tricky to find. You may want to look into taking a tour or two instead of striking out on your own.
  4. There are many tour companies on the island offering all sorts of unique day tours. If no tour goes to all of the places you want to visit, check out Love Skye Tours. They will create a custom tour for you and not charge an arm and a leg. We went with them one of our days and loved it!

1. Fairy Glen

Fairies are an integral part of Scottish folklore. Many sites on the island are steeped in fairy legend. This “glen in miniature” is said to be the home of the fairies. Pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s equal parts bizarre, eerie, and breathtakingly beautiful.

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2. Fairy Pools

Legend says that these pools were one of the places fairies could be found. There are many pools located together and they are stunning. It’s a little bit of a hike out to the pools, but you’ll get some great views of the Black Cuillin mountain range all along the way! Some people bring along swimsuits (or strip down to their underwear) to take a dip in the pools!

The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Photo courtesy of Wow Scotland Tours

3. Quiraing

Probably the most popular area on the island. This stunning landscape that includes the Quiraing (kor-ang) and Table Rock has been the set for countless movies. It’s expansive and will awe you no matter how many times you see it. These iconic view points can be reached with very little walking, but if you have more time to kill, there are paths that take you all the way up to the rock formations.

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4. Kilt Rock

The rock known as Kilt Rock is not the one with the waterfall, but rather the cliff side in the distance. The formation looks like a kilt with a tartan pattern. This site only requires a quick stop as the viewpoint is right next to the parking lot and the parking lot is just off the main road.

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5. Talisker Distillery

Even if you don’t have time to go in for a full tour, taking the chance to see and maybe visit the shop of this ultra famous scotch distillery is well worth your time. Any whiskey enthusiast would drool over the opportunity to simply set foot on the grounds of this place. Talisker whiskey is the stuff of legends.

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6. Skye Brewing Company

Another great, short stop is the Skye Brewing Company in Uig. They sell many of their beers by the bottle in the gift shop attached to the brewery. For just a few pounds you can bring your friends and family a taste of the highlands!

foodlist.co.uk

Photo courtesy of The List UK

7. Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle has been occupied continuously by the chiefs of Clan MacLeod for more than 750 years. The current (30th) clan chief currently lives in the castle and opens it and its gardens up to the public throughout the year. You can see many clan artifacts including the famous Fairy Flag, gifted to the clan by the fairies. The flag dates back to the 5th century and is said to have magical powers.

Britain express

Photo courtesy of Britian Express

8. Neist Point

This 100 year old lighthouse offers a beautiful photo opp. If you’re up for the hike, you can walk the mile out to the lighthouse, but if not, the view from the spot pictured below is not difficult to reach.

Good things magazine

Photo courtesy of Good Things Magazine

9.Staffin Beach

There is a cluster of dinosaur footprints left by a family of Ornithopods around 165 million years ago. While the prints are underwater at high tide and are often covered by sand in the summer, you might get lucky and see them so it’s worth a stop no matter when you visit. The main prints are not too far from the ramp that runs down to the beach

Trip advisor

10. Portree

This adorable little town is the largest town on Skye and the hub for tourist activity. Portree is full of ice cream shops, bakeries, chippies, cafes, book stores, and so much more. It’s easily walk-able, very cute, and certainly worth an hour or two of your time.

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11. Museum of Island Life

For just a couple of pounds you can walk through this cluster of traditional houses now staged as a museum. If you are interested in the history of the island and the way its inhabitants lived, this is the best way to find out that information. The museum area is small and only takes about half an hour to go through. Definitely schedule it in to your day!

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12. The Storr

These iconic rock formations were formed by magma. The entire area is still shifting today in a phenomena known as landslip. To get to the Storr you should budget 2-3 hours of time. There is a well maintained, but steep path, that takes you to the base of the Storr. If you don’t have this much time to spend, you can get great pictures of the formation from the road.

Walk Highlands

Photo courtesy of Walk Highlands

13. Coral Beach

This picture may look like it was taken somewhere in the Caribbean, but don’t be fooled! Who knew Scotland had beaches that looked like this? This beach experience comes complete with a visit from a herd of highland sheep. Just past Dunvegan castle, this white beach made up of bits of coral can be reached by a mostly flat path about a mile in length. It’s the perfect picnic lunch spot!

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