fbpx

Ultimate Guide to Isle of Skye Tours: Everything You Need to Know

Are you a traveller dreaming of exploring the legendary Isle of Skye in Scotland? This small island off the nation’s west coast is somewhere that you simply have to see, whether you’re local to the UK, or visiting all the way from the US. We often get many American visitors who come to see the Isle of Skye’s striking landscapes and ancient castles, and for good reason.

My name is David Hope, and I have been involved in the tour industry in Scotland for more years than I would care to say, and I can safely say that an Isle of Skye tour is a must for anyone seeking an authentic taste of Scotland’s natural beauty and fascinating history.

From the iconic Old Man of Storr rock formation to the ethereal Fairy Pools, the Isle of Skye offers something for everyone, and we at Heartland Travel can show you it all!

My aim with this guide is to cover everything you need to know to plan your ultimate Isle of Skye adventure, including the best tours, top attractions, insider tips, and useful travel information from someone who really understands this. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Heartland Travel offers multi-day tours, private tours, and day tours from Edinburgh or Glasgow, catering to different preferences and schedules.
  • Must-see sights include the Old Man of Storr, Fairy Pools, Dunvegan Castle, The Quiraing, and Portree, each offering unique landscapes and cultural experiences.
  • Practical advice includes booking tours and accommodations early for peak season, packing appropriately for the weather, and allowing ample time for sightseeing.
  • Our knowledgeable local guides enhance the experience with insightful stories and local knowledge, ensuring a memorable and enriching tour.

Types of Isle of Skye Tours

As a leading tour operator specialising in Scottish adventures, Heartland Travel offers several options to explore the Isle of Skye and its surrounding areas, all available within our 16-seater luxury mini-coach.

We’re often asked, ‘can you do an Isle of Skye tour in two days?’ And here’s our answer.

The Isle of Skye is a truly amazing island, a real must-see destination for anyone visiting our beautiful country of Scotland. The island itself is possibly a lot bigger than one might imagine, with plenty to explore and capture on film. And the journey through the stunning Scottish Highlands on your way to the island really is one to be treasured.

We believe that your personal journey from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye deserves more than just two days.

For this reason, our expert tour guides here at Heartland Travel recommend either a three-day or four-day Edinburgh to Isle of Skye tour. Here are some of the top tour choices:

20230422 132654

 

Multi-Day Isle of Skye Tours

In all my years of guiding tours across Scotland, the Isle of Skye never fails to take my breath away. It’s a place where the land meets the sky in the most dramatic fashion, where ancient stories whisper from every crag and glen.

Departing from Edinburgh, a guided multi-day tour is a convenient way to visit Skye, and one of our most popular options. An Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh typically depart early morning, around 8am, and have a custom-built itinerary for you to follow.

The first stop takes us to Callander, where you can enjoy some refreshments, before we head into the beautiful Glencoe. This is probably one of the most well-known of Scotland’s glens, and it has an important story to tell. This narrow valley is also where the bloody massacre of the MacDonalds
took place in 1692.

For a more immersive experience, consider a multi-day tour that allows you to explore the Isle of Skye at a leisurely pace. These tours often combine Skye with other Scottish Highlands highlights like Loch Ness, Fairy Glen, and Eilean Donan Castle. Our 4-day Edinburgh to Isle of Skye tour gives you the perfect opportunity to open your heart and mind and experience the best that Scotland has to offer.

Check out some of the Isle of Skye from Edinburgh tour highlights:

·        Fairy pools of Skye

·        Glencoe

·        Loch Ness

·        Eilean Donan Castle

·        Glenfinnan

·        Quiraing

·        Neist Point

·        Portree

·        Culloden

·        Whisky Tour

You can book this tour here, when you’re ready to get started!

 

                                  “In all my years of guiding tours across Scotland, the Isle of Skye never fails to take my breath away.”

