The Isle of Skye probably has the best scenery in the whole of Scotland! Easily added onto a North Coast 500 trip and only a few hour drive from Glasgow airport, the Isle of Skye should be added to everyone’s dream bucket list!
I’ve read that some people only spend 1-2 days in the Isle of Skye but I don’t think that is long enough. There is so much to see and do, including some amazing Scotland hikes which can take most of the day.
I’ve therefore written a 4-day Isle of Skye itinerary so you can see as much of the area as possible! I also think with more time, there is no need to rush through these activities. Rather enjoy this amazing destination than hurry and miss things Skye has to offer!
Isle of Skye Points of Interest Map
The Perfect Isle of Skye Itinerary
Day 1: Portree, Trotternish Peninsula
Portree is the capital of the Isle of Skye, and the largest town you will find. We didn’t spend much time in Portree apart from eating fish and chips, and buying souvenirs! But it is a beautiful town to explore.
When driving from the mainland to Portree, it may be much further than you think. Once you cross the Skye bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh, it is a further 50-minute drive (34 miles) to Portree. As soon as you’re on the Isle of Skye, some of the amazing beauty starts to show itself.
You weave around Loch’s with views of the mountains, and if it’s been raining in Skye (which it often is), there are hundreds of waterfalls off the surrounding mountains.
The Trotternish Peninsula
The densest portion for scenery and tourist attractions on the Isle of Skye is the drive around the Trotternish Peninsula. A collection of some of the most beautiful sites in the whole of the Isle of Skye!
We drove the Trotternish Peninsula anti-clockwise and visited the main parts. We kept the Quiraing for another day as we wanted to hike the entirety of it, and it was definitely worth it.
Old Man of Storr
Years ago, it was thought a giant lived on the Trotternish Ridge. Once the giant passed, it was buried there and his thumb still remains out of the ground. This is the Old Man of Storr!
The car park for the Old Man of Storr is a 15-20 minute drive north from Portree on the A855. Loch Leathan is on the right-hand side and after, the car park for the Old Man of Storr
The past two times we’ve visited the Old Man of Storr, they’ve been improving the car parking. For cars, there is a car park and parking along the road. However, for motorhomes or larger vehicles, there is just parking along the road. But don’t worry there is lots of parking that costs £3 for 3 hours, and you can pay by contactless.
If you’re traveling by public transport, the number 57 bus leaves from Portree four times per day and arrives near the Storr car park.
It’s best to try and walk up the Old Man in some of the best weather you may have, but that can be very difficult to judge, even with weather forecasts. For the best chance of good weather, head to Scotland in the summer. The weather in the Isle of Skye can change very quickly, so if it’s raining, it could pass in a few minutes!
Walking up the Old Man of Storr is pretty steep but paved nearly the whole way. The last section is grass currently and all mud. They’re improving the access up to the top which will be much easier, but definitely wear good hiking shoes!
On a good day, or when it’s clear, you can see for miles and miles. Across to Rona and Raasay – smaller islands off Skye, and even across to mainland Scotland.
Walking up and down the Old Man of Storr takes 2-3 hours
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
By driving further up the A855, you reach the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint. Another iconic image of the Isle of Skye!
You stand at the viewpoint and by looking around the corner a little, you can see the waterfall falling off into the sea.
Obviously be careful with camera equipment as you don’t want to drop anything. You won’t be getting it back!
The car park here is pretty small, so be cautious when parking as large motor homes take up a boatload of room and often get stuck
The Isle of Skye will always be one of Ed and I’s favorite places to travel to. It seems to have a magical feel but not only that, you can see dinosaur footprints too!
Staffin Bay has multiple beaches where you can search for dinosaur footprints. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find them, but the tide was coming in.
If you’re camping, Staffin bay is a beautiful place to camp. There is a good amount of flat ground and considering you’re next to the beach, there isn’t too much wind
Portree is the busiest place in the Isle of Skye where the majority of tourists stay. They have numerous restaurants, a harbor to explore, and lots of shops.
We ventured into the majority of the shops there and bought our souvenirs. On the road opposite the Scorrybreac restaurant (Bosville Terrace on the A855), you can see right across the harbor and all of the pretty colorful houses. A view I’m sure you will be familiar with when reading anything about the Isle of Skye!
We walked around Portree on the evening after driving around the Trotternish Peninsula and enjoyed our fish and chips for our tea
Our favorite thing to do in Portree is to eat the fish and chips in the Harbour. By walking down to the Harbour, the Lower Deck Seafood restaurant and takeaway is just on the right-hand-side. It has such a good reputation with locals and tourists alike and you can sit in the restaurant or takeaway.
