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If, like me, you love the great outdoors then the Isle of Skye should definitely be on your list of amazing places to visit. For such a small island, there is so much to do. That is, in addition to just staring in wonder at the amazing scenery. So here is my list of the 8 best things to do on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Unmissable things to do on the Isle of Skye
Don’t miss these incredible things to do on the beautiful and rugged Isle of Skye. There’s something for everyone!
Take a tour of the Talisker whisky distillery
Everyone knows that Scotland is famous for whisky, and with that being the case, it would be a crime not to visit at least one distillery on your trip to Scotland. Talisker is the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye and therefore offers plenty of history and heritage to boot. The guided tour, which includes a chance to taste the whisky, lasts 1 hour and costs £17 per person. Even if you’re not much of a whisky drinker (like myself), it is still interesting to learn what goes into crafting this popular drink.
If you want a more in-depth tutoring of how the distillery works accompanied by a longer tasting session, you can pay £48 for the Talisker Rare and Exclusive Tasting Experience. The only thing I would say is that with the Isle of Skye becoming more popular, the distillery tours get booked up, so it is advisable to book your places on a tour at least 2-3 days in advance.
Visit the Stein Inn, the oldest Inn on Skye
When I picture evenings on the Isle of Skye, it most definitely includes savouring a single malt next to a roaring open fire in the corner of a cosy old inn. So, when we stumbled across the Stein Inn, an 18th-century inn, which happens to be the oldest on the island, I thought all my dreams had come true! Not only is this inn cosy beyond belief, the food is pretty great too and the staff couldn’t be friendlier. The menu changes daily, offering up seasonal produce and some of the freshest seafood around. And for the whisky lover, they have a bar stocked with over 130 different single malts! Impressive or what?
Visit Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
Dunvegan Castle continues to be used today as the home of the Chief of the clan MacLeod, as it has been for the last 800 years. I have always been enthralled by the history of the Scottish clans and found it fascinating to hear some of the stories from the guides situated around the castle. The castle itself is a beautiful building surrounded by lovely scenery and pretty gardens. You can pay extra to go out on boat trips to see the seals but we were lucky enough to see them from the castle itself and managed to get quite close on the banks opposite.
In 2022, adult entry into the castle and gardens costs £14, with children getting in for £9.
Take a hike
You can’t go to the Isle of Skye and not fit in a little hiking. You don’t have to be an avid outdoors enthusiast or a seasoned hiker, you just need some sensible clothes and a good pair of shoes. There are hiking trails for everyone – young or old, fit or not so fit, hardcore adventurers or laidback strollers. For more information on hiking on the Isle of Skye, check out my articles on hiking the Quiraing and watching the sunrise at the Old Man of Storr. They were both relatively easy hikes, so are a good place to start for those that want a bit of a slower paced trip!
Look out for wildlife
There is a vast variety of wildlife on and around the Isle of Skye which makes it a great destination for animal lovers. You may be able to spot anything from deer, eagles and otters to dolphins, whales, seals and the cute and fluffy highland cattle. There are quite a few companies that offer boat trips out to see the seals, dolphins and whales but only at certain times of the year so it is worth researching in advance what is available during your visit, especially if visiting outside of the summer months.
We spent quite a bit of our trip staring in desperation at any bird that flew overhead to try and spot a sea eagle. Apparently, according to the waitress in the Stein Inn, eagles are pretty easy to spot as “they look like barn doors flying through the air”! I guess that means they are pretty big then!
Catch the sunset from Neist Point
As if an amazing sunset isn’t enough, Neist Point also offers epic rugged coastline and a pretty cool lighthouse, which is one of the most famous in Scotland. Make sure to wrap up warm because the wind up there was extremely strong but the awesome sunset more than made up for the wind chills.
Explore the Fairy Pools
Framed by the imposing backdrop of the Cuillin mountain range, these famous pools draw people from all over the world. These magical pools flow one into the other, complete with beautiful waterfalls and the clearest water I have ever seen! If you’re brave enough, you can even enjoy some wild swimming. Call me chicken if you will, but it was October and it was cold and there was no way I was stripping off to jump into that ice cold water! Maybe next time!
Hike to the Old Man of Storr to watch the sunrise
I spoke in more detail about watching the sunrise from the Old Man of Storr here. A sunrise is always pretty special to me as I don’t see many of them, so to see it from the top of a mountain makes it even more epic. It can be hard getting up so early, but sitting on top of an awesome mountain and watching the sun rise over the horizon is such an amazing way to start the day!
In my opinion, these are the best things to do on the Isle of Skye, but I’m sure there is so much more to see! Let me know in the comments what I should check out next time because we will definitely be going back.