Tucked away off the west coast of Scotland is an island that is routinely dubbed ‘heaven on earth’. Providing endless feats of nature and an unrivalled sense of stillness, The Isle of Skye encapsulates 50 miles of pure utopia just waiting to be discovered on your next getaway. All within a short hop of mainland UK.
Whether you’re wanting to conquer its expressive landscapes, partake in a spot of salmon fishing, immerse yourself in its mythical tales or simply unplug from the world, Skye makes for a truly remarkable experience. Its sheer beauty will endlessly captivate as it forces you to slow down and take stock of the world in the most grounding of ways.
For those who haven’t visited Skye before, we’ve put together our ultimate tips so that you can make the most out of your next adventure here.
In truth, it is impossible to summarise everything that the Isle Of Skye has to offer even in a comprehensive guide. But, we’re up for the challenge on this occasion, as a visit to this most majestic land at least once in your lifetime is, in our humble opinion, non-negotiable.
Isle Of Skye: An Overview
With a history dating back 2,800 million years, the Isle of Skye is one of 900 islands that can be found in Scotland in total. Skye is the largest and best-known island of the Inner Hebrides, making it a popular tourist destination.
Its dramatic landscapes encompassing jagged cliffs, mountain peaks and bountiful lochs and glens, are the result of ancient landslides and basaltic lava flows that once ruled the roost – long before the infamous MacLeod and MacDonald clans made their presence known here. Evidence of both remains abundantly apparent throughout Skye, with volcanic black sandy beaches in some parts of the island, contrasted by white sands in the other, punctuated by the odd medieval fortress in between.
However, make no mistake that when you holiday on Skye, the only thing that really exists is the present moment. It’s perhaps little wonder then that people seek out the Isle of Skye when they crave stillness in time. A place to leave the chaos of the world behind for some precious few days. Where the stresses and strains of everyday life ebb away with a natural ease akin to the lapping tide pulling away.
Areas To Explore In Skye
- Isle Ornsay
- Kyle of Lochalsh
The capital of Skye is Portree, with most other areas of the island consisting of small remote settlements. Larger villages include Broadford, Dunvegan and Kyleakin.
Where Is The Isle Of Skye?
The Island of Skye is located off the west coast of mainland Scotland.
Distance from the Isle of Skye:
Inverness – 106 miles
Wick – 186 miles
Aberdeen – 206 miles
Edinburgh – 228 miles
Glasgow – 239 miles
How To Get To Isle Of Skye
Despite its remoteness (which by the way, is one of Skye’s main charms!), the island is extremely accessible through most means of transport.
Mostt notably, Scotland’s northwest coast connects to Skye via the aptly named Skye Bridge.
Whichever way you plan on getting to Skye, we’d advise researching your route to ensure you can easily reach the spots you most want to see.
Car – Owing to traffic, it’s about a 2h 30 drive from Skye’s closest city Inverness, though the scenery you’ll see on the way more than makes up for it. The A87 is the main road into Skye running west from Invergarry across to Kyle of Lochalsh where it links to the Skye Bridge.
Train – The nearest train stations to Skye are Kyle of Lochalsh which is right by the Skye Bridge and connects to local bus services, or Mallaig where you can catch a ferry across to Skye.
Mallaig offers direct services to Glasgow Queen Street and Kyle of Lochalsh direct services to Inverness. Tickets for either service can be purchased from Scot Rail.
Ferry – There are three main ferry ports on Skye operated by Calmac. This includes Mallaig to Armadale, Sconser to Raasay and Uig to Lochmaddy or Tarbert.
Bus – Stagecoach runs three services across Skye. Service 917 runs between Portree and Inverness. Service 58 runs between Portree Broom Place Depot. Service 57C runs between Portree and Flodigarry.
You can purchase tickets, and view route maps and timetables on the Stagecoach website.
Airport – Broadford Airfield is a private airfield on the island, although it doesn’t operate any commercial flights at this time. The nearest international airport to the Isle of Skye is Glasgow Airport and the closest airport is Inverness Airport.
What Is The Best Time To Visit?
Each month has something different to offer your visit to Skye, so it really depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip in terms of when is best to arrive.
Weather wise, April and May are the driest months on Skye, making this an ideal time to book if you plan on doing lots of hiking. Likewise, June is also great as the island is much quieter before peak season arrives in July and August. It’s also easier to find available accommodation if you visit slightly earlier in the year too.
