Isle of Skye

Scotland:

Isle of Skye - 2 Day Guide

Our Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide goes over how to make the best of your time in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. We'll tell you about some of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye, including a few hikes that will take your breath away.

If you’re wondering where to stay on the Isle of Skye, we’ve also got you covered with several lodging options. Whether you want to stay off the beaten path or in a more central location, we have a few suggestions to offer.

Our Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide goes over how to make the best of your time in one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. We'll tell you about some of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye, including a few hikes that will take your breath away.

If you’re wondering where to stay on the Isle of Skye, we’ve also got you covered with several lodging options. Whether you want to stay off the beaten path or in a more central location, we have a few suggestions to offer.

If you’re looking to do explore more of the gorgeous landscapes the Scottish highlands have to offer, we highly recommend checking out the North Coast 500 (NC500). This is hands-down the best road trip to do in Scotland and the Isle of Skye is a great starting point.

If you’re looking to do explore more of the gorgeous landscapes the Scottish highlands have to offer, we highly recommend checking out the North Coast 500 (NC500). This is hands-down the best road trip to do in Scotland and the Isle of Skye is a great starting point.

Nonetheless, the Isle of Skye was our highlight of ur NC500 road trip and definitely our favorite part of Scotland. We’ve heard that some people think Skye is a little overrated and overrun with tourists. Maybe it’s because those people visited during the wrong time of year. We think mid-spring, between mid April and early May, is the best time to visit the Isle of Skye.

Though we may be a bit biased though since we got engaged here and really lucked out with gorgeous weather, I challenge anybody to take a trip here before they pass any judgment.

How to get to the Isle of Skye

Whether you're coming from Glasgow or Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye is roughly a 6-8 hour drive either way. We were a bit over ambitious and drove from Edinburgh in one day, however, we definitely recommend more time to enjoy the scenery along the way. Once you get out of the city, the Scottish highlands become an incredibly scenic drive. The first picture below is right after crossing the border into the highland territory and we were absolutely blown away.

It's definitely possible to get to the Isle of Skye via train/bus, however we recommend taking a car as it's much easier to get around. ScotRail runs from both Glasgow and Edinburgh to Kyle of Lochalsh, which is roughly an hour bus ride to Portree. If you decide to do this, know that you will be limited in terms of transportation around the island, which is why we rented a car. It was also cheaper for both of us to split a car rental than buying return train tickets.

Car Rental

Cost: ~£70/day (Car Rental + Petrol)

Travel Time: 6-8 hours

EuropCar Rentals | Sixt Car Rentals

Train/Bus

Train Cost: ~£66 - £130 (Return ticket)*

Travel Time: 8-10 hours*

Buy ScotRail Tickets | Isle of Skye local bus timetable

*Note: Scotrail only runs to Kyle of Lochalsh - from there you'll need to take a public bus to Portree, which is roughly an hour drive (see timetable here). Keep in mind that the public buses do not run to some parts of the island so it won't be possible to see everything which, why we recommend taking a car.
How to get to the Isle of Skye
How to get to the Isle of Skye

If you're a Harry Potter fan, Scotland has several filming locations for this movie series. On the way to the Isle of Skye, you can stop by the Glenfinnan Viaduct to see the famous Hogwarts Express train track. There's no entrance fee, it's just a short 3.2 km (2 mile) out and back trail with a gorgeous viewpoint. Most of the path is paved, but we recommend wearing a good pair of shoes because a portion of the trail is dirt/grass and may be a bit muddy since it tends to rain quite a bit in the UK.

Day 1 - East Coast

The first day of our Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide will cover the east side of the island which offers of the most beautiful scenery we’ve ever seen. I'm not kidding when I say these viewpoints will take your breath away. In our opinion, some of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye are found on this side of the island.

Hiking the Storr

In our opinion, one of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye is the Storr. Yea, it might be a bit cliché but I guess that’s what makes this one of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye. There are two main loops that can be done here: 1) The Old Man of Storr Loop, and 2) Needle Rock and Storr Loop

Both hikes starts out pretty easy but can be a bit of a daunting climb depending which path you follow. If you’re like us and decide to hike, more like rock climb, to the base of the Storr rock then it will be a challenge. But, you’ll get a spectacular view of the Sound of Raasay from this point. Though we don’t necessarily recommend going this way because climbing down was a little difficult; we had to literally slide down on our butts!

