The Isle of Skye has some of the most dramatic and scenic landscapes in Scotland. Rugged sea cliffs, roaring waterfalls, enchanting castles, and epic mountains and glens provide for an amazing road trip.
With only one day at your disposal in the Isle of Skye the Trotternish Loop should be the focal point of your explorations. This area of Skye contains some of the most extraordinary scenery. So if your time is limited you will still be able to experience some of the best of Skye. And because it is all within close proximity to each other it can be accomplished in one day.
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For the purpose of this itinerary the points of interest are all in a counter-clockwise route. However, you may chose to go in the opposite direction and may find it more beneficial crowd wise that way. The choice is yours just prioritize depending on what you wish to experience the most.
Note: This itinerary is assuming you arrive in Skye the night before and are staying in Portree. It is a very full day. This itinerary works best during the summer months when days are longer.
Exploring the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is steeped in legend and myths. It is a place where fairies and giants roam. Where bloody battles took place and ancient castles stand. A rugged and beautiful land with scenery that seems straight out of a fantasy book.
Don’t rush your way through. Take time to stop along the narrow and winding roads. Marvel at the breathtaking scenery around you and watch as the sheep and coos graze on the pastures. I highly recommend that you get an early start, have a full Scottish breakfast and get to exploring this fantastic Isle of wonders with the itinerary below:
Old Man of Storr
This rocky formation that can be seen from miles away is famous for its magnificent views. The Storr is one of my top 5 hikes to do while in Skye and I highly recommend it. Keep in mind this a popular hike with a small car park that fills up quickly. Also it is not a circular hike, you will go up and down on the same path and it takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete. I do suggest you allow yourself at least 2 hrs so you can take the time to stop and enjoy the amazing views.
Not far away from The Storr you will come to your first waterfall. It is easy to drive right past it so keep your eyes open for the small car park off of A855 about 5 miles south of Staffin. It is a dramatic gorge and 300 ft high waterfall are quite the sight. You won’t need more than 1/2 hr to walk to the viewing platforms and enjoy the sight and sound of this beautiful waterfall.
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
The beautiful Kilt Rock is an ancient rock formation that resembles a Scottish kilt. And Mealt Falls is a beautiful waterfall that is seen on its folds dramatically crashing onto the beach below. It is a short 5 minute drive from Lealt Falls and worth pulling over for 15 minutes to observe and photograph its beauty.
The Quiraing is one of my favorite hikes in all of Skye and it is one you won’t want to miss. It has dramatic views and varied landscapes which were created by a massive landslide. There is a winding single track road that takes you to a fairly large car park. The hike itself is a circular trail of about 4.5 miles but you don’t have to do the entire trail to get a taste of its splendor.
Conditions on the trail are dependent on the weather and can be quite slick and muddy in the rain. So make sure to have appropriate footwear. Some parts are very narrow and at one point you will be scrambling down and up rocks in a gorge. This particular area I would avoid in the rain as it can become quite dangerous. However, on a clear day it is not a difficult hike and you can see out for miles. It is amazing how varied the terrain is with cliff peaks, valley dips and even water views. Allow yourself at least 2 hours to complete the hike.
Located on the Northern coast of the Trotternish peninsula this ruined castle still stands as a reminder of the times when the chiefs of Clan McDonald ruled this area. It is not as frequented as some of the other attractions on the Isle of Skye and quite frankly there is not much left of the castle today. However, the ruins are surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs of basalt and the view alone is worth the visit. There are sign posts advising to proceed with care as the structure is very unstable. It is also a location that is said to be haunted. So if you dare, take a few minutes to explore and you will be well rewarded with superb views.
A magical glen with grassy mounds and strange stone circles will make you believe in fairies once again. A spot filled with magic and where everything seems possible. Not an easy place to find but worth the effort it takes to locate. If you are searching on google maps look for Castle Ewen and it will give you the best directions. Allow yourself 45 min to 1 hr to explore this unusual and magical landscape on the Isle of Skye.
If you are not much of a hiker and did not spend much time on the Storr or the Quiraing then you could easily incorporate a visit to Dunvegan castle. This is also a great option if it is a rainy day as you can take shelter inside the castle walls. Dunvegan Castle has been continuously occupied by the the same family for over 800 years. It is also the home of the fairy flag and you can learn all about its legends on the guided castle tour. For more information on visiting hours and cost please click here.
If you are coming from Dunvegan Castle it will take you about 40 min to drive to Neist point. The winds can be fierce but the hike is not a difficult one. The path is well marked with some areas being paved including steps and a handrail. The lighthouse which was built in the 1800’s is not open to visitors but its location at the edge of the cliff is dramatic and awe-inspiring. Bring a picnic and watch the sun set over the horizon for a picture perfect ending to your day on the Isle of Skye.
If you are looking for a family friendly B&B on the Isle of Skye then read my review of Garalapin House here.
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Are you planing a visit to Scotland and to Skye? What are you looking forward to seeing the most? Leave me your comments below or lets get social on Instagram or Facebook.