The Top 10 Things to Do and See on the Isle Of Skye

The cliffs and lighthouse at Neist Point on the Isle of Skye are at their most picturesque at sunset
The cliffs and lighthouse at Neist Point on the Isle of Skye are at their most picturesque at sunset | © Daniel Lange / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Jillian Ellis
25 August 2020

The Isle of Skye is an enchanting place – with lots of history, scenic walks and unique geological areas. Boat trips to view the local wildlife, as well as hikes, allow you to appreciate the true beauty of the island. Here we list the 10 best sights to visit.

Dunvegan Castle

Historical Landmark
Map View
Dunvegan castle. Isle of Skye. Image shot 05/2008. Exact date unknown.
© Gary Stones / Alamy Stock Photo
On a rocky outcrop on the shore of Loch Dunvegan lies Dunvegan Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. It is open to visitors daily from 10am until 5.30pm. There are many pieces of fine art and clan treasures to be viewed around the castle, including the Fairy Flag. It is steeped in history and clan mystery so tours of Dunvegan Castle are a must for visitors to Skye. One of the best views of the castle is from the sea (imagine how imposing it looked to sailing invaders) so think about booking a boat tour of the area; you may even spot some seals.

Quiraing

Natural Feature
Map View
A landslip on the eastern face of Meall Na Suiramach, the Quiraing is an enchanting and beautiful geological area where visitors can walk along a mix of steep heather slopes and good paths. The walk passes through some of the most spectacular landscapes in all of Scotland. There are fantastic geological formations such as the Prison and the Needle, as well as beautiful views over the islands of Raasay and Rona. The total distance of the walk is 6.8km (4.2 miles) and the average time is two hours, so walking boots over stilettos are greatly advised.

Mingay

Natural Feature
Map View
The small islands of Iosaigh Mingay and Clett  of the shoreline at Claigan Dunvegan Isle of Skye Scotland
© Michael Walters 4 / Alamy Stock Photo

An Islet just off the coast of Skye, Mingay is a special area of conservation because it’s a breeding ground for the common seal. To the south, it looks out at Beinn Bhreac, a mountain on Skye, and to the south-east is Sgeir nam Biast, a rocky beach where seals can be seen. This is a great place to go for nature lovers and those who enjoy seeing animals in their natural habitat.

Neist Point

Natural Feature
Map View
Neist Point is located on the western coast of Skye. It is a viewpoint, and the lighthouse has been standing there since 1909. This is a great place for walkers, with rolling hills and the view of the sea over the cliff. Various sea creatures can be seen from the point, including dolphins, whales, basking sharks and porpoises. Different species of birds can also be seen, such as gannets, black guillemots, razorbills and European shags. The walk is classified as “short” taking only 45 minutes and “medium” in difficulty. The path takes you close to the cliff edge, so it is important to be aware of weather conditions before beginning your walk.

Boat Trips

There are many fantastic boat trips available on the Isle of Skye catered to anything you might wish to view, from breath-taking scenery to wildlife such as whales, sea eagles or seals. Misty Isle Boat Trips is a favourite: the crew are friendly and love to share information on the history of the island and the beautiful wildlife. Bella Jane Boat Trips also offer excursions.

The Old Man of Storr

Historical Landmark
Map View
old man of storr
© richard wheeler / Alamy Stock Photo
The Trotternish Peninsula is an area of breathtaking scenery, where visitors could easily spend half a day hiking and taking in the views – the longest walk through the peninsula is 28km (17 miles) long. Do explore The Storr, a rocky hill that overlooks the Sound of Raasay to the east, with a gently sloped and grassy western side. The most iconic rock around here is the 46m (21ft) Old Man of Storr – which can be seen for miles around. The spot directly in front of the cliffs is called the Sanctuary and has a number of oddly shaped rocks as a result of ancient landslips.

Fairy Glen

Natural Feature
Map View
the enchanted Fairy Glen by Uig skye
© allan wright / Alamy Stock Photo
Isle of Skye’s Fairy Glen makes visitors feel like they have just stepped into a different world, as the landscape drastically changes. It is a unique, beautiful terrain, with rich green mosses and grasses covering almost everything. The landscape was formed by volcanic eruptions, landslides and weathering over millions of years, leaving sandstone outcrops, waterfalls and clear water pools. The enchanting Fairy Glen is one of the Isle of Skye’s lesser-known areas, and so is a hidden treasure to visitors. Casting your eye over the sparkling, hidden pools and dozens of tiny hillocks caked in moss, it is easy to imagine you just missed a pair of tiny wings dash in-between the mossy mounds.

Colbost Croft Museum

Museum, School
Map View
The main attraction being a small traditional croft house, Colbost Croft Museum explores the lives of 19th-century Skye-dwellers. The croft house has two main rooms, a living room/kitchen and a bedroom, and visitors get the sense that the central hearth would keep the occupants warm even in the midst of winter. Visitors can also see a variety of agricultural implements, which are scattered around the surrounding fields, as well as an outhouse containing an illegal still for distilling alcohol.

Claigan Coral Beach

Natural Feature
Map View
Coral Beach at Claigan on Loch Dunvegan on Isle of Skye, Highland Region, Scotland, UK
© Angus McComiskey / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the most beautiful beaches on Skye, Claigan Coral Beach has a relaxing Mediterranean feel thanks to the white sands and clear blue waters. Visitors can forage for algae pieces and different types of seaweed on the beach, and there are cows roaming free adjacent to the sands. It is best to visit the beach early in the morning (when rabbits can be seen playing in the sand) or in the evening to watch the sunset, when the beach is at its most peaceful.

Staffin Dinosaur Museum

Museum
Map View
On the beach at An Corran in Staffin, visitors can find footprints left by herbivorous dinosaurs around 165 million years ago, before the last Ice Age. The footprints are most easily found after heavy rain or during winter, as in summer or during high tide they can be covered by the sand or water. It is a great adventure to search for the footprints. Afterwards, why not visit the Staffin Dinosaur Museum, where visitors can find out more about the dinosaurs.
These recommendations were updated on August 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.