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11 Best Things to Do on Isle of Skye: From Quiraing to Fairly Glen

Best things to do on Isle of Skye

To summarize the Isle of Skye, I’d say its incredible cliffs, castles, whisky and stories of fairies. We spent a fantastic couple of days on the island and can say that if you get the chance to go, jump at it! The Isle of Skye is fantastic.  

All the main highlights are in the northern part of Isle of Skye: Old Man of Storr, Quiraing Walk and Neist Point. The most popular look is on road A855, which is a very pretty loop drive with stops along the way, and most everyone does it counterclockwise.  

Our tip: go clockwise. That way, you beat the biggest crowds and you finish with one of the highlights, Old Man of Storr. You want to end on a high note with Scotland’s most amazing cliff hikes, right? Not on a bunch of little hills at Fairy Glen.   

For a better understanding of how best to see everything, check out our Isle of Skye itinerary for 2 days. You can stretch it out to 3 or 4 days if you want to take it at a more relaxing pace.  

Isle of Skye map 

Here’s a map showing all the items on this list, including hotels and restaurants that we liked. You can click through the map to our Google Map list and use it as you wish.

Isle of Skye map
Believe it or not, you can see most of these places in 2 days 

1. Quiraing Walk  

Quiraing walk, best hike in Isle of Skye
We didn’t have the best weather, but then again, that’s when Scotland’s scenery is at its most dramatic.

This is hands down the best thing to do on the Isle of Skye. The scenery here is like it’s from a fairytale or from the Braveheart movie (take your pick).  

There is no landscape more Scottish than this. What you see during the Quiraing Walk is what you imagine when you hear the name Scotland—epic, grassy cliffs that dramatically tower up over the sea, getting lost in the clouds. And wind, lots of wind.  

It reminded us slightly of our hiking adventures in South Africa and we ended up calling it (because nobody can pronounce Quiraing!!) the Scottish Drakensberg.  

Hotel tip: If you base yourself in Portree, you’ll have Quiraing Walk almost at your doorstep, as well as other places that are on the A855 scenic drive. The Cuillin Hills Hotel is, in our opinion, one of the top hotels in the area. Great views, great restaurant, great value for money. See below for details.  

Quiraing walk parking and practical information 

Scenery of Quiraing walk in Isle of Skye 
If you recognize yourself in this photo, let me know. You’re welcome for capturing the romance!

We had really bad weather and it was beautiful anyway, but I don’t recommend going when it’s raining or when the wind is too bad. Those paths are narrow, dusty (which turns to mud) and steep!  

Another great thing about the Quiraing walk is how easy it is to navigate to. Google Maps takes you right to the trailhead and there is a parking lot right there at the start, too.  

It’s only gravel and it gets full in the summer, usually by 11 am at the latest. The parking costs GBP 3 for 3 hours or GBP 5 for 6 hours. The parking machine takes cash and cards. If the parking lot is full, you have to look for parking down the road. 

Actually, if you can’t or don’t want to hike, note that the views even from the parking lot are amazing, so make the trip here if only for a stationary state. If you can walk, walk. You’ve never seen anything like this before! 

Another reason you might want to skip this one is vertigo—you get very close to the cliffs’ edges in some parts, and even us non-vertigo folk had wide eyes here and there.  

Most certainly bring a waterproof and windproof jacket and waterproof shoes, and even a hat—the wind is strong.  

The Quiraing Walk is easy to do on the same day as the Old Man of Storr hike as they are both on the A855 road.  

Two versions of the Quiraing walk 

Quiraing Walk map showing circular route
Map of Quiraing Circuit, thank you Alltrails

You can also tailor the Quiraing walk to your walking needs—there is a shorter and longer version of the hike. Both are easy to moderate and doable by anyone in relatively good physical condition.  

I wouldn’t take your dog or small children, because there were areas where they’d be in trouble if they slipped.  

The full walk is called Quairaing Circuit and is about 11 km (6.8 miles) long. You start and end at the parking lot and walk (and sometimes scramble) through rocky sections, between rock formations, always on a narrow dirt trail that sometimes disappears, and you just need to improvise a bit before you find it again.  