Stargazers are in luck if they visit Skye from October through to March when the northern lights are most likely to be visible. That said, some truly magical auroras have been captured throughout most months of the year in Glendale, which lies on the northwest of the island.
Contrary to what you might expect, it’s also possible to visit Skye during the winter months. The tranquil landscapes give way to moodier weather, but a wee dram enjoyed by a roaring fire in one of the island’s many establishments such as The Stein Inn will soon fix that.
Isle Of Skye Weather
January – 6°C (42.8°F)
February – 6°C (42.8°F)
March – 7°C (44.6°F)
April – 9°C (48.2°F)
May – 13°C (55.4°F)
June – 14°C (57.2°F)
July – 16°C (60.8°F)
August – 16°C (60.8°F)
September – 13°C (55.4°F)
October – 11°C (51.8°F
November – 8°C (46.4°F)
December – 6°C (42.8°F)
Compared with the eastern coast of Scotland, Skye fairs slightly warmer throughout the year.
November sees the most amount of rainfall on average, while June typically has the longest daylight hours.
Top tip: Whatever time of year you plan on visiting Skye, we recommend packing waterproof hiking boots and plenty of warm clothing, as the weather is quite changeable, even on a sunny day!
Isle Of Skye Top Visitor Attractions – Best Things To Do In Skye
For those who enjoy the great outdoors, you’re in for a treat in terms of what’s on offer across the Isle of Skye. As the island is relatively small at 50 miles long and 25 miles wide, if you’re planning a stay here then you should be able to cover everything on your bucket list with ease.
We’ve handpicked you a list of the most famous visitor attractions. However, it is by no means exhaustive, with over 93 listed attractions on the island in total, not including all of the ancient ruins and monuments you’ll most certainly come across on your visit too.
Head to Glenbrittle where an ethereal experience awaits. The Fairy Pools are a dazzling array of rock pools filled with translucent spring water that culminates in a series of stunning waterfalls.
The site was once the location of the final and bloodiest Battle of Coire Na Creiche, between the MacLeods of Dunvegan and the MacDonalds of Sleat. Although for present day visitors, the only threats come from the icy cold waters which can be a wee bit nippy without a wetsuit and warm clothes to change back into.
Hence, those who do plan on taking the plunge are advised to bring suitable clothing. Likewise, walkers will also benefit from waterproof trousers and shoes, as the weather can turn drookit, as the Scots like to say.
The walk to the Fairy Pools is around 2.4km, so take care as you navigate the gravel paths and large stone formations.
The Fairy Pools are becoming popular, so it’s best to arrive early if you’d like to explore the area alone.
Visitors are also asked to drive safely on single-track roads, follow any parking notices and take any litter away with them. Once you’ve completed the track, The Cuillin Coffee Co at the nearby Glenbrittle Campsite provides toilet facilities and plenty of hot tea on tap.
Old Man Of Storr
The Old Man of Storr is one of the most recognisable features on Skye, consisting of an epic pinnacle of rock that like much of the island, was the result of an ancient landslide.
You’ll find the walk up to Storr located 15 minutes drive north of Portree, and although the climb is a little steep, the views you’ll see along the way are a true spectacle.
Some hikers have called the walk around Storr the ‘experience Skye loop’, as if you plan your route correctly, it’s possible to start at Portree, pass through Storr, and continue on to Staffin, Duntulm and Ulg before ending back in Portree.
As the elixir of life here in Scotland, the creation of whisky is a fine craft. Every aspect from the quality of the water to the type and age of the wood used to store whisky impacts the flavour and overall experience of each sip. You’ll discover just what it takes to create the most exquisite blend of whisky at Skye’s oldest distillery, Talisker Distillery.
Offering three different tours, Talisker Distillery can be found in Carbost on the west of the island. Set on the shores of Loch Harport, the distillery provides breathtaking views of the Cuillins providing the perfect backdrop to any wee tipples you may wish to sample during your visit.
Talisker Distillery underwent a renovation and reopened to the public in August 2022, so it’s also worth popping by if you haven’t been since the facility was updated.
A special shout out also goes to Torabhaig Distillery, Skye’s second ever distillery which opened more recently. You can find it over in Teangue, Sleat.
Offering some of the best walking spots anywhere in Scotland, Quiraing’s mythical beauty can be seen far and wide as the feat sits on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach.
You can find Quiraing in the north of Skye in the Trotternish area, with the walk taking around two hours to complete. Look out for The Needle, The Table and The Prison along the way, which are all notable landmarks on the route.
