The Isle of Skye is surely a popular destination. Every year, hordes of tourists, in cars, caravan, buses, come on this remote island to explore the main attractions of this land. There is a reason for that. Skye offers some of the best landscapes of the Hebrides. From the picture-perfect lighthouse at Neist Point to the dramatic Mealt fall, nature modeled this land over the millennia, making this remote outpost an impressive collection of stunning panoramas.
Let’s state it from the beginning. Does it often rain on Skye? Yes, it always rains. Well, not always. But it frequently rains, especially during summer. This is something that you are forced to consider when planning a trip there. Bring rainproof clothes (including trouser covers and backpack covers), keep some dry clothes in your car, and keep flexible plans. It may rain for a couple of hours, but the weather changes rapidly, and we had no troubles on most of our hikes (apart from Storr).
As we said, this is the most touristic island in the Inner Hebrides. A car is a requirement to explore this island, as buses will not allow you to bring everything you need for rain protection. That means, unfortunately, the roads can get pretty crowded, especially during summer. Differently from Mull, every road connecting the various villages has double lanes, leaving the single-track roads with passing places for the most remote locations (ex: the path reaching the starting point for the Quiraing). Still, as soon as we got off the most touristic routes, we could enjoy the island alone, feeling in contact with nature. Use the available time wisely, check the weather by the clock, and you will have some of the best time of your life. We definitely had!
How to get here
Skye has much better connections than its smaller cousins in the Inner Hebrides. There are several ferries available, from Glenelg, or Mallaig. The main line of connection to the mainland, however, is the Skye bridge, spanning from Kyle of Lochalsh to the South-east corner of the island.
Delicious tip: Be aware of the times: Isle of Skye is vast, and the time required to get from one place to another can be more than expected because of the traffic. Plan your itinerary carefully, also considering delays because of the rain!
Where to sleep
There is plenty of places where to sleep on the island. Our suggestion is to pick a place near the places you would like to visit the most. We concentrated on the northern part of the isle, and we stayed in a B&B next to Portree called Schiehallion B&B. It’s a beautiful place, and it has every comfort we needed.
Delicious tip: Do not think to get here during the summer months without a reservation. It’s very high season, and you’d risk finding no available rooms. Nobody wants to sleep in their cars!
We collected together seven of the best landscapes this location has to offer, these are our not-to-miss places!
The view from the top of the Quiraing
We do not usually rank our highlights with an order, but this entry will be an exception. The view from the Quiraing is, simply put, one of the best landscapes in the world. To get here, we had to drive for some time on a small single-track road climbing part of the mountain. As soon as we left the car, we started our hike. The complete loop last about two hours, plus the time needed to shoot some photos. And we took lots of them! The landscape is dotted with eerie rock formations and small lakes. It’s wonderful ✨.
Delicious tip: The walk itself is not that difficult, but need some care. Bring a good pair of hiking shoes and some water. Do not attempt this walk if it’s raining, the track can become very dangerous. Pick the best day you can and enjoy this beautiful land!
Old man of Storr
The old man of Storr is a rock formation situated on the east side of the island, between Staffin and Portree. The name comes from its shape, resembling an old man walking. We attempted this hike while it was raining, waiting for the weather to improve. Once we got on top, the rain stopped, and we got a clearer view of the surrounding. The view from the summit has been the right reward for our efforts!
The magic of the fairy pools
During its travel to the sea, the river Brittle creates some small pools of crystalline water, joined together by waterfalls. This magical place takes the name of fairy pools. The walk is much easier than the Storr or the Quiraing, it takes less than an hour to go from the car park to the highest waterfall and return. But we spent much more time here, as we were enraptured by the landscape, with the waterfalls and the dark mountains behind (called Black Cuillins). There may be no actual fairies, but this place comes straight from a fairy tale!
The village of Portree, between sea and land
With a population of more than two thousands people, Portree is the largest settlement on Skye. This romantic fishing village is the main service center of the island. A short walk toward the sea brought us to the charming harbor, with the colored houses mirroring into the sea. Get here early at the sunrise or late during the sunset on a sunny day, the view is enchanting!
The majesty of Kilt rock and the Mealt Falls waterfall
The image of this waterfall, breaking from the top of the cliff to reach the sea 90 meters below, is one of the most famous postcards from Skye. Part of its notoriety is related to the fact that this is the easiest viewpoint to reach, as the road to Staffin directly enter the car park. Nevertheless, the view is impressive, with the waterfall roaring toward the sea. Behind it, Kilt Rock, a huge rock formation resembling a pleated kilt. We could just admire this incredible composition, and take tons of photos!
The remoteness of Neist Point lighthouse
On the north-west corner of the island, in the remotest area of one of the most remote corners of the world, we found some of the most iconic pictures of the Island. The Neist Point lighthouse is a famous location for photographers, especially at sunset, when the last rays of the sun light up the white building facing the ocean. Allow more than one hour to explore the place, take photos and enjoy the magnificent view!
Delicious tip: The lighthouse is not visible from the carpark. Walk to your right for a couple of minutes, and you will be able to get some of the best pictures.
The gardens around Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan castle is the most famous castle on the Isle of Skye, and one of the most important in Scotland. Ancestral home of the clan MacLeod, it’s considered the oldest castle still in use. The building offers a nice visit, with relics of this ancient Clan, but the best view is provided by the gardens. Follow the path to the boats landing point to get to the other side of the loch and take some beautiful picture of the castle reflecting itself in the water.
Bonus entry: the view of lobsters at the Oyster Shed
Our passion for seafood is legendary, and we always look for the next fish dish! The Hebrides are a paradise for this kind of food, with an abundance of oysters, mussels, lobsters, everything we could imagine! The Oyster Shed is a hidden takeaway restaurant, near the Talisker distillery, with some tables nearby that can be used even when it’s raining. Here, we could enjoy some of the best products the sea around Skye can offer. If the weather is nice, sit outside on the barrel-alike tables, the view of the loch is fantastic!
The Isle of Skye is a must-do when visiting Scotland. Sure, it can be crowded with tourists, but this place offers some of the best landscapes in the world. So head up here, bring a good pair of hiking shoes, rainproof clothes and enjoy the region!