The 7 must-do things on the Isle of Skye

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Visit the Isle of Skye: what are the best things to do and see on this Scottish island, land of the Highlands and proud Celtic peoples!

Having spent a month in the land of the famous Picts and Scots, we are two friends who have visited the Isle of Skye and the surrounding area, and we’ve put together an itinerary for you. We stopped by chance on the Isle of Skye and were charmed by its landscapes… Discover « An t-Eilean Sgitheanach » (its Scottish name) and a little piece of the Hebrides on Scotland’s « west coast »!

1. En route to Eilean a’ Cheò: « the Isle of Mists

After visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow, we travelled by bus to the Isle of Skye, via the Glen Coe valley. To the sound of Gérard de Palmas’s « L’Etranger », we discovered a green valley: « The wind in the trees, outside something is different, engraved in marble, my memories, my feelings »… After a brief stop in Fort William – and an 8-hour bus ride – we finally arrived on the island – which has its own tartan, in Uig.

2. Le Quiraing & Uig

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Uig is a strange and original name for a town. No sooner had we arrived than we were pitching our tent on a fit lawn at Uig Bay Caravan & Campsite. Really welcoming owners, who allowed us to stay an extra night free of charge, as they didn’t have a credit card reader and the cards (ours) didn’t work at the small (and only) ATM in the « town » (consisting of a pontoon boat and a pub).

The next day, we took a bus to Kilt Rock, a waterfall that juts straight into the sea. So we headed for Staffin! When we arrived, unfortunately, the waterfall was barely bigger than a trickle, due to the poor rainfall of the previous few days… But we did get to admire the « organs », columns made of basalt! We then made our way to Flodigarry for hot home fries in a roadside restaurant. En route, we hitchhiked through the inland landscapes of the Quiraing, and counted the sheep scattered on the mountainsides around us. In the evening, on the pontoon at Uig, in the company of two fishermen, we were surprised to see a plump seal swimming indolently close to the shore. A wonderful encounter!

Worth seeing: An Corran, Mesolithic ruins near Staffin(click on this link for an idea of a hike).

3. Trotternish & Portree

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On the third day, we stood by the side of the road again and unsheathed our thumbs. Two cars stopped instantly and took us all the way to Portree. After settling in at Torvaig Caravan & Campsite, a few « miles » from downtown Portree, we toured the surrounding area: colorful seaside houses, warmly welcoming pubs and the Old Man of Storr, of course! A gigantic sleeping giant, a rock standing out from the Trotternish volcanic chain.

Don’t miss: Isle of Skye Music Festival (Portree).

Also read on the Glasgow guide:

4. Stop at Broadford

Wagging our thumbs once more, we land in Broadford the next day. We drive along the A87 towards Kyle of Lochalsh, looking for a campsite. We finally came across a Scottish lady who generously offered to put us up in her home. We spent the night in comfortable beds, with the pleasure of eating a home-cooked meal made by our host in our honor. Trish, if you’re reading this, we hope you received our postcards from Italy, when we went there 🙂

5. The Sléite peninsula & Magnificent Armadale

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Day five: we were picked up by a photographer on her way to Armadale, and decided to go wherever the wind took us. And what a discovery! This was the real highlight of our visit to the Isle of Skye. The weather was exceptional, the scenery breathtaking and the sea, almost slack, gave an unreal character to the coastline. We spent the night in an eco-campsite(Rubha Phoil Eco Campsite), located on a tiny peninsula, where we found the perfect spot for our tent: panoramic sea views, out of sight and surrounded by vegetation…

Don’t miss: the museum near Armadale Castle, stronghold of the Donald clan; listening to Gaelic music at the Skye festival at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (Slèite/Sleat) college; the Torabhaig distillery.

6. Cuillin Hills

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do everything on the Isle of Skye. The Scottish Highlands were calling and we wanted to continue our adventure towards Inverness and Loch Ness, to reach the east coast and Aberdeen.

Don’t miss: the Talisker distillery near Carbost (famous for its single malt whisky); the Fairy Pools on a hike from Glenbrittle.

7. The Waternish

Located opposite Trotternish, only separated by Loch Snizort, the scenery is just as magnificent as the rest of the island…

Don’t miss Dunvegan Castel, MacLeod stronghold since the 13th century (tasting: drambuie, a Scottish liqueur produced by the clan).

How do I get to the Isle of Skye?

The Isle of Skye is accessible by car, ferry and bus. The easiest access by car is over the bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh. From Glasgow, take the A82, then the A87. The journey takes around 4hrs 15mins, and 4hrs 30mins from Edinburgh, or just 2hrs from Inverness. These times are only for the journey to the bridge. On the island, it’s another 1h to Portree.

Ideally, you should rent a car. You can find really good rates on the Rentalcars comparison site. The A87 road trip along Glen Shiel and Loch Cluanie is one of the most beautiful drives in Scotland.

The Isle of Skye can also be reached by ferry. Ferries depart from Mallaig and Armadale (30-minute ferry ride), and between the Outer Hebrides (Harris and North Uist) and Uig (2-hour ferry ride). These ferries are accessible to foot passengers and cars. If you’re on foot, you can reach Mallaig by train from Glasgow. To book your ferry to the Isle of Skye, visit the DirectFerries website.

Finally, if you want to take the bus to the Isle of Skye, there are direct lines from Glasgow, Inverness or Edinburgh to Portree. Once in Portree, there are (infrequent) buses into the interior of the island. Direct line Glasgow to Portree (line 915 or 916); Direct line Inverness to Portree (line 917); From Edinburgh, take line 900 to Glasgow and change.

To find a cheap flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow, you can search on the website of our partner Ulysses.

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye?

When it comes to accommodation on the Isle of Skye, you’ll have realised that there’s a wide choice of campsites and B&Bs all over the island. On arrival, you can stay in Portree, the main town. If you have your own rental car, you can drive from Portree all over the island. You can find a cheap hotel in Portree by searching on this hotel comparator.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Glasgow,gb