Famous formations are the Table, the Needle, and the Prison. They are near the end of the hike, but for someone coming from a karst nation (Czech Republic in the house!), not that spectacular. What is spectacular, rock or no rocks, are the views on this entire hike.  

The Quiraing Circuit walk will take you 3 hours at a steady pace.

Quiraing Walk map showing Prison route, hiking Isle of Skye
Map of Quiraing Prison Walk. Alltrails has details.

The shorter version is the Quiraing Prison Walk. It’s the very last portion of the Quiraing Circular walk, to the Prison rock formation and back. It’ll take you an hour to do the whole thing. Total distance is 4 km (2.4 miles).   

You’ll see the famous rock formations (most notably the Prison), but mainly, once again, the incredible views. That’s what you should be here for.  

I certainly think that it’s worth doing the entire Quiraing Circular, but if you can’t, at least do the short one.

2. Old Man of Storr Walk 

Old Man of Storr walk in Isle of Skye
The giant’s thumb and the left, and Karin on the right

Another walk, another time you’ll be picking your jaw up off the ground. Classic Scottish views of green mountains, lochs and rugged rocks. It doesn’t get better than this! Or it does, at Quiraing just up the road. You can connect the two and complete both walks in one day.  

This walk is named after the rock formation that, according to legend, is part of a local giant that died and is now buried here. Some say it looks like the face of an old man, some say it’s the giant’s thumb that’s protruding through the ground. Either way, there was a giant of some sort here.  

Old Man of Storr car park 

Parking lot at Old Man of Storr walk trailhead 
Car park at the Old Man of Storr walk trailhead

In an ideal world, you’d arrive at Old Man of Storr early, because the parking lot is big, but the crowds are endless, and parking fills up quickly. If you can’t squeeze in, you can park by the road.  

Parking costs GBP 3 for 3 hours or GBP 5 for 6 hours. The hike isn’t long, so 3 hours should be more than enough.  

Again, Google Maps does a great job showing the parking lot and the trailhead, so navigating to Old Man of Storr is easy peasy.  

Old Man of Storr walk—route and difficulty 

Old Man of Storr walk map with hiking route
Old Man of Storr walk map, details @ Alltrails

The Old Man of Storr walk takes about 2 hours to complete. It’s a 4.7 km (3 mile) circular hike with around 350 m (1100 ft) elevation gain. The parking lot is right at the trailhead.  

For fit people it’s moderate, for slightly unfit people it could get a bit more strenuous.  

Expect to be walking on a narrow dirt (or muddy) path, stones and stone stairs. To get to the Old Man, you will need to scramble a bit to overcome the rocks, and this last bit is the hardest part.  

And then… views. Epic views.  

Probably no surprise here but remember that it probably will be very windy. So, dress in adequate layers.

 

Our top tips for the Isle of Skye:  

 🚗 Definitely rent a car.
👩‍🍳 Book restaurants well in advance. The infinite crowds take them all up in the summertime.
👗 Dress for all kinds of weather: rain, sun, wind, drizzle, clouds… did I say wind?
☀️ Don’t save Fairy Glen for last, you will be disappointed. It’s cute at best.  

3. Neist Point Lighthouse Walk 

Neist Point Lighthouse view, best thing to do on Skye
Neist Point Lighthouse

We weren’t expecting much from Neist Point Lighthouse, but it quickly became clear just how mistaken we were. It’s on the westernmost point of the Isle of Skye, which protrudes so dramatically into the sea.  

Just to be clear, it’s not the lighthouse that you come here for, it’s the scenery. The lighthouse is just there to look pretty in pictures, you can’t even visit it. You can, however, wander around Neist Point, taking in the views, saying hi to the sheep, and feeding your Instagram.  

Once again we had South Africa flashbacks, because it immediately reminded us of the Cape of Good Hope. It’s cliffs again, just surrounded by more water this time, and with a lighthouse thrown in for extreme picturesqueness. But no matter how many Scottish landscapes you’ve seen, they keep being amazing!  

It’s worth the sometimes tricky drive (lots of kms spent on shared-lane roads) and we ended up spending of about 2 hours walking around and taking pictures. That said, you can walk to the lighthouse in about 20 minutes, so it’s not so much a long distance than it is photo op after photo op of the incredible landscape.

