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19 Sensational Things to do in Isle of Skye in Scotland

19 Sensational Things to do in Isle of Skye in Scotland

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Are you planning a trip to Scotland and aren’t sure if they Isle of Skye is worth the trek? Keep scrolling to check out the coolest things to do in Isle of Skye!
This list of things to do in Isle of Skye Scotland was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Scotland has almost 800 islands, but none are like the Isle of Skye.

It belongs to the Inner Hebrides off Scotland’s west coast and is famous for its dramatic, otherworldly landscapes. Picture colorful fishing villages, rugged beaches and rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and much more.

If you like hiking, wildlife, and medieval castles, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Isle of Skye in Scotland!

This guide includes absolutely all the Isle of Skye must-see places on any road trip. 

Even if you visit during wet weather, you’ll have the most unforgettable experience if you visit these amazing Isle of Skye attractions.

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19 Super Things to Do in Isle of Skye in Scotland

The Old Man of Storr

Don’t worry, one of the best things to do in Isle of Skye in Scotland isn’t to visit an old man who lives in Storr!

Image of The Storr and the old man of Storr, Isle of Skye
Isn’t this an incredible sight?!?

It’s the name of a jagged rock formation at the top of a small hill called The Storr. While this 2,211-ft/674-m-tall hill is steep, most of the paths are well paved. Most people climb to the top in less than 90 minutes.

You’ll enjoy incredible views out to sea and over Loch Leathan from the Storr viewpoint. Hiking on Isle of Skye doesn’t get much better than the Old Man of Storr!

Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

There are several castles on Isle of Skye, but Dunvegan Castle should be at the top of your list.

It’s the ancestral home of Clan MacLeod. The same family has occupied the castle for 800 years, which is why it is thought to be the longest continually occupied castle in Scotland.

Image of Dunvegan castle on the Isle of Skye - the seat of the MacLeod of MacLeod, Scotland
You’ll definitely want to check out this historic castle.

Dunvegan Castle sits on a rocky cliff on Scotland’s west coast with three formal gardens. You can also tour the interiors of the castle which are open to the public.

Like many other top Skye Scotland things to do, Dunvegan Castle closes over winter.

Talisker Distillery

Founded in 1830, Talisker Distillery was the only whisky distillery on the island until Torabhaig opened its doors in 2017. 

But it’s still an island institution and one of the top Isle of Skye tourist attractions! Visit their distillery on the Carbost waterfront overlooking Loch Harport. 

Scotland, Isle of Skye - July 2018: Talisker whisky distillery  Travel europe
Perfect for whisky-lovers.

You can take guided tours and tastings, or just pop in to buy a bottle as a souvenir from their shop. Talisker Distillery is mostly known for the 10-year single malt.

Visiting Carbost is one of the best things to do on Skye because it has two other top-notch attractions. 

The Oyster Shed and the Caora Dhubh Coffee Company offer such delicious food and coffee that they draw crowds even without the local distillery!

The Fairy Glen

There are lots of unusual things to do on Isle of Skye that make the island seem otherworldly, but none more so than The Fairy Glen. This landscape is made up of small conical hills with a ridged pattern from the top to the ground. 

Image of a boy at the Fairy Glen in Scotland
The Fairy Glen was gorgeous! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

These ridges are caused by tiny landslips that are still affecting the island today. Locals also add stones in concentric circles to give it an extra touch of magic.

Drive or follow the trail from the nearby town of Uid to visit one of the most magical Isle of Skye highlights.

Portree

The Isle of Skye is a little too small to have a capital (around 10,000 residents live full-time on the island) but Portree is the closest thing. 

Sitting on the eastern coast of the island, it’s one of the best places to visit in Skye. Many of the best things to do in Skye are right here too!

Image of Marcie Cheung and her family in front of Portree colorful houses in Scotland
Don’t miss the colorful harbor! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Check out cozy cafes like Cafe Arriba, Relish Portree, and Birch Cafe. Visit The Merchant Bar for quintessential Scottish pub vibes or The Bar at Scorrybreac for cocktails.

It’s a great place to pick up locally produced, artisanal souvenirs. Home in the Highlands, ÒR Jewelry Store, Isle of Skye Soap Company, and Isle of Skye Candle Company are all great options.

