Julie Scotland 22 Comments

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s hottest destinations. Why? With stunning scenery, scenic drives, hikes for all ages and ability levels, quaint towns, and awesome seafood, it’s easy to see why this is a hot spot for travelers. In our Isle of Skye Guide, we’ve got you covered. We’re here to help you plan the perfect vacation to the Isle of Skye.

When to Go

The weather is the best between May and September. However, the summer months, in particular July and August, are peak season. B&B’s will be sold out months in advance for these months, car parks will be overflowing, and restaurants book up early. June is a good month to go because the Isle of Skye is usually not packed with visitors yet.

April and May are the driest months. If you don’t mind it being chilly, these are great months to go to the Isle of Skye as well.

You can visit the Isle of Skye during the winter. Yes, it may be cold, but you could have some of the best sites all to yourself.

Weather on the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye gets a lot of rain. The wettest months are September through January (October is the rainiest month). March through June it is relatively dry. The warmest months are May through September, with average highs in the mid 50’s to low 60’s (7-13°C), cooler at night.

How Long Should You Spend on the Isle of Skye?

Ideally, two days or more is necessary to visit the Isle of Skye. With only one day, you have just enough time to visit the highlights. Two days gives you enough time to see the best sights, and with three days or more, you have plenty of time to explore all of the island.

Neist Point

Neist Point


Map of the Isle of Skye

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the driving routes). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Best Things to do on the Isle of Skye

Here’s a list of the must-see places on the Isle of Skye

  • Old Man of Storr
  • Quiraing
  • Fairy Glen
  • Rubha nam Brathairean (Brother’s Point)
  • Neist Point
  • Fairy Pools
  • Talisker Distillery
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr

Isle of Skye with Kids

The Isle of Skye is a great family destination. Search for fairies at the Fairy Glen or Fairy Pools, visit Dunvegan Castle, climb up to the eerie Old Man of Storr, and hike out to Brother’s Point. Even your kids will be wowed by the scenery here.

Fairy Glen

Kara at the Fairy Glen

Best Hikes on the Isle of Skye

There are hiking trails for people of all ages and ability levels. Here is a list of some of the best trails on the island.

Fairy Pools. This short hike is really more of a walk. A relatively flat trail follows along the river, with views of the Fairy Pools. Good for all ages and fitness levels. Allow one to two hours for a visit here.

Fairy Glen. Another very easy hike. Just 1 mile in length, allow one hour for a leisurely walk through this very unique and quiet corner of the Isle of Skye.

Old Man of Storr. A little more strenuous but your reward is a view of one of the Isle of Skye’s most iconic spots. The entire hike is just under 3 miles. It’s a climb up to the Old Man of Storr with awesome views out over the island.

Rubha nam Brathairean (Brother’s Point). For a relatively easy hike to one of the Isle of Skye’s little known spots, this was a highlight for us. The entire hike is just over 2 miles, a walk along the coastline with awesome views of the Brother’s Point peninsula and out to Kilt Rock.

Quiraing. Another Isle of Skye icon. This is a more challenging hike, 4.5 miles in length, along the cliffs of the Quiraing. Perfect for older, adventurous kids.

Bla Bheinn. For a hike offering 360° views of the Cuillins, this is a good one! 5 miles in length, allow about 6 hours for the hike.

Sgurr Alasdair. This is the highest peak on the Isle of Skye. This is a very challenging hike, 6 miles in length. Allow 5 to 6 hours.

The Trotternish Ridge. This is a 2 day hike covering 23 miles on the Isle of Skye. The starting and ending points are Portree and Flodigarry.

The Skye Trail. For experienced hikers only. This hike takes 7 days and is 128 km in length, traversing a huge portion of the Isle of Skye.

Walk Highlands is an excellent website with details for hiking trails not just on the Isle of Skye but throughout Scotland. Visit their website here. 

Hiking Isle of Skye

Hiking to Brothers Point


Hiking Quiraing


Getting to the Isle of Skye

The only way to get to the Isle of Skye is by car, bus, or by tour. The closest airports are in Glasgow, Inverness, and Edinburgh. Most people rent a car for a self-driving tour of Scotland and the Isle of Skye.

For full details about getting to the Isle of Skye, click here.

