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I wish I could have spent a month on the Isle of Skye, but my week long adventure in Scotland would not allow for it. Skye proves a mystical place filled with faery glens, trickling brooks, and stunning cliffside scenery. For my Isle of Skye 2 day itinerary, I chose to rent a car, as seeing all of the main sights on the island is impossible in just a short time with public transport.
Many of the places you will stay will have a ride share board. If you don’t feel like renting a car yourself, you can hop on with someone else. I navigated the Isle of Skye by myself on my 2-day adventure, and it was easy and so much fun. I saw some incredible things and had the freedom to as I wanted. If you are truly hesitant about renting a car, you can take a tour with one of the many operators in Skye. Be warned that during the winter, things run a little slower and are often closed. There may not be any trips running while you are visiting, so you will be forced to take public transport or get your own means of transportation.
The Lonely Planet Travel Guide for Scotland is one of the best resources you can use while exploring Scotland, and especially the Isle of Skye. For traveling without a guide, this book will act as your personal guide. It will fill you in on history, details, and yummy places to eat. You can get it here for only $16.99
If you plan on visiting at least 2 museums, castles, or other historical monuments while visiting Scotland (which is strongly recommended) you should most definitely consider purchasing the explorer pass. You can learn more about it here. Basically, it is a pass that costs around £25 and gets you into many significant museums and attractions for a set amount of days while you are traveling Scotland. You can see the full list of attractions here.
Depending on how you plan to get around Scotland, you may want to look into buying another type of explorer pass for the busses. There are two different bus companies that run, but the one I ended up using the most was CityLink. You can purchase the passes at any bus station, but to learn more about what it entails you can click here.
I visited Skye in winter, and there was a pretty thick layer of snow on everything. This snow cover is rare, according to the locals, but it’s still worth pointing that it’s definitely possible. I can imagine in the summer it is quite rainy and muddy in Skye. Mud CAKED the boots I wore by the end of the day. (I was wearing white boots so this was TRAGIC!) You are going to get a little dirty in this beautiful place, so be prepared!
Portree is the main town in Skye. In Portree is the main bus station, grocery, food, car rental, accommodation, etc. This is most likely the town where the bus will drop you off, depending on where you are coming from. Portree is the town most travelers make their home base while exploring Skye. There are numerous walks and hikes right in the area that are well worth it if you have a few extra days.
Many of the roads in the Isle of Skye are one way. If you meet another driver on the road, one of you will have to pull over into one of the designated passing areas. If there isn’t one super close, one of you will have to back up until you find one. It can be a little confusing at first, especially if you are not used to driving on the left side of the road, but you will figure it out eventually! Thankfully, the Scottish folk are extremely friendly and welcoming.
I rented a car from Jansvans in Portree. I chose Jans because they were walkable from my accommodation, had good reviews, and were honestly the only ones to answer my phone call when I had questions. Jans I guess is a big convenience store type of thing, kind of like an Ace Hardware in America, but they also had car rentals. I made my reservation the day before, and walked to Jans to pick up my car at 8 am in the morning. The employees were all really kind and friendly, and they even gave me some tips for driving on the left side of the road. Clearly, some Americans have had problems with this before. They were really worried about me getting stuck in ice or snow, so the guy gave me his personal cell phone number in case I needed anything! Don’t worry, I didn’t end up needing it.
What surprised me the most is that even though I wasn’t 25, they still let me rent the car, and at the same rate, which is really kind when you are a young solo traveler just trying to get the most out of your trip. My 24-hour rental cost me around £50, which is way less than the cost of most tour companies.
The easiest town to stay in Skye is Portree. This makes a great home base because you can easily travel in any direction from this town, and it also has the most options for accommodation when it comes to booking. I love to use Air BnB or Hotels.Com to book my accommodation, or if I am on a budget I will use Hostelworld.
Here are some really great places to stay in Portree.
Oronsay B&B– This place is beautiful and right on the water.