And don’t leave without checking out the view of the colorful harbor from The Lump. Follow the Scorrybreac Loop Trail which is only 2 miles/3.1km along the coast of Portree which is great for younger kids.

Neist Point Lighthouse

Opened in 1909, this daisy-colored yellow and white lighthouse is still working today. Neist Point’s location on an uneven, rocky peninsula makes it an indescribable picture.

Although you should follow the Neist Point Trail (1.5 miles/2.2 km) out to the lighthouse to visit it up close, stop at the trailhead’s viewpoint first to admire the whole picture.

It truly is one of the best things to see and do in Skye!

Quiraing Circuit

If hiking the Isle of Skye trails is your main reason for visiting the island, you have to hike the Quiraing Circuit. The Quiraing is a mountain peak on the Trotternish Peninsula with a flat top that may look like it’s slipping.

That’s because it is! Like The Fairy Glen, the Quiraing is one huge landslide.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her family at the Quiriang at the Isle of Skye in Scotland
The Quiriang is spectacular! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

But the consensus is that hiking around the Quiraing is a much better experience. You get better views, too!

It’s a 4.2-mile/6.8 km trail which takes about two hours to complete with no stops. While the path is a little too rocky and narrow for young kids, it’s one of the top things to do in Isle of Skye for everyone else with moderate fitness levels.

Skye Museum of Island Life

This open-air museum is made up of six thatched cottages which are approximately 100 years old. Each cottage contains a slice of history from different eras on Skye, so you can learn about what everyday life was like.

These old houses are to be found at The Skye Museum of Island Life which stands on a hillside close to the tip of Skye's Trotternish Peninsula
This is worth stopping by to learn more about Scottish life.

The Skye Museum of Island Life is one of the top Isle of Skye Scotland things to do with kids!

And if the museum alone doesn’t grab you, there’s a small holding of highland cows onsite too. It’s usually closed in the winter season.

Coral Beach

One of the top Isle of Skye must-see places is the secluded Coral Beach. With pink-hued sands and clear turquoise water, you’d be forgiven for thinking this beach was in the Caribbean and not Scotland!

Coral Beach in Skye
This is a popular road trip stop.

Until you felt the frigid cold temperatures and blustery wind, of course.

This patch of coastline is home to seals and seabirds. You can walk up the headland for a fantastic view of the whole beach.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

The Isle of Skye boasts dozens upon dozens of waterfalls. One of the best Isle of Skye places to visit is Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls, the name of the cascading waterfall that flows over the rocky cliff.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her husband at Kilt Rock at the Isle of Skye in Scotland
Kilt Rock is an easy stop. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Visit in spring when the flow is at its strongest and you’ll be greeted by a powerful site of water gushing over the cliff and into the sea.

Be wary of using drones in this region. They’re not legally banned but locals have expressed concern that they are disrupting nesting birds. You can still see the falls from a couple of viewpoints.

Wildlife Spotting Boat Trip

The abundance of wildlife is why so many people visit Skye! Without even trying, many visitors spot golden eagles, white-tailed sea eagles, ospreys, otters, red deer, and more.

But if you want to almost guarantee that you will spot wildlife on your trip to Skye, join a wildlife tour. Local guides know the migration patterns and nesting sites like the back of their hand.

Plus, these wildlife activities in Isle of Skye are a lot of fun and you might learn something!

Dinosaur Footprints

The history of Isle of Skye stretches back 170 million years to the age of the dinosaurs. How do we know this? Because there are actual dinosaur footprints on a beach in Skye!

Rainbow above the famous Dinosaur footprints at An Corran beach by Staffin on the isle of Skye - Scotland
How cool is that?!?

They are visible on the very edge of the coastline just north of Lealt Falls (another beautiful waterfall). If you or anyone you are traveling with are interested in prehistoric fossils, this is a must-see in Isle of Skye!

Sligachan Old Bridge

This 19th-century stone bridge might not have any historic significance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting!

Sligachan Old Bridge
Isn’t it super pretty?

It arches across the River Sligachan and, with the backdrop of the Cuillin mountains, it’s a beautiful place to visit.

Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum

Located near the southernmost tip of the Isle of Skye, Armadale Castle is a grand castle and a former home of Clan Donald. 

Beautiful view of Armadale Castle, in the Isle of Skye, Scotland
You can totally spend the night in a castle!

