Dreaming of your next far-flung adventure? With landscapes straight out of a fairytale, Isle of Skye is a magical spot to add to your travel bucket list.
As the cool mist lifts and unveils the emerald coated landscape of Cuillin Hills, you’ll understand why the Isle of Skye lives up to its fabled beauty. Skye, as it’s known by the locals, is the largest of the Hebrides, islands off Scotland’s northwest coast. Characterized by glistening lochs, verdant sprawling moors and romantic seaside cliffs, even the most seasoned globetrotter will find it bewitching.
Here’s a mini-guide to bookmark for when your wanderlust becomes a reality.
Roam the carpeted green cliffs emerging from Staffin Bay in Brogaig. Dotted with rocky pinnacles, this landscape is otherworldly. Put your hiking boots to good use and take the 4.5-mile hike to properly experience it all.
Mealt Falls and Kilt Rock
Tumbling waterfalls and cool volcanic formations are worth your contemplation. And, yes, the volcanic ridges of Kilt Rock really do look like the famous Scottish garment. Arrive early to one up the crowds and relish the serenity of this winsome sight.
Not far from Kilt Rock, Brothers Point is The Quiraing’s lesser traversed cousin. Traipse across a velvety emerald landscape with the soundtrack of crashing waves while nearby sheep absentmindedly graze the afternoon away.
Located in Glenbrittle (even the town names are cute here), these gem-like, bluish green water pools fed by waterfalls make this a magical place to spend time or even take a dip.
Only a mile long, this verdant little stretch is an easy hike found just south of Uig. The hilly greens with cottage ruins are so enchanting it just might have you believing in fairies.
Neist Point Lighthouse
Sunsets are worth hanging out for at this gorgeous lookout located in the western most point of Skye on the Durinish Peninsula. Spot a host of seabirds including gannets and razorbills. In the summer, you’ll feel like you won the wildlife spotting lottery when you spy orcas and Minke whales frolicking in the distance surf.
Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
As far as medieval castles go, this one is impressive surrounded by lush forest and water complete with a moat and a weathered stone bridge. Wander the halls of the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland filled with relics steeped in Gaelic history.
Where to Dine & Drink
The untamed landscape is the natural purveyor of wild venison, beef and lamb as well as fresh-off-the-boat catches including oysters, crab, lobster, fish and mussels. Lucky for you, local chefs and cooks create fabulous meals, both simple and complex, with these divine locally-sourced ingredients.
Kinloch Lodge Restaurant
Once a hunting lodge for the MacDonald clan, today it’s a Michelin star-rated restaurant tucked inside a luxury boutique hotel. Whether you splurge for the seven course tasting menu or opt for a cheery afternoon tea – you’ll be glad you nabbed a reservation.
Enjoy a spectacular meal snug inside a 100-year-old stone cottage. Known for their award-winning Scottish and Nordic-inspired cuisine, try the Gigha halibut with leeks, mushrooms and pickled artichoke. Need a place to lie your head? It’s also home to five-star lodging.
Imagine a cozy spot that feels more like a friend’s supper club than a restaurant. Nosh on new Scottish cuisine with French influences overlooking Portree Harbor. The menu rotates depending on the catch and sea vegetables available –seasonal eating at its best.
Simple yet delicious seafood is worth the climb, right? Set upon a steep hill with stellar views, Oyster Shed is the spot for premium oysters, mussels, crab, fish and chips and savory fish stew.
Overlooking Portree’s tiny harbor, this restaurant is a popular spot for locally caught seafood and a lively scene. The lobster straight off the boat is a smart pick.
It’s pretty much a given that a trip to Scotland certainly warrants a distillery tour. Savor the smoky flavored whisky made distinctive by peat smoke utilized in the malting process right in Carbost.
Where to Stay
Portree serves as a good basecamp due its collection of bed and breakfasts, hotels and hostels, but if you want a more secluded or unique experience consider renting a cottage or staying at a guest house in one of the smaller towns or farms.
Greshornish House Hotel
Treat yourself to luxury digs for a night or two at this posh old manor ensconced by lovely country gardens in Edinbane.
Spend the night at an upscale bed and breakfast, a cluster of croft cottages near a beach and not far from Dunvegan Castle. Expect a wondrous organic smorgasbord for breakfast.
If you like a clean, modern aesthetic, this hotel in Portree might be for you. The L’Occitane toiletries and Bose sound systems in the rooms aren’t too shabby either.
Tuck in for a good night’s sleep in a renovated 19th-century hunting lodge built by the local MacDonald family planted on the Loch Snizort shoreline. The modern dining room with an expansive Scottish craft beer list is also a draw
Know Before You Go
Buy a map because the cell service can be sketchy on Skye, so your navigation apps may not work. Temperatures in the summer range in the 50s to early 60s, so pack accordingly. Most important, if you cross paths with the famous and adorable Highland cow (a shaggy, longhaired creature with Chewbacca-like qualities), don’t hesitate, the moment deserves proper photo documentation.
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