During my first solo trip to Scotland, I had to visit the Isle of Skye. Known for its stunning nature, Skye has many attractions. During my first two days on Skye, I discovered the Trotternish peninsula (the northernmost part of Skye). For the other two days, I decided to go to different places to visit in Isle of Skye.
Table of Contents
- Base yourself in Portree
- Places to Visit in Isle of Skye
- From Portree to Dunvegan
- Dunvegan Castle
- Coral Beach
- The ferry from Skye to the mainland
Base yourself in Portree
On the Isle of Skye, I stayed in 3 different hostels. The best base for your travels in Skye is Portree, the most central (and lovely!) town of the Island. I stayed in Portree Independent Hostel. However, Portree is very expensive as well. Therefore, I decided to stay in other hostels on Skye as well. This also allowed me to see different parts of the Island. On my last night, I stayed at Broadford Backpackers Hostel. An advantage of staying in Broadford was that this town is closer to Armadale, from where the ferry to the mainland of Scotland departs.
Places to Visit in Isle of Skye
From Portree to Dunvegan
Before I went to Dunvegan, I checked out of my hostel in Portree. I visited MacKenzie’s Bakery in Portree as well, which had some great scones and is very cheap (great for a travel on a budget).
Next, I took the bus to Dunvegan Castle, which took me to the eastern part of Skye. Apparently, I had been traveling so often by bus these last days that I started the recognise several of the bus drivers that were waiting in their buses at the bus station in Portree, and I think one recognised me too. It is a small world after all. During my days on Skye, I bought a day pass for all Stagecoach buses on Skye, which was the cheapest in my case.
Actually, I had wanted to visit the Neist Point as well, which is one of the most important places to visit in Isle of Skye. Unfortunately, no bus could take me that far and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to hitchhike on my own. This was the first time during my trip to Scotland that I became aware of the limitations of relying on public transport while travelling.
To be honest, I didn’t find Dunvegan Castle very pretty. The interior looked better than the exterior, but I was not allowed to take pictures inside the castle. However, it’s not the architecture that made me want to visit this place, it was its history.
The castle is the seat of Clan MacLeod as has been so for many centuries. A lot of special objects were displayed in the castle as well, such as the Fairy Flag (possibly a gift of the faeries!) that people believed had magical powers. Because of these objects and the history of the place, the castle certainly is one of the places to visit in Isle of Skye. The castle also offers seal tours. (Because of the rainy weather, I didn’t join one of these tours.)
After visiting the castle I spend some time in the gardens, which were beautiful. They would have been even more so with good weather, but well… I was in Scotland, not Spain.
Another place on my list of places to visit in Isle of Skye was Coral Beach. This beach with very white sand supposedly almost makes you feel like you’re somewhere tropical. It’s a hike of 4.5 miles from Dunvegan Castle. Unfortunately, this would have taken too long, since I had to take the bus back. Nevertheless, even you don’t plan to hike to the Coral Beach, it’s still worthwhile to walk a mile or 2 north as the views are stunning and there’s almost no one around.
I took a bus back to Portree and changed there for Broadford, where I would spend the night. It was somewhere in the afternoon when I got there, but I was starting to feel a little tired, so I decided to relax and read a book for a couple of hours.
Broadford itself is a very tiny village. In the evening, I went for a walk alongside the coast of Broadford: the Rubh an Eireannaich walk. Since it had been a rainy day, the walk was very muddy and often the path was hard to find. At the same time, it was a very calming walk with the best views.
The views of the mountains were spectacular, especially during the sunset. At the pier, there were some tourists around, but otherwise, it was almost as if you were the only living being on the island. Skye can be very touristy and it’s in these moments that the true beauty of the island reveals itself.
The next day arrived, which also meant my last day on the Isle of Skye. My time on Skye almost felt as a holiday on its own. I definitely could’ve stayed on the Island for a week or even longer. For the last, I took a bus, this time to Armadale, located in the southeast of the island. From Armadale, the ferry to the mainland departs.
Armadale is home to the Museum of the Isles, which is a museum about the history of Skye. Moreover, on this site, you can find the ruins of the castle of Clan Donald. I’m very interested in getting to know the history of places, so I enjoyed this museum very much. The ruins of the castle weren’t very special, but the gardens and views of the mainland were stunning.
The ferry from Skye to the mainland
Now, my stay on Skye had officially come to an end. I bought a ticket for the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. On my way to the island, I had walked over the bridge to Skye. It was a fitting end to leave by the ferry, seeing the island slowly becoming smaller and smaller. It reminded me of Outlander’s theme song:
The Skye Boat Song.
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.Harbour of Armadale
The editor of Kansas Flint Hills, and pursuer of relatively interesting information. Simon has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales, and is a photo-journalist and writer whose written and photographic work has been represented by the AFP news agency and appeared in newspapers across Europe and Asia.