5 Incredible Things to do on the Isle of Skye

Last Updated on August 27, 2023

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Written by Emma Knapp from Daydream Believer

To the first time visitor looking for things to do on the Isle of Skye, the island can seem intimidating.

There are endless rolling hills covered in heather, the ever-present mist and rain and the winding single-track roads, where the only traffic jams are caused by the freely roaming sheep.

These are all part of the beauty of Skye, a place relatively untouched by the ‘go-go-go’ mentality of the modern world where you can disconnect and experience life in a simpler way.

In May I spent some time travelling around Skye with my parents.

It was my second visit to the island and just as it had on my first trip two years prior, the wild and isolated landscapes captured my heart and had me envisioning what it would be like to live here.

While my parents loved the island they both agreed it was not a place they would want to live, but for me there was a voice in the back of mind thinking the opposite.

I wondered if it would be as magical to live here long-term as it was during my fleeting visits.

Discover the Incredible Things to do on the Isle of Skye, rocky peak with person running down the side with a wide backdrop of lakes and other mountains under a cloudy sky

I never truly expected Skye to become my home, but fate obviously had other ideas because less than three months later I was living life as a local on the Misty Isle.

The Isle of Skye is a growing tourism destination, but it can still be a bit overwhelming when you are visiting to know where to go and what to do in the Isle of Skye.

Is this one of the best beaches in Isle of Skye? What language do they speak in the Isle of Skye? Have I done all the top 10 things to do in Skye? On a short visit, you might end up overthinking things.

So to make your visit to my spectacular new home as wonderful as possible I’ve saved you the trouble by listing some of the top things to do on the Isle of Skye!

If you don’t currently have any plans to visit Skye perhaps this will give you some inspiration to add it to your travel bucket-list.

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Top Five Things to Do on the Isle of Skye

Enjoy the best things to do in isle of skye, view of harbour on the coast with setting sun visible behind under a wide open sky
Try living the skye life this year, view of harbour on the coast with rising sun visible behind under a wide open sky

1. Catch a sunset or sunrise

One of the first things to consider when thinking about what should you not miss on the Isle of Skye is taking the time to simply enjoy the sky (or Skye!) itself.

The opportunities to view a sunrise or sunset in Skye are endless, if the weather is cooperating you are in for a real treat!

My personal favourite spot to witness sunrise or sunset is from my very own front yard.

I have a view over the stunning Uig bay and am still pinching myself that I get to look outside at that view each day!

Some other places to witness an epic sunrise or sunset are at the Quirang, Old Man Storr, the Fairy Pools or the Fairy Glen (two different places!) Portree Harbour and Neist Point.

Now all you need to do is hope the Isle of Skye weather plays nice and allows the mist to disappear for a wee while.

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Try out all of the top things to do in skye, person sitting on a grassy patch at the top of a rocky hill with wide view of the coast and other rolling hills behind all under a bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds

2. Hike the Quiraing

One of the best things to do in Isle of Skye is to explore the landscape on foot.

You can’t visit Skye without taking a hike – big or small! You must get out and enjoy nature at its best while you are here.

And anyone thinking about how to get Isle of Skye hiking experience should head to the Quiraing.

The Quiraing is a popular choice among travellers; it offers some of the most breathtaking views in Scotland over a 2-3 hour walk.

You’ll be hiking through an ancient landslip that created the high cliffs, valleys and rock pinnacles you see today.

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On a difficultly scale I would say it’s a medium, there are a few steep sections along the walk but it should be easily accomplished by anyone of a decent fitness level.

I’ve seen people of all ages out there completing the walk, so would say it’s a good choice for most people.

You can check out Walk Highlands for more information and directions for the walk.

Discover how to get around isle of skye without a car, view of colourful houses lining the waterfront in the town of Portree with green trees behind on a cloudy day

3. Wander the colourful town of Portree

It was not until I moved to Skye that I got the chance to explore Portree, the biggest township on the island. Portree is quite small by mainland standards but is a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

The colourful houses lining the harbour make for wonderful a photo!