Where To Stay In The Isle Of Skye
Rest assured that wherever you stay in Skye, a glorious 360° view awaits. Here at Best Scottish Cottages, we have Isle of Skye holiday accommodation to suit all holiday types.
We’ve summarised each location on Skye to help you choose the best location for your next break.
You may notice that Breakish sounds similar to breakfast, i.e. breaking your fast. It can certainly be said that the location of Breakish is also the first introduction to the Isle of Skye itself, as the village is one of the first you’ll encounter on the island.
Breakish is conveniently located just off the A87, making it perfect for unwinding on your holiday soon after crossing into Skye. Nearby attractions include Skye Jeep Tours and The Misty Bottle with the latter ensuring your glass will never be empty while on the island.
Available holiday lets in Breakish:
Edge just a little further along the A87 and you’ll encounter the second largest settlement on the Isle of Skye, Broadford.
Overlooking the Inner Sound, a strait which separates the Inner Hebridean islands of Skye, Raasay and South Rona from the Applecross peninsula on the Scottish mainland, a quaint community spirit is immediately apparent in Broadford.
Taste some of the seafood delicacies the locals caught earlier at Claymore Bar and Restaurant or Harbour Restaurant. As well as nine different beaches to choose from in Broadford, you can also explore the area in style via Skye Luxury Tours, or pick up some handcrafted goods at Isle of Skye Market Square.
Available holiday lets in Broadford (and nearby Harrapool):
Sitting in the northwest of Skye along the Duirinish Peninsula, the Dunvegan gives uninterrupted views of the flat-topped mountains of Macleod’s Tables and the vast open waters of Loch Dunvegan.
Dunvegan is a great spot for easy access to nearby attractions which include Dunvegan Castle & Gardens, Giant Angus MacAskill Museum, Claigan Coral Beach, Neist Point and The Duirinish Stone. There’s also a handful of shops nearby, and the area is also home to Skye’s oldest bakery, Dunvegan Bakery. We have it on good authority that the produce is so good, even on a dreich October day, there’s still a queue to get in.
For those who want to explore the historical monuments of Skye and pack in plenty of walks during their stay, Dunvegan offers all of this and more within a short walk of your accommodation.
Available holiday lets in Dunvegan:
Heast is about as remote as Skye gets, with just a single unassuming road running through this small settlement which continues on to Loch Eishort.
In fact, our Skye Shepherd huts are one of the only dwellings to exist in the area, surrounded by mountainous terrain. Though you may also catch a glimpse of the various wildlife that frequent the area, including deer, eagles and other birds of prey.
Nearby walks include Glen Brittle, Camasunary, Sligahan, Torrin and Boreraig.
Available holiday lets in Heast:
Isleornsay lies on a natural harbour and in the eighteenth century, it served as a stop-off point for the visitors who travelled on the Glasgow steamer service. The building of the railways saw tourism to Isleornsay quietly drop away. However, this created a peaceful landscape for which visitors in the present day deliberately seek out.
Isleornsay overlooks the island of Ornsay which you can get to by boat or by foot during low tide. There are few amenities in the nearby vicinity, although the village hall named Talla Duisdale puts on regular productions, including live cinema from the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet.
Continue to the very north along the A87 after crossing into Skye and you’ll reach the scattered township of Kingsburgh.
Boasting uninterrupted views of Loch Snizort Beag on the Trotternish peninsula, a stay in Kingsburgh offers peace and tranquillity for the soul. Our only available property in the area, Kingsburgh Boathouse, played host to Bonnie Prince Charlie after he was rowed ‘over the sea to Skye’ from North Uist with Flora MacDonald in June 1746.
We highly recommend this area, and indeed the Kingsburgh Boathouse for those who are fascinated by the historical significance of Skye.
Available holiday lets in Kingsburgh:
Portree is the capital of Skye and is the largest town in the area. It’s also well served by public transport, making Portree the most accessible part of Skye without a cae.
A walk along Bosville Terrace provides picture postcard views of the town’s brightly painted homes set amongst the quaint backdrop of Loch Portree. On your way, you’ll come across numerous shops, restaurants and local amenities, ensuring everything you need during your stay is in close reach.
Acting as the cultural hub for Skye, Portree is home to the award-winning Aros Centre. An abundance of scenic walks can also be found by the town’s natural harbour.