                                                              David Hope, Isle of Skye tour operator for Heartland Travel

 

Private Isle of Skye Tours

If you prefer a more personalised experience, Heartland Travel offers private Isle of Skye tours tailored to your interests and schedule. We offer a private 6 day Isle of Skye tour, with the option of adding accommodation, or choosing your own.

These tours are led by knowledgeable local guides and can be customised to include specific attractions, activities, or even a whisky distillery visit along the way.

No matter which tour option you choose, you’ll be treated to the expertise of Heartland Travel’s passionate guides, who will share insightful stories and local knowledge to enrich your Isle of Skye experience. I won’t spoil any of the surprises, apart from the fact that there are surprises!

Tour group on a Scottish tour

“                                                            Winter, summer – doesn’t matter. Skye’s always got a new surprise up its sleeve.”

                                                                        David Hope, Isle of Skye tour operator for Heartland Travel

When is the Best Time to Visit the Isle of Skye

You know, folks often ask me when’s the best time to visit Skye. Truth is, there’s no bad time. Summer is traditionally the best tim to visit the Isle of Skye, with a wide-range of activies on offer. But truthfully, you can enjoy this beautiful island all year-round!

Spring bursts with green so vivid it’ll make your eyes pop. Come autumn, the island wraps itself in moody mists that’ll stir your soul. Winter, summer – doesn’t matter. Skye’s always got a new surprise up its sleeve.

Here’s a brief overview of the prime seasons and what you can expect:

Spring (March – May)

Spring is considered shoulder season on the Isle of Skye, with fewer crowds and relatively mild weather. Temperatures range from the high 40s to low 60s Fahrenheit. This can be an excellent time to visit, as you’ll find lower prices on accommodations and tours. However, some attractions may have reduced hours or be closed during early spring, but we will ensure your itinerary is jam-packed of things to do!

Summer (June – August)

Summer is the peak season for Isle of Skye tourism, with the warmest temperatures (highs in the 60s F) and longest days. While the weather is generally pleasant, you should still be prepared for the occasional rain shower. Expect larger crowds at popular attractions like the Fairy Pools and Old Man of Storr. Advance booking for tours and accommodations is highly recommended.

Fall (September – November)

Fall is another beautiful time to explore the Isle of Skye, with fewer tourists and stunning foliage colours painting the landscapes. Temperatures cool down, with highs in the 50s F. Some attractions may have reduced hours or close for the season by late fall. However, you’ll find excellent deals on accommodations and may even spot the Northern Lights if you visit in October or November.

Winter (December – February)

Winter on the Isle of Skye can be quite cold and wet, with temperatures ranging from the low 30s to high 40s F. While some attractions may be closed, winter offers the opportunity to experience the island in a tranquil, uncrowded state. Just be prepared for potential road closures or tour cancellations due to inclement weather.

No matter when you visit, the Isle of Skye promises to deliver something special. Just be sure to pack layers and rain gear, as the island’s weather can be unpredictable year-round.

winter tour Scotland

“Standing before the Old Man of Storr, you can’t help but feel you’re witnessing the very bones of the earth.”

                           David Hope, Isle of Skye tour operator for Heartland Travel

What are the Best Attractions on the Isle of Skye?

No visit to the Isle of Skye is complete without exploring some of its most iconic attractions. Here are the must-see sights that should be on every traveller’s itinerary that you can enjoy when on an Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh:

  • The Ole Man of Storr
  • The Fairy Pools
  • Dunvegan Castle & Gardens
  • The Quiraing
  • Portree

The Old Man of Storr

One of the island’s most recognisable landmarks, the Old Man of Storr is a striking rock formation that rises majestically from the landscape.

This ancient pinnacle was formed by a massive landslide and now stands as a popular hiking destination, offering incredible views of the Storr cliffs and the Sound of Raasay. Standing before the Old Man of Storr, you can’t help but feel you’re witnessing the very bones of the earth. It’s moments like these that remind me why I fell in love with guiding tours in Scotland.

