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12 Breathtaking Things To Do In Isle Of Skye - Updated 2020

things to do in the isle of skye
Elena
Elena
Updated

Scotland is known for its picture-perfect landscapes and quaint castles, but you haven’t truly glimpsed Scotland’s beauty until you’ve made it to the Isle of Skye. Skye is a land of fairies and folklore, which got its name partly from the water, which is so clear it reflects the clouds and the sky for miles. Of course, there’s nothing like seeing the beautiful trails and landscapes firsthand. Keep reading for more breathtaking things to do in Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Where to stay in the Isle of Skye

Grow fascinated with the best that the Isle of Skye has to offer and consider staying in neighborhoods that are secluded like Portree and Broadford.

Portree

If you enjoy being near the water, then positioning yourself in Portree village is a great choice. It’s surrounded by high grounds and stunning hills that make it a frequented holiday hotspot. This 200-year-old town’s livelihood depends on its fishing community and is a quiet locale that is filled with underrated gems like the Aros Centre for entertainment, and historic rock formations like Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock for history buffs to enjoy.

Broadford

Situate yourself and your loved ones in the quaint town of Bradford that many travelers and tourists enjoy frequenting. It’s a haven for superb outdoor activities like climbing, hiking, and trekking. Broadford is also a family-friendly area where those traveling with children can explore the vibrant marine life, including seals, orca whales, and even a whooper swan. This town is popular for camping and lodging in the woods that many outdoorsy folks would definitely appreciate.

For a top-notch vacation in the Isle of Skye, we recommend booking these amazing places to stay:

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

1. Listen to the tale of the Old Man of Storr (from USD 81.0)

12 Breathtaking things to do in Isle of Skye
Source: Maxpixel

Another great rock formation that almost looks man-made, Old Man of Storr is a great place to climb. And, since it’s next to a lake and Scotland’s weather favors small bursts of rain, you’re likely to catch a rainbow on the way up. If you don’t know what to see in Isle of Skye, this is a great option.

Old Man of Storr

Address: Portree IV51 9HX, UK

Website: Old Man of Storr

The Storr's Secret Sanctuary

Duration: 4 hours

10 reviews

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

2. Discover viking history and legends (from USD 18.0)

Learn all about the magnificent history of the village of Kyleakin and discover what makes visitors admire it. Through this tour, you will discover the history of Vikings who settled here. You will also hear about the enthralling facts that made the village the way it is now. Take a walk around the peaceful and captivating Kyleakin and catch a glimpse of the majestic birds that inhabit the area. You will see the different methods that locals use to fish and you will also be taken to a lookout with the most breathtaking views. You will surely appreciate this cultural experience.

The Isle of Skye through viking history and legends

Duration: 1.5 hours

32 reviews

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

3. Take an exciting croft tour on the Isle of Skye (from USD 34.0)

Do you love seeing and meeting animals? This is the perfect time to do that since you’ll be able to encounter lovely animals such as sheep, donkeys, and cows. Learn all about crofting and see how wool is produced ethically by the experts. You will also get to visit a workshop and observe how fleece is prepared and how each unique design is hand-knitted to perfection. This will truly be an exciting yet informative tour!

Croft Tour on the Isle of Skye

Duration: 2 hours

18 reviews

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

4. Tour a uniquely designed smokehouse (from USD 61.0)

Book your very own private tour of a distinctive smokehouse in the Isle of Skye. The smokehouse was inspired by a traditional Scottish cleit so visitors will truly appreciate the authentic vibe of the place. On this tour, guests will be able to witness how local alder wood is prepared so it can be used to generate smoke for the smokehouse. Different methods of smoking and curing will be demonstrated. Then, guests will taste four different types of smoked salmon. This spice-filled experience is sure to make your mouth water.

Private Skye Smokehouse Tour & Tasting

Duration: 2 hours

107 reviews

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5. See incredible views atop the Quiraing Trail

Quiraing at Sunset
Source: Pixabay

If you’re looking for a more strenuous hike, go walk the Quiraing trail. The trail is long but incredibly rewarding, not only for the crazy and gorgeous rock formations but also the totally unreal views. You’ll feel like a king looking down on your wild and beautiful kingdom, as you sit on the top of the mountain and make all your friends jealous with your photos.

