The popularity of the Island of Skye, located just off Scotland’s north-west coast, is easy to understand. The Scottish islands have long been a visitor attraction with many people drawn to the idea of a small island adventure. Skye, which is the largest of the Inner Hebridean island chain, also has a great advantage, with easy accessibility thanks to a road bridge from the mainland, rather than the need to book a ferry. In addition, Skye’s fabulous landscape, encompassing a dramatic coastline, atmospheric lowlands and majestic mountains and ridges, has provided a backdrop for numerous popular films, including, in the past decade alone, Outlander, The BFG, Macbeth and Stardust. Once people discover that the movie directors want to be on Skye, they come to see why. Skye also boasts many well-marketed attractions. Popular gems include the attractive main town of Portree, The Fairy Pools, the castles of Dunvegan and Armadale, a memorial to the remarkable Flora MacDonald, dinosaur footprints at Staffin and Duntulm, the Quiraing and a host of arts and crafts outlets. You can visit many of these on a walking holiday to the Island of Skye, as well as during an Isle of Skye Rail and Hike and a drive and hike trip to Skye. And how about a long walk on Skye? Our advice is to book early because accommodation can fill up very quickly at the height of the season, or why not travel earlier or later in the year to avoid the crowds.
7 of the best lesser-known Skye gems
Skye is also home to many lesser-known highlights. You will need to get a little off the beaten track to see some of these but it will offer a refreshingly less populated outing and the chance to take fabulous photos.
Just west of Elgol is the Spar Cave, which was visited by Scottish author and poet Sir Walter Scott in 1814. He refers to the cave in his poem Lord of the Isles. The 80m deep cave is remote and wild – and filled with stunning flowstone formations. To reach the cave you make a short walk from the village of Glasnakille, but the approach is over seaweed-covered boulders and is only accessible for one hour either side of low water. Make sure you check tide times and route information at the tearoom in Elgol. Amazing Spar Cave. Pic credit: John Allan
Dunvegan is the location of a castle and also the place to see a very pretty beach made of crushed white grains of coral-like maerl. They look like cake sprinkles! You could enjoy a wild swim here at high tide. Remember to take your snorkel and explore the rocks at the north end of the bay. Coral beaches. Pic credit: F Leask.
Loch Nan Leachd
Another fabulous and small white beach is found at Coruisk. It is reached by boat from Elgol or on a long walk. You could also choose to walk a circuit of the loch. The views of the Cuillin mountains are spectacular. Loch nan Leachd. Pic credit: John Allan
Oronsay tidal island
Just north of Bracadle, there is a minor road to Ullinish Country Lodge and then shortly afterwards a sign for Oronsay Path. The walk to the tiny tidal island reveals impressive high cliffs, small sandy beaches, a large cave and a natural arch. There are more views of the stunning Cuillin.
The Isle of Oronsay at sunrise
A magnificent double waterfall with a large plunge pool is found at picturesque Fairy Glen (not to be confused with the much-visited Fairy Pools) in Uig. Fairy Glen itself takes the form of strange and magical seeming landscape formed by an ancient landslip.
Rubha Huish & the Lookout
A former coastguard watch station sits on top of high cliffs at Meall Tuath at the most northerly point of the Isle of Skye. The views from the watch room, which is now a renovated shelter open to the public, are tremendous.
Fairy Glen. Pic credit: Wild Guide Scotland.
Neist Point. Pic credit: Wild Guide Scotland.
If you would like any more information on visiting the Isle of Skye, don't hesitate to get in touch with our destination specialists who will be more than happy to help.