Map of Neist Point Lighhouse trail and parking lot 
Don’t forget to go down the other trail as well!

Once you see all you want to see at the lighthouse, go back up (yes, it’s uphill) to the parking lot and find another trail. It’s to your right if you’re facing the lighthouse. You’ll get more viewpoints there, complete with—not kidding—a fairytale landscape with waterfalls going directly into the sea. Yeah.   

You can also try to spot the odd whale or dolphin in the water. We didn’t see any, but we wish you the best of luck. We had better luck with sheep.  

We visited Neist Point when it rained, but it turned sunny the minute we got out of the car. And then it started raining again when we were done with the walk. This is not just to flex our good luck, but to warn you that it’s important to dress for all weather. Wind is to be expected at all times. Not a breeze, mind you. Mega wind.  

  

Getting to Neist Point Lighthouse 

Map showing the route to Neist Point Trail from Dunvegan Castle 
It may be the westernmost point of Skye, but it’s just a 30-minute drive from Dunvegan Castle or 45 minutes from Portree.

Be ready for an arduous drive, because you’ll be spending a good chunk of it on Scotland’s famous shared-lane roads. That means both directions share one lane, letting each other pass, sometimes backing up, sometimes nearly fitting on the road. It’s exciting in the worst ways possible.  

There is a parking lot right at the end of the road where the trail to the Neist Point Lighthouse starts. Parking is free.

4. Eilean Donan Castle 

Visitng Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland 
I have about 50 photos of myself and Eilean Donan with a huge goofy smile on my face (pic on the right is from the lookout point above the castle). Karin was similarly excited, check out her photo with Eilean Donan in our Isle of Skye itinerary)

This is the most important castle of my childhood as I loved the B-rated 80s action movie Highlander starring Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert, so in my mind all the castles in the UK look like this. It’s my hero of a castle.  

Side note: No, it was not used in Game of Thrones. That was Doune Castle, which was the only Scottish castle out of the 10 that were used during filming. One of them was the amazing Alcazar in Sevilla.  

Read our article about the best castles in Scotland.  

It’s located on a tiny islet of its own, just a short walking bridge away from the mainland. Sometimes there is almost no water around it, but if you are lucky and manage to see it when the little island is actually an island, it’s magic!

Eilean Donan Castle bridge, best castle in Scotland
Head across the bridge from the parking lot to reach the small islet

Eilean Donan Castle was originally built to protect the area against Vikings, because it is in a strategic location at the meeting point of 3 lochs/fjords. 

Fun fact: Is it a fjord or loch? We played the “loch or fjord?” game during our entire time in Scotland and got quite good at telling the two apart by the end of our stay. A loch is a lake or sea inlet in Scots, Irish and Gaelic languages, or a body of water completely or almost surrounded by land (this second part of the definition is why it gets tricky). A fjord is a narrow, steep-sided, U-shaped valley that’s filled with sea water.  

It’s never obvious and we were probably wrong in our assessments half the time, but hey, we had fun. For example, the Long Loch, which is one of the lochs that surround Eilean Donan Castle, is considered a fjord-type loch. Confused yet?  

I advise you to not skip the castle interior (I saw some people just walk around the outside—big mistake!), it’s really interesting and modern! It’s done up really nicely to show how life in the castle would feel like, fully furnished, with mannequins cooking dinner and discussing business over some documents, and even projections on the walls.  

The castle was destroyed in 1719, lied abandoned for 200 years, and then bought and rebuilt by John MacRae-Gilstrap in 1912. The current owner is a descendant of John’s, is 94 years old and still uses it as a holiday home. A part of the castle is the family’s holiday living quarters. Not the part you’ll see, obviously. Imagine inheriting a castle like Eilean Dona, it’s like a winning a lottery!  

Our tip: Don’t forget to visit the viewpoint above the castle. You can drive or walk there (on the road). See above photo to see what the view is like.  

Visiting Eilean Donan Castle practicalities  

Map of area around Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland
Map of Eilean Donan Castle and surrounding area—don’t miss the lookout point!

Navigation to Eilean Donan is bit tricky, or it was when we used Google Maps and didn’t specify we want to go to the castle, not just Eilean Donan. The castle is located just over the Loch Long Bridge on the mainland (well, almost on the mainland). So it’s not technically on Skye, but whatever. I love it so it made the list. It’s also the last stop on our Isle of Skye itinerary, because it’s an easy stop on your way away from Skye.  

