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You'll never be short of things to do on the Isle of Skye. The largest of the Inner Hebrides, it's famously home to some of the United Kingdom’s most spectacular scenery - from Kilt Rock to the Old Man of Storr - and provides endless opportunities for adventure. We've enlisted the help of the experts behind Wild Guide Scotland to bring you 10 things you shouldn't miss on the Isle of Skye.

the old man of storr mw

Since the road bridge to Skye opened in the 1990s, the island has become increasingly popular as a holiday destination. Camping on the Isle of Skye has become particularly popular, and in summer you’ll find tourists of all stripes eating fish and chips beneath the rows of pastel-coloured houses that wrap around the bustling harbour, or sampling whisky in the local pubs.

However, there are still plenty of lesser-known and hidden wonders to explore across the island, and if you're prepared to get adventurous then the Isle of Skye offers a wealth of activities that will get your pulse racing.

So is the Isle fo Skye worth visiting? Or course, if only for the scenery alone. The irregular coastline is made up of a series of peninsulas radiating from a mountainous centre, crowned by the famous Cuillin Mountains. Experienced hikers and climbers who make it to the summits are rewarded with otherworldly views of the spectacular landscapes that the island is known for.

 

Aside from the hiking, what else is there to do on the Isle of Skye? Well, at the foot of the jagged peaks of the towering Black Cuillin sits the wild and majestic Loch Coruisk, which is ripe for exploration by canoe or kayak. Further on, you can find the magical Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle - perfect for a spot of wild swimming. On the coast, you can climb up the natural flowstone staircase inside the otherworldly Spar Cave to bathe in its glittering Mermaid Pool, or spend the night camping out under the stars.

Where should you stay on the Isle of Skye? The best places to camp include Camus Mor, Uig Bay, and the Kinloch camp site near Dunvegan Castle. Or, if you're feeling flush, there are some amazing camping pods near Dunvegan Castle too. Plus, of course a multitude of hotels and hostels.

Here's our pick of the 10 best things to do on the Isle of Skye, but this list is by no means exhaustive - in fact, the absolute best thing to do is head up there and explore for yourself.

 

Wild Swimming - Talisker Bay, Carbost

Things to do Isle of Skye Talisker Bay 5 1520511168

Wild swimming is one of the best reasons to visit the Isle of Skye, and Talisker Bay is the place to do it. A dramatic silver inlet with plunging waterfall and huge purple rock pools is a perfect spot to get wet - if you can brave the chilly water in the pools. During strong south-westerly winds, the waterfall often blows back up on itself. Talisker Bay lends its name to an excellent local whisky, distilled in nearby Carbost. If you're feeling the cold, we recommend a wee dram to warm up.

How to get to Talisker Bay: As you enter Carbost from the east on B8009, bear left uphill, following signs to Talisker, then take the first right, in the direction of IV47 8SF, and continue for four kilometres to find parking and the track ‘to beach’.

 

Coasteering - Leac Tressirnish, The Storr

Things to do Isle of Skye Leac Tressirnish 59 1520870983

Leac Tressirnish is a hook-shaped, natural harbour rock formation which is perfect for coasteering. The adventurous can try to reach the inlet 100m to the north, which leads to the foreshore rock plateau. From the end, you can swim into, and explore, several sea caves.

How to get to Leac Tressirnish: Head about two kilometres south from Inver Tote to find long lay-by viewpoint signed Tobhta Uachdrach on the left. It's set back from road, opposite a gated track. Look down and you'll see a flat grass plateau with the Leac rock formation. Go through the narrow gate and bushwhack 300m right steeply down the slope to get there.

 

Walking - The Quiraing

Things to do Isle of Skye The Quiraing 89 1520870979

The best hiking on the Isle of Skye, for our money, is the Quiraing. This fantastical landscape of spectacular plateaus enclosed by dark basalt cliffs and pinnacles was created by a massive landslip - one that's actually still moving. Some of the more distinctive features have their own names: The Needle is a jagged 37m high pinnacle, The Table is a flat expanse of short grass and The Prison is a pyramidal rocky peak that resembles a medieval keep from some angles. It's a hiker's dream, and a visit to it is undoubtedly one of the best things to do on the Isle of Skye. 

How to get to the Quiraing: Parking can be found at the summit of the minor road between Uig and Staffin at grid reference 57.6281, -6.2909.

 

Boat Touring - Loch Coruisk

Things to do Isle of Skye Loch Coruisk MW 23 1520870985

The magnificent, desolate Loch Coruisk is often described as the wildest in Britain. Surrounded by the towering, dark, craggy mountain walls of the Cuillins, it is truly one of the most majestic places on the islands. The walk around the loch involves the famous Bad Step, a scramble over sloping rock slabs which is not for the inexperienced. However, if you’d like to take it a bit easier, there are half and full day boat trips on offer. One-way trips are also available if you’d prefer to walk back. The boat will take around 30 mins, the walk between three and four hours.

How to get to Loch Coruisk: From Elgol (IV49 9BJ) follow the coastal path for eight kilometres northwest. The boats are the Bella Jane (call 0800 7313089) or the Misty Isle (phone 01471 866288). 

