18 Best Things To Do On The Isle of Skye, Scotland

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18 of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, a stunning island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. 

Out of all the Scottish islands (there are hundreds of them!), the Isle of Skye may get the most attention.

It’s jagged mountain peaks, sapphire freshwater rivers, and overall rugged natural landscape has become famous among travelers and wilderness enthusiasts.

I was lucky enough to do a 2-week road trip through Scotland with my amazing Mother a few years ago. We visited the Isle of Skye and were completely blown away by the raw and wild natural beauty of the island.

And the cozy little bed and breakfast we stayed in near Portree was run by the sweetest old man who even gave us a movie to watch that was filmed on the Isle of Skye (The movie was Stardust, and it was cool to see all the sights in the movie that we had visited on the island!)

So for anyone else wishing to see these gorgeous sights for themselves, here are the 18 best things to do on the Isle of Skye!

I’ll also include a brief section about how to get around the island, as it’s a crucial thing to consider.

(If you’re island-hopping through the Inner Hebrides of western Scotland, I also highly recommend visiting the Isle of Mull!)

isle of Skye scenery
Raw, rugged scenery on the Isle of Skye

How To Get Around the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is a pretty remote place, with only a few main roads and a lot of mountains, rivers, hills, and valleys to navigate.

I think the best way to see the Isle of Skye is by car, and you have two options for doing this.

Option #1: Rent A Car

I recommend renting a car so you have all the freedom to drive around the island and explore what you want, when you want.

This is what we did, and once you get used to the narrow and winding single-track roads, getting around the Isle of Skye is easy.

You can get a map in Portree that shows the best Isle of Skye attractions and they’re usually straightforward to get to.

This is also one of the only Scottish islands connected by bridge to the mainland, so driving there is very easy.

Option #2: Book A Tour

If you’re a traveler on a budget, or maybe you’re not comfortable driving yourself, or maybe you just don’t have a lot of time to explore the Isle of Skye, you can book a tour.

If you can get to Glasgow or Inverness, you can find public transport like buses or trains that will get you to Portree, the capital of the Isle of Skye.

From there you can book a sightseeing day trip from Portree that drives you and a small group to all the best Isle of Skye attractions. You need a car to see the Isle of Skye’s top sights, so if you’re not driving I definitely recommend booking a tour.

You can also book multi-day tours that leave from Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Inverness. I recommend these for study abroad students and any other travelers in Scotland who don’t want to deal with the hassle of booking all your own transport to the Isle of Skye.

Here are some of the top-rated Isle of Skye tours: 

18 Best Things To Do On The Isle of Skye

If you are driving yourself through the Isle of Skye, here are the must-see attractions. If you’re booking a tour, here are some of the amazing sights you’ll most likely get to see on your tour!

1. Hike to the Old Man of Storr

This is probably the most famous landmark on the Isle of Skye. It’s a weird, jagged tower of rocks that sits on a mountain. It sounds random, but it looks pretty cool against the backdrop of Skye’s breathtaking scenery.

There is an easy and well-marked hiking trail that snakes up the mountain and brings you up to the rock formation. You get a spectacular view from here, and the walk is only 1-2 hours.

Those looking for a challenge can continue hiking up the mountain, but most people just head to the viewpoint.

How To Get There:

Just head north from the town of Portree on road A855 until you reach the Old Man of Storr car park. It’s easy to find via Google Maps.

old man of Storr isle of Skye scotland
The Old Man of Storr sits right in the middle of some incredible scenery.

2. Explore Portree

The capital of the island is Portree. Despite its title as capital, it’s just a charming small town.

Exploring Portree is definitely one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye because this is the heart of civilization and where most of the culture lies!

There are lots of adorable shops and a few nice restaurants in town, and the view of the harbor is gorgeous.

How To Get There:

Portree is located on the east of the island on Loch Portree, and all the major roads on the island intersect in the town.

3. Visit the Brother’s Point Lookout

Its traditional name is actually Rubha nam Brathairean, but it’s much easier to call it Brother’s Point Lookout.

This scenic spot offers amazing views of the coast, and the interesting shapes of the land are very cool.

