Isle of Skye Itinerary

The Perfect Isle of Skye Itinerary

Julie Itinerary, Scotland 38 Comments

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s hottest destinations. Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the island to see its breathtaking scenery, quaint towns, and stunning coastline. So, how do you plan the perfect Isle of Skye itinerary?

Whether you have one, two, or three days (or more, if you are really lucky!), we have great suggestions to help you make the most of your time here. A minimum of two days is ideal. On a map, the Isle of Skye may look small, but there is a lot to do here. Even if you only have a day to spare, you still have enough time to see the best of the island.

Those with three days or more have enough time to cover the majority of the Isle of Skye. Plus, the extra time gives you a better chance of touring the island during pleasant weather. During the summer months, consecutive days of rainy weather are not unusual.

Planning Your Isle of Skye Itinerary

For this itinerary you will need a rental car. Yes, it is possible to tour the Isle of Skye by bus, but you will be at the mercy of the bus timetables. Traveling by bus is economical but can waste a lot of precious time. We highly recommend having your own car, particularly if you have limited time.

The Isle of Skye in One Day

With only one day on the Isle of Skye, do not miss the Trotternish Loop. This peninsula contains the most popular, most epic scenery on the Isle of Skye.

Most people stay in Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye. This town contains the highest concentration of B&B’s, hotels, and restaurants. Portree makes an excellent home base for the Isle of Skye.

With only one day, start early to maximize your time. That means getting started by 8:30 am if possible.

Most tour companies and travel guides recommend traveling counterclockwise around the Trotternish Loop. We recommend traveling clockwise, against traffic. It will help minimize crowds at several stops.

Fairy Glen

The first stop of the day is the mystical Fairy Glen. Often overlooked on the most time limited itineraries, we still think it is worth a stop. Plus, if you get here early enough in the morning, you may get it all to yourself.

The Fairy Glen is a quick visit, easy to hike, and if there is anywhere you could possibly find a fairy on the Isle of Skye, it would be here.


Read more: The Fairy Glen: The Cutest Place to Explore on the Isle of Skye


Hiking the Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen

Quiraing

The Quiraing is a gorgeous spot on the Isle of Skye. See it from the car park, follow the hiking trail for ten to fifteen minutes to leave most of the crowds behind, or hike the entire 4.5 mile circuit.


Read more: Hiking the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye


Pro Travel Tip: Travelers with only one day on the Isle of Skye may want to skip the full hike, putting their time into Neist Point and Dunvegan Castle.

Quiraing

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

This is the quickest stop of the day and offers epic views along the coastline of the Isle of Skye.

To get here from the Quiraing, continue on A855, heading south past Staffin. 1.6 miles south of Staffin, on A855, there will be a car park, labeled for Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

Pro Travel Tip: From the viewpoint, look north to see Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock. If you look south, the scenery is almost as beautiful and you can see Rubha nam Brathairean (Brother’s Point) off in the distance. This is your next destination.

Mealt Falls

Rubha nam Brathairean (Brother’s Point)

This is the Isle of Skye’s hidden gem. Very few people seem to know about this place, which makes it that much more special. If you like the idea of doing a short, relatively easy hike to stunning coastal scenery, Brother’s Point should be #1 on your list of places to see on the Isle of Skye.


Read more: Rubha nam Brathairean: Isle of Skye’s Hidden Treasure


Pro Travel Tip: Just do it! For us, Brother’s Point was one of the highlights on the Isle of Skye. It is unexpectedly awesome.

Brothers Point

Lunch at the Skye Pie Cafe

After visiting Rubha nam Brathairean, cross the street and go to Glenview Hotel and the Skye Pie Cafe for lunch. This place makes awesome meat and veggie pies and is a very convenient lunch stop. If it’s not too busy, take the time to sit and eat. If you only have one day on the Isle of Skye, consider ordering your food to go, eating it on the drive to the next destination.

The cafe has limited hours. During the summer months they are open from noon to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday. Get their full hours here.

Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr is one of the Isle of Skye’s icons. It is on everyone’s list of things to see, so expect huge crowds. Even so, it is absolutely worth it.


Read more: The Old Man of Storr


Old Man of Storr

By now it is mid to late afternoon, depending on how much hiking you did at each stop. Those with two or more days on the Isle of Skye can return to Portree for dinner. If you only have this one day, consider continuing your Isle of Skye tour.

Dunvegan Castle

From the Old Man of Storr, drive west to Dunvegan. This drive takes approximately 45 minutes. If you arrive by 5 pm, tour the Dunvegan Castle.

For full details, visit the Dunvegan Castle website.

Neist Point

Neist Point is the Isle of Skye’s most popular place to watch the sunset. Expect an overflowing car park and lots of people. You can walk all of the way out to the lighthouse (2 miles, allow 1 – 2 hours), or just walk uphill from the car park along the coast for this view of Neist Point:

Neist Point

Getting Here: Neist Point requires another 30 minutes of driving from Dunvegan. From Dunvegan, take B884 west, and then follow signs to Neist Point. Parking can be a major issue, especially during the busier months. It can take an additional 10 – 30 minutes to find parking, as the narrow car park becomes gridlocked with cars.

After visiting Neist Point, return to Portree.

The Isle of Skye in Two Days

Day One: Follow our Trotternish Loop drive

Day Two: Fairy Pools, Talisker Distillery, Neist Point, Dunvegan Castle

Fairy Pools

This is another popular spot. Getting here early, preferably earlier than 9:30 am, will help minimize the crowds. From Portree, it takes approximately 35 minutes to drive to the Fairy Pools.