Learn from our mistake and make sure you put “Eilean Donan Castle” into Google Maps, otherwise it’ll navigate you to the opposite side of the lake.  

There is a parking lot right before the small bridge to the castle. The entrance fee is GBP 10 and you also have to pay GBP 2 per hour for parking. You don’t need to book tickets ahead of time, just rock up and in you go.  

There’s a visitor center with a coffee shop and gift shop.  

It takes at least 2 hours to visit. You walk around on your own but there are guides available to answer questions. No large bags are allowed inside, so leave them in your car or in the lockers at the visitor center.  

There’s no photography allowed inside. It’s still privately owned so don’t be a d*ck and follow the rules. You wouldn’t want an entitled tourist taking pictures of your private property and plastering it all over the internet. If you ever want to reminisce, there is a great video on the Eilean Donan Castle’s website that shows you enough to trigger those memories.    

Note that Eilean Donan is a popular spot for weddings, including many winter weddings, and the castle is closed for visitors on those days (the website lists wedding days). I can just imagine it! It’s my manly version of a fairytale wedding! I might ask Karin if she’d be willing to divorce and marry me again…  

Never mind. By the end of the tour we felt like Karin and Jan MacSkovajsa, which was almost as good as having an actual wedding there. Almost.  

  • Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland 
  • Open daily 9 am–6 pm (last entry at 5 pm) in the summer months, check other opening times on the website.  
  • Tickets cost GBP 10 for adults, there are discounts available for children, seniors and families 

5. Torabhaig Distillery  

Torabhaig Distillery exterior
Torabhaig Distillery

A distillery ranking so high on a list of best things to do in the Isle of Skye? The place with all the fantastic natural wonders?! You better believe it! It was so educational and sooo good.  

(Unlike the terrible Edinburgh Gin Distillery in Edinburgh. You have been warned! More about our experience in Edinburgh.)  

Torabhaig Distillery history

The Torabhaig Distillery is in southeastern part of the Isle of Skye. It’s well worth visit not just for the distillery tour itself, but also for its very photogenic location. Its name is based—as it is with all whisky distilleries—on the name of the land it was built on.  

We loved our tour, the whisky and all the people that run the place.  

The Torabhaig Distillery only started to distill in 2017, so they are expecting their first whisky to be ready in 5 years as it needs to mature. What an investment, right!? I’d totally come back just to be able to witness (with my taste buds) that first batch!

The father of the distillery was Sir Ian Noble, a major Skye landowner and innovative businessman who famously wanted to keep the English off of Skye to keep the Gaelic bloodline pure and English-free. He was basically anti-tourism and wanted to keep Skye to the people that belonged there.  

He did a huge amount of work to keep the Gaelic language alive, like founding Gaelic College, the only higher education institute to teach exclusively in Gaelic, and generally practiced “positive discrimination” on behalf of Gaelic speakers.  

Sir Noble died in 2010, but the distillery lives on as a realization of his dream.  

Torabhaig Distillery tour information 

Torabhaig Distillery location on map of Isle of Skye 

The Torabhaig Distillery tour explained the interesting story of whisky-making. So much so that even though we weren’t into drinking whisky that much before we came here, we are now whisky lovers. Not even joking. You just need to know your stuff and buy the better ones, not the wannabes.  

Fun fact: It’s whisky in Scots and whiskey in Irish.   

You learn why whisky is such a premium drink and that it doesn’t matter whether you drink single malt or blend. They tell you about the bond with bourbon companies in the US, since whisky distilleries use bourbon barrels for aging whisky.  

Like I mentioned before, everyone we met at Torabhaig Distillery was super nice and they are obviously very proud of what they do. And I mean everyone from the tour guides to the distillers to the lady at the gift shop.  

The tours at Torabhaig Distillery get sold out, so make sure to plan accordingly and choose your time slot at least a couple of weeks beforehand. We booked our tour a week in advance and there were only very few spots left. Note that you won’t get an email confirmation (or at least we didn’t).  

The tour itself takes about an hour. Kids under 12 are not allowed on the tour.  