The Fairy Pools

Nestled in the heart of the Cuillin Hills, the Fairy Pools are a series of crystal-clear pools and waterfalls that seem straight out of a fairy tale.

The vivid blue-green waters contrast beautifully against the backdrop of the Black Cuillin mountains, creating a truly magical scene. A short hike is required to reach the pools, but the effort is well worth it.

Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

Step back in time at Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. This iconic fortress, home to the MacLeod clan for over 800 years, boasts beautifully preserved interiors, exquisite gardens, and a seal colony just offshore.

Don’t miss the chance to explore this living piece of Scottish history.

The Quiraing

The Quiraing is a remarkable landslip area on the Trotternish Peninsula, featuring dramatic rock formations and steep cliffs that offer unforgettable vistas. A walk along the Quiraing loop trail rewards visitors with breathtaking views of the Isle of Skye’s unique geological wonders and sweeping landscapes.

Portree

Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye, is a charming hub of colourful houses, cosy pubs, and local shops. Wander along the harbour, sample fresh seafood, and immerse yourself in the island’s vibrant culture. Portree also serves as a convenient base for exploring other parts of Skye.

These are just a few of the many incredible attractions that await on the Isle of Skye. With Heartland Travel’s expert guides leading the way, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the island’s hidden gems and soak up its rich history and natural beauty.

Planning Your Isle of Skye Tour

To make the most of your Isle of Skye adventure, it’s essential to plan ahead. Here are some tips to help you prepare for an unforgettable Scottish experience:

Decide on Your Ideal Tour Type

Consider your travel style, interests, and budget when choosing the right Isle of Skye tour option. A day tour from Edinburgh or Glasgow may suit those short on time, while a multi-day private Highlands tour allows for a more leisurely pace. Private tours offer the ultimate flexibility and can be tailored to your specific preferences, which is what our experience has shown us!

Book Early for Peak Season Travel

If you’re planning to visit during the summer months, it’s crucial to book your tour and accommodations well in advance. Popular tours and hotels on the Isle of Skye can fill up quickly, so reserving your spots early will ensure availability and the best rates. Contact us about hotels if you want to find out options. I can certainly recommend some of my favourites!

Pack Appropriately for the Weather

The Isle of Skye is known for its changeable weather, so packing layers and rain gear is essential. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots are also recommended if you plan on exploring the island’s rugged terrain and hiking trails.

Allow Ample Time for Sightseeing

While the Isle of Skye may seem small, there’s a wealth of attractions to discover. Avoid trying to cram too much into a single day, and instead, allow enough time to fully appreciate each site. Your knowledgeable Heartland Travel guide can help you plan an itinerary that strikes the perfect balance.

Consider Extending Your Stay

If your schedule allows, consider extending your time on the Isle of Skye by a day or two. This will give you the opportunity to explore at a more relaxed pace, venture off the beaten path, and truly immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture and way of life.

With careful planning and the expertise of Heartland Travel, your Isle of Skye tour will be an unforgettable journey filled with breathtaking landscapes and cherished memories.

The Cullin

Accommodation Options on the Isle of Skye

After a day of exploring the Isle of Skye’s stunning scenery, you’ll want a comfortable place to rest your head.

We can help you find somewhere to rest each night. Simply choose the type of accommodation from the options below when you book your tour and we will make your reservation. You will then pay for accommodation on your arrival. The cost of accommodation is not included in the tour price.

Average costs per night are below:

  • Hostel: £20– £30
  • B&B: £70 -£100 Single B&B: £80 – £150 Double
  • B&B: £250 – Family room
  • Hotel: £130 – £300 Single
  • Hotel: £160 – £380 Double
  • Hotel: Family room up to £450

If you wish to book your own accommodation for our Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh, there is an option to do this. It must be in Portree on Skye for 2 nights (nights 1 and 2), and within the city of Inverness for one night (night 3).