Day 2: Walk the Quiraing and Fairy Glen
The Quiraing is also on the Trotternish Peninsula and probably one of our favorite ever hikes. It’s not particularly easy and has some more difficult parts. But the views are entirely worth it.
To get to the Quiraing car park, it is past Staffin Bay and Brogaig. Just before going around a corner, there is a single tracked road on the left-hand side (if driving anti-clockwise).
The drive takes you up part of the ridge and once you reach the top, in front of you, is space for around 4 cars. This is not the car park. The main car park is just a drive around the corner.
Normal cars and small campervans would fit in the car park but motorhomes have to park alongside the road but there is lots of space. Parking costs £3.
The Quiraing View Point
If you’re not wanting to walk the 3-4 hour walk around the Quiraing, you can still see amazing views of the Trotternish Ridge from the viewpoint.
Only 1-2 minute walk from the car park and you can see some of the best views.
The Trotternish Ridge is still undergoing landslides every year and you can see this from here, alongside views across to the sea, and if a clear day, across to mainland Scotland
Walk the Quiraing
If you’re wanting to see more, then by taking the path to the left (or straight on if you haven’t stopped at the viewpoint), you can walk the rest of the Quiraing.
It isn’t an easy walk, you cross rocks with big drops in the middle, small waterfalls, ramble some rocks (if you want too), and hike up to the top of the table. First, you pass the pinnacles, then the jail, and then the table.
You’ll walk with the table on your left-hand side for 2 miles, up onto the table (which I thought was the hardest part), and then along the top. The views along the top of the table are amazing and due to being extremely lucky with the weather, we could see across the Harris in the Outer Hebrides
The walk took us 3-4 hours and included stopping to eat lunch. Most healthy people can complete the walk but it could take you slightly longer. It is 4-miles in total
Fairy Glen is one of the newer tourist attractions and it doesn’t have any signs to it, or at the car park. But is such a cool place to walk around and explore
Although there are no official myths around the Fairy Glen it is thought it be where the fairies live and it is truly magical in that respect.
You can easily spent a few hours walking around Fairy Glen and also climbing to the top of the Castle, which is the biggest rock there
If it is pouring down with rain, you can walk around Fairy Glen and still enjoy it all the same
Day 3: Fairy Pools and Neist Point
The Fairy Pools are in the South of Skye and not only have great views of the waterfalls and mountains but visitors can swim in them as well.
Fairy Pools can be reached by taking the A863 from Sligachan. You’ll drive 15-20 minutes down the road where there is a sign towards Fairy Pools. It is only a small sign though, so keep a lookout!
The road to Fairy Pools is single-tracked and can be pretty busy at times. The first car park you reach is on your left, but this isn’t the normal car park. The car park for Fairy Pools is still a few minutes down the road.
Fairy Pools are a magical collection of 3 pools with water draining from the Cullin Mountains. The first pool is reached in a 40-minute walk from the car park.
The first pool has a waterfall, the second pool has an underwater archway and the third has multiple waterfalls.
Neist Point in the most north-westerly portion of the Isle of Skye, a lighthouse right on the edge to the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is further west after the village/town of Dunvegan.
The views across the cliffs are beautiful and you can walk to the lighthouse and back in 1-2 hours.
There are multiple viewpoints of the cliffs from the car park if you don’t want to take the walk but still want the view
Day 4: Aird of Sleat Beach (Point of Sleat)
Aird of Sleat beach is the most southern point on the Isle of Skye and a casual 2-3 hour walk to the beach and back is perfect.
Aird of Sleat is reached by turning onto the A851 near Harrapool. You drive through the Aird of Sleat until the end of the road where there is a small car park and the start of the walk.
The walk begins through a farm-style gate and is pretty easy to walk. It is paved all the way until the last quarter or so, which is all rocky but manageable in good shoes. Once you reach the clearing, the white beach is straight ahead of you, and the lighthouse is a walk to the right. The wildlife around the beach is interesting with rocks covered in mollusks, numerous rock pools, and plenty of jellyfish, so be careful.
Other Things to do in the Isle of Skye
I’ve mentioned the main things we did while visiting the Isle of Skye but there are other things if you fancy trying to fit them in, or are spending longer on the Isle of Skye
Of course, you have to do a whiskey tour when traveling in Scotland. Talisker Distillery is one of the more famous distilleries on Skye.