6. Cuillin hikes  

Cuillin Mountains on Isle of Skye 
Is your jaw on the floor yet?

The Cuillin is a famous mountain range in the south-central part of the Isle of Skye, and a popular hiking area. It’s also the most challenging mountain range in the UK, so don’t go if you aren’t up for a bit of a clamber!  

We unfortunately couldn’t make it there because of the weather, but if you are lucky and get some less rainy days, consider at least one of the hikes. It’ll be incredible for sure.  

There are many hikes or varying difficulty and length to choose from, so I’ll let you do your own research. You can use alltrails.com (no affiliation) to check out the various routes. Or just trust us to pick the best ones. Head over to our best hikes in Isle of Skye article for details on those. 

 Most importantly, take proper equipment and clothing.  

For example, the easiest peak hike is the Bruach na Frithe. The 14 km (8.5 miles) round trip, moderate hike starts and ends in Sligachan and takes 6–8 hours to complete.  

One of longest hikes—through Glen Sligachan—is more of a walk, and the 24 km (15 miles) out and back route can be done in 6–8 hours (start and end at Sligachan Hotel in Sligachan). Unless you want to climb Sgurr Na Stri, at the end of the glen, which would another couple of hours at least. It is, however, considered to be the UK’s best viewpoint, so it’s worth thinking about!  

The highest peak on Skye is Sgùrr Alasdair. If you want to conquer it, you’re in for a hard, steep mountaineering route. Granted, the peak is only 992 m (3,250 feet) high but getting there is way tougher than you’d expect. Start at Glenbrittle and huff and puff for 9.5km (6 miles) until you get there and back. It’ll take about 6 hours.  

One of the shortest routes in the Cuillin, to Coire Lagan (a mountain lake), also starts at Glenbrittle. It takes just 2 hours to complete. 

One of the top hikes on the Isle of Skye is to Bla Bheinn. You’d actually be driving from Broadford to get to the trailhead, so staying at one of the hotels we chose for you, the Broadford Hotel, could prove extra useful.   

7. A855 scenic drive (with Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls) 

Map of scenic drive on Isle of Skye 
Map showing the A855 scenic drive with the main stops

The A855 road is a beautiful drive up around the northernmost part of Isle of Skye, between Uig and Portree. It’s only about 55 km (33 miles) long, but it’ll take you all day to get through, because this is where Isle of Skye’s highlights lie.   

Starting from Uig, you first hit up Fairy Glen (if you must), then the Quiraing Walk, followed by Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls, and end your day (and possible entire Isle of Skye trip) with Old Man of Storr before continuing on to Portree.  

Kilt Rock is a 10-minute stop. It’s an observation point where you can see basalt columns over the sea and waterfalls, also over the sea. The parking lot is about 2 steps away from the viewpoint, which makes it a super easy stop. You’d think these views would be getting old by now, but no. Still spectacular. Also, you might be lucky and see a whale or two!

Views of Kilt Rock and Lealt Falls on Isle of Skye 
The waterfall on the left is at Kilt Rock, and the right photo is the almost invisible Lealt Falls

Lealt Falls is a 10–15 minute stop just 5 extra minutes of driving from Kilt Rock. Again it takes no effort as the viewing platform is just a few steps away from the parking lot. The waterfall is nice, but nothing that special. The view overall is better. There’s also a little side trail that you can walk on for a few minutes to get wonderful views of the coast.  

The A855 is a fantastic “little” drive with views out to the countryside and to the sea. A perfect way to say goodbye to the Isle of Skye.  

Check out more of the best scenic drives in Scotland (and driving tips and rules!).

8. Dunvegan Castle and Coral Beach  

Map showing route from Dunvegan Castle to Coral Beach parking lot
The drive from Dunvegan Castle to Coral Beach parking lot. The actual beach is the marker up top.

These two are close together so we connected them into one stop.  

Visiting Dunvegan Castle 

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens on Isle of Skye
Visiting Dunvegan Castle and Gardens

I don’t know if we’re spoiled by all the great castles we’ve seen in places like German, our home country of Czech Republic, or elsewhere in Scotland, but I think you can skip the interior of Dunvegan Castle. It’s just not that great.  

