3 Day Isle of Skye Itinerary – Top things to do
Scotland has always been a bucket list item for me and last summer we took 2 weeks to visit London, Bath and Scotland. After spending a few days in Edinburgh we headed to Isle of Skye and it was the highlight of my trip. Read below for my top things to do in Isle of Skye and the perfect 3 day Isle of Skye itinerary.
Discover the best things to do in Isle of Skye
Tips: Book your accommodations well in advance, especially in the high season of summer. We booked a cute cottage in Breakish which was a perfect central location for the the Isle of Skye trip. I loved this little remote location with tons of space and no neighbors (which was nice after spending a week in busy London!) We really enjoyed relaxing after our adventures and we cooked in our place every night. Another good location for lodging is Portree.
The Isle of Skye area is remote so I recommend packing lunches, snacks and water on your day trips. Also weather can change often so have some rainproof gear handy to keep you dry. Proper hiking footwear is a must.
The roads are narrow on the Isle of Skye with most of them being single lane roads with special passing areas every few hundred meters. Don’t let this deter you from going places, just be cautious and courteous to other drivers. The proper pull over etiquette is the car closest to the turn-off pulls over first.
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Glenfinnan Viaduct, Mallaig and Eileen Donan Castle
Harry Potter Bridge
We headed to the Harry Potter Bridge Viewpoint/Glenfinnan Viaductin the morning. This was a tricky place to see the famous Hogwarts train travel across the bridge. We tried to see it and when we arrived parking was a disaster. You do have the option to ride the train from Fort William but we were on our own adventure with other things to do but I’ve read that its a pretty train ride especially if you have a little more time on the Isle. So if seeing the train on the bridge is your priority then plan on arriving early to find parking. If not, then proceed to the beach below on this itinerary and come back to this bridge and monument later in the day.
We drove to the white sand beaches in Mallaig first. The sand is amazing and nobody around so pictures were amazing. We stopped at several location along the loch to admire the beauty.
Now that the train and crowds have come and gone at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, we went back and hiked up a small hill to get a great view of the viaduct, loch and Monument below.
White Sandy beaches
One of the top things to do in Isle of Skye is Eileen Donan Castle. It stands on a small island in the lake and is said to be the most romantic castle in Scotland. It is also one of the most recognized castle in Scotland which makes it the most photographed. It is by far one of my favorite castles to photograph. In fact I framed this shot and it is displayed in my house because I love it so much. You could go visit twice on your trip or on the end of the itinerary as its located just outside the isle. But it’s one you don’t want to miss out seeing!
Eileen Donan Castle
Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, Coral Beach, Neist Point & Fairy Pools
Depending on when you start your day, I recommend going to the Dunvegan Castle first, as we spent too much time at the other locations on this day and it was closed by the time we reached it. We had to drive all the way back on another day (which we were lucky we had the time on our trip!) The gardens are beautiful and you can tour the inside which has been restored and learn the history.
Then just a short drive down the street head to Coral Beach . This location does require a small walk from the parking lot but great place to sit and enjoy the view. We saw some other people just putting their feet into the water (it looked cold!) which might be nice, but bring a microfiber towel to dry off!
There is also a viewpoint pullout on the way back to the road with the Dunvegan castle, loch and the beautiful green mountainside backdrop. It’s a must stop!
Neist Point is a lighthouse on the most westerly part of Isle of Skye. The lighthouse has been located there since 1909. The drive there can be a little stressful because its one lane road and does take some time to get there but don’t let it deter you from doing it as the scenery at this point is spectacular! There is even a little snack shop at the top so pick up a Magnum bar and enjoy the scenery and walk down to the lighthouse. This would also be a great place to have a picnic lunch or reverse your order on this day and end with a beautiful coastline sunset.
Neist Point Lighthouse
The Fairy Pools are a magical spot with beautiful falls and blue ponds. There is an easy 1.5 mile path to hike and view all these pools. We spent about 2 hours at this location because we were taking lots of pictures. But take your time strolling along the trail with the small ponds overflowing into tiny waterfalls. If you have time left in your day you can also sample whiskey down the street at Talisker distillery.
Portree, Man of Storr, Kiltrock Viewpoint and Duntulm Castle
Portree is the largest town in the Isle of Skye. This cute quaint and colorful town has a variety of restaurants and hotels. Although we didn’t stay in town, this would be a perfect central location for your stay while in Isle of Skye. Make sure you plan ahead of time because during busy season the hotels book up quickly.
The Old Man of Storr was a lot more strenuous hike than I thought it was going to be. We lucked out and our weather was beautiful, but I’ve read it was be windy and rainy in this area. So I would recommend adjusting your itinerary based on weather conditions so you can find the best day to hike this mountain. The hike is around 3 miles roundtrip with a steady incline but worth the climb for the fantastic panoramic views.
Kiltrock Viewpoint is a quick overlook spot. This beautiful colorful sea cliff gets it name from the formation shape of a kilt. You’ll also see a majestic waterfall, the Mealt. The area is usually quite windy, which creates almost haunting sounds. There is a small parking lot and small walk to the overlook. Due to numerous deaths, the edge of the cliff has been fenced. Although we didn’t eat here, there was a local food truck.
Old Man of Storr
Although the Duntulm Castle is closed and you can’t actually walk up to the ruins, it was a great place to stop and take some pictures of the bay, the surrounding lands, and the nearby cliffs.
Also no Isle of Skye itinerary would be complete without seeing and taking some pictures of Scottish highland cows! I don’t think this guy could even see us!
Scottish Highland Cows
Although I enjoy learning about the history and exploring cities, I feel I’m truly on vacation when I am spending my time in nature. I hope this itinerary helps you enjoy nature with the top things to do in Isle of Skye. Also don’t forget to check out our Isle of Skye Travel Guide with hotel recommendations and tips to help you save money!
Gorgeous photos! I’m going to Scotland for the first time this summer, and I can’t wait. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! You are going to have an amazing time! I love Scotland so much, can’t wait to go back. Have a great trip!
I can’t believe how gorgeous that coastline and the Fairy Pools are! I’m half Scottish and have barely seen any of the country – this has inspired me to push my trip a bit further up towards the top of my list!
Thank you! I absolutely love the Scottish Highlands. The beauty is unreal!