Isle of Skye
The first time we fell in love with Isle of Skye was when we saw the Volvo V90 ad, filmed on the isle. Thanks to Volvo and their brilliant ad, the island instantly won a spot on our bucket list and we simply had to see the place for ourselves.
The isle is one of the most visited destinations in Scotland, and is best known for its rugged but beautiful landscapes.
If you plan to visit in the summer months, we highly advise that you book your accommodation way in advance. However, accommodation on the isle is expensive and cheaper accommodation on the mainland might make it worth your while to commute to the island instead.
Because Skye is well known for its many hiking trails, we set aside 3 days for visiting and exploring this gem. While 3 or even 2 days are enough to get a lasting impression of the island, you could easily stay here for a week.
On this page we will show you the highlights of our journey on Skye, and hopefully it will assist you with your planning. The highlights include…
… Skye Bridge
… Old Man of Storr
… The Quaraing Pass
… Dunvegan Castle
… Fairy Pools
… and more!
Skye Bridge has become rather iconic. The main arch of the bridge is about 35 meters high. Prior to the opening of the bridge visitors had to make use of a ferry to cross Loch Alsh to reach the island.
Sligachan is a tiny settlement on Skye, and the Sligachan Bridge is another frequently photographed bridge of the isle.
At Sligachan is a junction of roads from where you can drive to the different outreaches of the isle. At the junction itself you will see a hotel that was built around 1830.
From this location you have a clear view of the Black Cuillin Mountains.
Just before Portree is Aros Centre, one of our favourite rest stops on the isle. The centre offers exhibitions, cinema, live music, comedy, dance, drama, theatre, galleries and workshops. There is also a family friendly restaurant, gift shop as well as children’s play areas.
The coffee and pizza is great, but our highest recommendation goes to the “Scottish Tablet” flavoured ice cream.
Old Man Of Storr
Probably the most famous walk on Skye is the Old Man of Storr hike. The “Old Man” is a large rock that clearly stands out and can be seen as you drive along the A855.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to having a set itinerary is the fact that unfavorable weather can mess up your plans pretty bad. Of all the hikes we wanted to do in Scotland, this was the one we were looking forward to the most. However, on the day we had miserable weather and had to give up on this hike.
Even so, just driving past the landmark was also worth it as the area is really beautiful.
You can park at the Old Man of Storr Car Park from where you can’t start the hike, and you will need 1.5 to 2 hours to get to the “Old Man” and back.
Lealt Falls And Aussichtsplattform
As you continue to the north of Skye you will get to two viewpoints. The first is Lealt Falls and almost next to it is Aussichtsplattform.
By the time we got to Lealt Falls we had to contend with a really strong and ice cold wind, and at Aussichtsplattform the weather literally rained on our parade. This didn’t stop us from getting out of the car and the scenery was delightful.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint
Our next stop was the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint, where the Mealt Falls plummets 100 meters over Kilt Rock and into the see below.
While not as impressive as the Múlafossur Waterfall in Faroe Islands which we wrote about here, watching water fall into the sea is always a beautiful sight.
Red Telephone Booth
Shortly after the Mealt Falls is a red telephone booth that demands your attention.
We had to check inside the booth and yes, it still works (at least it did when we were there).
The Quiraing Pass
Part of the Trotternish ridge, the Quiraing was formed by a massive landslide which created high cliffs, hidden plateaus and pinnacles of rock. Ideally you will want to visit this area on a clear day. As already mentioned, we were contending with the weather and were not able to hike the trails here either.
Even so, to get to the Quiraing you have to take an almost “off-the-beaten-track” road that cuts through very rugged terrain, as it takes you from the east to the west of the northern tip of Skye.
Honestly, this was the most beautiful section of Skye for us.
You can follow directions to the Quiraing Car Park which will take you on this spectacular road.
The Fairy Pools are at the foot of the Black Cuillins Mountains. The pools have become famous all over the world, and you only have to look at the pictures below to see why.
As we drove towards the Fairy Pools we had magnificent views of the Black Cuillins. The first waterfall and pool is about 2.4 km from the car park, and the hiking trail that takes you there is not without obstacles.
We first had to cross a stream, and it was evident that this could be more challenging after heavy rains. We had to tread carefully as we fully submerged our walking boots in the water in order for us to get across. We were grateful for our waterproof boots, but others who were less prepared didn’t have the same luxury.
Not far from the Fairy Pools is the Talisker Distillery. It is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye, and definitely worth a visit.
Dunvegan Castle claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.
We really wanted to see the castle and the gardens. Unfortunately the premises was closed for the season and we were unable to get inside.
The fact that we couldn’t enter was great for one glaringly obvious reason: we will have to return at another time!
Even so, the beauty of the surrounding area left us in awe and it is definitely worth the drive.
We will remember Armadale Castle to be one of the most beautifully ruined castles we have ever seen.
While we will remember Skye for some amazing and prominent landmarks, the overall scenery is hard to beat. As you drive Skye, you will be constantly greeted by amazing landscapes that will leave their imprint on your mind.
Note: we visited Skye as part of a 9 Day trip to Scotland which you can read all about here.
Leave your comments below… what has been your favourite Isle of Skye moment?