Length: 4.5 km (2.8 mi)

Elevation Gain: 276 m (905 ft)

Length: 10 km (6 mi)

Elevation Gain: 605 m (1,984 ft)

Best things to see Isle of Skye - The Storr
The Storr- 600 16x9

Brother's Point (Rubha Nam Brathairean)

Length: 3.2 km (2 mi)

Elevation Gain: 93 m (305 ft)

Another one of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye is Brothers Point a.k.a. Rubha Nam Brathairean. This trail is lightly trafficked, especially compared to the Storr. There is a small carpark on the side of the A855 that's about a 5 minute walk from the trailhead.

The hike offers beautiful views along the sea with lush grassy hills. If you’re lucky, you might even have a few sheep join you on your hike. This trail's name is fairly unique, but I found it difficult to find information about the origin. The general consensus seems to indicate over a thousand years ago this was a place where monks could live and worship safely[1].

Isle of Skye - Brothers Point Rubha Nam Braithrean
Isle of Skye - Brothers Point Rubha Nam Braithrean

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint

Located just a few miles from Brothers Point is the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint. This spot has a small carpark that's just a short walk to a unique viewpoint.

Kilt Rock gets its name from the varying layers of volcanic rock along this cliff. The checkerboard pattern of red rocks and sandstone give it a kilt like look, hence the name. These rocks were formed nearly 55 million years ago through intense volcanic activity. Molten rock forced its way up through the sea, eventually cooling and forming the columns you see today.

Mealt Falls is a waterfall like we’ve never seen before. Instead of having a small pool of water gathering at the bottom of this waterfall, it drains directly into the sea. Though you need to lean over the railing a bit to see it, it’s worth checking out.

Isle of Skye - Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint

Mealt Falls is a waterfall like we’ve never seen before. Instead of having a small pool of water gathering at the bottom of this waterfall, it drains directly into the sea. Though you need to lean over the railing a bit to see it, it’s worth checking out.

Portree Harbor

Portree is the largest town on, and capital of, the Isle of Skye. Although it's quite small, the harbor offers a scenic view of multicolored houses lining Loch Portree. It's a great place to view the sunset, plus there are tons of bars and restaurants on the surrounding streets if you want to grab a bite to eat. If you're looking to stay in a central location on Skye, then this is it. But keep in mind prices for lodging are more expensive here compared to the rest of the island.

Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide - Portree
Beautiful sunset at Portree Harbor

Day 2 - West Coast

The second day of our Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide covers the west side of the island which also has some nice, but easier hikes. This portion will also take you on a beautiful drive along Loch Slapin and Eishort, which close to where we stayed on Skye. It's a gorgeous area, but definitely not centrally located. Keep reading to see what else the west coast has to offer along with some suggestions of where to stay on the Isle of Skye.

Loch Slapin and Eishort

Some of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye are the gorgeous lochs nestled below astonishing mountain peaks. The drive out here is gorgeous, you'll see plenty of vans pulled off with camp setup and you might even see a few highland cows with long furry flow.

This place is pretty remote with spotty cell service so we recommend downloading Google Maps offline. Our Airbnb was just outside the small village of Elgol. Though it's pretty far removed from the rest of Skye, we loved the scenery and being able to disconnect for a weekend.

Important Tip: During Spring there usually isn't too much traffic, but beware most roads on Skye are single lane roads. Every so often there are passing points every so often to allow oncoming vehicles to pass each other. But, drive carefully and cautiously around corners and hills to avoid any unexpected oncoming vehicles.
Best things to see Isle of Skye - Loch Slapin
Best things to see Isle of Skye - Loch Slapin

Another one of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye is on Mt. Bla Bheinn, which has a 8.5 km (5.28 mi) to the summit. Pictured below is Bla Bheinn, however the view from the top is obviously higher since the peak is roughly 897 m (2,942 ft). Nonetheless, if you're looking for a lightly trafficked trail to the top of a stunning viewpoint this is definitely one to try.

