22/04/2024

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13 Best Things To Do On The Isle of Skye, Scotland – Hand Luggage Only

8 min read
13 Best Things To Do On The Isle of Skye, Scotland – Hand Luggage Only

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands to visit. From its dramatic coastline, gorgeous towns and castles, it’s the perfect island to explore when visiting Scotland. Now, there are heaps of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye dotted all across the island, too. This makes it a perfect island for a mini road trip. It’s just so beautiful. 

Now, like most visitors to the west coast of Scotland, it’s unlikely you’ll be just visiting the Isle of Skye. It’s likely, and I’d definitely recommend taking in the wider Scottish highlands which is just so beautiful.

You can also follow the NC500 route that goes north from Inverness, taking in the Highlands, before driving down the west coast of Scotland. It’s so beautiful and you can easily tag the Isle of Skye onto that trip. 

After living in Scotland, and exploring over the years, we’ve found a fair few gems that we love. So, to help your visit go swimmingly, I’m sharing our top places on the Isle of Skye you have to visit. Have the best time visiting Scotland. 

1.) Fairy Glen 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Fairy Glen

Nested on the northern fringes of the Isle of Skye, visiting Fairy Glen is easily one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye as you drive around the island. Not too far from the small town of Uig, Fairy Glen is a lovely area of Skye that’s perfect for a stroll.

Once here, be sure to hike around the ruins of Castle Ewen and follow the grassy paths around the Glen area itself. Give yourself around 45 minutes to see everything and walk back slowly to your car. 

Now, with parking, there’s this small car park which holds around thirty cars. This makes it pretty tight when visiting in peak season, so be warned. 

Oh, and don’t forget to wear some good shoes, the paths can get muddy. 

Read more: Itinerary to explore the Scottish Highlands

2.) Cuillins Hills 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye

If you’re fancying a longer hike, be sure to stop by the Cuillins for a ramble. Situated further south on the Isle of Skye, it’s the perfect place to step away from the driving and really explore the rugged beauty of Scotland. 

Not that you’ll easily see a difference, but the Cuillin Hills are split into two main areas; the Black and Red Hills. The Black Hills are more sharp and rugged hills, whereas the Red Hills tend to have a pinkish geological colour to the rock. Either area is stunning and we’ve loved spending a morning exploring them. 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Cuillins

For experienced hikers, with good technical knowledge and safety gear, you can also join the Blà Bheinn (Northern Approach). It’s a challenging hike that requires safety equipment and climbing equipment too. Though, the views over Bla Bheinn are just stunning. 

For some easier walks and hikes, follow the Loch Coruisk route or the Coire Lagan trail. Just be aware, the trails can be uneven and not easily marked. 

Now, like I said, this is a great area to hike on the Isle of Skye; but you do need a good level of fitness. 

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC500 route

3.) Portree

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Portree

Probably one of my favourite towns on the Isle of Skye, Portree is a great stopping point on your trip around the Isle of Skye. 

Take a little stroll around the harbour area and ‘The Lump’ which juts out into the sea. It’s a gorgeous little place to stop around lunchtime, too. Pop into Sea Breezes for their freshly caught scallops or the Birch Cafe for a great coffee. 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Portree

Oh yeah, and for a great view of Portree, head to this point which overlooks the harbour. 

Also, if you’re looking to visit the Isle of Skye from Inverness, then book this epic guided tour with transport. It’s a great way to visit the Isle of Skye for a day trip and you’ll even get to visit Eilean Donan Castle (on the mainland), too. 

4.) Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Waterfalls

Perched on the edges of Luch Mealt, Mealt Falls are stunning to see. Not only that, it’s really easy to stop in the parking area that’s just off the main ‘A855 road’ that passes the loch. 

After parking up, you’ll get to see Kilt Rock Waterfall which falls into the sea and Mealt Falls which is within the loch itself. Both are stunning and it’s easily one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye as you venture north of Portree.

Now, a stop will take around 25-35 minutes; giving you a nice bit of time out of the car.  

Also, if you’re driving south to Portree (from Mealt Falls), make sure to stop off at The Brother’s Point. There’s a small car park to pull up and hike towards  Brother’s Point which is a totally beautiful coastal area. 

Read more: Best places in the Scottish Highlands to visit

5.) Fairy Pools

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Fairy Pools

If you’re in the southern region of the Isle of Skye, make sure to pop over to see the Fairy Pools. Not too far from Loch Brittle, the Fairy Polls are a stunning spot to visit in Summer when the weather is a little warmer.

You see, you can stop here for a dip in the pools and take some time to slow down on your road trip.

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Fairy Pools

There’s a Forestry Commission parking area close by and the Fairy Pools are just a short ramble away. 

