Beta site: we’re developing a new website to help make your trip to Scotland even better. Get a sneak peek of our new website.

Nether Lochaber, Lochaber

Islands

Inverness to Isle of Skye Itinerary

Exploring the Highlands and islands by public transport is simple with Scottish Citylink. This two-day itinerary follows one of the company's most scenic bus routes, which takes passengers on a spellbinding journey from Inverness to Portree on the magical Isle of Skye.

Disembark at stops along the way to take in dramatic vistas, delightful villages, lunch spots and some of Scotland's most iconic destinations and attractions including Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal and Urquhart Castle.

For the complete route and details of other stops, download the timetable from the official Scottish Citylink website.

Transport

Bus Walk

Days

2

Miles

99

Route

Inverness to Kensaleyre Village (Isle of Skye)

Highlights

Loch Ness, The Caledonian Canal, Fort Augustus, Glen Shiel, Portree

Areas Covered

Highlands and Isle of Skye

Day 1

overview

Inverness to Invergarry

Start early and embark the bus at its departure point at Farraline Bus Station in Inverness, the 'Capital of the Highlands'. Today, the bus will stop at some gorgeous spots along the Caledonian Canal where you can enjoy a coffee, take in magnificent views of  Loch Ness, and even take a short cruise on this vast watery expanse famed around the world for its mythical monster.

Browse artisanal crafts, pay a visit to Urquhart Castle - one of the world's most iconic castles, and enjoy lunch in a traditional Highland inn before stopping for an overnight stay at the spectacularly situated village of Invergarry.

  • Miles

    40

  • Km

    64

  • Stops

    5

  • Transport

    Bus Walk

Caledonian, Fort Augustus

Dochgarroch Lock 

After 20 minutes, make your first stop on the banks of the Caledonian Canal. This magnificent waterway flows through the Highlands, from Inverness to Fort William. Take a morning walk along the pathway as canal boats, yachts and other pleasure vessels glide past before stopping for a coffee and breakfast at An-Talla by Loch Ness.

If time allows, why not take a two-hour cruise with Jacobite Cruises? Soak up the glorious panorama as you sail down this 19th century canal and around the iconic Loch Ness

Drumnadrochit and Urquhart Castle 

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, hop back on the bus an enjoy a scenic 30-minute ride before arriving in the village of Drumnadrochit on the northern shores of Loch Ness. Visit the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition to learn everything there is to know about the second deepest body of water in the UK - and of course, its legendary monster called Nessie.

You can also get up close to Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland's most famous castles. Get back on the bus outside the village post office before arriving in the castle car park in just five minutes

Invermoriston

By now you might be getting hungry again. Time to make a pit stop in Invermoriston, a tiny village with a delightful stone bridge designed by Thomas Telford arching over tumbling river rapids of the Invermoriston Falls. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Glenrmoriston Arms Hotel followed by a dram or tea and coffee in the 18th century Moriston bar with its original timber-beamed ceiling. Afterwards, there are waymarked footpaths you can follow into the surrounding wooded hills, leading to other photogenic waterfalls.

Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus marks the midway point of the 60-mile Caledonian Canal. This small settlement is renowned for its spectacular view of Loch Ness and serene atmosphere where you can observe the boats navigate the complex lock system.

Drop by the Caledonian Canal Centre for a coffee break, homemade treats, and artisanal gifts. You can even book one of the centre's rooms for an overnight stay. Unique souvenirs can also be found in the Iceberg Glassblowing Studio, including handcrafted jewellery, ornaments, Christmas decorations, and more.

Invergarry

Bring the day to a close in Invergarry. Located at the foot of Glengarry, this charming old village offers access to a myriad of stunning walking routes. Soak up the natural beauty of Glengarry Forest and the shore of Loch Oich where the 17th century ruin of Invergarry Castle, the former seat of the Chiefs of Clan MacDonnell, overlooks the water.

Book a night in the traditional Invergarry Hotel or other nearby accommodation and enjoy a well-earned rest.

Day 2

overview

Invergarry to Kensaleyre Village 

On the second and final day of your journey, the bus will follow a winding route through some incredible Highand scenery. Marvel at dramatic glens and serene lochs, with tiny picturesque villages scattered along the way.

After crossing the Skye Bridge, we finally arrive on the Isle of Skye, our final destination. The last stage of the route offers a tantalising taste of island life, with stops in the bustling settlements of Broadford and Portree, alongside traditional crofting communities, before concluding at one of Skye's most ancient sites.

  • Miles

    82

  • Km

    132

  • Stops

    4

  • Transport

    Bus Walk

Cluanie Inn

Rise and shine. Before starting day two, why not get the day off to an invigorating start and attempt to climb to the top of the village's local Corbett, Ben Tee? 

The first stop of the day after leaving Invergarry is the Cluanie Inn. This mountain Inn embodies the rustic charm of Highland hospitality, serving hearty meals and boasting a crackling log fire in the lobby. Located at the head of Glen Shiel, it's the perfect place to pause and marvel at the beauty of this remote wilderness which attracts hikers from around the world.

As the road leads into the glen, keep watch for the roadside stone memorial which commemorates the Battle of Glenshiel, an infamous clash between Jacobite clans and redcoat forces which took places in 1719.

Broadford

The bus now follows a route through a series of remote hamlets including Ardelve, Kirkton, Reraig, Kyle of Lochalsh, crossing Shiel Bridge over the lovely Loch Alsh along the way. After crossing the Skye Bridge, the bus finally arrives in the fabled Isle of Skye, making its first stop at Kyleakin.

You can stop off at any of these places along the way. Or you might want to wait until arriving at Broadford, the second largest village on the island. Set against the mountainous backdrop of the Red Cuillins, the views across the bay to Applecross are breathtaking. It's also one of the best bird-watching locations on Skye where you can see a huge array of species including native varieties and exotic migrants. 

Strollamus

Crofting used to be a way of life which was common throughout the Highlands and islands. Best described as a form of small-scale farming, crofters would live sustainably by making their living solely off the land.

Today, the number of crofts has dwindled hugely. But there are still places where you can find people who still practice this tradition. One such place is Strollamus where you can see a handful of working crofts.

Portree and Kensaleyre

Next up is lovely Portree, the island’s capital. Stroll around the postcard-perfect harbour, which is lined with brightly painted houses, or take a wildlife spotting cruise in the Sound of Raasay with the MV Stardust.

The name Portree is Gaelic for the 'King's Harbour', and fittingly, you'll find plenty of fine accommodation from the Royal Hotel, Cuillin Hills Hotel, the Bosville Hotel, and many more welcoming hotels and guest houses.

If time allows, a 30 minute bus ride from Portree will take you to the village of Kensaleyre. Here you can visit one of the island's most ancient sites, the Kensaleyre Standing Stones. Located on the moorland shore of Loch Eyre, the surrounding site which includes a church and burial cairns, is steeped in history and atmosphere. Visit just before dusk to watch the sunset before returning to Portree or your arrival destination.