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24 Epic Things to Do on the Isle of Skye + Top Tips & Map [2021]

August 14, 2021
Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

It’s a fact: Scotland is hands down one of the dreamiest destinations on earth, and no trip to this country would be complete without visiting the Highlands. So, if you’re looking for the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, then you’ve come to the right place!

Having spent two weeks road tripping in the area, I’ll be sharing all my best insider tips with you in this guide, so that your time on the island can be just as memorable as mine.

In this article, you’ll not only learn about the most breathtaking places to visit in Skye but also a variety of activities that cover a wide range of interests. Whether you’re interested in waterfalls to chase, ancient castles to uncover, hiking the Isle of Skye with kids, or the fascinating dinosaur tracks on the island — I’ve got you covered.

So without further ado, let’s discover the best of Isle of Skye.

You might also be interested in:
🚗 How to Get to the Isle of Skye: The Ultimate Guide
🏡 Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye + An Area to Avoid
⛵️ 19 Top Things to Do in Portree + Map & Insider Tips

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about this in my disclosure policy.

🇬🇧 Visiting the Isle of Skye, Scotland

🏡 Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

There are plenty of great accommodation options near the attractions in Isle of Skye. Here are my top recommendations.

A Hotel in Portree, Skye
Photo courtesy of Cuillin Hills Hotel via Booking.com

TOP OVERALL PICK: Cuillin Hills Hotel (⭐️ 9.4)
This hotel is one of the best situated and most scenic ones on Skye. It boasts spectacular views over the Cuillin Mountains and is also home to an award-winning restaurant. The lawn is perfect for evening drinks, and the atmosphere is extremely romantic.

Check rates & availability


BEST NATURE GETAWAY: Duisdale House Hotel (⭐ 8.8) Surrounded by gardens and 30 acres of forest, this hilltop hotel is perfect for a quiet and relaxing retreat in nature. The elegant rooms boast captivating views of the surrounding forests and mountains. Guests can enjoy hiking, fishing, and horse riding.

Check rates & availability

A Hotel on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
Photo courtesy of Duisdale House Hotel via Booking.com

A Hotel on the Isle of Skye, Scotland
Photo courtesy of Toravaig House Hotel via Booking.com

BEST COASTAL STAY: Toravaig House Hotel (⭐ 8.7) This award-winning hotel offers beautiful sea view rooms, a panoramic deck, and an intimate atmosphere. Each bedroom is individually designed and has its own character. There’s a piano and a real log fire in the lounge, where you can enjoy some whisky.

Check rates & availability


MOST UNIQUE: Tigh Beag na h’aibhne (⭐️ 9.4)
This stunning accommodation offers beautiful mountain views, a garden, barbecue facilities, and a terrace. There’s also a hot tub that guests can enjoy, as well as free WiFi and private parking. It is truly the perfect relaxing (and romantic) nature getaway.

Check rates & availability

A Hotel in Broadford on Skye
Photo courtesy of Tigh Beag na h’aibhne via Booking.com
Read more: Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye + An Area to Avoid

🏞 24 Epic Things to Do on the Isle of Skye

1. Stroll the Scenic Sligachan Old Bridge

The gorgeous Sligachan Old Bridge is arguably the most scenic bridge on the Isle of Skye. Perfectly situated near the Cuillin mountains, it offers a breathtaking view of the Black Cuillin mountains and the River Sligachan.

Take your time strolling this bridge, as it is surrounded by incredibly beautiful landscapes. You can also stop for a meal at the restaurant inside Sligachan Hotel (⭐️ 8.3), which is also home to an award-winning whisky bar. This hotel is a peaceful and cosy place to spend the night and it is pet-friendly too.

The Sligachan Old Bridge, One of the Best Highlights Isle of Skye

Parallel to the Sligachan Old Bridge is the A87 bridge, which offers the best views of the Sligachan Old Bridge and the majestic mountains in the background. This is also the best photo spot for capturing the bridge with the epic surrounding landscapes!

The easiest way to visit the Sligachan Old Bridge is to drive to the Sligachan Old Bridge Car Park. Alternatively, you can park at the Sligachan Hotel (⭐️ 8.3) if you decide to check out their restaurant afterwards. Both of those car parks are right next to the bridge.

2. Explore the Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

The stunning Dunvegan Castle & Gardens are situated on the beautiful shores of Loch Dunvegan and are some of the most scenic landmarks on the Isle of Skye. As suggested by its name, the castle is surrounded by three gardens blooming with flowers and plants. It’s a spectacular place to enjoy a relaxing stroll and take in some gorgeous views.

🌷 Insider Tip: The best views of the castle are hidden inside Rhododendron Garden, located in the castle premises. The exact coordinates of the viewpoint is 57°26’56.9”N 6°35’25.0”W. From there, you can see the castle, Loch Dunvegan, and the mountains in the background. It is extra pretty in the spring as you’ll be surrounded by blossoms!

Dunvegan Castle is one of the oldest castles in Scotland. It was built in the 9th century for the MacLeods, the chief clan of Skye. It was then opened to the public in 1933 and has since grown popular among tourists.