One note to mention, I find the water to be very cold. So, be prepared for that! 

Read more: Best places in the Scottish Highlands to visit

6.) Walk the Quiraing

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Quiraing Hills

Perched on the Trotternish Ridge, the Quiraing was caused by an ancient geological landslide that created this unique and totally beautiful landscape around this region of the Isle of Skye. 

Now, for me, the hikes to the Quiraing is one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye as it really shows the natural beauty of this Scottish island. 

The Quiraing Circuit takes around 2-3 hours, depending on how often you stop and is totally stunning. 

For ease, follow the Quiraing walk which is one big loop returning you back to the same starting point. This means it’s a great route to follow if you’re parked in one area and don’t want an added journey back to the car. Just be aware, the car park fills up fast in the Summer months. 

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC500 route

7.) Visit Coral Beach

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Claigan Coral Beach Dunvegan

Just shy of Claigan, Coral Beach is a gorgeous place to visit on the Isle of Skye. I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the Isle of Skye.

The beach itself is formed from the old skeletons of local coral; which makes the beach gleaming white. It’s stunning. 

Now, the road towards Coral Beach is a little bumpy, so drive carefully there.  It’s really easy to visit if you’re already in the area to explore nearby Dunvegan Castle. Just be sure to take some snacks and drinks with you. There are no facilities whatsoever on Coral Beach. 

Read more: Best places in the Scottish Highlands to visit

8.) Talisker Distillery

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Talisker Distillery

You won’t regret visiting the Talisker Distillery while travelling around the Isle of Skye.

As the oldest working distillery on the Island, it specialises in its world-renowned whiskey. Now, you can join a tour of the distillery for a fee (around £20-ish, each). The tour lasts around 45 minutes and you’ll also get a few little tipples to try some of the distillery’s drinks. 

Just be sure to book your tour before arriving. Tickets sell out fast. 

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC500 route

9.) Skye Museum of Island Life

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye view

Right at the north of the Isle of Skye, the The Skye Museum of Island Life is a totally great place to visit. Established way back in 1965, it’s an incredible place to explore more about the Isle of Skye and the history of people living here.

Although small, it’s a mighty little museum that offers visitors a good insight into the way life was lived at the end of the 19th century.

Just be sure to remember the closing times. The last entry is around 4:30 pm. 

10.) Armadale Castle

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Armadale Castle Gardens

Armadale Castle is the home of Clan Donald that’s so epic to see. The museum is totally surrounded by beautiful gardens and the ruins of the castle are so incredible to stroll around. We spent around 90 minutes exploring the grounds and totally loved it. 

Best of all, you can easily visit Armadale Castle after arriving (or departing) from the Isle of Skye via the (Armadale to Mallaig) ferry. The whole estate is well worth a visit, just remember that it’s only open in the summer months. 

11.) Dunvegan Castle

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Dunvegan Castle

Just slightly north of the village of Dunvegan Castle, Dunvegan Castle is absolutely lovely to see. 

Built in the 13th century by the MacLeod Clan, it became their ancestral home; with many of the same foundations and rooms still standing today. Best of all, you can head inside some of the most iconic rooms and explore the gardens too. We absolutely loved our visit.

Just make sure to give yourself around two hours to visit the estate fully. 

Also, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the earless seals that frequent the shores by the castle. They are adorable. 

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC500 route

12.) Neist Point

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Neist Point

Probably one of my favourite places on the Isle of Skye is Neist Point. The rugged coastline is just breathtaking and unspoilt. 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Neist Point

Now, you can visit Neist Point at any time of the day but it’s absolutely beautiful at sunset. We’ve visited a few different times and loved each visit. Also, the coastline down towards Waterstein Head is just phenomenal.

For ease when you visit, make sure to park here and venture on foot along the grass paths that line the coastline here. It’s beautiful. 

Read more: Best places in the Scottish Highlands to visit

13.) Old Man of Storr

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Old Man Of Storr View

Probably one of the Isle of Skye’s most iconic natural sites, the Old Man of Storr is beautiful to see. This towering granite rock stands proudly overlooking the Isle of Skye and is well worth walking around as you venture north from Portree. 

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Old Man Of Storr View Hike

After parking, here, take a hike up towards the Old Man of Storr that will take around 60-12o minutes there and back. Now, the hike itself isn’t too hard but there are some pretty steep uphill inclines which can be challenging.

Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Skye Old Man Of Storr

Just wear some comfy shoes and pack some water before following the Storr Trail. You can’t miss it. 

Oh yeah, and for a really impressive view, hike to this point or this point.  It’s gorgeous to see. 

                     Read more: Best places in the Scottish Highlands to visit

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