Dunvegan Castle is the longest continually-inhabited castle in Scotland. The MacLeod clan has been hanging out there for something like 800 years.  

The gardens and exterior more than make up for the underwhelming inside part. There are rhododendrons everywhere which I love, and curly-branched trees that look just magical. The gardens reminded me of Olympic National Park in Washington DC. Take an hour to look around.  

Anyway, we did go inside and found it’s a self-guided tour, so you can go through it quickly if you’re not impressed, just like us. If you take your time, you’ll need 90 minutes inside.  

There are guides everywhere, so even though you’re walking around on your own, you can always ask them anything and they’re happy to answer.  

Parking is free and gets completely packed, so good luck finding a spot if you arrive later than in the morning.  

You can also make a quick stop at a viewpoint close by that’s on the way to Coral Beach. 

  • Dunvegan Castle, MacLeod Estate, Dunvegan House, Dunvegan 
  • Open daily 10 am–5:30 pm (last entry 5pm) 
  • Tickets cost GBP 14 for interior and gardens combo, GBP 12 for just the gardens (see, even they think the gardens are better!) 

  

Coral beach   

Coral Beach view on Isle of Skye
Coral Beach and the coral on the beach

Coral Beach is a 10-minute drive north of Dunvegan Castle. Once you leave your car at the parking lot, it’s about a 2 km (1.2 mile) easy walk to the beach. It’s probably not something you’d visit on its own, but since you’re already nearby, it’s worth an hour of your time. It’s probably even nicer if you don’t have crap weather like we did.   

It’s a beach. What looks like white sand is made of itty bitty bits of coral, hence the name. There are nice views of the shore and the walk is pleasant. You might even meet a cow. It gets very windy.

9. Armadale Castle & Gardens & Museum 

Armadale Castle on Isle of Skye 
Armadale Castle is best if you visit on a sunny day

The southernmost place on our list of the best things to do in Isle of Skye is Armadale Castle & Gardens. It’s about a 10-minute drive down from Torabhaig Distillery.  

Just like Dunvegan Castle, I thought the grounds on which the castle stands and the views from there are the absolute best part of the visit. Armadale Castle sits right on the coast, with views to Scotland’s mainland just across the loch (or is it the sea at this point?!).  

But unlike Dunvegan Castle, the Armadale Castle is a ruin, so there is no interior to speak of (and you can’t go into the ruins), so you really need to go on a sunny day to appreciate the views and not be bitter about having to be outside in the drizzle and wind.  

There is a small, apparently award-winning museum attached, so you can go hide from the elements in there. It was closed at the beginning of summer 2022 when we visited, so all I can do it trust the reviews that say it is very informative and tells the history of the Highlands and islands through the story of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Clan Donald.  

You can get something to eat and drink at the two cafés on site, one of which is also closed for 2022.  

  • Armadale Castle, Armadale Sleat, Isle of Skye  
  • Open Wednesday through Sunday (only until the end of October) 9:30 am–5 pm.  
  • Tickets cost GBP 12 for adults, discounts for children, seniors and families available 

10. Fairy pools  

What to expect at Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye 
Sometimes in Scotland, the clouds make things look dramatic. Sometimes… not so much.

The Fairy Pools are an area of little streams and pools of water and a small waterfall here and there that can look magical in photos. The dramatic mountains in the background are in juxtaposition to the blue water in front of you. But this isn’t Instagram, it’s real life.  

The water isn’t blue unless you get good lighting, which, in our case, we did not. What we got was an extra serving of clouds that covered all the rocks in the background. No fairies sightings either. 

Ok we did get some glimpses of the cool rocks behind the pools, thank god. It was really nice! Not spectacular, but that’s Scottish weather for you. Worth the trip.  

Just know that the pools themselves are meh, you have to look at the big picture to see why the place is special.  

A lot (a lot!) of people visit the Fairy Pools every day, so be prepared for crowds. You’ll be driving on a shared-lane road for the last 10 km (6 miles) before you get to the parking lot, so be patient—it could take a while.  

Tip: The number of people visiting Isle of Skye is nuts, which is why I keep talking about it. For an island with 10k residents, the 650,000 visitors per year are quite the crowd, especially considering they all visit mostly within a 3-month window in the summertime.  