Brothers Point

Isle of Skye Coast, seen from Brothers Point

Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye

Portree is the Isle of Skye’s largest town with a great mix of hotels and B&B establishments. Here are some recommended places in and around Portree.

Cuillin Hills Hotel. This high-end hotel is located just outside of Portree. It gets rave reviews, has an onsite restaurant, and offers views that look out over the bay. Rooms can accommodate two people.  

Tor View. This bed and breakfast is located just a short drive north of Portree. Since you are not located in town, you get some wonderful views of the Isle of Skye from this property. In fact, many prior guests rave about the views from this hotel, but all around, it gets high marks. 

Skeabost View Pods. Want to stay in your own chalet? Four “pods,” one-bedroom studio chalets, sit side by side in the countryside 5 miles northwest of Portree. These have a small kitchenette and private bathroom. Each patio comes with a small fire pit and supply of firewood. 

When to Make Your Reservation

This is very important!! Learn from our “mistake.” We booked our accommodations at the end of May for a visit to the Isle of Skye at the very end of July. Two months before our trip, accommodations on all of the Isle of Skye were 95% booked. I emailed every single one of the 100+ B&B’s on the island, as well as hotels and hostels. We got lucky, with one B&B that still had vacancies. 

So, if you will be traveling to the Isle of Skye during the summer months, book your accommodations at least 3 months in advance. Six months would be even better.

Rubha nam Brathairean

Rubha nam Brathairean (Brothers Point)

Where to Eat on the Isle of Skye

Here are some of our favorite restaurants.

The Granary. Located in Portree, this place was so good that we ate here twice.  They serve mostly seafood dishes, have a great wine list, and a convenient location in Portree. We could walk here from the Quiraing Guest House. Reservations are necessary, especially during the summer months.

The Granary

Dinner at The Granary

The Isles Inn Pub & Hotel.  This lively pub serves good Scottish food. We liked this place because we could get a table without a reservation, one of the few in Portree.

The Old Inn. Located in Carbost (near the Talisker Distillery), this cozy pub serves excellent food, coffee, and hot chocolate. Even in the summer, it was nice to come here to warm up and dry off after our wet, rainy visit to the Fairy Pools.

The Three Chimneys Restaurant. Ok, we didn’t eat here. But we wanted to! This place gets excellent reviews and can only be visited with a reservation. If you are planning to watch the sunset at Neist Point, this is a great restaurant to visit afterwards. Three Chimneys is located in Colbost, between Neist Point and Dunvegan. They also are a 5-star accommodation.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: You need to make a reservation for most restaurants during peak season. Many places are completely booked between 6 and 9 pm.

Isle of Skye Travel Tips

Driving on the Isle of Skye.  In the most remote areas, you will drive on single track roads. These one-lane roads are only wide enough for one car. There are frequent passing zones, areas of the road that have been widened for two cars to pass. At times, this may require that you put your car in reverse, backing into one of these spots, to let oncoming traffic pass.

Cellular Service. Don’t expect great reception on the Isle of Skye. 3G is available in Portree and Broadford. Outside of these areas, you will be extremely lucky to pick up a signal. Therefore, it is a huge advantage to rent a car with a built-in navigation service. This helped get us from point to point when our cellphones were useless. We used O2 but another popular carrier is Vodafone.

Midges. What’s a midge? A midge is tiny, mosquito-like insect. They bite, just like a mosquito does. Midges tend to swarm your face, getting in your hair and even down into your clothing. They are annoying but not harmful. Lather on the bug repellent, look silly and wear mosquito netting around your head, or be prepared to shoo them away from your face. Midges are worse near streams and lakes. They are out in full force from May to September.

If it is raining. We spent three days on the Isle of Skye and it rained everyday. When it rains, it usually does not last long. Wait out the rain in your car and when it stops, go on your hike and check out the view. The rain tends to wash the other visitors away, giving you some tranquility, as long as you are patient enough to wait out the passing shower. Just make sure you have a good rain jacket, waterproof shoes, and an umbrella.

Mealt Falls

Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock

Do you have any questions about this Isle of Skye guide? Let us know in the comments below.

More Information about Scotland

Read all of our articles about Scotland in our Scotland Travel Guide.

