If you’re wondering what Isle of Skye attractions to add to your bucket list, then this guide is for you. Listed here are 16 of the best places to see on the Isle of Skye. You can expect plenty of picturesque landscapes, glimmering lochs, pretty villages and a fabulous coastline. There’s also fascinating local history to uncover – and this stretches back far further than you might even begin to imagine. From fine dining and a whisky distillery to stunning, unspoiled landscapes, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island.

Whether you want to hike, take a dip, look out for local wildlife or delve into Scottish history, read on to discover the top 16 must-visit places to add to your own Scotland bucket list

16 best places for your Skye bucket list

Portree

Portree Harbour

Among the best places to visit on the Isle of Skye is the capital, Portree. It’s a pretty harbour town with pastel-toned and whitewashed buildings lining the waterfront. Portree’s pier was designed by Thomas Telford, a famous Scottish engineer. 

This bustling seaside spot has enough in the way of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants to keep anyone busy for a while. You can also visit the colourful houses viewpoint on Bosville Terrace to snap iconic images, or climb up The Lump for sweeping views and a watchtower. 

Simply wandering around this attractive harbour town, dipping in and out of shops and cafes, is a pleasure in itself. Discovering Portree can definitely be a real highlight when visiting the Isle of Skye. 

Sligachan Bridge

Sligachan Old Bridge, Skye

Sligachan Bridge and the Sligachan waterfalls are easy to reach, as they can be found close to the Sligachan Hotel. This is situated by the main road connecting Portree to the Skye Bridge. A short circular hike of under a kilometre will take you there. 

Sligachan Bridge is also sometimes known as Sligachan Old Bridge, and is a stone structure with curving arches. There’s also a statue here, commemorating a pair of noteworthy Scottish climbing pioneers. 

You can get to Sligachan waterfalls by following the river from the Sligachan Hotel. While these are small, the landscape here is breathtakingly beautiful. A very worthwhile stop while you’re exploring the Isle of Skye. 

Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr, Skye

A must see on Skye is the famous Old Man of Storr. You’re likely to catch a glimpse of this dramatic rock while discovering the island, as it can be seen from several miles away. Both the rock formations and the landscape spread out beneath are among Scotland’s most photographed sites. 

The Old Man of Storr is around seven miles north of Portree. The Storr walk is very popular, and it takes around an hour-and-a-quarter to hike there and back from the car park.  It’s an uphill route of average difficulty, but do take care as sections can be sodden and slippery during – or following – wet weather. 

Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with superb views. Look out for the Storr Lochs, the Cuillin Hills, Portree, the Scottish mainland and Raasay and Rona Islands. 

Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

Kilt Rock is so-called because of its shape – the cliffside resembles a gigantic pleated skirt. Mealt Falls tumble from the pleats, cascading into the sea beneath. Kilt Rock is around 90 metres tall, and the falls are over 50 metres high. 

The site is under 10 miles north of Portree, near Mealt Loch and Staffin, and there’s a car park. If the sun is shining, look out for rainbow colours due to the reflections, and also listen out for the unusual sounds emitted by the cliffs and waterfalls. Whatever the weather, do dress for windy conditions, as it can get very chilly up here. 

Sometimes pipers are present, so you can hear this traditional Scottish instrument being played while gazing out over the ocean. Again, expect magnificent, jaw-dropping views. Some visitors have even been lucky enough to spot dolphins here. 

Dinosaur footprints in Staffin

Dinosaur footprint at Staffin on Skye

One of the more unique things to do on Skye is to head to Staffin in search of dinosaur footprints. An Corran Beach is the place to head to, and you should hunt around for the fossilised prints on the flat rocks behind the large boulders.

It’s easy to combine your search for ancient footprints with visits to Kilt Rock, Mealt Falls and The Quiraing, as An Corran Beach lies between the two. Hunting for the prints is good fun for all the family, and worth the effort as they’re remarkably well preserved. 

Once you’ve spotted the prints, it’s easy to imagine dinosaurs roaming freely around this breathtaking landscape. Even though that was millions of years ago. If you want to learn more, pay the Staffin Dinosaur Museum a visit too. 

The Quiraing

The Quiraing is also the result of ancient times. In this case it’s a landslide located on the Trotternish Ridge, specifically on the Meall na Suiramach’s eastern face. The escarpments here are particularly singular, and also very photogenic. 

Active types will enjoy hiking here, and there’s a popular four mile route that allows you to explore this unique landscape. You can join this from Staffin or Uig, and it’s a challenging route that takes around two hours to complete. 

Talisker Distillery

Talisker Distillery, Carbost (Skye)

As whisky is one of Scotland’s most famous exports, we reckon paying a visit to Talisker Distillery is essential while on the island. 

The distillery is located in Carbost village, on the shores of Loch Harport. As the island’s oldest working whisky distillery, it produces fine single malts, including Taliskers’ 10 year old whisky. As well as taking a tour and sampling the spirits, you can enjoy panoramic views over the Cuillins from here. 

Taking a tour comes highly recommended, and we recommend allowing around two hours for your visit in total. 

Lunch at the Oyster Shed

The Oyster Shed, Carbost (Skye)

Just a short drive from Talisker distillery, you’ll find the Oyster Shed. You need to drive up a steep hill from the village of Carbost and at first glance, you might think you’ve stumbled upon an industrial shed, however, you’ll find some amazing food along with lovely views out to the water and the mountains in the distance. It’s definitely a place to head to if you’re a fan of seafood although they do far more than just oysters. You’ll also find scallops, king prawns, lobster, crab, fish and chips, mussels and more. This place is a real gem! 