Available holiday lets in Portree:
Perfectly positioned for a spot of salmon fishing in the River Snizort, Skeabost is a small township seven miles from Portree.
At the nearby Skeabost Country House Hotel lies the site where a mortal feud took place between the MacDonalds and the MacLeods. Today, these green pastures are in fact a 9-hole golf course welcoming players of all levels.
Ancient ruins can be found in Skeabost including Eilean Chaluim Chille which is accessed by a wooden bridge. Remains of a ruined chapel also signify what was an important religious site on the island between 1079 and 1498.
Undoubtedly, Skeabost is the place to head to if outdoor pursuits are what you most want to get out of your Skye break, as everything to do just that is practically on your doorstep.
Our accommodation options
Available holiday lets in Skeabost:
Sleat is a small village at the southern tip of the Sleat peninsula. It’s positioned in a convenient location if you plan on reaching Skye by ferry, as it’s just up the road from Armadale where the service from Mallaig docks.
Enjoy paradisiacal azure waters and white sands when you head to Rubha Shlèite in Sleat. You’ll wake up to views of the vast open waters of the Sound of Sleat and the breathtaking mountains of Kintail and Knoydart.
Other nearby attractions include the Point of Sleat, Aird Old Church Gallery and Tormore Community Forest.
Available holiday lets in Sleat:
Holiday Types On Skye
‘Getting away from it all’ might be an overused cliche in the holiday industry, but we think you’ll agree once you’ve been here that they pinched this saying directly from Skye!
On the Isle of Skye, you can holiday where many a movie has been filmed. Or wake up in complete peace and tranquillity on a remote part of the island with nothing and nobody can disturb you. If you want to be straight out fishing in the morning, or close to the best hiking spots we’ve got you covered there too.
Here is just a flavour of the types of holidays you can enjoy on the Isle of Skye.
Sight Seeing Or Exploration
While Skye does have a number of visitor attractions, arguably the landscape itself offers more than enough to mesmerise you all on its own. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner there really is something for everyone. In total, there are 93 top-rated attractions on the Isle of Skye, which for a small island is certainly impressive.
Package honeymoons often lack that personal touch. Moving away from the typical cookie-cutter honeymoon, Skye will surprise and delight with its rugged coastlines, dramatic rock formations, and waterfalls at every turn. Wherever you stay on the island, not only will you wake up to your happiest days, but the most beautiful ones too.
H3: Dog Friendly Holidays
If you consider your pooch to be a treasured member of your family, it can be tough to leave them behind to go on holiday. Luckily, the Isle of Skye is just as enchanting for canines as it is for humans with plenty of long walkies to explore.
Our dog friendly accommodation in Skye includes Skye Shepherd Huts in Heast, amongst others.
Planning a road trip across Scotland with your four-legged friend before you get to Skye? View all our dog friendly accommodation in Scotland.
Did you know the UK’s total amount of coastline is 19,491 miles long? This includes all of its islands, and Skye is no exception. While you might be tempted to stick to the mainland, the Isle of Skye quite literally allows you to get off the beaten path and escape to your own little world. If you’ve never explored the west coast of Scotland before, Skye makes for an unmissable destination. Therefore, we’d definitely recommend Skye if you’re in search of the very best of what the UK staycation market has to offer.
Whether you’re searching for van friendly holidays or if van life is your new normal, a drive through Skye is a must. Plenty of van life vloggers have captured their experiences of parking up and awaking to different breathtaking scenery every night.
Although, if you do fancy the odd ‘cheat night’ to avoid missing out on Skye’s unique accommodation types, scroll down to see what’s on offer here at Best Scottish Cottages.
Best Scottish Cottages – Holiday Lets Isle Of Skye
We’ll think you agree the Isle of Skye offers something truly magical for any holiday, whether you’re visiting us to sightsee, to enjoy your honeymoon or in search of a unique getaway in the UK. As with most people who come to Skye, you’ll probably also find things you never knew existed outside of a Hollywood movie set but in real life on our precious island. We can’t wait for you to experience it!
Here at Best Scottish Cottages, your Isle of Skye break is just a few clicks away as we have holiday lets across the island ready to book. From rustic farmhouses to modern cabins, you’ll find it all at Best Scottish Cottages. You can view our available holiday lets on the Isle of Skye by viewing our collections page.
Can’t wait to get away? Check out our late availability for last minute holiday lets in the Isle of Skye and beyond to secure your break with us today.
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