The Surroundings of Dunvegan Castle
The view of the surroundings from the beautiful castle grounds

Inside the castle, you can find many oil paintings and treasures that belonged to Clan MacLeod. Be sure to also visit the three gardens outside the castle as they’re filled with blossoms and will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a magical fairytale.

Last but not least, be sure to head to the Dunvegan Castle Viewpoint to get a beautiful view of the castle as a whole. As you’ll be right next to Loch Dunvegan, you can also take some binoculars to try and spot seals resting on the rocks!

Dunvegan Castle in Scotland
The view of the castle from the Dunvegan Castle Viewpoint
Opening hours: Please check live info here
🎫 Entrance fees: £14 for adults | £9 for children of 5-15 years | £11 for students & seniors

3. Hike the Quiraing — One of the Best Places to Visit in Skye

It’s without a doubt that Skye is characterized by dramatic landscapes, and one of the best ways to see them up close is by hiking the Quiraing. The Quiraing is a series of unusual rock formations on the Trotternish landslip. A hike there offers some of the most postcard-worthy views of the island. In fact, every corner of this hike comes with incredibly gorgeous vistas.

The distance of this hike is 6.5 km (4 miles) with an elevation of 543 m (1,781 ft). The hike starts near the Quiraing Car Park and is a loop walk that’d take roughly 3-4 hours to complete. I’d allot even more time if you plan to take lots of pictures or want to truly enjoy your time and soak up the views. You can also set up a tent at the summit and stay the night!

Hiking the Quiraing, One of the Best Things to Do Isle of Skye

Length-wise, this is a moderate hike, but in terms of technicality, it’s rather difficult. There are lots of narrow cliffside paths with very steep drops. There’s also one part that requires literally climbing onto a slippery rock and then manoeuvring on its narrow, slippery surface, with a big drop on the side — enough that you can get seriously injured if you fall.

🌿 Insider Tip: Towards the beginning of this loop walk, you’ll see the main path diverging into two separate paths, and you can take either one to go up. I recommend taking the left path up as it is pretty steep, and climbing it is actually much easier than descending on it. By going left on your way up, your downhill route will also be mostly flat.

Be sure to bring some warm waterproof clothing and proper hiking boots. The weather can change very quickly along the hike! Moreover, I highly recommended downloading an offline map of the area or bringing a compass if you prefer the old-fashioned way.

🗺️ Top Tip: When you’re ready to drive off after the hike, remember that there’s no signal in the area, so having an offline GPS map of the region would come in really handy!

The Quiraing, One of the Isle of Skye Best Places to Visit
📍 Starting point of the hike: Near the Quiraing Car Park at this exact location
🚗 Car park fee: £3 for up to 3 hours | £5 for up to 6 hours

4. Catch Sunset on the Bridge to the Isle of Skye

The elegant Skye Bridge connects the Isle of Skye with the rest of Scotland, and it’s a great spot to take a relaxing sunset walk. This bridge crosses the beautiful Loch Alsh and runs between the Isle of Skye and the island of Eilean Bàn.

You can park on the grass located on the side of the road towards the northern part of the bridge, and then take a walk on the bridge — on the pedestrian path next to the cars.

Sunset on Skye Bridge in Scotland

I highly recommend getting there for sunset to watch the sky put on a magnificent show over the lake and the surrounding hills. The atmosphere there is also extra serene because there’s barely anyone around, and it’s a sight that can inspire poetry!

5. Catch Another Sunset at Neist Point

Neist Point is the most westerly tip of the Isle of Skye and offers spectacular cliffside views as well as one of the most iconic landscapes of the island. As if the rock formations there weren’t already picturesque, there’s a lighthouse at the tip of the rocks, which makes the scenery even more dreamy.

Once you get to Neist Point, you’ll see a series of cliffs, ending with the one that has the lighthouse on top. I recommend visiting all the cliffs to see the many different views that they offer. Head to the cliff furthest from the lighthouse to get the “classic” view of Neist Point (the one you’ve probably seen in dozens of photos) at sunset.

Neist Point, One of the Best Places to Visit Isle of Skye

If you reach the Neist Point Car Park and don’t know which direction to head to first (I’ve been there), head east to reach the cliff furthest from the lighthouse. Get there in time for sunset — you’ll get to see the entire shape of Neist Point from there and it’s one of the best photo spots.

Afterwards, be sure to make your way from there towards the lighthouse, passing through the several cliffs in between. The walk is easy with very slight ascends, and every cliff offers unique and beautiful vistas. In fact, the ones right next to the lighthouse offer the most breathtaking close-up views of the structure!

Neist Point is also a great spot to set up camp and spend the night. We saw a group of friends barbequing next to their tent there and it looked like a lot of fun. Plus, imagine waking up to the sun rising above this dramatic landscape!

You can also enjoy a picnic on any of the cliffs at Neist Point — it’s a wonderfully peaceful place to relax in.