Fairy Pools

Fairy-Pools-Skye

The Fairy Pools are another of the top Isle of Skye destinations. Here it’s all about nature’s bounty, with local wildlife and wild swimming among the reasons to visit. You could combine the Fairy Pools with a distillery tour, as they’re located near the village of Carbost. Expect picturesque rock pools that are fed by waterfalls, and filled with mountain spring water. 

The walk from the car park via a gravel path is around a mile-and-a-half. If you want to take a dip then it’s best to bring a wetsuit, as conditions can be rather bracing at the Fairy Pools! It does get very busy here so we strongly recommend heading there early in the day and on a week day if possible. There is a large purpose-built car park and the cost to park is £6 (money is ploughed back into local, community projects).

The Fairy Glen

Like the Quiraing, the Fairy Glen was created by an old landslip. The landscape here has an ethereal, otherworldly air, which is perhaps why legends about fairies continue to circulate. 

You can find the Fairy Glen among the hills overlooking Uig. If you’re driving, take the right turn just before the Uig Hotel. The fact that it’s on the Trotternish Peninsula makes it easy to combine a visit to the Fairy Glen with seeing other Skye sights, such as the Old Man of Storr, The Quiraing and Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

Spend a while here and you can enjoy scrambling on rocks, wandering among the hills and snapping lovely pictures for posterity. 

Visit Dunvegan Castle [seasonal opening]

Dunvegan Castle (Skye)

If you’re wondering where to go on Skye and you love history, then you cannot miss Dunvegan Castle. The fortress is part of the MacLeod Estate, which occupies a 42,000 acre site on the Isle of Skye. As well as the castle, the site offers magnificent gardens to explore.

This is one dramatically sited castle, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the waters of Loch Dunvegan. In addition to discovering the castle and gardens here, you can learn about the history of the MacLeod clan, visit the cafe and gift shops, stay at a cottage or even book a seal-spotting boat trip. 

Please note: the castle is closed during the winter months, click here to check opening times

Coral Beach

Coral Beach (Skye)

Head along a single track road from Dunvegan, drive for around 15 minutes and you’ll get to Coral Beach. It’s an incredibly colourful stretch of coastline, and instead of sand it comprises crushed white coral. Hence the name.

The walk from the car park to the beach and back again takes around three quarters of an hour. As you’re passing through farmland, you might see cows and sheep along the way. 

When it’s a sunny day in Scotland, this beach looks like something you’d find in the tropics, complete with azure waters and pristine white ‘sand’. 

Neist Point Lighthouse

Another must-see when visiting the Isle of Skye is Neist Point Lighthouse. This is positioned on the Isle of Skye’s most westerly headland, Neist Point. The lighthouse was first used in 1909, and was designed by David Alan Stevenson, a Scottish engineer who specialised in lighthouses. 

As you might expect, the dramatic views from Neist Point Lighthouse are among the reasons to pay it a visit. You can see the ocean and the Outer Hebrides beyond, and during summer you might even spot Minke whales, porpoises, dolphins or even a basking shark. 

Dinner at the Three Chimneys

This is a real bucket list experience and one you’ll need to save up more and book waaaaay ahead! Since the mid 1980s, the place to dine on the island has been the Three Chimneys in Colbost, close to Dunvegan. 

This restaurant promises a fine dining experience you’ll never forget. You can also expect breathtaking views over the loch, while savouring local Scottish produce cooked to perfection. Seafood is something of a speciality. 

A seven-course Chef’s Choice tasting menu showcases the eatery’s best cuisine. Alternatively, opt for a fixed price a la carte menu comprising two or three courses for lunch or four for dinner. 

Grave of Flora MacDonald

You might not find this one in every Isle of Skye travel guide. Flora MacDonald’s grave can be found at Kilmuir Cemetery on Skye. Marking her final resting place is a tall standing cross. It’s higher than the other gravestones here, and the hilltop site makes this an even more striking sight. 

Flora is famous as a heroine of the Scottish highlands. Following the Jacobite uprising and their defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Flora is credited with helping Bonnie Prince Charlie – aka Charles Edward Stuart – escape to Skye. Legend has it that she dressed the prince as a maid so that he could evade capture. 

Flora and her husband lived out their latter days in Kingsburgh on Skye, and it’s even said that she died in the very bed that was once occupied by Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

Elgol 

Our final pick for those wondering what to do on the Isle of Skye is Elgol. This small Scottish hamlet comprises a series of spread-out cottages by Loch Scavaig on Skye’s south coast. Something of a hidden gem, this village offers plenty of scope for peaceful pastimes, so it’s perfect when you’re craving some downtime. 

Head to the harbour here to drink in majestic views of the Cuillins, or take a hike if you feel like stretching your legs. Several routes depart from here, so you can discover the local coastline or explore the Red and Black Cuillins. You could also board a boat to take you across Loch Scavaig to Loch Coruisk, a narrow, two-mile stretch of water with the dramatic Black Cuillin as a backdrop. 

The route to Elgol via the Strathaird peninsula is also memorable, featuring views of Strath Suardal, the Red Cuillins, and the graveyard and ruins of Cill Chriosd.

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