How To Get There:

It is located in the northeast of the island, on road A855. This road heading north from Portree hits all the best attractions on the Trotternish Peninsula, so you can easily fit it into a day of Isle of Skye sightseeing.

4. Go Kayaking

If you’re visiting Isle of Skye in the summer when the weather is nice, kayaking is a beautiful way to spend a day.

Getting out on the water gives you a different perspective of the island, and you get a bit of exercise as well.

South Skye Sea Kayak is the best tour company for kayaking on the Isle of Skye!

Address: Kilmore, Isle of Skye IV44 8RG, United Kingdom

5. Visit Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls

This is one of the best things to see in the Isle of Skye; two natural attractions in one spot: Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

Kilt Rock is a cliffside made of basalt columns. The striped appearance of the columns makes the rock look like a kilt.

Mealt Falls is a majestic waterfall that pours from the cliffs into the ocean. Overall, it’s a stunning lookout point.

How To Get There:

This is also along the A855 road north of Portree, so you can combine it with a trip to Brother’s Point Lookout and the Old Man of Storr.

kilt rock isle of Skye scotland
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

6. Visit the Talisker Distillery

This is one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye if it’s raining and gloomy, or if you just love whisky!

You can do a tour of the distillery and taste all the best whiskies. This tour costs about 10 pounds and the distillery is open all year round.

How To Get There:

Take road B8009 to the west of the island. Talisker Distillery is in the little village of Carbost.

Address: Carbost, Isle of Skye IV47 8SR, United Kingdom

7. Check out the Skye Museum of Island Life

Another one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye when its raining is head to this museum.

With its traditional thatched-roof cottages and workshops, you can see what life on the island was like hundreds of years ago. Find out more on the official website.

How To Get There:

Follow Road A855 into the town of Kilmuir.

Address: Kilmuir, Portree IV51 9UE, United Kingdom

8. See the Fairy Pools

At the base of the Cuillin Mountains lies the fairy pools. These are among the most famous Isle of Skye attractions and therefore can get crowded in the summertime.

The Fairy Pools are basically a series of pools and waterfalls formed by the cold, refreshingly clear waters of the River Brittle.

In the right lighting, the pools look bright blue, almost turquoise. With the mountains in the background and rich green grass everywhere, the scene can look like something out of a fairy tale.

How To Get There:

In the center of the island, there is a road to Glenbrittle. The start of the walking trail is on that road and there’s a sign. Google Maps will be helpful in finding it!

fairy pools Scotland
The scenery near the Fairy Pools is beautiful and pure.

9. Check out Armadale Castle

One of the best Isle of Skye activities is visiting the Armadale Castle.

Check out the ruins of the 19th Century Armadale Castle, as well as the surrounding gardens and walking paths, and the informational visit, so there are plenty of things to do during your visit.

How To Get Here:

It is located about 20 miles from the Skye Bridge on the A851 Road.

The castle is located on the Sleat Peninsula in the south of the island and offers lovely views across the South of Sleat towards mainland Scotland.

10. Hike in the Cuillin Mountains

This prominent mountain range slices through the center of the island and their towering peaks are a must-see in a day of Isle of Skye sightseeing.

Some may be satisfied just seeing the mountains from ground level, especially at the Fairy Pools.

But for any adventurous travelers and hikers, climbing the mountains is an incredible challenge to tackle. The hikes here are very difficult and only suitable for fit, experienced hikers.

Visit this official hiking website for the UK to find the right hike for you.

11. Visit Fairy Glen

Another spot on the Isle of Skye that looks like it came from a fairy tale is the Fairy Glen.

Surrounded by green farmland, this mysterious location is full of small hills that are oddly symmetrical. The land is shaped in such weird ways that it sort of looks like a village for little fairies or something.

Castle Ewan, which is just a basalt rock column on top of one of the hills, is the main attraction in Fairy Glen and you get a good view of the area from up there.

How To Get There:

Fairy Glen is located off of road A87 near the town of Uig. This is the western side of the Trotternish Peninsula in the north of the island.