Sunset at Neist Point, One of the Top 10 Things to Do in Isle of Skye

6. Enjoy the Freshest Seafood at The Oyster Shed

If you’re a fan of seafood, you have to stop by The Oyster Shed for some of the freshest oysters on the island. Aside from oysters (which they clean and prepare for you on the spot), they also have pretty much any seafood you can name, from langoustines and scallops to crab meat.

You can either buy the seafood fresh to cook later or order one of the many dishes on their menu. There’s a small outdoor seating area with a brilliant view, as well as a bigger semi-indoor area next to it where you can stand and eat on their high tables.

From their menu, I highly recommend Scallops & Chips and of course, their oysters. The best part is that their prices are very affordable compared to how much you’d typically pay for seafood in restaurants! In their shop, they also sell souvenirs as well as different seafood sauces that you can bring home.

The Oyster Shed on Skye, Scotland
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm | Closed on Sundays

7. Visit the Magical Fairy Pools — One of the Best Things to Do on Skye

The Fairy Pools are a series of crystal clear rock pools fed by fresh spring water from the Cuillin Mountains. Visiting it is one of the most popular things to do on the Isle of Skye, and for a good reason: this place looks absolutely surreal — it’s as if you’ve stepped right into a chapter of a fantasy storybook.

To visit these pools, head over to the Fairy Pools Car Park in Glenbrittle. From there, it’s around a 15-minute walk to the first main pool. Then, you can continue walking to see more pools and stunning mountains in the background. The entire walk is 2.4 km (1.5 miles) and uses the same route there and back.

I would plan around 2 hours for this walk because even though sources say it’s possible to do it in 40 minutes, you’ll want to make lots of stops along the way because trust me — it’s hard to stop taking photos! Plus, if you’re extra adventurous, you can even take a dip and go for a swim in the pools.

🔥 Top Tip: The best time to visit the Fairy Pools is at sunset when the crowds are fewer. Plus, if the weather collaborates, the setting sun will shine right onto the majestic mountains — rendering them full-on red and orange for a good 10 minutes!

Fairy Pools in Scotland at Sunset

While the walk itself is pretty easy and has an elevation of only 100 m (328 ft), I still recommend wearing proper hiking boots and more importantly — waterproof shoes. The reason is that if you visit when water levels are high, there are actually several streams you’ll have to cross.

Some of the streams are shallow enough that you can just walk on the water directly (provided you have waterproof shoes), but others are pretty deep and you’ll have to jump across a series of rocks (some slippery, too) to cross them. You don’t want your shoes to get soaking wet should you accidentally miss a step! 🙂

📍 Starting point of the walk: Fairy Pools Car Park located here
🚗 Car park fee: £5 for the whole day

8. Enjoy a Picnic at Claigan Coral Beach — One of the Top Things to Do in Skye with a Dog

The Isle of Skye is not just a conglomeration of rock formations and pools; it’s also home to several stunning beaches. Claigan Coral Beach is among the most picturesque ones, and the special thing about it is that the water there is super clear and has a beautiful tropical blue colour.

Even if you don’t plan to take a dip in the sea, this beach is still a great picnic spot and a fantastic photo location. It’s also a wonderful place to take your dog for a walk and get some fresh air. To get there, head over to the Claigan Coral Beach Car Park, which is around an easy 30-minute stroll to the beach.

On the beach, you’ll also notice a small hill which you can climb up for a nice bird’s-eye view of the shoreline. I highly recommend going up there as the scenery is truly stunning and unique! Please note that while this beach is very dog-friendly, these cute furry creatures must be on leads.

🌊 Top Tip: This beach is quite remote and there aren’t many accommodation options nearby. If you don’t want to drive back to Portree (where most accommodations on Skye are located), you can spend the night in the unique Coral Cabins (⭐️ 9.0), which offer a terrace with sea views, free WiFi, and even barbeque facilities.

Claigan Coral Beach in Scotland

9. Spot Highland Cows in the Village of Sconser

For those who don’t know, Highland cows are a Scottish breed of rustic cattle. They’re characterised by their distinctive horns and long, woolly fur. They also have a super cool hairstyle, if you ask me.

These elegant creatures have been inhabiting the Highlands and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland since as early as the 6th century. These days, you can also find them in Southern Scotland and in other parts of Europe, as well as North & South America and Australia.

Spotting Highland cows on the Isle of Skye is honestly not that easy. They’re mainly concentrated in a few places, and your highest chance of seeing them is in the sleepy village of Sconser, situated on the southern shore of Loch Sligachan.

In Sconser, head to the Scottish Highlands Cows Viewpoint and there’s a high chance you’ll spot them there. This location is just off the A87 road and there’s a car park at the Isle Of Skye Golf Club, which is merely 4 minutes away by foot.

There’s a fence separating you from the cows, and you can stop for as long as you want for some photos. There’s also a feeding station as well as a donation box on-site!

10. Admire the Iconic Eilean Donan Castle

The 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most famous castles in Scotland, and it’s situated right next to the Isle of Skye, in Kyle of Lochalsh. Sitting beautifully at the intersection of three lochs, this castle was originally built to protect the region against Viking invasions. The version you see today, though, was reconstructed as a family home in the early 20th century.

