The Isle of Skye is filled with a copious amount of sights for a tiny island which is located off the coast of Scotland. It is easy to get to but not all together easy to get around. So, put on the Skye Boat song, and let's get exploring.
Things to know:
- Locations can be 30 minutes from each other.
- There are almost no signs until you are about 1,000 feet from the entrance of where you want to go.
- Locals are extremely kind and helpful.
- Midges are real bitches.
- Expect single lane roads with dodgy passing areas and having to stop for sheep frequently.
- Pubs may be open past 9PM but no one will feed you except for an Indian restaurant in Portree (the port town that is also the largest town on the island).
Sights That I'd Recommend Not Missing:
A fairly easy hike (as it's not very steep), The Quiraing is a transformative experience. It is rare in the digital world that we are surrounded by nature in such an expansive way. Hills, lochs, and the ocean all within view. You feel like you are in a movie. Do not miss this.
Old Man of Storr
A sight to be seen. It is one of the more picturesque spots and will probably warrant an Instagram posts. It is a beautiful rock formation that isn't far from The Quirang so I suggest exploring them together. There is a pleasant hike but the pictures will be better from afar. Whether you're in the center of the formation or looking from where you parked, you'll definitely have some serious "Outlander" feels.
This is where I say that midges are bitches. The only things midges like more than biting the crap out of you are wet and overgrown spaces. The Fairy Pools are ideal for the midges. But grab yourself some AVON LOTION, slather yourself, and head to the Fairy Pools. It's gorgeous. The sound of the waterfalls and the blue water is amazing. We hit it right at sunset which was a lovely surprise as we watched the rose gold light fade across the rocks.
The Fairy Glenn
Moments when you're free to explore and feel like a kid again? SIGN ME UP! Between the mystic rock formations and the lush, green foothills, you really feel like you can roam free. Our group ended up wandering to all different ends of the Fairy Glenn. It was basically recess.
So, if you want wifi then you'll want to hang around there. The island (actually all of Scotland) isn't exactly in on the grid. I asked about this in a different part of Scotland and a man replied, "Figure out how to move all the mountains and I'll get you better wifi." So, that was that. Portree has a cute town square and is everything a fisherman's town should be. If you want to eat something past 9:30 PM, this is the place to do it and it will be Indian. There are plenty of pubs and some scenic, bright homes along the water.
The Tallisker Distillery
Come on, come all, drink whisky with no e, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Tallisker is one of the most popular scotches in the world and the tour of the distillery will tell you why. You'll end up loving the amber goodness even more as you hear about the great fire and taste the blends that only are available in the U.K. That's right, some of their whiskies were already voting out of the EU (and all international trade) pre-Brexit.
Where to eat:
Most mornings, we ate breakfast with our host, Angus and his wife. His wife never spoke and I'm pretty sure hated the idea of AirBnB. She was also the mental image of the Scottish grandmother I never had.
Skye Pie Cafe
Traditional pub food but wildly tasting. As the name would suggest, you could eat a lot of pie here and still ask for more and more. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with tea cups and needlepoint. It is absolutely cozy.
The Oyster Shed
This was my favorite find of the whole trip. It was literally just a shed that we stumbled upon with the freshest oyster I ever had. The whole shed has Scottish products like sea salt from Skye or chocolate balsamic from Argyle. The man behind the counter is young and full of life. He is so proud of his establishment and told us they'd been featured in the LA times. The view is amazing. You can look over the hills to the sea. It's really somewhere to write home about.
Come on in, have a drink, and stay for the wifi. That's really all I can comment about it :)
We didn't eat here, though, I hear it has good Scottish fare. This is one of the latest spots open for a drink in Skye. The pub is full of whisky, pool tables, and people. The people spill outside to the gravel parking lot where there are picnic tables. Maybe it was just our experience but the lads seemed keen to meet some lasses...so, if you're looking for own Scottish romance, this may be the place. But overall, it's just good fun.