12. Spot some Highland Cows

Whether you are on a tour bus or driving yourself around the Isle of Skye, you’ll be passing lots of farmland and farm animals.

If you’re lucky you’ll spot lots of highland cows! I think these guys are so cool. They are big, powerful cows with massive horns, but their long shaggy hair makes them look so lovable.

highland cow scotland
Seeing highland cows is one of the best things to do in the Isle of Skye, Scotland!

13. Visit Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle much more well preserved than Armadale Castle, and this is one of the top Isle of Skye points of interest.

The castle is surrounded by trees and is set right on the water, making it an incredibly beautiful spot. The castle gardens are spectacular, and you can take a quick boat tour to a seal colony nearby if you want to see some seals.

How To Get There:

Take road A850 from Portree to Dunvegan, then turn right towards the castle. If you continue up that same road past the castle, there is a free lookout point where you can see the castle from afar.

14. Stroll Along the Point of Sleat Walk

For a peaceful, scenic walk on the Isle of Skye, head down to the Sleat Peninsula near Armadale Castle.

This 3-4 hour walk takes you to the southernmost tip of the island, and you get some amazing coastal views on the way.

How To Get There:

In the town called Aird of Sleat, there is a car park and the walk starts from there.

15. Marvel at the Quairaing

This is easily one of the best things to do in the Isle of Skye.

The Quairaing is a collection of small mountains, hills, and valleys. There are rich natural colors, weirdly-shaped rocks and hills, and overall jaw-dropping scenery.

This scene appeared in the movie Stardust, like I mentioned in the beginning of this article. It doesn’t surprise me that filmmakers were drawn to this place because it is so strange and magical.

Walk the Quiraing Circuit Trail through the landscape, for a few minutes or a few hours if you’d like.

How To Get Here:

Follow the road A855 north along the Trotternish Peninsula, just past Kilt Rock. Just park on the side of the road once you read the Quiraing and the walking trail is super easy to find.

quiraing isle of Skye scotland
The mysterious Quiraing is one of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye.

16. Do A Wildlife Tour

The Isle of Skye is home to plenty of wildlife, like eagles, otters, whales, and dolphins.

One of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye for animal lovers is doing a wildlife sightseeing tour.

Isle of Skye Wildlife Tours is the main tour provider on the island, and their experienced guides have a great track record of spotting wildlife.

  • Location: Portsoy, 4 Glenmore, Portree IV51 9LP, United Kingdom
  • Hours: 9:45 am to 5 pm

17. Visit Claigan Coral Beach

After seeing all the cliffs, mountains, museums, and castles switch it up and head to the beach!

One of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye on a nice, sunny day is visit Claigan Coral beach. It has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water.

How To Get There:

Drive to the town of Dunvegan on the northwest of the island. Park in the Claigan Coral Beach Car Park and walk along the marked trail.

18. Walk to Neist Point Lighthouse

For a beautiful coastal walk on the Isle of Skye, head to Neist Point in the west of the island.

It’s only a 30-minute walk to reach the lighthouse, though the path is quite steep. I’d avoid this trail if its really rainy, wet, and slippery. But on a nice day, the views are spectacular.

How To Get There:

Drive all the way to the west of the island to the Niest Point Car Par. This is about 2 hours from Portree.

neist point lighthouse
The Niest Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous Isle of Skye attractions.

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So those are 18 of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, Scotland!

There are of course, plenty more amazing things to do that I didn’t mention, but these are probably the most popular tourist attractions on the Isle of Skye.

It’s a truly gorgeous place and I feel so lucky to have visited.

Before you visit Scotland, here are a couple of things to consider:

  • You probably won’t need a visa to visit the UK, but it’s worth checking visa requirements on iVisa.com.
  • You should also have travel insurance, especially if you’ll be hiking in remote and rugged areas. Visit Squaremouth Insurance to get the best, affordable travel insurance plans. You can take advantage of their online live chat as well if you have any questions!

For more travel articles from the United Kingdom, check out:

6 Amazing Day Trips From London

3 Beautiful Hiking Destinations in Great Britain

London: The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide

BEST THINGS TO DO ON THE ISLE OF SKYE SCOTLAND-2

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