You Might Also Like:


Isle of Skye Travel Guide


Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Comments 22

  1. Hi Julie
    I’m in the process of planning a trip for my husband’s 50th to Isle of Skye. We’d be flying in from Gatwick. Would Inverness be the best airport to fly into? Planning on hiring a car from here and driving to Skye. It’s also going to be October this year but I’ve now read that this is the wettest month of the year in Skye!!! Would love to hear back from you on my few questions here to get me started! Many thanks. Jo

    1. Post

      If you are only planning a trip to the Isle of Skye, flying into Inverness will save you some driving. You can also fly into Glasgow or Edinburgh. If it were me, I’d get flight prices for each of these airports and if there is a big cost difference, fly into the cheapest one. Inverness is a smaller airport, so most likely there will be less options and/or you might have to take a connecting flight to get here, which in the end wouldn’t save you much travel time. And driving through Scotland is beautiful! I have heard that autumn is the wettest time to visit Scotland, too. We were here in late July, just for 3 days, and it rained every day, which was unusual. Even so, we had a blast. Maybe give yourself some extra time (5+ days) just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. You could have dinner in a nice cozy restaurant or take a tour of Talisker Distillery if the weather is bad. Cheers, Julie

  2. Julie,

    We are thinking of staying on the Isle of Skye next year for about 12 days. We are walkers, staying in self catering accommodation,hopefully. Is 12 days too long on the island.

    1. Post

      12 days is a lot of time. We visited the Isle of Skye with 3 very busy days and did not get to everything. About one week would give you plenty of time to explore the Isle of Skye without rushing around. Then, you could use your other 5 days to do something else…such as a tour of the Highlands, the whisky trail, Arran island… there is a lot to choose from. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hello Julie,

    Is this late may two day itinerary doable?

    Day 1: early morning ferry into Uig from Lewis Island. Totternish Peninsula Loop + Quiraing walk, Mealt Falls, Old Man of Storr and Portree. Drive on to Neist Point for sunset. Overnight in Dunvengan.
    Day 2: Coral Beach, Dunvengan Castle, Talisker Bay, the Cuillins, Fairy Pools, Skyle Bridge and to NC500.

    1. Post

      Yes, it is doable, if you don’t mind two very busy days. For day 1, it also depends on how early you arrive on the Isle of Skye. But since you arrive in Uig, you are right there at the start of the Trotternish Loop, which works out great. Don’t miss Eilean Donan Castle after you go over the Skye Bridge! Cheers, Julie

  4. Hello Julie,

    Loved your blog on Skye, and your family’s travel spirit!!

    I’m going on a cruise with, unfortunately, only a 7 hour day in Skye. Go Skye private tours are entirely booked (you are right, things book well in advance!), or I could see more. I have to use a ship excursion(s), and they are limmiting. Based on the variable weather, and what you have seen of the Isle, what would you recommend?

    Trotternish Pennisula tour, 3.5 hrs Stops for views out to Storr & Kilt Rock & a one hour stop at the Museum of Island Life. Perhaps they will stop for other views time permitting. Does not go on road past Quiraing. Not sure if it does full loop road or backtracks (which would be nice in a way if the weather had blocked views on the way out).

    Dunvegan Castle and northwest Skye tour, 3.5 hrs: No stops scheduled on bus to or from castle. 90 min at castle, but really I would just go on this to see scenery. Drive is a loop past Loch Snizort, some Lock Bracadane and then inland to Portree.

    Because of timing of tours, I could do BOTH of the above tours ($229) or JUST a tour to Talisker Distillery ($159). It loops down to and short stop at Sliagachen and Cullins, up to distillery, past some of Lock Bracadane, and then across to Portree. Stops (if time) for photo opps on way back. It is only 4.5 hours, but smack in middle of day so that there is not time to get anywhere else.

    If I do only 1 of the tours above, I have about 3 hours in Portree. Cab companies tell me that is not enough time to zip me up to Kilt Rock/Storr or down to Cullins and back.

    So.. any recommendations?! Thanks so much for reading this whole long post.

    Keep travelling and blogging!