Portree Youth Hostel This is where I stayed! Super basic, but really close to the bus station & lots of Friendly faces and a huge kitchen! It’s nothing special, but great for anyone on a budget and traveling solo!
Braeside Guest Rooms – Kinda wish I hadn’t been budgeting and stayed here!
Storr Apartments – If you’re road tripping your whole way through Scotland and not taking public transport, lemme tell you THIS IS THE PLACE TO STAY – it seems amazing!
If you are arriving at sky via public transportation, you probably won’t get into town until 1-3. You will either need to take the bus the entire way or take the train and transfer to a bus. For simplicity’s sake, I opted for the bus the entire route, however, it is totally up to your preference. This Isle of Skye 2 Day itinerary can easily adjust to fit a 3 or 4 or even 5-day itinerary, depending on how long you want to take at each stop.
At most places in Scotland, the path from the actual “attraction” keeps on going to even more equally incredible things. If you have the time to do this, I would 100% recommend. But, for those of us on a time crunch, these things I managed in just 2 short days on Skye.
After arriving in town and unloading into my hostel, I decided to hit the bus and head to Dunvegan Castle. This is definitely worth a visit and the castle itself is worth a few hours of your time, and so is the surrounding area worth just walking around.
This is all I did this day, besides eating a delicious dinner, but that is because day 2 is totally jammed pack. If you have a few more days to spend in Skye, I definitely recommend spreading all of these things out a little bit and taking your time with them. There are several castles and other hikes you can easily add to this list to fill more time in Skye, but here are all the main attractions you can crunch into a short time. (Without feeling too rushed.) Remember- I stop and take LOTS of photos at these places. As long as you keep a steady pace you will not feel rushed.
Here’s a comprehensive list and the map of the best route to take when visiting Skye!
Just south of Uig, which is one of the entrances to The Quiraing. There are dilapidated cottages, funny little cone hills, and you can’t help but imagine the wee people are hiding about.
Some of the most incredible landscapes on Skye. If a recent rain or snow makes the road difficult to reach, you are going to need a 4 wheel drive. About a 2 hour hike.
Another part of the Trotternish Peninsula, Lealt falls is another scenic walk and viewpoint. This is how you get there according to The Skye Guide “From the large lay-by on the A855 at NG516604, access the shore by walking south on the main road across the river. Then go left through a gate to reach a section of the old road. Go south and then turn left off the old road just before you reach the sheep pens. Then, once across the burn, turn left and walk northwards to the edge of the Lealt gorge, where you will find a surprisingly simple way down to the mouth of the river on an old path to the diatomite works. There are great views of the lower Lealt waterfall and the ruins of the diatomite works on the way. Once on the shore, just head south. After a couple of hundred metres, you will see the Eaglais Bhreugach in the distance. Each time you pause to look up from the boulders, it will still be further away from you than you expected…”
Don’t try climbing this guy, only a few have ever managed to climb. A unique giant pillar of basalt, this hike takes about 45 minutes and even if the old man isn’t interesting to you, the view of the sea is absolutely stunning.
Another cute and simple little walk, these fairy pools are worth seeing, because again, the hidden folklore here is just oozing from the streams. Wear sturdy shoes! It can get muddy, even though the hike is not difficult.
A beautiful castle still kept up that is well worth a visit for its interesting history. Learn more about Armadale Castle here.
This was one of my favorite stops at the very end of the day (though I would recommend going when it is completely dark out!) This old ruined castle is just ebbing with history. There is no fee to get in. In fact, you just park on the side of the road and basically walk through someone’s backyard to get to it. Once there you will be totally alone on the coast. To get inside the castle you have to take a risk and cross the bridge. This seems simple enough, but it isn’t. The bridge has no center. In order to cross, you will have to shimmy along the sides on a 4-inch wide area and hang onto the crumbling wall face. If you don’t want to take the adventure, I don’t blame you. An easy scramble up from the shore to the right of the bridge is possible. Here you can be totally alone and sit in this stunning place that has roots thousands of years old. Not to mention, the drive there is STUNNING!