Here are some of the top accommodation options to consider:

Hotels and Inns

For a traditional Scottish stay, book a room at one of the island’s charming hotels or inns. We can help you with this, as part of our bespoke packages. The Sligachan Hotel, nestled beneath the Black Cuillin mountains, offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere and beautiful views.

Alternatively, the Dunvegan Hotel, located near the iconic Dunvegan Castle, provides a cozy base for your Isle of Skye adventures.

Bed and Breakfasts

Experience true Scottish hospitality at one of the Isle of Skye’s renowned bed and breakfasts. These family-run establishments offer a home-away-from-home experience, with comfortable rooms, hearty breakfasts, and friendly hosts ready to share local insights.

The Shorehouse Bed and Breakfast in Portree and the Riverside Bed and Breakfast in Sconser are both highly rated options.

Self-Catering Cottages

For those seeking more privacy and independence, self-catering cottages are an excellent choice. These cosy accommodations, often nestled in picturesque settings, provide all the comforts of home, including fully equipped kitchens.

The Skye Holiday Cottages and the Portree Self Catering Cottages offer a range of options for families, couples, and solo travellers.

Camping and Glamping

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by camping on the Isle of Skye. Several campsites, such as the Glenbrittle Campsite and the Torvaig Caravan and Camping Site, offer stunning natural surroundings and basic amenities. For a more luxurious experience, consider glamping (glamorous camping) at one of the island’s unique glamping sites, like the Skye Glamping or the Parkscape Eco Retreats.

No matter your accommodation preference, the Isle of Skye offers a range of options to suit every budget and travel style. Your Heartland Travel guide can provide recommendations and assist with booking the perfect place to stay during your Scottish adventure, whether that’s me or someone else!

Dining and Cuisine on the Isle of Skye

After a day of exploring the Isle of Skye’s breathtaking landscapes, you’ll likely work up an appetite. Luckily, the island offers a delightful array of dining options showcasing the best of Scottish cuisine and traditional fare.

Seafood Specialties

Being an island, it’s no surprise that seafood is a highlight of the Isle of Skye’s culinary scene. From fresh-caught salmon and succulent langoustines to mouthwatering fish and chips, there’s no shortage of delectable seafood dishes to savour. The Loch Bay Seafood Restaurant in Stein and the Oyster Shed in Carbost are two must-visit spots for seafood lovers.

Traditional Scottish Fare

No visit to Scotland would be complete without sampling some classic Scottish dishes. Tuck into hearty favourites like haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), and Cullen skink (a rich smoked fish soup) at cozy pubs and restaurants across the island. The Old Inn in Carbost and the Stein Inn in Stein are excellent choices for traditional Scottish cuisine.

Local Produce and Specialties

The Isle of Skye is also known for its locally sourced produce and specialities, such as award-winning cheeses, mouth-watering baked goods, and locally brewed ales. Be sure to indulge in delicious treats like the Skye Pie at the Skye Pie Café in Portree and sample unique brews at the Isle of Skye Brewing Company.

Whisky Tastings

As part of your Isle of Skye adventure, consider participating in a whisky tasting experience. The Talisker Distillery, located in Carbost, offers tours and tastings of their renowned single malt whiskies. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in Scotland’s rich whisky heritage while on the island.

Whether you’re craving fresh seafood, traditional Scottish fare, or locally sourced specialties, the Isle of Skye promises to delight your taste buds. Your Heartland Travel guide can provide recommendations for the best dining experiences to complement your Scottish adventure.

Drinking Whisky with the Isle of Skye in veiw

Outdoor Activities on the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye’s rugged landscapes and stunning natural beauty make it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re hiking the Cuillin Ridge or kayaking along the coast, Skye offers adventures for every spirit. I’ve seen countless visitors discover sides of themselves they never knew existed on this magical island. An Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh can be more exciting than you perhaps first thought. Here are some of the top activities to consider during your visit:

Hiking and Hill Walking

With its dramatic peaks, winding trails, and breathtaking vistas, the Isle of Skye is a hiker’s dream. Embark on the challenging Quiraing hike for panoramic views of the island’s unique rock formations, or opt for a more leisurely stroll along the Fairy Pools trail. The Cuillin Ridges and the Old Man of Storr are also popular hiking destinations, offering unforgettable experiences for both novice and experienced hikers.

