How to spend a day on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is part of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland and amongst them actually the largest and most northern island. The Norse referred to the island as the ‘misty island’ because the sky is cloudy on most days of the year. Due to its beautiful landscapes and also historical importance, the island is nowadays quite popular amongst tourists.
The Isle of Skye is (with its 1656 km²) huge, which is why you could easily spend several days exploring the island. There are beautiful hikes, marvelous landscapes and coastal areas all over the island. But if, like us, you only have one spare day to explore the Isle of Skye, here is what your day on this beautiful island could look like.
Eilean Donan Castle
We started our day early as there is quite some ground to cover.
Only a 20 minutes’ drive before getting to the bridge that will lead you to Skye, you will find Eilean Donan Castle. This castle is located on a small tidal island in between Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long and is quite famous as it is the third most visited castle and one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland. Eilean Donan Castle has quite some history but was completely demolished in the 18th century and wasn’t rebuilt until 1932.
We did enter the castle, but I would say that it´s not necessarily a MUST unless you are really into history. They showcase how life in the castle must have looked like in the past, but you can tell on the inside that the castle has been rebuilt so from a photography point of view, you will get the best views from outside.
Entrance fee: £10.00
Then we crossed the Skye Bridge and our day of exploring the Isle of Skye began.
We mainly followed the A87 during our time on the island. Our first stop along this road was at Loch Ainort. This loch is a sea loch with beautiful mountains in the background, which leads to a scenic landscape.
Then we drove further north to the Sligachan Waterfalls, where you will also find the Sligachan Bridge.
After a quick pit-stop, we made our way up even further north to Portree. Portree is the largest town on the Isle of Skye with a population of around 2000 people. It is mainly known for its charming port. We decided to take our lunch break here and treated ourselves to some ice cream while exploring the town.
The Old Man of Storr
Back on the road we took the A855 up to probably the most famous monument on the Isle of Skye: The Old man of Storr. The monument itself is a 48-meter-high rock on the east side of the Storr (the mountain it stands on). There are several different legends about the Old man of Storr: one claims it’s the thumb of a giant that is buried there. Apparently, you should do a hike in this region to be able to fully appreciate its beauty (we wish we would have had the time).
The roads on the island are quite adventurous and often found in combination with free roaming sheep. So, be sure to drive carefully and not too fast. But when you drive safely, the roads also treat you to some of the best views, so don’t forget to enjoy the drive and be sure to make some random stops along the way.
Further down the road you will find the Lealt Falls. There is a parking lot right next to the road from where you can take a quick walk towards the cliffs to the best view point. I feel like the Lealt Falls are not as known as the Mealt Falls but in my opinion just as beautiful.
Next up is Kilt Rock with the already mentioned Mealt Falls. Kilt Rock got its name due to the resemblance of the vertical basalt columns on the cliff sides to a kilt. The Mealt Falls are quite popular and therefore touristy, which is why there is a huge car park and viewing platform right next to them (including a bagpipe player).
Museum of Island Life
Then we made our way up to the north tip of the Trotternish peninsula. Here we visited the Museum of Island Life that showcases how people lived on Skye. The museum is located in a beautiful area with views over the sea. For those of you that know a little more about Scottish history, next to the museum is the graveyard where Flora MacDonald is buried.
Entrance fee: £5.00
After our visit to the museum we decided to head back down to Kyleakin. It was already later in the afternoon and the drive back takes about an hour. We spent the night in Kyleakin which gave us the chance to explore this town a little. It is mainly a town where tourists spent the night. There are a lot of guest houses and hotels. Nonetheless it is a charming town and we got quite beautiful views during sunset.
These are the views you get, standing on the Skye Bridge.
Afterwards we walked alongside the Loch further into town and stumbled upon another beautiful viewing point.
And this marked the end of our day on the Isle of Skye. There is a lot more to see and do. We mainly visited the Trotternish peninsula and even there we by far did not see everything. But I hope this can give you an idea on what is possible in one day.