Isle of Skye: The Gateway to Scotland’s Most Dramatic Scenery

Isle of Skye: The Gateway to Scotland’s Most Dramatic Scenery

Visually arresting, the Isle of Skye is filled with awe-inspiring landscapes. From inlets and bays to castles and villages, every corner is a feast for the eyes. This is Scotland's nature at its best.

This rugged gem of Scotland is the gateway to awe-inspiring landscapes. In the Isle of Skye, inlets, bays and shimmering lochs (lakes) spread over shades of green form a mesmerising pattern with the sea. This is a land where time seems to stand still and as you explore its corners, you will find yourself walking on 500 million years of history. Wrap your heart around the beautiful villages and castles whose towering presence beckon you to step in.

isle of skye

Image credit: Korz 19

One of the more popular castles that has been captured by photographers around the world is the Eilean Donan Castle. An iconic Scottish monument, the castle is an authentic restoration from its ruins to its medieval state in the 1900s and is located on an island at a point where three sea-lochs meet. Surrounded by the forested mountains, the setting will leave you in awe. The castle is abundant in history and heritage and yet a visit to its grounds promises a lot of fun for kids, making it a popular destination for families. Because of its surrounds, the island is teeming with wildlife too; porpoise, otters and dolphins are regularly spotted by visitors. Having been to many castles in the UK and Europe, I attest that the Eilean Donan Castle is one of the more beautiful ones given its superbly romantic surroundings.

Image credit: Petr Meissner

The Isle of Skye is steeped in myth and legend – a place where giants and fairies roam. It is little wonder that this part of the world is affectionately known as the Land of Fairies. There is even a famous, highly-photographed mountain waterfall called the Fairy Pools. Here, a long series of small waterfalls form beautiful crystal blue pools that cascade down from the towering Black Cuillin range. A set of 36 imposing peaks, this mountain range at the southern end of Skye is a hiking and climbing mecca for the last 150 years. From the visitor car park, it is a short 30-minute hike to see the gleaming, bright turquoise Fairy Pools. You may even jump in for a dip and let the view take your breath away, if the icy cold water has not done that for you.

Image credit: NOLA Focal

While most visitors to Scotland would include the famous Loch Ness in their itinerary, I find the journey through the highlands to the Isle of Skye a more impressive visual feast. The dramatic landscapes and sea cliffs along the way make for great photo opportunities. In the distance, jagged edges of majestic mountains rise to meet the sky. Before long, you will feel like you have been transported to an epic fantasy movie.

Image credit: Sonse

While the landscapes seem surreal and abandoned greenery stretched for miles, small, quaint towns along the way will give you glimpses of civilisations. There are plenty of cosy restaurants, pubs and cafes for you to grab a hot meal or just take a break from your adventure. Do note that the towns are spread out over a distance from each other.

isle of skye

Image credit: Yashima

The highlight of my trip to the Isle of Skye is my stopover at its capital, Portree, a fishing village overlooking a sheltered bay. Besides having all the conveniences a visitor could wish for and accommodations with unforgettable harbour views, Portree is captivating in its superb natural setting, being surrounded by highlands and cliffs. The harbour is the focal point of the island and brightly-painted buildings that line it forms a beautiful contrast to the natural stone and whitewashed buildings on the other side of the village. This unique setting of the harbourside is the iconic image of Portree that you may see in various travel brochures and websites. Having been there, it comes as no surprise that Portree has been recently listed as one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. If ever you have a chance to visit the Isle of Skye, this is one place you should not miss. The island lives up to its reputation as the most scenic part of Scotland.

isle of skye

There are many options to get to the Isle of Skye; by air, train or public bus. The nearest local airport is Inverness. If you are flying into Glasgow or Edinburgh, you can sign up for a 3D2N tour for a hassle-free trip. If independent travel is your preference, you can rent a vehicle and plan a self-drive route from either of the cities too.

For a better chance of dry weather, travel the Skye during summer, between April and mid-June. However, this is also when the roads and accommodations get very busy so make your bookings in advance!

About Author

Asnah Ahmad
Asnah Ahmad

Asnah is a philosopher, thinker and writer who takes photographs of everything but herself when she travels. She has been travelling for 22 years and been to 76 destinations. She will continue to map the world in her heart, one destination at a time. She loves seeing animals in the wild, both on land and in the sea, and has conversations with them. She truly believes, like her cats, all animals understand every word she says. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Tripthots.


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