However, beware that this hike will take a good portion of the day as we generally recommend 5-6 hours for a hike with this elevation gain and distance. If you're looking for on the west coast and looking for some of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye, but less challenging then we recommend checking out the Niest Point Lighthouse trail.

Best things to see Isle of Skye - Loch Slapin
Loch Slapin - 600 16x9

Niest Point Lighthouse

Length: 2.7 km (1.7 mi)

Elevation Gain: 132 m (433 ft)

Another one of the best things to see on the Isle of Skye is the Niest Point Lighthouse. Originally built in 1909, this lighthouse has been fully automated since 1990 is now remotely operated from Edinburgh[2].

Unfortunately, you won't be able to see the lighthouse from the car park. Instead you'll need to hike out a bit on the trail. This out and back trail is only 2.7 km (1.7 mi) which isn't too bad. Overall the elevation gain isn't too bad either, but the majority of the ascent/descent occurs between two steep staircases. It's definitely worth the trek down to see the dramatic vertical rock dive into the beautiful blue water surrounding Niest Point.

Niest Point Lighthouse - 500 4x5_2
Isle of Skye 2 Day Guide - Niest Point Lighthouse

Fairy Pools

Length: 3.5 km (2.2 mi)

Elevation Gain: 144 m (472 ft)

The Fairy Pools are last on our list of the best things to see on the Island of Skye. The trail from the car park is a short 3.5 km (2.2 mi) out and back hike that takes an hour at most. Though these pools don't look all that special from the trail, up close the blue/green tint of the water is quite magical.

To be honest, this place didn't really blow us away, but it's worth checking out if you're not too far away. We drove about an our out of the way to get here and thought it was a decent enough spot to have some lunch.

Fairy Pools 1 - 600 4x5
Best of Scotland - Fairy Pools

Where to stay on Skye

If you're wondering where to stay on the Isle of Skye on a budget, there are plenty of options. We highly recommend booking in advance if you plan on going during peak season (April - August). From our experience, we like to use Hostel World to check out potential hostels, then check other booking websites like Booking.com to make our reservations.

Unfortunatley, time we only booked a few weeks in advance and had a bit of trouble finding an affordable hostel because most places were all full. Nonetheless, we found a great Airbnb that ended up being cheaper than the options on Hostel World. It was in a remote location with no cell service or Wifi, which was a bummer at first, but ended up being a nice getaway from the digital world.

Dorms: £17.00+ ($21.58+ USD)

Private: £20.00+ ($25.50+ USD)

Amenities: Free Wifi, 24 Hour Security, Self Catering Services, Tea/Coffee Making Facilities, Free Parking

Photo Courtsey: Hostelworld.com

Dorms: £21.50+ ($27.30+ USD)

Private: £23.00+ ($29.20+ USD)

Amenities: Laundry Facilities, Limited Reception Hours, Luggage Storage, Common Room w/ Board Games, Free Parking

Photo Courtsey: Hostelworld.com
Photo Courtsey: Hostelworld.com

Dorms: £19.00+ ($24.20+ USD)

Private: £20.75+ ($26.40+ USD)

Amenities: Laundry Facilities, Self-Catering Facilities, Internet Access, No Breakfast Included

Photo Courtsey: Hostelworld.com
Airbnb near Loch Slapin

Private Cottage: £47.00+/night (~$59.00+ USD/night)

Pros: Amazing view, Full cottage to ourselves, Free Parking, Laundry Facilities, Kitchen, Private Entrance

Cons: No Wifi, No Cell Service, Remote location

Since most of the hostels on Skye were already full when we decided to book lodging, we gave Airbnb a look and actually ended up getting a better deal than with a hostel!

This particular Airbnb was located near the remote of Elgol, roughly an hour drive from Portree.

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye

Since most of the hostels on Skye were already full when we decided to book lodging, we gave Airbnb a look and actually ended up getting a better deal than with a hostel! This particular Airbnb was located near the remote of Elgol, roughly an hour drive from Portree.

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By |2019-08-03T05:40:23-04:00April 25th, 2019|Europe, Scotland|0 Comments

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