Related tip: If you want to feel like you have the Isle of Skye all to yourself, consider staying in the lesser visited parts, like at the Tigh Phadraig at Marys Thatched Cottages. You can feel the serene Skye atmosphere that only the locals know how to find. Pictures and details below.  

Parking at the Fairy Pools is GBP 6. It’s well organized, with attendants showing people where to park so it doesn’t become a big traffic-y mess.  

From the parking lot, you’ll take about 20 minutes to walk to the Fairy Pools, then you can wander around for a bit and head back. About 1 hour total time.  

Alternatively, there is a circular loop that’s about 5 km long and would take about 2 hours to complete, but honestly I don’t think you need to do that unless you have extra time on your hands.

11. Fairy Glen  

Visiting Fairy Glen in Isle of Skye Scotland
I just didn’t get it

I don’t understand the purpose of this place, it’s a nice walk in little hills but nothing more. I would visit it if you’re in the area, but if not, you could easily skip it.  

Glen means ‘valley’ in Scots, and that’s what you get. A valley full of little bumps and rocks and rolling hills that looks like fairies would have a blast on. There are some legends about this apparently “otherworldly landscape” that I just didn’t appreciate for some reason. But neither did my wife, so it’s not just me and my cold, cold heart!   

I guess if I were a kid or somehow more affectionate towards fairies, I could see the magic of Fairy Glen a little better.

Map of Fairy Glen and parking lot
Map of Fairy Glen access

To get to Fairy Glen, try to get there in the morning before 10 am, because the parking lot only holds around 20 cars (costs GBP 5) and it gets full fast. If you can’t find a spot there, you’ll need to drive to Uig and park there, which would add 1.5 km (1 mile) to your walk. I think there’s a shuttle from Uig to Fairy Glen in the summer months, too.  

From the parking lot, set your navigation (in your phone or just in your head) to Castle Ewen, which is where you’ll get your first proper glimpse of the glen. The castle is naturally where a fairy queen lives (or something like that). You can then wander around until you’re satiated and then head back to the car.  

You’ll need a maximum of 30 minutes if you’re like us and maybe an hour if you actually enjoy the place.  

There’s no entrance fee to Fairy Glen.

How many days should you spend in Isle of Skye? 

If you are lucky with the weather it is easy to spend a week on the Isle of Skye with all the activities and hikes. Unless you don’t like dramatic views that are like no other on this Earth. 

If you are in a rush or having a bad weather, 2 days on Isle of Skye is just about enough to touch on all the best spots. We have a 2-day Isle of Skye itinerary in the works for you.  

Sure, those 2 days will be long, but that’s not a problem, at least if you’re visiting in the summer—Scotland get up to 18 hours of daylight! Surprised? Read more fun facts about Scotland.  

Just be ready for a lot of driving. All of Skye is like the national parks in the US—beautiful and a lot of driving on small roads. You can easily spend 3 hours a day on the road if you’re aiming for the 2 days on Skye. If you have a week, you’ll do smaller bits each day.  

The thing is the roads are small, and sometimes there’s just a single lane for both directions, meaning it takes ages to get through short distances with all the stopping and letting people pass (and trying not to fall of the side of the road).   

Is Isle of Skye worth visiting? 

Are you kidding me, yes! Abso#^%$&#lutely! The hikes are incredible, and I know I use that word too much in this article, but it’s true. See our best hikes in Scotland article and the article about the top hikes on the Isle of Skye. Get my point? 

The best thing about the walks is that they aren’t very hard, most are even easy, and they are super easy to find, parking is always right at the trailhead. Heck, even the views from most parking lots are worth seeing. Skye makes it very simple for tourists to visit all the best sights. Skye is welcoming to everyone, and the people there are super friendly.  

It looks just like in the photos, but better. And windier. God the wind is nuts—come prepared! Hats and hoods are a must! And waterproof shoes. The weather changes in Scotland at the drop of a hat. It’s like Iceland but with more grass.  

You know this small part of Scotland is worth a visit if you look at our list of the best places to visit in Scotland.  

Isle of Skye restaurants  

One thing to note is that you need to make reservations at the restaurants in Isle of Skye. We weren’t able to eat in like 10 restaurants because they were absolutely full. If push comes to shove, try telling them that you are resident, they tend to keep tables open for hotel guests that stay on the island. Most restaurants are a part of a hotel.  