A regular ticket to the castle costs £10 and will allow you to explore all the most fantastic rooms inside. You can also learn about the fascinating Jacobean artefacts and historical weapons that the castle houses.

Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

The landscapes surrounding the castle are absolutely stunning too. In fact, this castle stands elegantly on its own little island with tons of forested mountains in the backdrop. Keep an eye out for the wildlife surrounding the island as well — you can regularly spot dolphins, porpoises, and otters in the lochs!

📸 Photography Tip: Arrive at sunrise or sunset to catch the best lighting, and walk alongside the A87 bridge to see beautiful reflections of the castle in the lake. Every day between 6 pm and midnight, the castle is also splendidly lit up — an amazing opportunity for even more epic photos.

Opening hours: It varies depending on the time of the year — please check live info here
🎫 Entrance fees: £10 for adults | £6 for children over 5 years old

11. See Cute Seals in Nearby Plockton — One of the Best Things to Do in Skye for Families

Plockton is a magnificent seaside village about an hour by car from the Isle of Skye. While there’s plenty to do there, Calum’s Seal Trips are definitely the highlight in town. Calum has been running seal trips in Plockton for over 30 years now, and nobody knows how to find seals better than him. He also offers a full refund if no seals are spotted.

During our hour-long boat trip, Calum and our other guides were very friendly and shared a lot of interesting facts about the seals and Plockton in general. They even kindly encouraged a toddler on board to take control of the steering wheel for a whole minute (which led to us going around in circles 😀) and made the trip super fun and enjoyable.

Of course, seeing seals were the highlight of the boat tour, and luckily for us, there were so many of them! We stopped by two little islands to see them from the boat and were given plenty of time to observe and take photos.

Seals in Plockton, Scotland
Operating hours: Check live information here
🎫 Tour prices: £15 for adults | £5 for children
Read more: Plockton, Scotland: 18 Incredible Things To Do + Insider Tips

12. Hike the Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr is a massive pinnacle on the Trotternish landslip, and it’s one of the most famous places to visit in Isle of Skye. This pinnacle is an absolute icon of the island, so don’t be surprised to see lots of tourists there, especially during the high season.

There’s a circular hiking trail at the Old Man of Storr with a distance of 4.5 km (2.7 miles) and an elevation of 288 m (944 ft). Give yourself at least 2 hours to complete this hike and to soak up the beautiful views along the way.

The Old Man of Storr on Skye, Scotland

This hike starts at the Old Man of Storr Car Park and there are multiple paths of different difficulty levels that you can take. If you want the easiest path, take the path to the left, which is much flatter than the one to the right.

If you enjoy a good challenge, then take the path to the right, which is very steep and pretty strenuous. Note that if you choose this path, you’ll come across a very, very steep section as you reach the summit. It can even involve climbing on all fours (unless you’re very fit).

The Old Man of Storr on Skye, Scotland
📍 Starting point of the walk: Old Man of Storr Car Park located here
🚗 Car park fee: £3 for up to 3 hours | £5 for up to 6 hours | £7 for up to 12 hours

13. Explore the Stunning Viewpoints in Portree

Portree is a colourful and bustling town in Skye, and it’s also the busiest one, given it’s where most accommodations on the island are located. In addition, the town boasts lots of restaurants and shops as well as leisure facilities such as boat cruises.

Aside from wandering around the pretty streets, there are a couple of spots in town that are particularly worth checking out. The first one is the Colourful Houses Viewpoint, from which you can see Portree’s beautiful shoreline lined with a row of colourful buildings.

The second spot is The Lump, which is a lot quieter and more hidden, but just as worth visiting. To get there, you’ll have to follow a short and easy forest path for about 5-10 minutes. Once you arrive, you’ll see the ancient Apothecary’s Tower amidst a tranquil garden.

Climb up the Apothecary’s Tower for a bit of a fairytale vibe and a great view of Loch Portree and the surrounding hills. You can also relax in the garden and try to spot cute bunnies running around!

The View from the Lump in Portree
The view from the Apothecary’s Tower — an Isle of Skye to do list item
The Lump opening hours: 24/7
Read more: 19 Top Things to Do in Portree + Map & Insider Tips

14. Taste Whisky at the Talisker Distillery — One of the Best Things to Do in Skye in the Rain

If you’re a whisky fan, then a trip to Scotland would be incomplete without visiting one of the many distilleries in the country. There are only a few whisky distilleries on the Isle of Skye, with Talisker Distillery being the main one. There, you can buy some bottles to bring home and also join distillery tours.

Talisker Distillery is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye. There are two tours that you can take there, both with a duration of 45 mins.

The first one is the ‘Talisker Cask Tasting Tour’, which includes 4 tastings of drams, 3 of which are hand-drawn from casks in their warehouse. This tour is only available once a day, on all days of the week, at 1:30 pm. It costs £25 per person.

The second tour is called Flavours of Talisker’, which includes 3 tastings held at the visitor centre. It’s available daily at every hour between 10 am and 4 pm. It costs £15 per person.