Wildlife Watching

The Isle of Skye is home to a diverse array of wildlife, from majestic golden eagles soaring overhead to playful seals frolicking in the waters. Join a guided boat tour or visit the Dunvegan Seal Boat Trips to spot these captivating creatures in their natural habitats. Keep your eyes peeled for red deer, otters, and a variety of bird species as you explore the island’s rugged coastlines and moorlands.

Sea Kayaking and Coasteering

Adventurous spirits will delight in the opportunity to experience the Isle of Skye from a different perspective. Sea kayaking tours, offered by outfitters like Skyak Adventures, allow you to paddle along the island’s stunning coastline, exploring sea caves and spotting marine life. For an adrenaline-filled adventure, try coasteering – a thrilling combination of rock climbing, cliff jumping, and exploring coastal landscapes.

Fishing

The waters surrounding the Isle of Skye are renowned for their excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, there are options for both freshwater and sea fishing. Join a guided tour or hire a local ghillie to explore the island’s lochs and rivers, or try your hand at sea fishing for species like mackerel and pollock.

The Isle of Skye offers an outdoor playground for adventurers of all levels. Heartland Travel’s knowledgeable guides can help you plan the perfect active itinerary, ensuring a safe and unforgettable experience in Scotland’s great outdoors.

 

                                         “I’ve seen countless visitors discover sides of themselves they never knew existed on this magical island.”

                                                                    David Hope, Isle of Skye tour operator for Heartland Travel

Start Planning Your Isle of Skye Adventure with Heartland Travel

The Isle of Skye promises to be a highlight of any Scottish vacation, with its unparalleled natural beauty, rich history, and unique experiences. As you’ve learned in this guide, there’s no shortage of breathtaking attractions, outdoor activities, and culinary delights to discover on this enchanting island. You only have to look at our reviews to see that!

But what truly sets an Isle of Skye tour apart is having a knowledgeable, passionate guide by your side. At Heartland Travel, our team of local experts is dedicated to providing exceptional small-group and private tours that immerse you in the authentic sights, stories, and traditions of Scotland. Whether you’re going on an Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh, or somewhere else, there is something for everyone.

From customising your itinerary to suit your interests to sharing insider tips and historical insights, our guides ensure that your Isle of Skye experience is both enriching and unforgettable. We take pride in our commitment to delivering personalised, luxury travel experiences that exceed your expectations.

So why wait? Start planning your ultimate Isle of Skye adventure today by contacting Heartland Travel. Our friendly team is ready to help you craft the perfect Scottish getaway, tailored to your preferences and designed to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Explore our website to browse our collection of Isle of Skye tours, or fill out an enquiry form to speak with one of our knowledgeable travel specialists. Your dream Scottish vacation awaits!

FAQS

Where will my tour leave from?

It depends! Our three day tour of the Highlands, Skye and Loch Ness departs from Stirling, Dundee and St Andrews. Our private tours departure points can be arranged around what works best for you

What is included in your price?

All of our tours include transport by luxury mini coach, and the services of a Heartland Travel tour guide/driver. Our prices do not include entrance fees to any tourist attractions we visit on tour. Our three and four day tour costs do not include accommodation costs – we simply book your accommodation for you and you pay the provider on arrival.

Do I need to bring any special equipment with me on the tour?

No, just sensible clothes for being outdoors. As well as layered clothing, waterproofs, and strong shoes, you might consider sunblock in summer months, insect repellent, and binoculars if you have them to help spot wildlife on our tour. Remember your camera! There’s some helpful information here.

Is Scotland really that beautifully magnificent?

Aye!! (Old Scots for yes)

How can I ask more questions not listed here?

Just email us on [email protected]