Guide to the Isle of Skye in Scotland

The Old Man of Storr - The Isle of Skye, Scotland
The Isle of Skye; Where it is and how to get there?

The Isle of Skye is situated off the West Coast of Scotland and connected to the mainland by a bridge, or you can get the ferry if you want a more exciting way of crossing the small strip of the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

The Isle of Skye is a tiny island just 50 miles from north to south and 25 miles from west to east, but don’t let this fool you when planning your itinerary. Getting around can take some time. There is often one road to a beauty spot, and this starts and ends somewhere around the largest town, Portree. We estimated that it took about an hour to get to most places from anywhere on the Island unless you are situated close by.

 

 That said, it’s worth every minute in the car. Famous for its scenery and landscapes, it did not disappoint. 

 

As we were travelling during Covid and we entered Scotland straight after they opened up, some of the usual tourist attractions such as whisky distilleries and boat trips were not accessible, so we spent all of our time in the great outdoors! 

The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye
Where is it?

The Isle of Skye can be found on the West Coast of Scotland in the UK.

The Island is 50 miles long and 25 miles wide. The capital is Portree but does have many other areas and villages dotted around the Island.

 

Skye is a truly stunning island and the largest of the Inner Hebrides; it’s home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes hence being one of the most-visited parts of the UK. 

How do you get there?

Flying

If you are planning on flying in then, it’s worth noting that the nearest International Airport is Glasgow and the nearest Local Airport is Inverness.

 

Car Hire 

There are many cars hire companies at the airports as with most, but it’s worth booking in advance for both speed and ease. It is possible to hire a car on Skye in the town of Portree if you plan on getting there via public transport, but again, it’s worth booking in advance.

Drive from Glasgow 

It is 216 miles from Glasgow to Portree on Skye, and it will typically take 5-6 hours to drive.

Drive from Inverness 

It is 112 miles from Inverness to Portree on Skye; usually, it will take about 2.5 hours.

 

Train

Although there are no railway lines on the Isle of Skye, two train stations on the mainland are very close and connect to local bus routes.

  • Glasgow to Mallaig – then the Ferry to Skye.
  • Inverness to Kyle – then a Bus on to the Island.

 

National Busses

The Bus Company ‘City Link’ presently offer coaches from both Glasgow & Inverness to Skye. You can find full details of bus routes from Glasgow or Inverness to Skye online. In the summer, it can be worth booking online to ensure you get a seat.

 

Car Ferry

There are three main ferry ports on Skye, which are all operated by the company Calmac.

  • Mallaig (mainland) to Armadale (Skye)
  • Sconser (Skye) to Raasay
  • Uig (skye) to Lochmaddy (North Uist) or Tarbert (Harris)

 

The Skye Bridge

Though Skye is an island, there is a road bridge spanning the sea between two villages which we used ourselves.

If you are driving following the directions from a Sat Nav, be aware of travelling from the south as some devices will take you to Mallaig, where there is the ferry to Skye, as my brother found out when coming up to join us! Check your route carefully to ensure it takes you slightly longer using the free road bridge unless you fancy hopping on the ferry!

Neist Point Lighthouse on the most westerly point of the Isle of Skye
Where can I stay?

There are many hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostels, campsites in and around Skye, and lots of Air B & B choices. As the island is not huge and there is usually only one main route to spots, there is no right or wrong place to stay, and wherever you choose, you can guarantee it will be beautiful! 

How long should I spend here?

We spent an amazing two weeks on the Isle of Skye! If you have less time, you may have to pack it all in as you won’t want to miss a thing! Then again, we agreed we could have seen all there was to see in 3-5 days at a comfortable pace. 

What is the weather like? 

When we read that The Isle of Skye possesses its own climate, we scoffed a little. Okay, a lot. But believe me, the weather here changes like the wind and is far more temperamental than any we experienced on our month-long trip in Scotland.

Take waterproofs, hats, cool clothing, and boots and keep them in your car because who knows that the weather will be like an hour to an hour. 

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