The Isle Of Skye: A Guide To The Most Iconic Landscapes In Scotland
The Isle of Skye is located off the West Coast of mainland Scotland. It’s home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes shaped by jagged mountain peaks, towering sea cliffs, and large stretches of greenery. It’s no wonder that tourists have been drawn here for centuries. In this article, we highlight the most important things to know, where to stay, and 7 of the most beautiful places to visit on the Isle of Skye. These attractions can be combined in a one or two day visit, but allow more time if you also want to explore the medieval castles and quaint villages of the island.
Check out our video on the Isle of Skye to see the best things to do through our camera!
Table Of Contents
Where To Stay On The Isle of Skye
Important Things To Know
Best time to travel to the Isle of Skye
The best time to go to the Isle of Skye is between May and September. In these months you'll have the least chance of having rain the whole day. Do know that July and August are very busy and can get crowded.
Cost and currency
A trip to the Isle of Skye is expensive. Because accommodation is limited this will take a big bite out of your budget. Also, food and transport can be quite expensive on the Isle of Skye. We recommend renting a cottage where you can cook yourself to save some money.
Where To Stay In Isle of Skye
Kinloch Ainort Apartments: this place is awesome. It had all we needed and was beautifully decorated. We loved the kitchen and comfy beds. The apartments also have Netflix which was a bonus as it was raining quite a bit when we were on the Isle of Skye!
Broadford Lodges Skye: this place has an amazing location. Price/quality is super good!
Best Things To Do On The Isle of Skye
You can visit the Isle of Skye either as a separate destination or you can do guided trips from different cities.
Some great options for guided trips are:
If you're traveling to the Isle of Skye and want to save time searching for directions to all of the places we mention in this article, then look no further than our custom map. Simply click on a point in the map below to get directions there for yourself!
7. Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland and it’s located only 10 miles from the Isle of Skye if you cross the Skye Bridge. Sitting on a small island amidst a loch, this castle really looks like something straight out of a fairytale. It’s a great stop on your way back to Edinburgh or Inverness.
6. Sligachan Old Bridge
The Sligachan Old Bridge is the first natural beauty you’ll encounter when crossing the Skye Bridge. Being so close to the mountains, the bridge offers majestic views. It was historically an important junction as it was part of the only road that crossed to the western end of the Isle. And although the bridge is not used anymore for driving today, it still can be admired from the road
5. Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools are next on our list, situated 18 kilometers, or 11.3 miles west of the old bridge. This is one of the most popular sights on the island. Here, multiple cascading waterfalls are connected by crystal-clear pools against a backdrop of rocky mountains. As its name suggests, the scenery is truly fairy-tale-like. The pools can be accessed by an easy walk from the car park, but be aware that you’re very exposed to the elements here. It was pouring rain when we visited so the trails were extremely muddy!
Tip: Come early or later in the day to avoid crowds!
4. Fairy Glen
Heading to the north, Fairy Glen is another enchanting place to visit on the Isle of Skye. With its miniature cone-shaped hills and rocky outcrops, it has been said that fairies created this landscape. But in reality, this area was formed by a series of landslides and glacial ice melting over thousands of years. There are many grassy trails you can follow and they are a true joy to walk around and simply get lost.
Quiraing is located only 12 kilometers, or 7.5 miles to the northeast of Fairy Glen and boasts some of the best natural views in all of Scotland! You can take in the landscapes by traversing its windy road and stopping at the viewpoint by the parking lot. But, for the full experience, we suggest going on a hike so you can see the jagged rock formations and waterfalls up close and get better views of the lakes below.
2. Kilt Rock & the Mealt Falls
Heading back to the east coast of the Isle of Skye, Kilt Rock & the Mealt Falls are a short 10 minutes drive from Quiraing. The cliffs here are absolutely awe-inspiring thanks to its basalt columns that are said to resemble a kilt. Add to that a waterfall that plummets 90 meters or 295 feet over the cliff into the icy sea below and you’ve got some spectacular nature. This is a 2-for-1 highlight and you can easily observe it from a viewing platform.
1. Old Man of Storr
A final must-see natural area on the Isle of Skye is the Old Man of Storr. Located 8.5 kilometers or 5 miles to the south of Kilt Rock, this is the most photographed spot on the island. The Old Man of Storr is a magnificent pinnacle of rock that towers above the green landscape. To get up close, you need to do a 5 kilometers or 3-mile semi-loop hike, which takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. But try to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and secure a spot at the parking lot.
Some other places to visit:
There are a few things to do on the Isle of Skye that we didn’t mention because these places weren’t open at the time of our visit or the weather didn’t allow us!