You can tour the distillery and have a chance to try a taste of their whiskey. It is west of Sligachan, near Fairy Pools and past the village of Carbost
Driving the B8083 Towards Elgol
We drove up this road to find a good camping spot for the night, but we had heard it was a good road to drive. Driving around part of the Cullin mountains and the surrounding fjords are great!
At the end of the road is a small village called Elgol. They have a little beach here and do boat tours
The Cullin Mountains
The Cullin Mountains are the mountain range in the south-east of Skye. There are hundreds of hikes into the Cullins and range in difficulty.
We haven’t had a chance to hike any of the Cullin mountains yet, but hoping to return to do so!
We always check all of our hikes on Walk Highlands. Concise instructions for hikes, warnings, time and distance, and how difficult they can be. Always useful to check first before walking any hike in Scotland
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
Dunvegan Castle was originally built back in the 13th century and is still inhabited by the Clan of MacLeod. The castle is open for tours as are the gardens. From the castle, there are views into Loch Dunvegan
Getting Around the Isle of Skye
Although the Isle of Skye’s main income is from tourism, their public transport isn’t that great. There are buses which travel from Portree to major attractions multiple times a day, but I think this limits how to see the Isle of Skye
It’s such a beautiful place and the ability to pull over on the side of the road and admire the surrounding views. Or drive on the smaller roads, you simply can’t do on public transport.
If you’re adding the Isle of Skye on from your North Coast 500 trip, then I presume you will already have a vehicle. If not, and you’re visiting the Isle of Skye on its own, the closest airport is Glasgow. I would suggest to hire a car from Glasgow airport and then the exploring is up to you!
Places to Stay on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye’s main income is from tourism. This means there are hundreds of hotels and BnB’s across Skye. The majority of hotels and BnB’s are in and around the capital, Portree.
However, if you’re wanting something a little quieter, and more likely cheaper, then there are many places to stay outside of Portree
Every attraction listed can be reached in 45 minutes or less from Portree
Camping in Scotland
Scotland remains one of those amazing places where you can still wild camp. Often tents in the strangest places, including next to the viewpoint at the Quiraing (very windy)!
But with the ability to wild camp, you can pull up in your campervan, motorhome, or with your tent and set up camp.
The only thing to bare in mind in the midges in Scotland in the summer. They are near any stagnant water including lochs but aren’t as bad on the Isle of Skye in comparison to mainland Scotland
If you’re wanting to find a good place to camp, Ed and I always use the Park4Night app. Users simply upload areas where they have camped for free throughout the world, and it can be anywhere!
We find most of our camping spots for our campervan with this app and we wouldn’t be without it
Campsites in Scotland Map
The Weather in Skye
One of the most difficult things to judge, even with a weather forecast. Weather across Scotland is always all over the place, but in Skye more so than anywhere else due to the weather coming straight in from the Atlantic
The weather can change so quickly! It can be pouring down with rain one minute and then bright sunshine the next. When leaving our vehicle in Skye, I would never be without my waterproof coat because if it does rain, it never seems to just drizzle, it always pours.
We have experienced both extremes with Skye weather. The first time we could only walk halfway up to the Old Man of Storr and I’ve never been so wet in all my life, it was awful. The second time, however, the weather was good with only small bursts of rain.
So even if you look at the forecast, it can give you an idea, but also count in the fact it could be completely wrong too due to how much the weather changes
Packing for the Isle of Skye
Even in the height of summer it is still Scotland. And with such extreme weather it is better to come prepared!
Hiking boots are an absolute must. When you’re walking up to the Old Man of Storr, you walk across muddy, boggy areas which would be awful in any other shoes
Although trainers are comfortable, they have such thin soles and once they have mud on, they will be useless and you will be sliding everywhere
We always carry lightweight waterproof coats. Easy to wear when hiking as you don’t get too hot and they protect you from the versatile Skye weather
The Isle of Skye is truly one of our favorite places we’ve traveled too and since Ed and I live in England, I’m sure we will be returning soon enough!
There is so much to see and do in a relatively small space! I’ve recommended 4 days for this Isle of Skye itinerary but you could easily spend more days here, taking it slower and enjoying Skye even more.
About The Author
‘Hey! My name is Jess and I run my own travel blog Journeysofjess. Usually off travelling in our campervan, my fiance Ed and I are always planning our next trip and want to share our experiences of travelling more on a budget but also how to do it well! Connect with us on Instagram!’