Sing me a song of a lass that was gone! You don’t need to be an Outlander fan to fall in love with everything Scotland’s Isle of Skye has to offer. Sweeping emerald landscapes straight out of middle earth, cozy fishing villages, whisky distilleries and the scent of peat moss fires on the air everywhere are only a few reasons to go. Here are my tips for having an amazing road trip to Skye:
Begin in Edinburg
You’ll most likely be flying into the airport there, so do yourself a favor and enjoy all the quirky cool one of my favorite cities on the planet has to offer before shipping out to Skye. I can’t get enough of this city’s funky fairy tale come to life vibe. It’s just a fact, every other city I’ll ever love just has to put up with my mad crush on Edinburgh!
Ideas For A Fab 24 Hours in Edinburgh…
Situated right on the Royal Mile, bend your mind a little bit with three floors of interactive exhibits, then treat yourself to a 365 degree view of Edinburgh’s rooftops. Just remember to buy your ticket in advance, as they tend to sell out!
Speaking of the Royal Mile, stop and appreciate the street musicians for a while. I fell a little bit in love with The Saw Man while I was there.
And if you still can’t get enough live music, head downhill to one of the many pubs offering live music every evening. I had a hell of a time drinking and shmoozing with the band at Rabbie Burn’s Pub, but there are tons of other watering holes to be found in that area, some of them very literary!
Or if you’re in the mood for something a bit more relaxing, head on over to the Roseleaf, where they serve cocktails in teapots and stock a full menagerie of hats for you to wear while you sip them!
But what are you still doing in the big city, kid!? Get thee to Skye!
Be A Braveheart
Stop in the university town of Sterling at the William Wallace monument, so you can hike up to the top and shout FOR FREEDOM! (You know you want to!) The views are great and the historical reenactment they’ve got going on there is fun for folks of all ages.
Visit Eilean Donan Castle
Situated on a small island where three sea lochs meet, Eilean Donan Castle is iconic for a reason which makes her well worth a pit stop on your way to Skye. Try a sunset visit for maximum Claire Fraser vibes.
Pop Into Portree
Portree is Skye’s most bustling town, so many travellers choose to make it their base. There’s a wealth of adorableness to explore here from a picturesque harbor to a smattering of cute vintage and handmade shops to some seriously top notch seafood. It also houses one of Skye’s most substantial tourist information centers, so it’s a great pit stop to relax, refuel your mind and body and plan your travel forward.
Hike The Cuillins
There’s just something captivating about the Cuillins. Don’t be fooled, these dramatic crags may seem close by and manageable when viewed from sea level, but they pack a serious punch, offering some of the most challenging hiking in the UK. I stayed directly in the shadow of the mighty Cuillins at the cozy Sligachan Self Catering Lodge. This is an ideal base from which to explore the entire Isle of Skye. Sligachan offers a homey feel, replete with the ability to build yourself a roaring fire in the evening. If you want to rough it a little there’s also a campground nearby.
Wander the Fairy’s Glenn
It’s easy to believe in fairies as you explore Skye, and the natural beauty of the Fairy’s Glenn will definitely make you feel as if you’ve tumbled into another dimension. You can commune with the Fae Folk by hiking climbing this area on foot, no pixie dust required. It’s easy to medium hiking and climbing across really interesting and unusual terrain, making it a more manageable alternative to the colossal Cuillins!
Visit A Whisky Distillery
There’s a smattering of whisky distilleries all over the Island, but Talisker is a handy detour from the Fairy Glen. Even if you’re not a fan of whisky, the brewing process is fascinating, as well is the history of the whisky trade on Skye! And yes, they will give you some free samples for sipping, so long as you’re of age.
Stop And See The Oyster Man
If all that whisky sipping made you work up a hunger, then I’ve got the place for you! What could be more authentically Skye than noshing on fresh seafood with a view of the Cuillins in the distance? The Oyster Shed will indulge all of your cravings whether it’s for raw oysters on the half-shell, smoked Scottish game, cheese, chutney, even a bowl of that ubiquitous Scottish delicacy, Cullen Skink. If you love seafood you can’t miss it.
Check Out The Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Viaduct is famous for so many reasons. You may recognize the Viaduct from the Harry Potter movies, but it’s significance dates back to 1800s. Today you can take the West Highland Railway’s Jacobite Steam Train on an eighty-five mile journey from Fort William to Skye. Steam train travel is an ideal way to soak up the scenery in a beautiful country like Scotland, so take the opportunity to do a little retro style sightseeing! No time for the train? Glenfinnan also has its own visitor’s center which you can drive to and then explore the area on foot.
Hear me out! Driving without destination is one of the simple pleasures of a road trip, Skye is an Island, so how lost can you really get? I’m usually a public transit kind of girl, but road tripping offers the opportunity to go at your own pace and linger on any incredible vista you happen to stumble upon.
Get lost in Skye and you may just stumble upon…
Moody and dramatic black stone beaches…
A landscape fit for exploring with Hobbits…
…And more utterly magnificent mountains!
Grab your wellies and your favorite wool sweater, because it is worth it to brave the infamous Scottish weather to discover the seemingly limitless and haunting beauty of Skye. However you choose to explore, a visit to Skye will stoke your imagination and leave you breathless to return!
What are your favorite road trip destinations?