There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy a bite to eat and there are some great local stores to pick up a unique souvenir to take home.

Portree is also where the largest supermarket on the island is located, so if you are in need of some groceries for your visit this is the place to do it.

Don't miss any of the top 10 things to do in skye, view of a sheep standing on a grassy hill with the ruins of a stone building behind on a bright cloudy day
Relax under the isle of skye weather this summer, person wearing backpack standing exultantly on top of a rock in front of a vast view of rolling rocky and grassy hills with several rock formations nearby on a bright cloudy day

4. Enjoy the local eateries

The Isle of Skye is mostly known for its outdoor pursuits.

But while I love a good hike I’m also a foodie, so upon moving here it became my mission to seek out the very best in food and coffee on the island.

Eating out is one of the top things to do in Skye – you might be surprised to know the Isle of Skye has some of the best restaurants and eateries in the UK!

Here are my picks for the best eateries and the best restaurants in Isle of Skye:

  • Skye Pies
  • Three Chimneys
  • Sia Café
  • Café Arriba
  • Ella’s Café (Make sure you try the Ecclefechan Tart!)
  • The Skye Baking Co.

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Learn how to get isle of skye savvy on your next trip, small blue and white boat standing on grass atop a small stone wall in front of a blue lake with a line of thick green trees behind on a bright day
head to the best beaches in isle of skye this summer, wooden hut with old wooden rowing boats standing on the shores of a small lake with green trees to one side under a cloudy sky
Learn about the best ways for getting to isle of skye, small rocky beach on the shores of a small calm lake with bank of thick green trees to one side and a tall rocky hill in the distance under a cloudy sky
Find out what should you not miss on the isle of skye, view from inside a car of a narrow country road with single sheep walking alongside green trees and a wire fence

5. Visit Other Isles

The Scottish Hebrides are made up of many different islands, the Isle of Skye being part of the Inner Hebrides.

If you have an extra day or two I would highly recommend getting out to one of the other islands.

The Isle of Raasay is very easy to reach, only 30 minutes via a ferry which leaves from Sconser in the south of Skye.

Raasay is a stunning small island, which can be explored in a day.

There are many walking tracks to take and while being so close to Skye the landscape is something of its own and certainly worth seeing.

Enjoy all the best things to do on the isle of skye, view looking along a white sandy beach with small waves on one side and a grassy hill on the other on a bright cloudy day
Get living the skye life on your next vacation, view from the deck of a boat looking out across the calm waters of a large lake on a bright cloudy day
Enjoy amazing food in the best restaurants in isle of skye, view of lake surrounded by rolling grassy hills with patches of white sand and another island in the distance on a bright cloudy day
Take part in the best top things to do in skye, view of a small country lane with two old stone houses with thatched rooftops under a cloudy sky

Lewis and Harris are technically one island (the Isle of Lewis), but don’t let the locals of Harris hear you saying that!

Reached by a ferry leaving daily from Uig Pier, both Lewis and Harris are wonderful places to experience the Scottish island culture.

That culture remains strong to this day with many of the locals still speaking the Highland language of Gaelic and practicing traditions such as playing the bagpipes and weaving Harris Tweed.

If you are looking to travel to Scotland and want to experience something a bit different I highly recommend visiting the Isle of Skye!

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How to get to the Isle of Skye?

When getting to Isle of Skye you have a couple of options, and fortunately neither of them is too difficult.

1. By Car

You can easily reach Skye by car (about a 6 hour drive from Edinburgh) or if you’re not driving there are regular buses coming from many of the main cities (see Citylink for times and prices).

Getting around the island with a car is the easiest option!

2. By Bus

Worried about living the Skye life without a car? Have no fear – the buses are here!

Working out how to get to Isle of Skye without a car can feel daunting for first-time visitors, and then planning how to get around Isle of Skye without a car once you’ve arrived can make it seem worse!

