The Isle of Skye is famous for its scenery and landscapes. It is home to some of the most iconic places in Scotland and it is one of the most popular destinations in the UK, and after visiting the Island, I can see why.
Skye is the fourth most populated island in Scotland. Tourism, agriculture, fishing, and forestry are the major economic activities of the residents. Whether you want to visit the Isle of Skye for a few days or stay here longer, you can always find something fun and interesting to do and places to visit here.
In this post, I share the top places you must visit on the Isle of Skye to enjoy its mountain ranges and dramatic coastlines, and learn about its history.
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Portree is the largest settlement on the island and it is considered the capital of the Isle of Skye. It is famous for its beautiful natural harbour lined with colourful houses and it is a great spot for photography.
There are plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and hotels around Portree, which means many tourists choose Portree as their base to explore the island.
Keep in mind that Portree is the most popular town on the Isle of Skye, and to find decent and affordable accommodation, you need to book weeks in advance.
Best Accommodation in Portree
Quayside Apartment is a 3-bedroom property located in the centre of Portree. It is decorated in a boutique retro style with an eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories.
Grenitote B&B is a small bed and breakfast in Portree, offering the guests a continental or a Full English/Irish breakfast.
2. The Old Man of Storr
The Old Man of Storr is a large standing formation of rock on the Trotternish peninsula and can be seen for miles around. It was formed by a massive ancient landside, creating one of the most beautiful landscapes in Scotland.
As you know, Scotland is the land of legends and there are some interesting stories behind the Storr. The most popular legend tells us that the Isle of Skye was once a land of Giants and the Old Man of Storr was the thumb of a giant who when he died became buried in the earth.
Perhaps, the Old Man of Storr is the most iconic, and definitely the busiest, place on the Isle of Skye. So, if you want to avoid crowds, it is better to get here early in the morning.
Only a short drive from Portree, you can find the car park, where you can start the walk. It will take less than an hour to reach the foot of the Old Man. Of course, this is the case if you don’t stop often for taking photos.
To go back, you need to take the same route, and obviously, going downhill is always easier and faster.
3. Lealt Falls
Lealt is one of the most beautiful falls in the UK and it is located just 13 miles north of Portree and a short drive from the Old Man of Storr. The Lealt falls are a popular stop on any road trip around the Trotternish peninsula.
A short and easy walk from the car park leads you to the viewpoint where you can see the Lealt waterfall finding its way through a dense forest gorge.
Quiraing is one of the best places to visit on the Isle of Skye and it is one of the most photographed landscapes in Scotland. The Quiraing is a series of unusual rock formations on the Trotternish peninsula and it is a great place for hiking.
To get to the car park you need to drive on a winding and narrow road, but it is worth the drive. From the car park, you will have a fantastic view of the surrounding landscapes. But you don’t need to stop here, the Quiraing walk is a loop and covers 4.5 miles. The hike is not difficult but it is better to have hiking boots since some parts of the path can be slippery.
5. Fairy Pools
Fairy Pools are a collection of pools and waterfalls that create stunning scenery. This is another popular destination on the Isle of Skye.
The best way to visit Fairy Pools is to drive here, there is a big car park on the other side of the road, where you can have a glimpse of the pools and stunning mountains in the background. The walk along the stream is easy and suitable for all ages and fitness levels. You have to cross the river a few times. The river crossing can be challenging if it has been raining hard.
The pools are a popular place for wild swimmers and if you don’t mind the frigid waters, take your swimsuits and give it a try.
6. Dunvegan Castle
No trip to Scotland is complete without a visit to a castle. The most popular castle on the Isle of Iske is Dunvegan Castle which is located on a rocky outcrop by the shore of Loch Dunvegan. This medieval castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.
The castle is surrounded by five acres of three formal gardens where you can see exotic plants, flowers and waterfalls. Visiting Dunvegan castle is one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye. From the castle, you can also go on a 25-minute boat trip to see the Loch Dunvegan seal colony and observe these playful sea mammals at close quarters.
The castle is open to the public from April to the 15th of October. There is no need to pre-book your admission tickets. You can purchase them on arrival. You can pay £14 and visit both the castle and its gardens, or just buy the ticket for the gardens for £12.
7. The Lighthouse of Neist Point
On the most Westerly point on the Isle of Skye, you will find Neist Point, which is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland offering dramatic views of the surrounding cliffs.
The point is also known as the best place on the Isle of Skye to see whales, dolphins and basking sharks. The walk from the car park to the lighthouse is around 1.4 miles.
You can visit Dunvegan Castle and then end your day here at Neist Point since it is just a short drive away. If you are lucky, you might be awarded with a beautiful sunset.
8. The Brother's Point
The brother’s point is another great place for hiking and enjoying some of the stunning views on the Isle of Skye. The Brother's Point is a hidden gem and not many tourists know about this place.
While on the other parts of the Isle of Skye is hard to enjoy the beauty spots on the island alone, at the Brothers’ Point, we found ourselves on our own with some sheep in nature.
To reach the viewpoint you need to walk around 2 miles, the walk is not suitable for everyone, since some parts can be pretty steep. Here you might be able to see some seals and whales.
Elgol is another hidden gem and is located on the southwest coast of the Isle of Skye. This Scottish village is a great place for those who want to get away from touristy places and are looking for relaxing and unwinding.
We went to Elgol mainly to see the highland cows since it is one the best places in Scotland to see them roaming around freely.
Best Places to Stay in Elgol
Askival is a 3-bedroom holiday home, located in Elgol. This property is a great place for families and a group of friends.
Stunning one-bedroom cabin is located in a peaceful area in Elgol and it is an ideal place for couples.
Tigh Lachie at Mary's Thatched Cottages is a two-bedroom holiday home with garden views in Elgol offering an amazing stay.
10 Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Just a short drive from the Brother's Point, you will find Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. You can simply park in the car park and walk for a few minutes to the viewpoint. This place is too touristy and due to its easy access, it can get very crowded.
It is good to have a short stop here and look at the waterfalls striking down the 55-meter cliffs.
Things to Know Before Visiting the Isle of Skye
Book Your Accommodation in Advance
The Isle of Skye is one of the most visited places in Scotland and there and during the peak season you might not be able to find accommodation, so to be able to book a decent and affordable place to stay on the Isle of Skye, it is better to plan ahead and book everything weeks or even months in advance.
How to Get to the Isle of Skye
There are several ways to reach the Isle of Skye, either by car, trains, bus or tours. Driving is the best way to travel to the Isle of Skye simply because some attractions are located in remote areas and getting around the island without a car can be very difficult.
Driving from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Portree can take more than 5 hours, so you can stay a night in Inverness or Fort William and then drive to the Isle of Skye.
The second best option to get here is to take a tour. There are various options, you can take a day tour from Inverness and visit Eilean Donan Castle and the highlight of Skye.
Here are some of the most popular multi-day tours to the Isle of Skye
From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye, Highlands & Loch Ness: in this tour, you will stay overnight in the picturesque town of Portree and will visit Fort William and Skye’s highlights.
From Inverness: 2-Day Isle of Skye and The Fairy Pools Tour starts from the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness and takes you to Eilean Donan Castle, the Fairy Pools, Neist Point, and the Old Man of Storr.
From Glasgow: 3-Day Isle of Skye & The Highlands: this guided tour takes you through some of the most beautiful Scottish landscapes and you will explore Eilean Donan Castle where the blockbuster movie "Highlander" was filmed, the Isle of Skye and the Victorian town of Pitlochry.