The Talisker Distillery Isle of Skye
Opening hours: It varies depending on the time of the year — please check live info here
🎫 How to book tours: You can either call 01478 614308 or email [email protected]

15. Explore the Adorable Fairy Glen

If you’re looking for mystic things to see in Isle of Skye, then the enchanting Fairy Glen should definitely be on your bucket list. Situated in the middle of vast farmland, this geological wonder is filled with grass-capped rock formations complete with a grass pond.

The landscape there is truly unique — it’s as if you’ve stepped inside a fantasy novel!

The Fairy Glen in Scotland

To get to the Fairy Glen, head over to Fairy Glen Parking, which is just a short and easy stroll away. Allow yourself at least one whole hour to fully explore this place. Though it’s pretty tiny, I recommend wandering up all the mounds to get different viewpoints.

📸 Top Tip: One of the best vantage points is from the mounds directly opposite of Castle Ewan (the rock formation that looks like an ancient ruin). From there, you can see the whole landscape from a different perspective and will be able to get photos that are somewhat different from the typical images of the Fairy Glen.

The Fairy Glen in Scotland
The view from one of the mounds at Fairy Glen — one of the best Isle of Skye tourist attractions

16. Enjoy a Scenic Meal at The View Restaurant

There is no shortage of good restaurants on the Isle of Skye, especially if you look for them in the main town of Portree. One of the most remarkable and panoramic places to enjoy a meal, though, is The View Restaurant. They serve a wide range of seafood and meat dishes as well as vegan and vegetarian options.

I highly recommend making a reservation in advance, as they’re very popular. In fact, having a meal there is one of the most romantic things to do in the Isle of Skye.

The View Restaurant in Portree
Dining at The View Restaurant — one of the best things to do in Portree, Isle of Skye

Once you get to the restaurant, you can choose to either sit at their lawn (which features a gorgeous view of Loch Portree) or indoors (which also has a nice view from the large windows).

Bear in mind that the menus for the two seating areas are different. The items on the indoor menu are much better and you’ll also get more choice of dishes, so I recommend eating inside and then relaxing on the lawn afterwards. From there, you’ll get a magnificent view of the nearby hills and lake, and it’s a great spot to enjoy a drink or two!

🔥 Top Tip: If you really love the view, you don’t have to leave! This restaurant is a part of the Cuillin Hills Hotel (⭐️ 9.4), which is actually one of the most scenic and relaxing places to stay on the Isle of Skye.

Restaurant opening hours: Every day from 12 pm to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm

17. Walk in the Footsteps of Dinosaurs at Staffin

Did you know that dinosaurs up to 10 meters in length used to roam the Isle of Skye before their extinction? What’s cooler is that you can still see some of their footprints on parts of the island — one of them being the beautiful An Corran Beach at Staffin Bay.

According to scientists, the dinosaurs that used to walk there were ornithopods, and their tracks are about 170 million years old. The beach is free to visit at any time, and the big footprints can be seen on the sandstone rocks.

Staffin Bay, One of the Best Isle of Skye Things to Do

🔥 Insider Tip: You can only see the footprints at low tide, when they aren’t covered with seaweed or sand. Be sure to check Staffin tide times here before you go. Usually, summer is high tide season, so an alternative during that time is to head to the beach right next to Duntulm Castle, where you can find sauropod tracks.

If you want to learn even more about dinosaurs on Skye, you can visit the Staffin Dinosaur Museum, where there are even more fossils and dinosaur prints to look at. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily. Tickets cost £4 for adults and £2 for children.

The Dinosaur Museum in Staffin
The Staffin Dinosaur Museum — one of the best places to go in Skye

18. Snap a Photo at Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls — The Most Famous Things to See in Skye

The Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls Viewpoint is one of the most popular places to visit on Isle of Skye. It consists of an ancient 90-meter cliff resembling a kilt and a giant waterfall plummeting down from the top of the cliff.

This spot is extremely picturesque and very easy to visit. You can drive straight up to it — there’s no need to walk or hike to get there. There’s also a car park right by the viewpoint. Because of this, it can be a rather short visit — but one that’s well worth it.

Viewpoint opening hours: 24/7

19. Admire the Roadside Blackhill Waterfall

If you happen to be driving past Loch Ainort, you’ll most likely see Blackhill Waterfall from your car window. This waterfall is very accessible as it’s just on the side of the road. You can simply park off the road and walk over. The water is very clear and it’s a fantastic photo spot.

🔥 Top Tip: I recommend walking all the way down, until you’re right in front of the waterfall — that’s where you’ll get the best angle, especially for photos.

As with any waterfall, it’s best to see it after heavy rain, but take caution because in that case, the walk can be very muddy. I’m serious — don’t step on the mud even if it looks shallow. I accidentally did that once and got my entire lower leg submerged in mud. 🤣

20. Get a Glimpse of the Ancient Caisteal Maol

Situated right by the water in the village of Kyleakin, Caisteal Maol (AKA Castle Moil) has a history that dates all the way back to the 10th century. Back in the days, the Norwegians used this fortress and the surrounding coast to harbour their warships as they fought to control Western Scotland.