Read More: Flying Over the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye


Fairy Pools

Talisker Distillery

The Talisker Distillery is the only whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. Take a tour, do a whisky tasting, or simply purchase some whisky in the souvenir shop.

Getting Here: From the Fairy Pools, drive 5 miles north to the town of Carbost.

Lunch at The Old Inn

This cozy pub serves great food. It’s warm, inviting atmosphere is great, especially during the cooler months, or if you got stuck out in the rain earlier at the Fairy Pools. The Old Inn is located in Carbost, within walking distance of Talisker Distillery.

Neist Point and Dunvegan Castle

If you did not do this yesterday, spend the afternoon here. Finish your day by having dinner in Portree.

Day Three on the Isle of Skye

Option 1: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

For a hike that offers 360° views of the Cuillins, this hike is a great option. We attempted this hike in rainy weather, which really is not a great idea. But, if you love hiking, and if you have a clear day while on the Isle of Skye, consider this hike.


Read More: Our Attempt on Bla Bheinn, Scotland


Blaven

Option 2: Boat Trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk

This trip takes up the majority of the day. Those who do it, rave about it. From Elgol, a boat will take you to Loch Coruisk. Along the way, you have the chance to spot puffins, dolphins, and even Orcas. Once at Loch Coruisk, walk along the scenic lake, spotting seals on the shore.

For more information, visit the Misty Isle Boat Trips website.

About this Isle of Skye Itinerary

If you plan on visiting the Isle of Skye for several days, the order of the itinerary can be changed. It is better to visit the Trotternish Loop and Blaven during clear weather. If you have a rainy day, go to the Fairy Pools and Talisker Distillery.

This post was originally written in September 2016 and it is updated on a regular basis.


Do you have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comment section below.

Planning a trip to Scotland? Read all of our articles in our Scotland Destination Guide.

Read More on the Isle of Skye:

 

Plan the perfect Isle of Skye itinerary

Plan the perfect Isle of Skye itinerary #isleofskye #scotland #travelitinerary #quiraing #storr #familytravel

Comments 38

  1. Hi Julie

    I am planning to visit Isle of skye on 3rd Nov. I dont have UK driving license. I have recently shifted to UK from India. But I can drive. Will I still be able to rent a car in Glasgow? If not so could you please suggest alternative option.
    Also would you suggest visiting Isle of Skye this time?

    Can you also please recommend best and economic place to stay in Isle of skye ?

    Thanks
    Pooja G

    1. Post
      Author

      You can drive in the UK without a UK license as long as you have a valid license from India. It may be a good idea to get an international driver’s license to use along with your India license. I believe you can get them at the post office in the UK but you should double check this. Of course, you can double check this info when you make your rental car reservation. Your other questions can be answered in our Isle of Skye travel guide. I literally just updated it right before I saw your comment come through. Cheers, Julie

  2. Hello 🙂
    Thank you very much for your suggested itinerary! This was exactly what I was looking for!
    Have you travelled the isle of Mull? If so, so you have a link for one day itinerary or have any suggestions you could give me here? Is there enough contrast between the two to make it worthwhile visiting both on a self guided 5 day road trip of the highlands?
    Thank you again 🙂

    1. Post
      Author

      We have not been to the Isle of Mull yet. I just did a Google image search and it looks awesome. I think it would be worth it if you have a day or two to spend here. I’m sorry, I can’t give you any more info than that. But you may have just added another place to our travel wish list. 🙂 Cheers, Julie

  3. Hello,
    I am staying the night in Invergarry, waking up early to drive to isle of skye for the day and then driving to Inverness to stay that night. I know it is probably not enough time to see everything in one day. What do you recommend trying to see in Isle of skye before having to drive to inverness?

    1. Post
      Author

      If you get a very early start to your day (before 8 am) you should have enough time to visit the Trotternish Loop and see the Fairy Glen, Quiraing, Mealt Falls, Old Man of Storr, and Brother’s Point. These are the highlights on Skye and all of these places are located near each other. Have dinner in Portree if you have enough time. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hi Julie,
    I’m just back from two weeks in Scotland with my bf and I really wanted to say thank you for all your travel tips. Especially your Skye itinerary was perfect for us and really helped organise a perfect stay on Skye. My boyfriend was really impressed by all my planning and the sights we got to see.
    Thank you very much and I would recommend all my fellow travelers to follow the tips on the blog, it was a great experience for us.

    1. Post
      Author
  5. Hi Julie, I really appreciate your itineraries…can you confirm that I have this one right….
    We are leaving Glasgow Sunday 17th June early driving to Skye, staying in Portree for one night. Then leaving Monday 18th to drive back to Endinburgh …Is that the two full days you refer too…? Will we have time to do the Isle of Sky in one day or do we need the day on skye, then a day to drive to Endinburgh? Thank you

    1. Post
      Author

      How you have it laid out, you really only have 24 hours on the Isle of Skye (the afternoon of the 17th and the morning of the 18th). It takes roughly 5 hours to drive from Glasgow, so even if you left at 7 am, you’d get in to Portree at noon and just have that afternoon. If you have time in your schedule, I’d put one more day into the Isle of Skye to really make it worth it. In our itinerary, the first day starts at 8 am-ish on the Isle of Skye. If you can’t add more time, consider seeing Neist Point and Dunvegan Castle on the 17th and the Trotternish Loop the morning of the 18th (but you will have to move very fast). Cheers, Julie

    2. Hi Julie, thank you for your suggestions…I think I will spend 2 nights in Portree and have 1 entire day on Skye then head to Edinburgh….it will reduce our time in Edinburgh but…..I will use your “the perfect two days in Edinburgh” itinerary….perfect 🙂

      1. Post
        Author

Leave a Reply

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