One Perfect Day in Skye

Isle of Skye - The Quiraing

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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Perfect day on Skye, Scotland

 

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

Old Man Storr Skye
Old Man 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.

 

Lealt Falls

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

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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

The Quairaing on the Isle of Skye
The Quairaing

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.

 

Duntulum Castle

Duntulum Castle on the Isle of Skye
Duntulum Castle

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.

 

Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen on Isle of Skye
Fairy Glen

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.

 

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle Isle of Skye Scotland
Dunvegan Castle

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.

 

Neist Point

Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye
Neist Point lighthouse

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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Skye Scotland

 

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. 

 

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27 Comments

    1. You may be lucky to spot some coos and well my kids still look for fairies. Hope to see you in Scotland and let me know if I can ever assist with any planning.

  1. Thank you so much for this very detailed and beautifully illustrated itinerary for one day in the Isle of Skye. I particularly appreciate your very exact timing suggestions and the note that one would need to arrive the night before to accomplish the entire suggested list. The Fairy Glenn looks so perfectly otherworldly, its definitely stolen my imagination! I can’t wait to visit!

    1. Thank you Erin glad you have found it useful and hope it will assist with your trip planning. Let me know if I can be of any help.

  2. Skye looks out of the world. The landscapes are stunning. I felt that the rock formations of the Storr looked pretty intriguing. The fact that the place is so pristine adds to its charm. Your pictures have captured the beauty of the place so stunningly.

  3. Is the QuiraingTrail doable for hikers with average fitness? I was discussing the Isle of Skye with hubby and he would absolutely love to go! We stayed in Edinburgh few years ago and loved it. Somewhere else in Scotland has been high on the list.

    1. Yes totally doable I did it with my young kids so if they can do it anyone can. Skye is a dream and you should definitely visit next time you are in Scotland. Let me know if I can help with anything.

  4. The Isle of Skye is so beautiful – with some incredible sights to see. It looks like you had great weather whilst you were up there too – I have heard that it can get a bit wild in the wind! And your shot of Neist Point with the cloud trails is simply stunning – well done!

    1. Yes I was blessed with beautiful weather for 1 out of the 3 days I was there and I made the best of it. But weather should not stop your explorations, it changes rapidly and what looks like rain and heavy fog can easily turn to sun a few hours later. Plus it is beautiful even in moody weather.

  5. I think I believe in fairies now after seeing Fairy Glen! Isle of Skye looks incredible, and I hope I get to visit one day soon. I’m not the best hiker, but these hikes you described sound doable, especially to a beginner like me. Your photos just make me want to go more!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Its easy to believe in fairies when visiting a place like this. It has a magic to it. Hope you get to visit and experience it for yourself soon.

  6. I traveled through Ireland a few years back and to date its one of my favourite countries. I havent been to the Isle of Skye but wow your pictures makes me want to go there right now! Loved the fairy Glen! Saving this post for later as a refrence.

    1. Ireland is also a beautiful country and if you liked it there I am positive you will fall in love with Scotland and Skye when you visit.

  7. What a magical little road trip this is – full of all my favorite things – castles, lighthouses, waterfalls, and lovely hikes. I would love to do the Quiraing hike. Are there places to stay along the route so that you could make it into a weekend trip?

    1. Yes there are plenty of B&Bs but you must reserve in advance especially if you will be visiting during the busy summer months as it is a very popular destination. If you do have the opportunity I recommend at least 3 days to be able to enjoy more parts of the Isle as well as have a slower pace.

  8. You nailed it! This place truly does look like something straight from a fairy tale…or Game of Thrones hahaa :). It sounds like a jam-packed day, but I’m a true believer in making the most out of your time. So, if a day is all I have then I’m going to make the absolute most out of it, and this seems like the perfect itinerary. So much gorgeous scenery! I’d love to see Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

    1. Really Skye should be enjoyed in a much more leisurely way but if you only have a day then you can maximize it this way. But even if you see just a few of these it will still be worth it. Skye is trulls magical.

  9. Wow. Scotland is obviously on our list, but now it’s definitely up there for the Isle of Skye. We are HUGE hikers and love a good castle. And folklore! Fairy Glen is the epitome of everything I want in a trip, I swear. Looks like it’s straight out of a book. <3 Thanks for sharing this great itinerary with us. Can’t wait to use it!

    1. If you are a hiker then Scotland will provide plenty of opportunities for you some of which are in Skye. I know you will fall in Love with this beautiful country. Hope you get to visit soon.

  10. I love Scotland so much! I think Inverness and the Isle of Skye were my favorite for sure. I was interested to see if you put my favorites on there, and was surprised to find that they were there as well as some that I did not know were there – thanks for the tips, I am going to try and go back this next year. Gave me some good ideas.

    1. This was just a one day. You can easily spend 3-4 days on Skye and not cover all there is to do there. It truly is a special place and I hope you get the opportunity to return. I will have even more ideas for you soon and am always available via email or in social media if you want to discuss further.

  11. Wow this is a perfect tourist destination. I loved each and every attraction. All places are so natural with a beautiful combination of greenery and blue skies. FairyGlen and Duntulum Castle looks so beautiful. You have taken nice photographs.

  12. The island of Skye is so beautiful! I love how you listed the attractions in a geographically counter-clockwise order, so convenient for planning. Kilt Rock and Fairy Glen look breathtaking, along with all the other locations. Everything is so unique, what a perfect one day itinerary for Skye!

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