Today, you can get a glimpse of this picturesque castle ruin from two different spots. The first one is at the pier in Kyleakin, specifically — the Brightwater Visitor Centre. There’s an iconic statue of an otter there, and you can go up close and take a peek at the castle through it for a creative perspective.

After wandering the pier, be sure to also stop by the War Memorial for a different view of the castle and the surrounding landscapes. If you’re hungry, the nearby Castle Moil Restaurant offers great pub food and a lively atmosphere.

If you want to explore further, you can even take a 2.2 mi (3.5 km) walk to the castle itself and see the ruins up close. This easy walk should take between 1 and 1.5 hours, and the path starts at the Kyleakin Car Park.

Caisteal Moil in Scotland

21. Hike Brother’s Point — One of the Best Isle of Skye Attractions

Brother’s Point (AKA Rubha nam Brathairean in Gaelic) is a dramatic headland extending out to the Atlantic Ocean. Since the 2018 discovery of dinosaur tracks, this hike has become one of the most exciting and unique things to do on Isle of Skye.

The hike starts at Brothers Point Parking and is 3.5 km (2.25 miles) long. The coastal views along the way are simply gorgeous. It should take roughly 2 hours to complete and you return on the same route. Be sure to bring some waterproof shoes and windproof clothes!

Brother's Point, One of the Best Things to Do Skye

The hike has an elevation of 238 m (780 ft) and is considered pretty easy, although there’s a section at the end where the trail runs along the edge of a cliff, leading to the peninsula. If you’re scared of heights, you can simply stop before that part.

In 2018, about 50 dinosaur footprints were discovered on the rocky beach at Brother’s Point. These dinosaurs were meat-eating sauropods from the Middle Jurassic, which was around 170 million years ago.

🦕 Top Tip: If you’re eager to spot dinosaur tracks at the beach, be sure to check Brother’s Point tide times before you go, as they’re only visible at low tide.

Sunset at Brother's Point, One of the Best Places to See Skye
📍 Starting point of the hike: Brothers Point Parking located here
🚗 Car park fee: Free

22. Snap a Photo at the Viewpoint in Uig

If you’re driving near the Fairy Glen, it’s likely you’ll pass by the Panoramic Viewpoint of Uig, a small village with a charming port. You can park at the side of the road right at the viewpoint and get out to snap some photos. The scenery is beautiful!

About a 5-minute drive from this viewpoint lies The Pier Restaurant & Bakur Bar, a great place to stop for some fish & chips and Scotch whisky.

The Viewpoint in Uig, One of the Best Hidden Gems Isle of Skye

23. Admire the Stunning Lealt Falls

There is no shortage of waterfalls to chase on the Isle of Skye, and the splendid Lealt Falls definitely won’t disappoint. This spot is very easily accessible as it’s a viewpoint right off the side of a big road. From there, you can see two stunning waterfalls plummeting down two different cliffs.

Simply park at Lealt Falls Car Park and walk over to the viewpoint extending out of the cliff (don’t worry, it’s completely safe!). It’s worth noting that if the weather has been dry, you might not see any water plummeting down. For the best chance of seeing these waterfalls, visit after the rain.

Lealt Falls, One of the Best Places for Isle of Skye Tourism

24. Catch a Magnificent Sunset at Elgol Beach — One of the Most Romantic Places to See in Skye

Situated on the shores of Loch Scavaig, the little fishing village of Elgol is one of the most postcard-worthy things to see on the Isle of Skye. The dramatic mountains and seascapes there are breathtaking, and there’s no better place to admire them than from Elgol Beach — especially at sunset.

To visit this beach, you can park at the Elgol car park and then walk down a pretty steep path. From there, you’ll get a gorgeous sight of the Cuillin Hills and the peaceful bay. There are also tons of majestic rock formations, boulders, and rock pools on the beach!

Sunset at Elgol Beach, One of the Top Things to Do Isle of Skye

⛵️ Top Tip: To explore further, you can take a boat trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk and get a chance to see seals, puffins, and other cute animals!

🗺️ Map of the Best Attractions in Isle of Skye

Here’s a map of all the best things to do in Isle of Skye, Scotland. It includes all the activities mentioned in this guide. You can click here to see it in full on Google Maps.

The Isle of Skye Map With Attractions
The Isle of Skye attractions map

🌟 Top Tips for Visiting the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Now that you know the top things to see on Isle of Skye, it’s time to look at some essential things to know before visiting many of these tips are things I wish I knew before going!

📱 Top Tip #1: Download Offline Maps

The Isle of Skye is very remote, which means cell phone service can be spotty in many attractions. In some spots, you might not have any signal at all.

Be sure to download Google Maps for the entire island before you leave so that you can navigate offline, especially if you plan to drive around or do remote hikes such as the Quiraing.

🏡 Top Tip #2: Consider Staying Outside of Portree

While Portree is very charming and photogenic, it is also the most popular place to stay on the Isle of Skye due to its proximity to many of the island’s attractions and its vast choices of restaurants and lodgings.

What this also means: Portree is pretty crowded, and finding good parking spots can be a struggle there. If you prefer quieter and less touristy places to spend the night, know that there are other great options!

