The Top 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 | © Daniel Lange / Alamy Stock Photo
The Isle of Skye is an enchanting place with lots of history, scenic walks and unique geological areas. Guided hikes and boat trips to view the local wildlife allow you to appreciate the true beauty of the island. Here we list the best sights to visit.
© 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 to 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 seals.
A landslip on the eastern face of Meall Na Suiramach, the Quiraing is an enchanting and beautiful geological area where you 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 4mi (7km) and the average time is two hours, so walking boots are advised.
© Michael Walters 4 / Alamy Stock Photo
An islet just off the Skye coast, Mingay is a breeding ground for the common seal and therefore a special area of conservation. To the south, it looks out at Beinn Bhreac, a mountain on Skye, and to the southeast 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 is 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 bird species can also be seen, such as gannets, black guillemots, razorbills and European shags. The walk is 45-minute walk is classified as “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.
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 including 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
© richard wheeler / Alamy Stock Photo
The Trotternish Peninsula is an area of breath-taking scenery, where you could easily spend half a day hiking and taking in the views – the longest walk through the peninsula is 17mi (28km) 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 21ft (46m) 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.
© allan wright / Alamy Stock Photo
Fairy Glen is one of the lesser-known areas in the Isle of Skye, 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. And when you look over the sparkling pools and tiny hillocks caked in moss, it is easy to imagine you just missed a pair of tiny wings dashing between the mossy mounds.
Colbost Croft Museum
Colbost Croft Museum explores the lives of 19th-century Skye dwellers. The main attraction is a small traditional croft house, with two main rooms: a living room-kitchen and a bedroom, and there’s a central hearth that kept the former occupants warm in winter. You can also see a variety of agricultural implements, which are scattered around the fields, as well as an outhouse containing an illegal still for distilling alcohol.
Claigan Coral Beach
© 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. Forage for algae pieces and different types of seaweed on the beach, and watch the 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.
Dinosaur footprints at An Corran
On the beach at An Corran, there are footprints left by herbivorous dinosaurs around 165m 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, visit the Staffin Dinosaur Museum
to see a collection of dinosaur fossils.
These recommendations were updated on September 3, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.