Quiraing

Address: Quiraing, Portree IV51 9JZ, UK

Website: Quiraing

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

6. Have a windy adventure at Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean donan castle 2
Source: Photo by user JacekN used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

This beautiful castle rests on an island, with a bridge for visitors to cross over. During the day you can pay to take a tour of the castle, but at night you can go in and walk around the small island and stare into the rough waves below. It’s completely rebuilt, and stands like a great and imposing fortress, especially at night when it’s lit red for visitors.

Eilean Donan Castle

Address: Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX, UK

Website: Eilean Donan Castle

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

7. Hang out on the coast of Portree

Portree Isle of Skye
Source: Photo by user Markus Bernet used under CC BY 3.0

Portree is Skye’s largest town, and although it’s small in comparison to Glasgow or Edinburgh, the capital, there’s lots to do. Take pictures of the colorful buildings and fishing boats, or walk along the seaside looking for sea glass!

Portree

Address: Portree Harbour, Quay St, Portree IV51 9DE, UK

Website: Portree

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

8. Take a tropical stroll on Coral Beach

Coral beach, Isle of Skye
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Colin used under CC BY-SA 4.0

An Isle of Skye must-see is definitely Coral Beach. After you’ve gawked at some of the mystical waterfalls and seen the golden sun hit the sides of the hills, take a break from hiking for a relaxing walk on this beach. Coral Beach is made of crushed white coral and makes the water look a bright, tropical blue in the light of the sun. For a minute, you might even forget you’re in Scotland and be tempted to swap your scarf for a bathing suit!

Coral Beach

Address: Unnamed Rd, Claigan, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye IV55 8WF, UK

Website: Coral Beach

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

9. Enter the magical world of the Fairy Glen

Afon Conwy below the Fairy Glen - geograph.org.uk - 1375101
Source: Photo by user Phil Champion used under CC BY-SA 2.0

By far the most absolutely magical region of Skye, the Fairy Glen is full of gentle hills and otherworldly looking pyramid-like burrows that lead you to a stone circle (or a gate to the fairy world). This is a wonderful hike at any time but is particularly striking at dusk, when the hills guarding the gate to the fairy world are still glowing with the last rays of sunlight. Just be sure not to take anything but the mud on your pants when you leave, legend has it the fairies don’t like that very much.

The Fairy Glen

Address: Fairy Glen, Highland IV51 9YG, United Kingdom

Website: The Fairy Glen

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

10. Hike along the enchanted Fairy Pools

The Fairy Pools
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wojtek Szkutnik used under CC BY 3.0

The fairy pools are a great hike for all ages. The trail stretches about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) and has plenty of opportunities for photos of the beautiful blue water, along the way. The blue waters in this Isle of Skye attraction give the fairy pools its name since it’s so luminous and clear it appears fairies have bathed in it. With the Black Cuillins in the background, you’ll feel like you’re walking straight into a Lord of the Rings movie.

The Fairy Pools

Address: Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye IV47 8TA, UK

More Information: The Fairy Pools

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

11. Stand on the edge of the world at Kilt Rock

Kilt Rock and Mealt Waterfall, Isle of Skye, Scotland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marshallhenrie used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Isle of Skye isn’t just coastal beaches, it has its fair share of jaw-dropping cliffs, as well. Kilt Rock, named because its sides resemble a kilt, is a beautiful cliff, with waterfalls that plummet into the ocean - just be careful not to get too close to the edge.

Kilt Rock

Address: A855, Portree IV51, UK

Website: Kilt Rock

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

12. Visit Sligachan River

The old bridge over Sligachan River in summer 2012 (4)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chmee2 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the top things to do in Isle of Skye is to visit Sligachan River. Legend has it that this river contains the fountain of youth! Probably best to check it out just to be on the safe side, plus it’s a beautiful spot to stop and have a picnic, anyway.

Sligachan River

Address: Sligachan, Isle of Skye IV47 8SW, UK

Website: Sligachan River

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Isle of Skye, Scottish Islands, UK

Enjoy yourself

There’s no part of the Isle of Skye that isn’t immensely beautiful, so if you don’t get to see all the items on this list (or wind up seeing other areas), don’t stress. Skye is full of magical tales and landscapes that call to all ages and travelers differently, and there’s no way to go wrong. Whether you decide to go with a tour group (which I highly recommend, since there are loads of fun facts and stories that make the experience so much richer), or just your friends, you’ll have an amazing time in Scotland’s highlands, and plenty of pictures to show for it.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Elena Aguirre is a travel writer with Trip101 and a student at UC Berkeley. In the past she has worked on technical, marketing, and creative writing. Favorite pastimes include traveling (of...Read more

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