    1. Post

      Hello Lynne. You have a tough decision to make. On the Trotternish Loop, you will probably do a drive by of Storr (you will be able to see it from the road if it is a relatively clear day, sit on the left hand side of the bus). The view of Kilt Rock is nice but it’s a bummer you can’t see the Quiraing. It will be a pretty drive but I wonder if it would be worth it. On the castle tour, it sounds like it will be a nice drive + a castle tour. I personally like the idea of the Trotternish loop better. But combining them is a nice option. I would pick that over Talisker. Can you hire a driver for the day (skipping all of the tours?). That way, you could pick one or two things that you really want to do. Maybe you can hire a taxi for the day? I have no idea how much that would cost, but even if it was a little more than the 2 tours combined, you would probably have a better experience picking what you want to do. Cheers, Julie

    2. I was there in Sept 2019 for 3 days, and it’s beautiful everywhere, but I HIGHLY recommend Neist Point. It’s epic! If you’re in good shape and you want to hike, there’s a path to the lighthouse area. Very steep to get down but stairs have a sturdy railing, but to the lighthouse and back will take at LEAST half an hour. Hope that helps.

      1. Post
  5. Hi Julie,
    Thank you so much for this awesome information. I will be hiking in the Isle of Skye in two weeks time. My question is: do you think I need to bring a backpack for a day hike? I’ll be hiking Waterstein Hill and Ramasaig. Full day hike.

    Thank you,
    Kim McMillan

    1. Post

      When we do a full day hike, we bring a small backpack to carry water, food, sunblock, our camera, and a first aid kit. On Skye, it would also be good to have a small umbrella and definitely a rain jacket. They sound like great hikes! Cheers, Julie

  6. Hello,

    We are going to Scotland in May and are spending 3 nights in Skye.. I’m glad I read your blog regarding booking a place to stay there, it’s nearly all booked up for second half of May already but I did snag a place. Anyone planning on going during this time or later please book now! Thanks so much for your blog, it’s awesome, we’re going to closely follow it for our trip!

    1. Post

      It’s crazy how quickly places sell out, right? I remember being in a panic for 24 hours thinking we were going to have to change our plans. I’m glad you got a place…have fun in Skye! Cheers, Julie

  7. Hi Julie and family,
    We are visiting the Scottish Highlands early in September. Please advise us how to reach the best viewpoint to watch the Jacobite Steam Train going over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
    Many thanks.

    1. Post

      We have some info about this on our Driving to the Isle of Skye post. There is a parking lot at the viaduct and a trail that leads to a viewpoint. This is a good spot to be. I believe there may also be a hiking trail to get closer but I don’t have those details since we didn’t do it. We visited in the rain, not such a pretty time to visit the viaduct. Cheers, Julie

  8. Hi Julie,

    I’m so happy to have found your blog as my husband and I will be visiting Scotland for the first time next month.

    We will drive from Edinburgh and spend the first night in Invergarry. Definitely want to see Eilean Donan castle as we head to the Isle of Skye for the next two nights! We’re beyond excited to see this incredibly beautiful corner of the world!

    Your travels have outlined so much of what we hope to visit.

    Thanks so much for the great information!


    1. Post
  9. Oh my goodness, I should have done a bit more digging on your site: I just found the answer to a question I’d just submitted on another post! Sorry! Again, thanks for such a detailed, practical overview. You’ve totally found a new follower. Cheers!

    1. Post
  10. Hi Julie & Tim, I wanted to let you know that after all the extensive research I’ve done on where and what to do in Scotland, I find my thoughts and preference on how to travel most similar to yours. I will be using quite a few of your recommendation for my family trip in early May. Can’t wait to explore Scotland, the skye, the trails and those food you recommended!

    I also like your mantra on live to travel, traveling is one of the most rewarding thing ever. It’s so inspiring to read your family profile, leaving everything behind to truly see the world together and finished the project, truly being in the moment, very admirable. I’m sure you have learnt so much about the world during this journey, but most importantly the bond and memories created between the 4 of you..will always stay with you for the life time, and that’s why living truly means. Congratulations!!

    It takes effort and commitment to upkeep this blog since you’re not on the road anymore, hence i’m dropping you a little ‘encouragement’ that someone from other side of the world really really looking forward to more from you guys and hope you will keep pushing forward.

    All the best,
    Claudia from Kuala Lumpur

    1. Post

      Wow, this is so nice, Claudia. Thanks for writing to us. Yes, this blog is a lot of work, but it so rewarding to be able to inspire others and help them travel better. Have a great time in Scotland. After everywhere we’ve been, Scotland is one of our favorite places. You are in for quite an adventure!! Cheers, Julie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *