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19 Top Things to Do in Portree, Scotland + Map & Insider Tips [2021]

September 1, 2021
Colourful Houses Along Portree's Shoreline

The colourful and bustling town of Portree is one of the best places to stay on the Isle of Skye. In fact, this town boasts tons of restaurants, shops, and tourist facilities. In this article, I’ve put together all the most unmissable things to do in Portree, from pony-trekking to dining with a view.

You’ll also learn about the best walks around Portree, the most amazing Skye tours from Portree, and many insider tips that I’ve gathered during my month in Scotland. I’ve also pinned all the activities in this guide on a map so that you’ll have more context when planning your trip.

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

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.

🇬🇧 Planning Your Trip to Portree, Scotland

🏡 Where to Stay in Portree, Scotland

There are plenty of great accommodations in Portree, from luxury hotels to cosy B&Bs. Here are my top recommendations.

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

MOST SCENIC: Cuillin Hills Hotel (⭐️ 9.4) This hotel is incredibly well-situated and picturesque. In fact, it boasts spectacular views over the Cuillin Mountains and is also home to an award-winning restaurant. The scenic lawn is perfect for evening drinks, and the atmosphere is extremely romantic.

Check rates & availability


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

BEST NATURE RETREAT: Marmalade (⭐️ 8.5)
This hotel’s spacious rooms overlook a beautiful garden, the Portree Bay, and the outline of the Cuillin Hills. It’s the perfect place for a peaceful nature escape. Guests can dine in the garden or relax in the heated courtyard next to the hotel bar.

Check rates & availability


A Hotel in Portree, Skye
Photo courtesy of The Skye Inn via Booking.com

MOST DOG-FRIENDLY: The Skye Inn (⭐️ 8.5)
This cosy guesthouse features a bar, a shared lounge, tons of family rooms, and a seating area inside every room. It’s also very dog-friendly, so it’s perfect for those who love animals. The staff here is extremely welcoming and the service is impeccable.

Check rates & availability


A Hotel in Portree, Skye
Photo courtesy of Ballintoy B&B via Booking.com

TOP BUDGET PICK: Ballintoy B&B (⭐️ 9.5)
This hotel is considered very affordable in Portree and offers a beautiful garden as well as delicious breakfasts. It’s a 15-20 min walk to the centre of Portree, and there’s free private parking on-site. The staff is very friendly and the rooms are spotlessly clean.

Check rates & availability

Read more: Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye + An Area to Avoid

⛵️ The Top Things to Do in Portree, Scotland

1. Visit the Colourful Houses Viewpoint

Decorating Portree’s shoreline is a gorgeous row of colourful buildings, and the best place to gaze at them (and snap a photo) is the Colourful Houses Viewpoint.

From there, you’ll see the beautiful houses standing at the foot of a large hill, and can play with the leaves around you for some interesting photography framing. You can also walk down the steps nearby to get closer to the shoreline and the houses.

2. Climb up the Apothecary’s Tower at The Lump

The Lump is a hilltop area along Portree’s shoreline. It offers beautiful harbour views, an old watchtower, and one of the best walks in Portree. To get there, follow a short and easy forest path from Bayfield Rd for about 5-10 minutes.

Once you arrive, you’ll see the 19th-century Apothecary’s Tower amidst a quiet garden. Climb up the 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 at The Lump in Portree
The Lump opening hours: 24/7

3. Enjoy a Scenic Meal at The View Restaurant

There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Portree, but among the absolute must-try ones is The View Restaurant. This establishment is a part of the Cuillin Hills Hotel (⭐️ 9.4) and offers absolutely spectacular views of Portree’s shoreline.

This restaurant serves a wide range of seafood and meat dishes as well as vegetarian and vegan options. I highly recommend making a reservation at least a week in advance, as they’re very popular.

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 sit either 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.

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

4. Go on an Isle of Skye Tour From Portree

Portree is conveniently close to many of Skye’s top attractions, including the Kilt Rock, the Old Man of Storr, and the Quiraing — to name a few. However, it’s hard to visit these places without a car. If you prefer not to rent one, then I highly recommend joining a tour group.

The best tour to join is the Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5) from Portree. On this small-group tour, you’ll explore all the most stunning places on Skye with a knowledgeable local guide. You’ll get to take a dip in the iconic Fairy Pools, taste Single Malt Scotch at Talisker Distillery, fall in love with the breathtaking Dunvegan Castle, and more.

This is a great way to explore Skye if you don’t have much time and want to see as much as possible in a short amount of time.

Learn more about this Full-Day Tour

5. Ride Through the Countryside on a Pony

Portree is home to many tourist facilities, and one of the most exciting ones is The Isle of Skye Trekking and Therapy Centre, which offers three different pony-trekking routes. You can go pony-trekking while exploring the scenery from Portree to Dunvegan, the view across Loch Snizort, along with other natural beauties.

A one-hour trek typically costs £30 per person and is available hourly throughout the day. You must pre-book your ride in advance, and if you’re planning to visit during the high season of summer, try to book at least 3 days in advance.

Pony Trekking in Skye, Scotland
🐎 To make a booking: Head to their official website

6. Take a Dip at Arainn Fhinn — One of the Best Things to Do in Portree

If you’re into staying fit while travelling or simply love being in the water, then you’ll be glad to know that there’s a swimming pool in Portree. The Fingal Centre (Arainn Fhinn) offers a 5-lane, 25-meter swimming pool as well as a gym and fitness classes.

You can find their timetables, opening hours, and more information on their website. Families might especially enjoy this activity!

A Swimming Pool in Fingal Centre, Portree
💦 Swimming pool opening hours: See live info here

7. Take a Boat Trip to See Wildlife

There are many amazing boat trips you can take from Portree, and Stardust offers some of the best ones. On these trips, you can see lots of wildlife, including whales, dolphins, puffins, and seals. You can also explore the island of Raasay and take in the breathtaking view of the Cuillin Hills and the Old Man of Storr.

Head to Stardust’s official website to book your boat trip. You’ll have the choice of cruising around either Portree Bay or the island of Raasay, and both of these trips last roughly 2 hours.

⛵️ To make a booking: Head to Stardust's official website

8. Catch a Show at the Aros Centre

If you’re interested in local culture, then the Aros Centre is a great place to visit. This establishment is Portree’s community cultural hub and offers everything from live music, theatre, and cinema to workshops and galleries. It also features a family-friendly restaurant, a play area for children, a bookstore, and a grocery store.

People Standing on Stage at a Theatre Show
🎭 For opening hours & more information: Head to Aros Centre's official website

🏞 The Top Things to Do Near Portree, Scotland

The following activities require a little bit of driving from Portree, but none of them should take more than 40 minutes to get to by car.

9. Hike the Quiraing — A True Isle of Skye Highlight

The Quiraing is a series of unusual rock formations on the Trotternish landslip, one of Skye’s most dramatic landscapes. In fact, a hike there offers some of the most postcard-worthy views of the island, and pretty much every corner you turn, you’ll be greeted 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!

The Quiraing on the 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
Driving time from Portree: 35-40 mins
📍 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

10. Wander the Beautiful Dunvegan Castle

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
🚗 Driving time from Portree: 30 mins
⏰ Opening hours: Please check live info here
🎫 Entrance fees: £14 for adults | £9 for children of 5-15 years | £11 for students & seniors

11. See Adorable Highland Cows in 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, which is about a short 20-minute drive from Portree.

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!

🚗 Driving time from Portree: 20 mins

12. Snap a Photo at Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls

Visiting the Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls Viewpoint is definitely one of the most unmissable things to do in Portree as these landmarks are some of the most famous ones on Skye. They consist 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.

