Do you ever visit a new place that surprises you in ways you didn’t expect? Scotland’s Isle of Skye was that for me. Rolling hills of green, massive rocky cliffs by the sea. Cold winds that make you feel alive and a landscape that feels locked in time. Read on to see how to spend 3 Days in Isle of Skye.
There are few places in the world I have been that have truly felt like I am on a different planet. Iceland definitely makes that list for me, that country looks like a back drop for a movie about Mars. But a new destination surprised me in the same way recently. Scotland’s most northernly island, the Isle of Skye. This 50 mile long island features dramatic cliffs by the sea and the greenest hills I have ever seen. Planning a trip there can feel overwhelming as there is so much to see! Here is how to spend 3 Days in Isle of Skye
How to Get There
You have several different options for getting to Isle of Skye, but the one I would recommend the most is by car. Where you start that journey is up to you though. On this UK trip we picked up a car in London and had a neat road trip that ultimately led to Skye. (Let me know if you’d like our UK Road Trip Itinerary in the comments!) Skye is the northern most island of Scotland, so you are prepared for a drive.
There are guide bus tours that depart from Edinburgh to Isle of Skye which could be an option if the driving seems like too much. But for me, having the ability to explore at your own pace and pick your own destinations is more my speed. 3 Days in Isle of Skye isn’t a ton, so having your own car is a perk for maximizing your time.
Something to note is that the drive to Isle of Skye is rather intense for those of us who do not drive on the left side of the road. The roads can be winding and the weather unpredictable. For this I highly recommend road tripping to Skye during the day. Part of our drive was after the sunset and it proved to be stressful, especially once the rain / wind hit.
Once you are on the Isle itself there are many one lane roads. It is imperative you know the proper etiquette of passing cars and where to pull aside. There is a great guide to that here.
Please let me know if you’d like to read a blog post about tips for driving on the left side of the road. I ended up being a pro by the end of our trip!
When To Go
Depending on the time of year you go will somewhat effect what you are able to do. But a general rule of thumb of Skye is the weather changes frequently. We visited in mid-October and could go from torrential rain and wind to calm sunny skies an hour later. Sometimes just even by changing our location! April and May are the driest time of the year but are still chilly. June is supposed to be lovely, but later in summer you will be fighting more crowds of visitors.
Whenever you choose to visit, make sure you pack appropriately. I would suggest bringing things you can easily layer. Sometimes we would start a walk and the winds would be strong and it was cold. But the weather would clear up and I ended up getting too warm a couple of times.
- Make sure you have a rain jacket because you don’t want the weather to halt your plans. I got this jacket from Amazon and I liked it because it was a 3-in-1 jacket. The inside is down and it has waterproof outer layer, and both layers can be detached from each other.
- Another must have item are waterproof boots. Depending on your plans you might want some serious hiking boots. But, if you are more in the mood for easy hikes / walks you could be fine with Hunter Boots. I had these the entire trip and it was awesome because I never had to worry about water or mud. They are comfortable, cute and were perfect for everything we got up to.
- A great item to keep with you while on Isle of Skye and when traveling in general, is a comfortable scarf / travel wrap. This one from amazon is a favorite of mine as it can be worn as a warm scarf but can keep you warm on a plane too. A scarf really came in handy while walking outside on Skye so definitely pack one. It comes in cute colors (plaid for Scotland, duh) and is only $17.00
Where to Stay
There are a variety of accommodation options of Isle of Skye. You can camp, stay at a hotel / Bed & Breakfast or rent a cottage. Many people make the main town of Portree their hub on the island. It has restaurants, shops and has the most resources. We opted to drive further north and stay at The Flodigarry Hotel.
The hotel is a hunting lodge from the 1800’s is beautifully updated and has a view of the sea and an awesome restaurant. The staff was so friendly and offered a lot of tips of what to see and do. To be honest everyone we encountered on Skye and in Scotland for that matter were kind.
What to See
This could be a post in itself, and maybe it should be. But I will briefly touch on what we saw on Isle of Skye. How much you see is totally up to you, but for us we ended up seeing less than maybe we wanted to. This wasn’t for lack of trying but because we really took our time at each place we did go. These are not things you want to just drive by, but places you want to soak in and remember forever.
- Fairy Glen was by far my favorite thing we saw on this trip. Located near the village of Uig, you can park near by the glen and walk through the many hills formed by small land slides. This honestly was one of the coolest walks I have ever done. The grass is the most vibrant green and soft, and the rocky points are manageable to climb up for awesome views. Legend has it that this is the home of many skye faeries. If this was to be true, this is definitely where they would live.
Old Man of Storr
- I don’t think any trip to Skye could be complete with out a walk up the Old Man of Storr. This walk is a one way path from the car park is isn’t super hard. An hour hike offers incredible views of the ‘Old Man’ (large pinnacle rock) and sweeping views of the hills and sea.
- This walk is on the longer side, but is a loop that is not entirely difficult. This walk will take you on some high cliffs and is a dream for any photographer. Definitely have good sturdy boots and choose a clear day. Not only for views but to save you from a slippery hike. This is also an amazing point to watch a sunrise if you can manage it.
- If you are not staying in this seaside village as your hub, than it should definitely be a spot you visit while on Skye. It offers charming views of colorful buildings, cobble stone streets with quaint shops, and great places to eat. Something we did not get to do is a boat tour, but many of them depart from Portree. I would love to do a boat tour when we go back to Isle of Skye!
- This seems like a broad recommendation, but it is one of the best things Brian and I did. Get in your car, drive, and stop when something peaks your interest. There are plenty of Isle of Skye hyper planned itineraries, and while I definitely think there are things not to be missed, there are some places you will stumble upon that are just as amazing.
For example, when we were at Fairy Glen, way across the distance were a series of waterfalls. We had no idea how to get to them, but did our best to guess which roads to take. After a slightly terrifying drive (the cliffs are real y’all) we found them! It felt like we were the only two people on the planet, sitting on a cliff by a waterfall admiring some of God’s most beautiful work.
Traveling can be planned as much as possible, but it throws things at you sometimes both good and bad. Being flexible and rolling with the punches is how to make the most out of any trip. (Check out my post on traveling well with others on tips about this!)
I hope this Isle of Skye Guide was helpful. This is a place I feel like we only touched the surface on and it is super on the list of places to re-visit. Let me know if you have any questions about planning your trip to Skye!