My personal vote goes to the picturesque village of Plockton, a true hidden gem about an hour’s drive from Skye. It’s the perfect tranquil and scenic base for your visit, and you can easily take many day trips into Skye from there.

Moreover, there are also endless cool things to do in Plockton — far more than there are in Portree itself. I would also say that Plockton is more breathtaking than Portree. Two of the best places to stay in Plockton are Duncraig Castle B&B (⭐ 9.7) and Tigh na Dalach (⭐ 9.0).

Plockton Harbour in Scotland
The picturesque village of Plockton

🦟 Top Tip #3: “Smidge” Up in the Summer

If you visit the Isle of Skye between May and September, you absolutely need midge repellent.

For those of you who don’t know, midges are the infamous flies of the Scottish Highlands. They mostly thrive near moorlands and water sources such as lakes, streams, and marshes. They’re attracted to the CO2 that we breathe out and can smell us from 200 metres away.

Because the Isle of Skye (and much of the Scottish Highlands) is filled with lakes and moorlands, you’ll (unfortunately) be seeing a lot of these mighty little bastards if you visit during the midge season — between May and September. And by a lot, I mean a truly unfathomable amount.

Neist Point in Scotland
Midges thrive near moorlands and water sources

Now, I’ve dealt with all kinds of insects around the world, but I’ve never come across anything even half as bad as midges. These guys come in extremely large packs and will completely swarm your face, clothes, food, camera — you name it — if you simply sit or stand still for more than 10 seconds near moorlands or lakes (which is what Skye is mostly made of).

One time, we couldn’t even sit down to have an outdoor lunch because they were all over our faces, eyes, hands, and food. We could barely see, and had we stayed, we’d have definitely ended up eating them by mistake. 😅

So, stock up on midge repellent! We used Smidge as it was very well-recommended, and while it wasn’t able to prevent large armies of midges from attacking us, it at least worked effectively in preventing bites. (Yes, they bite.)

The Fairy Pools in Scotland

If you’re a photographer who plans to set up your tripod often, I’d even suggest going as far as wearing a bug face shield. I know it looks ridiculous, but trust me, as a photographer myself, I really struggled while getting pictures because it came at the cost of literally being eaten alive. My head looked like one giant midge nest anytime I stopped to set up my tripod. 😂

Other ways to protect yourself against midges is to simply keep walking and moving — these flies only target those who are standing or sitting still (hence photographers are at a disadvantage). Midges are also most active under low-light conditions: in the early mornings, right before dawn, and in the evenings.

Alternatively, simply avoid the Isle of Skye between May and September. Luckily, you won’t find these little bastards around during the colder months!

A Girl Taking Photos in Plockton
Me getting eaten alive by midges while taking photos (notice the little “dots” in the sky and on my hair)

📸 Top Tip #4: Bring an ND Filter for Photography

If you’re into photography, consider bringing an ND filter to take your Isle of Skye shots to the next level. ND filters are particularly useful for shooting moving water, such as waterfalls. You know those waterfall shots where the water looks extremely smooth and silky? That’s exactly what an ND filter is for.

Think of ND filters as sunglasses for your camera. In order to get those smooth and silky moving water effects, you’ll need to shoot at very long exposures, which means the photos will come out very overexposed — unless you put sunglasses (i.e. an ND filter) on your lens.

For the best results, I recommend getting a 10-stop ND filter. Be sure to check the filter diameter size of your lens to make sure you get the correctly sized one! You’ll also need a tripod for these kinds of shots — I recommend the Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod.

🥾 Top Tip #5: Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes

As you’ve probably gathered from this guide of activities in Isle of Skye, much of the exploring here is done outdoors, amidst hiking trails and other walks in nature.

Sometimes, the paths can be very slippery, especially after rain. There are also some pretty rough and rocky trails on some of the hikes mentioned in this guide.

I therefore highly recommend bringing a pair of comfortable and durable hiking boots. Ideally, they’d be waterproof, too. In fact, given how much it rains in Skye, I also suggest bringing a quality waterproof jacket!

The Quiraing Hike in Scotland
Hiking the Quiraing — one of the best places to visit in Isle of Skye

🥘 Top Tip #6: Book Restaurants in Advance

Many restaurants on the island get very busy, especially during the high season of July and August, and especially if you eat in Portree. We went in May, and even then, we struggled to get bookings and had to make reservations at least a week in advance. This is especially true for popular places such as The View Restaurant (mentioned in this guide).

The food on Skye is nothing short of exquisite, though. Whether it’s traditional Scottish cuisine or freshly-caught seafood, the dishes here are bound to satisfy your taste buds!

🚗 How to Get to the Isle of Skye, Scotland

You can reach many of the Isle of Skye points of interests by car, bus, or train from various parts of Scotland. With that said, driving is undoubtedly the best way to get into Skye simply because getting around the island without a car would be extremely difficult.

