Located off the coast of Scotland, the Isle of Skye is a great place to stay while touring the Scottish Highlands. The Isle of Skye is especially unique in the Highlands for its fairy folklore, beautiful ocean vistas, and island vibe. We suggest pairing the Isle of Skye with Fort William and Edinburgh in order to best maximize your time in Scotland (i.e.: 3 nights in Edinburgh, 2 nights in Skye, and 1 night in Fort William). You can also visit Skye on a day trip from Inverness or other destinations in the Highlands, but we suggest staying on the island to see more of Skye. Plus, the main town on the island, Portree, Scotland, is adorable and fun to explore!
We decided to really maximize our time on the Isle of Skye by hiring a private tour guide. Andy the Highlander took us from Edinburgh up to Skye and then to Fort William over a 5-day/4-night tour. We honestly don’t use multi-day tour guides usually, but we highly recommend it in Scotland in order to see the best sights. Andy was able to plan our time so that we could visit the best castles, see the most awe-inspiring vistas, and stop at the best towns and lunch restaurants across the Highlands (note: we are not affiliates for Andy or Highlander Tours, we just truly enjoyed our time with him and want to recommend him and his company). Our days on the Isle of Skye were part of our tour with Andy.
Where to Stay: The Marmalade Hotel
The Marmalade Hotel offers modern, four-star accommodations within walking distance to Portree, Scotland (easy sidewalk path to town, but slightly downhill). We booked premier rooms, so we were treated to great views of Portree, the harbor and mountains in the distance. Our rooms offered modern finishes and clean bathrooms. (Accessibility Note: the hotel does not have an elevator).
The hotel offers breakfast (extra charge depending on your booking package), which includes everything from croissants and yogurt to pancakes and a full Scottish Breakfast. At night, the restaurant offers a variety of dinner options, making for a convenient place to eat after a long day of touring (the restaurant was closed for dinner when we were visiting, due to COVID-19, but the breakfast was very good).
The hotel also boasts an inviting lobby where guests can gather, as well as a grassy back yard, which is anchored by a fire pit. You can learn more about this hotel and book rooms by clicking here.
Where to Eat in Portree, Scotland:
We suggest eating breakfast at the hotel, venturing out to restaurants near the sights you are visiting for lunch, and eating dinner at the hotel or in Portree, Scotland. Here are our favorite suggestions for where to eat while on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
L’Incontro Take Away:
Located in the center of Portree, L’Incontro is a great option for pizza. We especially loved the back-patio seating, which offered picnic tables looking directly out to the water. The pizza comes out fresh and tastes very authentic (and can be made based on either a menu of specialty pizzas or customized).
Marmalade Hotel Restaurant
As we mentioned above, the hotel offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. We especially recommend getting breakfast at the hotel, since it is high quality and an easy way to start off long days of touring. While we weren’t able to try this restaurant for dinner, the location is (obviously) unbeatable after touring all day.
Fish and Chip Shops:
Another easy meal option in Portree, Scotland are fish and chips. You can decide to get them at a pub in town, or find a to-go place near the Harbor to pick up your food. Either way, the setting (and probably the fresh seafood) will make for a memorable experience!
Isle of Skye Ice Cream:
If you are looking for a tasty way to finish off a day of touring, consider stopping by the ice cream shop in Portree! Only open until late afternoon, this (very busy) shop offers a mix of classic flavors and fun specialty favorites.
If you are looking for a lunch spot while exploring, The Old Inn is a great little pub. It’s located near the Fairy Pools, making it a convenient stop during your day trips. Andy, our tour guide, brought us to this restaurant, and it definitely did not disappoint! From crispy fish and chips to tasty chowders and sandwiches, we really enjoyed our meal!
Andy’s other lunchtime choice on the Isle of Skye was the Uig Hotel Restaurant. Located near Fairy Glen and the Fairy Castle, it is another convenient stop during your tour. We loved the creamy mac and cheese dish, as well as the seafood chowder.
Things to Do around Portree, Scotland:
Andy planned our time in Skye to make sure we saw as much as we could. We suggest contacting his company, Highlander Tours to customize your next trip. To help inspire your wish list, below are the different landmarks we visited while on the Isle of Skye.
The Old Man of Storr Hike
On a clear day, the Old Man of Storr can be seen for miles along Skye’s coastline. In order to get an up-close look, you can hike up to the rock formations. While the ultimate goal of this hike is to see the Old Man of Storr formations, the hike itself is beautiful as well. We loved seeing the nearby loch (lake), beautiful wildflowers, and sheep scattered throughout the hike.
Accessibility Note: This is a fairly easy path to walk, however it is not fit for strollers or wheelchairs. Also important to note: the walk is steep at points, and the path is unpaved (gravel/dirt).
The main town on the Isle of Skye is Portree. In addition to being a primary place for visitors to stay, Portree offers cute shops, fun restaurants, and an adorable waterfront. You should definitely spend some time exploring Portree while on the Isle of Skye!
Fairy Glen and Castle Ewen (the “Fairy Castle”):
This was probably our favorite stop while on the Isle of Skye. Legends hold that Castle Ewen, the “Fairy Castle,” which is a raw stone peak on small foothills, is home to fairies. Beyond the folklore, we loved the winding path up to the Fairy Castle. Plus, the grassy foothills around the Fairy Castle were beautiful!
Located along the coastline of the Isle of Skye, the Kilt Rock is a breathtaking photo stop. Named for the way the rock cliffs look like the pleats of a Scottish kilt, Kilt Rock is dramatic and beautiful.
An Corran Beach in Staffin
By far the most popular part of An Corran Beach are the dinosaur footprints along the tidepools. We enjoyed searching for the dinosaur footprints. We also loved wandering along the sandy beach to see the coastline and watch boats that were passing by.
Last but not least, Dunvegan Castle is a must-see landmark on the Isle of Skye. The castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, dating back to the 1200’s. Today, visitors can tour many of the castle’s rooms, see some interesting artifacts from Scotland’s history (including some of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s clothing, Old Bagpipes, and intricate paintings). In addition to the castle, visitors can explore the grounds, which range from formal gardens to pathways and bridges in the forest. You can also schedule to take a boat ride to look for seals and other wildlife. Check out their website to find out more about what Dunvegan Castle offers.