 

Wild Swimming - The Fairy Pools, Glenbrittle

Things to do Isle of SkyeThe Fairy Pools Glenbrittle MW 100 1520870977

One of Scotland’s most enchanting wild swimming spots, these crystal clear pools lie at the foot of the dramatic Black Cuillin mountain range. Follow the stream towards the mountain you'll find a series of enchanting turquoise pools, small waterfalls, and even an underwater arch.

How to get to the pools: From the B8009 just south east of Carbost, take the turning signed Glenbrittle, 400m east of IV47 8ST. After five kilometres you’ll find the Fairy Pool car park on the left. Cross the road and follow a clear path down and then up the valley. Cross the minor stream and then keep the Allt Coir a’ Mhadaidh river on your right for a kilometre, and several falls and pools will be revealed.

 

Hiking and Climbing - The Storr & The Old Man of Storr

Things to do Isle of Skye The Old Man of Storr MW 90 1520870977

The spectacular Old Man of Storr is a 48 metre high rock pillar, part of a dramatic ancient landslide beneath the iconic cliffs of The Storr. If you were to Google: Things to do, Isle of Skye, this is the landscape you'd probably see more often than anything else. Exploring the paths which lead around the pinnacles, or climbing up to the craggy summit of The Storr will give you magnificent views of the island and beyond.

From the flat-topped Macleod’s Tables in the west, sweeping south past the jagged Cuillin mountains, to the wonderful array of peaks on the mainland, this wild landscape is a must-see. 

 

 

How to get to The Storr: From the information board, a good path heads uphill through a felled area, which soon turns into woodland. Turn right at both forks in the path ahead, passing a gate which leads to open moorland before the cliffs. From here, either follow the path up to the old rock or if you’d like to get higher, take the fainter path to the right of the pinnacle which continues to the summit. For parking, head north from Portree on the A855 for just under 10km and you'll find a car park on the left side of the road about a kilometre before IV51 9HX. 

 

Caving - Spar Cave, Elgol

Things to do Isle of Skye Spar Cave Elgol MW 86 1520870987This remarkable cathedral-like sea cave, popular with Victorian explorers, is ideal for a modern-day adventure. Enter by the marble-like flowstone staircase and check out the giant columns formed from water dropping through the limestone over thousands of years. The real reward, awaits at the end - the crystal clear Mermaid Pool. Bring torches and keep an eye on tide times.

How to get to Spar Cave: As you drop down to Elgol on the B8083, turn left following signs towards Glasnakille as the road bends right. You’ll reach a T junction after 3 kilometres. Park by the telephone box turning right in the direction of IV49 9BQ. From here, enter a field downhill 100m on the left, by a ruined barn. Bear left down to an inlet and boulder hop left along LT foreshore rocks for 100m, passing another small inlet. You should then be able to traverse around into Spar Cave Canyon. Inside, the right-hand passage diminishes but left one bears right and rises in a flowstone staircase, descending to the deep Mermaid Pool.


Walking - The Fairy Glen

Things to do Isle of Skye Fairy Glen 63 1520511165

This strange magical landscape, like the Quiriang, was formed by an ancient landslip. It consists of many grassy cone-shaped hills, lochans (miniature lochs) and natural rocky towers – the most prominent of which is known as Castle Ewen. Bring your camera for this one and soak up the enchanting atmosphere of the glen as you explore the walking paths.

How to get to the Fairy Glen: Just south of Uig, IV51 9YE, turn east off the A87 before a bus stop, and onto a minor road heading steeply uphill. Continue for around a kilometre and park on the left after the road drops down. You'll be able to see the grassy hills at the start of the glen from there.

 

Hiking - Coire Lagan

Things to do Isle of Skye Coire Lagan MW 75 1520870984 

This strange magical landscape, like the Quiriang, was formed by an ancient landslip. It consists of many grassy cone-shaped hills, lochans (miniature lochs) and natural rocky towers – the most prominent of which is known as Castle Ewen. Bring your camera for this one and soak up the enchanting atmosphere of the glen as you explore the walking paths.

How to get to the Fairy Glen: Just south of Uig, IV51 9YE, turn east off the A87 before a bus stop, and onto a minor road heading steeply uphill. Continue for around a kilometre and park on the left after the road drops down. You'll be able to see the grassy hills at the start of the glen from there.

 

Wildlife spotting - Neist Point Lighthouse

 Things to do Isle of Skye Neist Point MW 98 1520870987

An amazing location for wildlife, this dramatic headland at the most westerly point of the isle, capped by a lighthouse is regarded the best place on Skye to spot minke whales, basking sharks and dolphins. Make sure you bring your binoculars!

It's not just the wildlife that's amazing here either - the rugged coastal cliff scenery is nothing short of stunning, and the wonderful lighthouse is a must visit.

How to get to Neist Point: Turn south west off the B884 at Upper Milovaig, IV55 8WY, following signs to Waterstein/Neist Point. Drive to the end to find the car park. Follow a concrete path down to the lighthouse.

 

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Wild Guide Scotland, published by Wild Things Publishing, is a celebration of the ‘hidden places, adventure and the good life’ to be found in Scotland. It was created by travel and lifestyle journalist and photographer, Kimberly Grant, photographer, writer and mountaineer, David Cooper, and travel and fashion photographer, Richard Gaston. Check out wildguidescotland.com for more info.