Today, it’s actually a hotel. Yes, you can book a night and stay in a real Scottish castle and it’s not as pricey as you might think!

Armadale Castle is also on this list of Isle of Skye top attractions to visit because it has a museum and formal gardens. Its exhibits cover the history of Vikings and Clan Donald on the island but take note that it’s closed in winter.

Sealife Spotting Tour

As well as beautiful birds of prey, some of the best things to see in Isle of Skye live in its coastal waters. Head to Portree and hop on a boat tour to see if you can spot seals, whales, or dolphins.

Of course, from the ocean, you have a better chance of spotting sea birds like gannets, too!

Oronsay Island

Head to the small town of Ullinish and you’ll be able to see the small island of Oronsay across the water, one of the best places in Isle of Skye.

The island of Oronsay on Skye, Scotland
Tidal Island of Oronsay.

This is a small tidal island that is accessible by walking during low tide. In fact, Oronsay literally translates to ‘Tidal Island’ in the Old Norse language!

Walking across the rocky causeway is a super cool experience perfect for hikers on a sunny day. Just be sure to check the tide times so you don’t get stuck out there!

Brother’s Point Trail

Another one of the best hikes on Isle of Skye is the Brother’s Point Trail. 

It’s a 2-mile/3.4 km out and back trail. You’ll find the trailhead at the parking lot and can walk the moderately challenging route out to the tip of the peninsula and back.

Team the Brother’s Point Trail with seeing the Dinosaur Footprints which are super close by.

Black Cuillins and Loch Coruisk

One of the best places to see in Isle of Skye is the Black Cuillin mountains in the southern part of the islands. While walking or climbing up them can be extremely tough, they’re very pretty to look at.

Head to Loch Coruisk for the most incredible views of these hills.

Isle of Raasay

Finally, visiting Isle of Skye is exciting by itself but you can easily check out another, even more remote, island while you’re there.

Ferries depart the Sconser boat terminal to the Isle of Raasay every day. You can hike, visit the Isle of Raasay Distillery, and see ancient Pictish ruins and monuments.

Image of Marcie Cheung and her family at Quiriang on the Isle of Skye in Scotland
The Quiriang is a must-see destination on the Isle of Skye. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Things To Do in Isle of Skye in Scotland FAQs

How many days do you need at Isle of Skye?

You need to spend a minimum of two days on the Isle of Skye to make the trip worth it. It can take a long time to travel here, that’s why spending as long as possible (three days is better) is ideal.

How long to drive around Isle of Skye?

The Isle of Skye is a big island. Its narrow roads can mean it takes a long time to drive around. 

Driving from Rubha Hunish (the most northerly point on the island) to the Point of Sleat (the most southerly point) takes two hours and 15 minutes to cover 71 miles.

How long to drive to the Isle of Skye?

Figuring out how to go to Isle of Skye and how long getting to the Isle of Skye takes? Well, it’s probably longer than you think! Traveling from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye Bridge takes four and a half hours (202 miles).

Traveling from Glasgow to Isle of Skye takes four hours and 15 minutes (182 miles). Driving from Inverness to Isle of Skye takes almost two hours (81 miles).

What is the best month to visit the Isle of Skye?

The best months to visit the Isle of Skye are April, May, September, and October. These are shoulder season months that offer the best mix of warm weather, fewer crowds, and cheaper accommodation.

Summer might have the best weather but the Isle of Skye cannot sustain the level of tourism it receives. You will struggle to find parking!

Don’t rule out visiting the Isle of Skye in winter. The bridge to Isle of Skye rarely closes due to bad weather and you have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Things To Do in Isle of Skye in Scotland Wrap-Up

As the biggest island in the Inner Hebrides, there are endless things to do in Isle of Skye in Scotland.

You could spend days hiking on trails on the Trotternish Peninsula. And spend lots of money in the Portree gift shops on artisanal souvenirs!

You won’t regret adding this magical place to your Scottish road trip itinerary.

Looking for more things to do in Scotland? Check out 13 Best Day Trips From Glasgow by Train, 13 Best Day Trips From Edinburgh by Train, Planning a Trip to Scotland: Step-by-Step Guide, 13 Must-Read Scotland Travel Tips for First-Timers, Best Harry Potter Places in Scotland Worth Visiting, and 9 Best Edinburgh Hotels for Families Worth Booking!

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