🚗 Driving time from Portree: 25-30 mins
⏰ Viewpoint opening hours: 24/7

13. 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.

🚗 Driving time from Portree: 15 mins

14. Hike the Old Man of Storr — One of the Best Walks Near Portree

The Old Man of Storr is a massive pinnacle on the Trotternish landslip, and it’s one of the most famous places on the 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
Driving time from Portree: 15 mins
📍 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

15. 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
🚗 Driving time from Portree: 30 mins

16. Take a Dip in the Magical Fairy Pools

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 near Portree, 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.

The Fairy Pools in Scotland

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! 🙂

Driving time from Portree: 35 mins
📍 Starting point of the walk: Fairy Pools Car Park located here
🚗 Car park fee: £5 for the whole day

17. Wander Around the Mystical Fairy Glen

If you’re looking for mystic things to see in Portree, then simply drive for 20 mins to the enchanting Fairy Glen. 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 the gorgeous Fairy Glen
🚗 Driving time from Portree: 20-25 mins

18. Hike Brother’s Point & Find Dinosaur Tracks

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 walks near Portree.

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
Driving time from Portree: 25 mins
📍 Starting point of the hike: Brothers Point Parking located here
🚗 Car park fee: Free

19. Admire the Stunning Lealt Falls

There is no shortage of waterfalls to chase near Portree, 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
🚗 Driving time from Portree: 20-25 mins
Read more: 24 Epic Things to Do on the Isle of Skye + Top Tips & Map

🗺️ Map of What to Do in Portree, Scotland

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

Map of Portree Things to Do
A map of what to see in Portree

🌟 Top Tips for Visiting Portree & the Isle of Skye

Now that you know the top things to do in Portree, 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: Book Hotels & Restaurants in Advance

Portree is the main town on the Isle of Skye, meaning it gets very busy, especially if you visit in July or August. We went in May, and even then, we struggled to get restaurant bookings and had to make reservations at least a week in advance.

The food on Skye is nothing short of exquisite, though, so I highly recommend reserving your spot in popular places like The View Restaurant (mentioned in this guide). If you’re visiting in the summer, book your hotel at least 3 months — if not 6 months — in advance.

Alternatively, consider staying in quieter and less busy villages like Plockton.

📱 Top Tip #2: Download Offline Maps

If you’re planning to visit the Isle of Skye’s majestic landscapes, keep in mind that cell phone service can be spotty in many areas. 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 #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.

Claigan Coral Beach 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.)

Neist Point 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 Portree, 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
Exploring the Quiraing — one of the best hikes near Portree

🚗 How to Get to Portree, Isle of Skye

You can reach Portree by car, bus, or train from various parts of Scotland. With that said, driving is undoubtedly the best way to get into town simply because getting around the Isle of Skye 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 Around Portree & the Isle of Skye

While you can reach certain attractions in Portree on foot, the best way to get around town is to drive. This is because while there are some local bus services in Portree and on Skye, most of the attractions on the island are quite remote and driving is the only way to reach them.

So, 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

Colourful Houses in Portree, Skye

🗓️ How Many Days to Spend in Portree & the Isle of Skye

Plan at least 4 days to be able to cover all the best things to do in Portree and on the 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 Thoughts on Things to See in Portree

Portree is truly the cultural hub of Skye, with tons of leisure facilities that tourists would love. A trip to the Isle of Skye would definitely be incomplete without a visit to this colourful town, and I hope this article has given you lots of inspiration on what to do in and around the area!

To fuel your inspiration more, pick up a copy of Lonely Planet Scotland and brush up on some interesting Scotland facts!

The Lump in Portree, Skye

📸 My Portree & 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.

Neist Point on the Isle of Skye

I hope this guide on the top things to do in Portree, UK, has inspired you!

For further reading on other destinations in Scotland, discover:
🌿 24 Epic Things to Do on the Isle of Skye + Top Tips & Map
🏡 Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye + 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

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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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