Fortunately, it’s definitely not impossible to get around using local buses. It just requires a bit more pre-planning to ensure your plans fit with the bus timetable.

Make sure to check in advance for bus availability, depending on which day of the week you plan to travel!

🛌🏼 Find amazing accommodation on the Isle of Skye!

Uncovering the Isle of Skye

Emma is a travel & food writer, photographer and world traveller from New Zealand. Currently based in Scotland she spends her time exploring the world while scouting out the best food and coffee.  You can follow her adventures on her blog or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ How many days do you need on Skye?

In order to experience all the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, you will need at least two days here. Staying at least overnight is a must so that you can see the morning sunrise!

✅ Can you do Skye without a car?

Yes you can – there are buses that can help you traverse the island and bring you to within walking distance of many of the things to do on the Isle of Skye.

✅ When should I go to Skye?

For optimal weather conditions, and to make sure you get to do all the top things to do on the Isle of Skye, visiting between May and September is the best time.

I hope the above tips and tricks for things to do on the Isle of Skye help you to get the most out of your trip to the Isle of Skye, or inspiration you to visit!

For now I will leave you, and as they would say in Gaelic, Tioraidh (Goodbye)!

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The Comments

  • Rhonda Albom
    September 11, 2016

    What a neat place. As a huge fan of photographing misty days, I don’t think this would bother me. And how cool to live somewhere that you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset. I love those colorful row houses, but it is the lush green nature that will bring me there one day.

  • Fiona Maclean
    September 12, 2016

    My father’s side of the family comes from here. My great grandad was the first postman on Skye! I loved seeing the photos

  • erikastravels
    September 12, 2016

    Rugged, wild and untouched! This seems like a hiker’s wonderland! Portee seems like a very cute little town and the views from the hikes are absolutely breathtaking. I’d love to do the Quairaing.

  • Natalia
    September 12, 2016

    Stunning pictures! This place looks like it was taken from fairy-tale books. Thank you for sharing tips and experience.

  • Jenna Kvidt
    September 12, 2016

    Gorgeous photos! Isle of Skye looks like a fantastic spot to get away from it all for awhile, and it’s great to hear you found some good food spots as well. The hiking and outdoor adventures would be right up our alley–hopefully we can come check it out sometime!

  • arzotravels
    September 12, 2016

    So true, it is a lot of green hills but I love it. The cute and colorful houses are a great contrast to the hills <3

  • titi81
    September 12, 2016

    That’s a place in Scotland I haven’t been yet but always wanted to go. Th escenery is amazing Shall I add visit an whisky distillery? It;s Scotland after all!

  • Megan Claire (@mappingmegan)
    September 13, 2016

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane! the Isle of Skye was the highlight of my time in Scotland, and I totally ditto that everyone should make the trip if they’re heading that way!

  • Aileen Adalid
    September 13, 2016

    Wow… I’ve never been to Skye — but I have heard great stuff about it! Reading your article, I can absolutely see why. Great photos!

  • John Morris
    September 13, 2016

    In visiting a place like Skye, I think I would want to spend every moment outdoors, surrounded by the natural beauty of nature. Such stunning landscapes you have shared here – thank you!

  • Garth
    October 1, 2016

    Would love to visit the Isle of Skye and Harris, even though it’s on our doorstep we’ve still never done it! thanks for all the tips and great photos, looks like you had a great time!

  • Smitha Murthy
    February 2, 2017

    I visited the Isle of Skye in November last year and I fell in love with the place. Such serenity! I wish I could live there too.

  • Anna Marie
    June 25, 2017

    I’ve just begun the planning stages for a trip to Scotland in 2018, this has been added to my list! Such beautiful scenery!!

  • Marzena Gzella
    September 27, 2018

    I lived on Skye for about 10 years now .It never stopped being magical for me .However sometimes I need to be reminded how special is this place I chose to be my home ,stop dwelling on the fact its the end of the world with no Tesco ,far away from the airport and other things people take for granted .The job market is limited and you have to be flexible as to what you do for living .But its worth it.