Red Skye Restaurant   

Red Skye Restaurant in Isle of Skye 
We had Black Skye in Red Skye

The restaurant’s website is down or under reconstruction (but it’s been months and it still isn’t available, so…), so in order to make a reservation, you need to call them or stop by and then come back.  

Red Skye is in the southern part of the island, close to Torabhaig Distillery.  

I had really good steak at Red Skye, and Karin had the best burger ever.  

We paid about GBP 70 for a meal and drinks for 2 people. A great price if you ask me!  

Lean To Coffee Skye Cafe

Lean to Coffee restaurant on Isle of Skye 
The old and the new make something really cool! Lean to Coffee

A five-minute drive from Red Skye is the very cool coffee place called Lean to Coffee. Their kitchen is in a new unit, and the indoor/outdoor seating is in an old, partly ruined building right next to it, complete with shabby walls and concrete floors but new furniture. Super fun!  

The coffee here was really good, which, if you know me, is something I can appreciate.  

Deli Gasta 

Deli Gasta restaurant on Isle of Skye
They have take-away, but it ain’t fast! Totally worth it though @ Deli Gasta

Also close to the other two (it’s a coincidence that our favorite restaurants on Isle of Skye are right next to each other!), Deli Gasta is the place to go for premium sandwiches, salads, and cakes. So you can basically live there.  

We took ours to-go, but the interior of this old stone building is a hipster dream come true.  

We thoroughly enjoyed our pastrami sandwiches and they’re probably the best we had in all of Scotland. They have a “to-go” window, though it’s definitely not fast food. You wait quite a while by the window. Still, worth all the waiting (it wasn’t that bad). At least you know it’s fresh!  

Isle of Skye accommodation 

We weren’t really happy with our hotel on Isle of Skye, so we tried to research some spots that would make for a better base for your Skye exploration. Here’s what we’ve come up with (remember, we make a small commission if you use our affiliate link to book any hotel, not just the ones mentioned here—a big thank you if you do!):  

Cuillin Hills Hotel 

Isle of Skye hotel Cuillin Hills Hotel
The best views you could wish for @ Cuillin Hills Hotel

With views over Portree Bay and mountains in the background, you will love 4-star Cuillin Hills Hotel in Portree in the northern part of Skye.  

It’s own The View Restaurant is praised in reviews and you can taste the award-winning whiskies from the Malt Embassy.  

Rooms are spacious and traditionally decorated with a modern touch and have large windows. So again, great views.  

Great value for money, great staff. Definitely a top runner on Skye.  

Prices from GBP 170 (USD 190) per night including breakfast. 

 Greshornish House Hotel 

Greshornish House Hotel in Isle of Skye
The undeniably Scottish Greshornish House Hotel

Greshornish House Hotel is a 4-star, classically Scottish house with garden and lake views. There’s a welcoming sitting area with a fireplace for those chilly evenings, and a wonderful breakfast room and outdoor sitting area, too.  

It’s located a 15-minute drive from Dunvegan Castle in the northern part of Skye.  

Rooms come in several styles, so make sure you like what you’re booking. They’re all homey and comfortable, so you shouldn’t be disappointed no matter which one you choose.  

Prices from GBP 130 (USD 150) per night including breakfast.

Tigh Phadraig at Marys Thatched Cottages 

Tigh Phadraig at Marys Thatched Cottages, accommodation on Isle of Skye 
Your own little house? Sure, no problem at Tigh Phadraig at Marys Thatched Cottages

For something a little different, what about booking your very own stone cabin? In the southern part of the island, Tigh Phadraig at Marys Thatched Cottages are 4 cottages that’ll make your stay so comfy that you’ll have trouble leaving in the morning.  

There’s a hotel right next door that has a great restaurant, so you don’t need to fret—you don’t have to cook during your vacation.  

The cottages provide you with everything you might need during your stay, are very clean and in a picturesque location in the south part of the island with nice views.   

There’s a 3day minimum stay.  

Prices from GBP 180 (USD 200) per night

This post may contain affiliate links. We earn a small commission if you make bookings through my links, at no additional cost to you. This helps us keep this blog free, thank you!  

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