The magic of Skye

A Caledonian MacBrayne ferry arriving in Oban bay from the Isle of Mull, Argyll.
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Allt Earg cottage near Sligachan, with a view to the Black Cuillin Ridge beyond, the Isle of Skye
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Looking over purple heather to a self-catering cottage at Elgol by Loch Scavaig with the Cuillin mountains behind, Isle of Skye
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Discover the magic of Skye, one of Scotland’s most beautiful and romantic islands. Beginning in Inverness and finishing in Glasgow, this itinerary will allow you to make use of the good integrated transport links which make it both straightforward and very rewarding to explore these wonderful locations. Clans, castles and one of Europe’s finest rail journeys are part of this journey, which will be just as memorable as the destination.

  • Dunvegan Castle
    Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye
  • Elgol, Isle of Skye
  • Looking over to the Old Man of Storr at the foot of the Storr Mountain on the Trotternish Ridge, Isle of Skye.
    Old Man of Storr, Skye
  • Portree, the main town on Skye
    Portree, Isle of Skye

Start your itinerary in the Highland capital of Inverness. If time allows, make the journey to Culloden Visitor Centre where you can explore the 1746 scene of the last battle on British soil.

Inverness boasts good bus links to the Isle of Skye. You can also go by train to Kyle of Lochalsh, within sight of the Skye Bridge linking the island with the mainland, and connect with local bus services. This route across the backbone of Scotland is a magnificent introduction to the landscapes of the west.

On the way to the island’s main town of Portree, why not stop off at Broadford? Here you can link with the bus service to Elgol, a remote community on the west coast of Skye offering boat trips as well as wonderful scenery of the Cuillin Hills. This is often described as Scotland’s finest mountain view.

Set around a picturesque natural harbour, Portree is an ideal location to base yourself with a superb range of shops and leisure facilities. Stay overnight to make use of the great range of accommodation available in the area.

Spend the morning exploring the beautiful Trotternish Ridge - 20 miles of extraordinary rock formations located north of Portree, marked at each end by the rock pinnacles of the Storr and the Quiraing. Local bus services also serve the fascinating Skye Museum of Island Life, and if time allows, Fairie Glen is definitely worth a visit. The bus stops at Uig Hotel and from here you can explore this extraordinary location formed by a series of landslides.

In the afternoon, take the bus from Portree to Dunvegan Castle. The historic stronghold of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod for nearly 800 years, this wonderful castle is set on the beautiful sea loch of Dunvegan. Alternatively, head south to Talisker Distillery, where you can take a tour and try one of Scotland’s finest malt whiskies. This is the only distillery on the island and is located in Carbost, also home to the Giant MacAskill Museum and the Colbost Croft Museum.

Spend your final morning on the island tracing your ancestors at the Skye & Lochalsh Archive Centre in Portree, or exploring local attractions such as the award-winning Aros Centre which shows the heritage of Skye and the lives of the island's sea eagles. 

Buses from Portree connect with the ferry at Armadale for the fishing port of Mallaig, where you will find train and bus connections to Fort William. A summer season highlight is the Jacobite service, hauled by a vintage steam locomotive over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct which you may recognise from the Harry Potter films.

On your arrival at Fort William you can enjoy spectacular views of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain. Stay overnight in the town's accommodation to enjoy wonderful Highland hospitality.

Begin your journey to Glasgow via Oban (about one and a half hours away by bus). With its handsome waterfront along a sheltered bay, Oban offers plenty to do. 

Take the bus eastwards through the pass of Brander and by Loch Awe to reach Inveraray, a town built by the third Duke of Argyll in the mid 18th century. Inveraray Castle is close by, where you can admire its distinctive towers and fine collections of tapestry, armour, furniture and works of art.

The bus journey to Glasgow takes less than two hours and passes many points of interest. Up and over the high pass called The Rest and Be Thankful you will see Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, with superb panoramas across to high Ben Lomond and the Loch Lomond islands.