Julie Itinerary, Scotland 80 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.

If you do not have a car but want to spend a day on the Isle of Skye, check out the tour options at the end of this article.

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.

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.

1 Day Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.

Important Note:  I recommend packing a picnic lunch to bring with you. In our original itinerary we recommended the Pie in the Skye Cafe for lunch (just before visiting the Old Man of Storr). Unfortunately, the Pie in the Skye Cafe recently closed. On today’s drive, there are no convenient places to stop for lunch, which is the reason why we recommend the picnic lunch. You also have the option to have a very late lunch in Portree after visiting the Old Man of Storr, but I doubt you will have enough time to get to Dunvegan Castle before closing time if you plan to also visit this on day 1.

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.

Hiking the Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen | Isle of Skye Itinerary


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.

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.


The Quiraing | Isle of Skye Itinerary

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 Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.

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.

Isle of Skye Itinerary Brothers Point

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.

Isle of Skye Itinerary Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr | Isle of Skye Itinerary

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 4 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:

Isle of Skye Itinerary Neist Point

Neist Point | Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.

2 Day Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.

Fairy Pools

Fairy Pools | Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.

3 Day Isle of Skye Itinerary

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.


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.

One Day Tours to the Isle of Skye

If you would like to visit the Isle of Skye, only have one day, and are not planning on renting a car, here are three highly rated tours from Inverness. To get to Inverness from Edinburgh, you can take the train, a journey which takes approximately three and a half hours.



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 Isle of Skye itinerary? Let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Scotland

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

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Comments 80

  1. Avatar for Sandy

    Loved your pictures of Skye. It brought back some great memories. If you ever go back go to Glencoe (great hiking in a gorgeous area) and the Isle of Mull. Both are well worth the visit. Driving up the coast to Applecross and Torridon was also a wonderful drive. We were there in September and my biggest tip would be to bring rain pants! I so wish we had them when we were hiking in Scotland.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Rain pants are a great idea! We did go through Glencoe…gorgeous spot, but we haven’t been to the Isle of Mull yet. I would love to go back to Scotland. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Joke

    Hi Julie,
    We’re planning our trip in the first half of september. Just one question, if you’re talking ‘crowds’, is it like really really crowdy ? The kind of crowdy that makes you not enjoy the scenery as much? I was hoping that in september maybe the high season has passed already …
    I think we’re gonna use your itinerary for our two day trip on SKye !! Thank you so much.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      “Crowded on the Isle of Skye” is different than “crowded in Yosemite.” There will be a lot of people, but it wasn’t terrible, at least not in our experience (at the beginning of August). And I think that September will be less crowded than the summer months. The worst part was parking in the car parks midday. There just are not big enough parking lots for the number of people who want to see the sites. The key is to start early, so at least you can see one or two things before everyone else arrives. And this is the kind of place where rain showers are nice…rain sends almost everyone back to their cars, but if you don’t mind getting wet (have an umbrella, rain jacket, waterproof hiking shoes, and maybe even waterproof pants) wait out the rain and you just might get a spot or two all to yourself. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Sue

    Thank you for all your wonderful info (and pictures) on the Isle of Skye!! One of the best I’ve found so far! We will be visiting in May. You recommend driving clockwise rather than counter as the tour buses travel counter clockwise. If coming via the Armadale Ferry. Which road/route would be the best? I believe knowing this would help us choose the accommodations that suit our touring route.
    Many thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Sue. I recommend driving the Trotternish Loop clockwise (not the entire Isle of Skye). From Armadale, drive northeast on A851 and then turn left onto A87 to get to Portree. From Portree, to drive clockwise around the Trotternish Loop, continue up A87. Just past Uig, take the unnamed road (on Google) east across the peninsula to Brogaig. It’s on this road that you will get to see the Quiraing. If this last part seems unclear, here is a link to the route on Google Maps. To finish the loop, take A855 back to Portree. Hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Sue

        Thank you! The route you describe and link to makes perfect sense and thank you for clarifying for me the clockwise vs clockwise direction. 🙂 I’ve been reading much lately as I research our trip so will need to pay closer attention to what I read!
        I am very appreciative of what you have done with this website. A wealth of information!

  4. Avatar for Michele

    We will be staying near Uig and considering a day trip to the Isle of Harris via the ferry in Uig. If I’m reading the Uig ferry service timetable correctly, it appears one has to stay the night on Harris because the return ferry to Skye is only a hour or so after it arrives. We prefer not to book another accommodation when we already have one booked for our week on Skye….any knowledge on going over to Harris for a day trip?
    Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      No, I don’t know much about the Isle of Harris, but one hour does not sound like enough time, especially given its size. Some people to day trip to Raasay so you could look into that instead. Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Erika Frossard
    Erika Frossard

    This serie of Scotland posts is great stuff, thank you!
    We are heading to UK in few weeks, spending Christmas in London, Hogmanay in Edinburgh and then driving to Skye with our kids of 7 and 8 yo.
    I hope we are lucky enough to see the beautiful Skye landscape during this period of the year!
    Because of the cold weather (and our low resistance to it, as Brazilians!), I believe we are not going to hike the Old Man of Storr trail. Do you have any tips to see it from the car? Are there any spots we can stop the car for a moment and contemplate without disturbing the traffic?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      What a nice place to spend Christmas!! You can see the rocky pinnacles of the Old Man Storr from the road. A good place to do this is on the drive from Portree up towards the Old Man of Storr on A855. If you are lucky and get clear skies you can have a nice view on this road. There may be places alongside the road here to pull over and enjoy the view. I’ve seen photos of Storr taken from this road so the photographers had to stop somewhere. 🙂 However, the best spot is from the hiking trail. If it’s not raining, it still might be worth the hike to see the Old Man, plus, you’ll warm up quite a bit on the uphill walk. Two more good spots to enjoy with minimal walking are the Quiraing and Kilt Rock/Mealt Falls. Have a nice holiday! Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Pooja Golgeri
    Pooja Golgeri

    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 ?

    Pooja G

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      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

  7. Avatar for Be nice
    Be nice

    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. Avatar for Julie Post

      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

  8. Avatar for lanna

    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. Avatar for Julie Post

      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

  9. Avatar for Sarah

    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. Avatar for Julie Post
  10. Avatar for Sharyn

    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. Avatar for Julie Post

      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. Avatar for Sharyn

      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. Avatar for Julie Post
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