Here are the driving times and distances from some main cities in Scotland:

From Edinburgh to Portree: 236 mi (379 km) / 5 hr 18 min
From Glasgow to Portree: 209 mi (336 km) / 5 hr 13 min
From Aberdeen to Portree: 215 mi (346 km) / 4 hr 53 min
From Inverness to Portree 114 mi (183 km) / 2 hr 40 min
From Fort William to Portree: 108 mi (173 km) / 2 hr 28 min

Rent a car for the Isle of Skye

A Road in the Scottish Highlands
Read more: How to Get to the Isle of Skye: The Ultimate Guide + Maps

🧔🏻 Getting to the Isle of Skye With a Tour Guide

If you prefer to have everything taken care of for you and not have to worry about renting a car or navigating the public transportation system, then I highly recommend joining a group tour to Skye. Here are some of the best ones:

Find more tours for the Isle of Skye

🚙 Getting Around the Isle of Skye by Car

The best way to get around the Isle of Skye is to drive. While there are some local bus services on the island, most of the attractions are quite remote and driving is the only way to reach them. That’s why if you don’t have a car, your trip to Skye will be very limiting.

To learn more about the limited bus routes on the Isle of Skye, you can search for timetables and routes on the Stagecoach website (they’re the company operating the buses).

Rent a car for the Isle of Skye

The Quiraing Hike in Scotland
The view from the Quiraing landslip — one of the best things to see in Skye

☀️ The Best Time to Visit the Isle of Skye

🌟 When to visit: The best time to visit the Isle of Skye is during May and June, when days are longest (5:30 am – 9 pm daylight hours), the weather is mild (between 7°C to 14°C), and there are fewer rainy days compared to the rest of the year (bear in mind, though, that it’s hard to fully escape the rain in the UK).

🚫 When to avoid: While July and August offer slightly warmer weather (between 9°C to 16°C), avoid these months if you can because it’s the absolute busiest and most crowded time to be on the island. Accommodations will be very hard to find unless you book at least 3 months in advance, and finding parking at attractions will also be a struggle.

The Sligachan Old Bridge in Scotland
The Sligachan Old Bridge — one of the best spots for Isle of Skye sightseeing

🌌 For the fewest crowds & Northern Lights: Visit between October and March if you want to enjoy the lowest accommodation prices, the fewest crowds, and the possibility of catching the Northern Lights. Bear in mind, though, that the latter is not easy. You can use this site to check Northern Lights predictions.

The downside of visiting during this period is that the days are shorter (in December, the sun sets at 4:30 pm), and of course, it’s also colder (between 1°C to 7°C) and rainier.

🦟 Keep in mind: Midges typically begin to emerge in mid-late May and only disappear in early-late September. Even if you use insect repellent, midges can still be really disrupting and can sometimes make it difficult to fully enjoy the Isle of Skye destinations.

🗓️ How Many Days to Spend on the Isle of Skye

Plan at least 3 days to be able to cover all the best places to see in Isle of Skye. If you want to truly relax and enjoy every spot more, though, I highly recommend staying for 5 days to a whole week. With so many hikes to do, castles to explore, and waterfalls to chase, I assure you you won’t get bored! ☺️

🔮 Travel Insurance for Scotland

Having travel insurance gives me peace of mind, and I highly recommend getting it because let’s be real — the last thing we want on any trip is for accidents and mishaps to get in the way. I use a service called World Nomads and can highly recommend them — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.

Get a quote from World Nomads

🌸 Final Tip on the Top Things to Do in Skye

I hope this guide on the best things to do on Isle of Skye has been helpful! Personally, this island has impressed me a lot and its dramatic landscapes looked even better in real life than in photos.

My final tip is — try not to fall asleep on car rides! 😉 This island looks straight out of a postcard from almost every angle and perspective. Sometimes, you’ll discover the best places simply by looking out the window and spotting new stops to make on your road trip!

Claigan Coral Beach in Scotland
The beautiful Claigan Coral Beach — one of the best places to visit on the Isle of Skye

📸 My Isle of Skye & Scotland Photography Gear

This is the gear I used to take almost every photo in this guide. You can also see my tips for the best cameras for bloggers for more options other than the ones listed below.

The Old Man of Storr in Scotland
The Old Man of Storr — one of the top things to see in the Isle of Skye

I hope this guide on the top things to do on Skye has inspired you!

For further reading on other UK destinations, discover:
⛵️ 19 Top Things to Do in Portree + Map & Insider Tips
🏡 Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye + Map & An Area to Avoid
🚗 How to Get to the Isle of Skye: The Ultimate Guide + Maps
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Plockton, Scotland: 18 Incredible Things To Do + Insider Tips
📸 22 Best London Instagram Spots You Can’t Miss
🌿 The Best Malvern Hills Walking Routes + Map for 2 Days
🌸 18 Prettiest Cotswolds Villages You Have to Visit
🚊 30+ Epic Weekend Trips to Take From London

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Welcome to my travel + photography blog!

I'm Jiayi, a Chinese-Italian photographer who's been on the move since age 6. With this blog, my goal is to provide you with invaluable tips to help you plan epic trips to both popular and unpopular destinations, and to photograph them the way you'd want to. Happy Travels! :)

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