Exploring Scotland Solo: Things to do in the Isle of Skye

Exploring Scotland Solo: Things to do in the Isle of Skye

Skye is a must-see when you’re travelling solo in Scotland. To be fair, the Isle of Skye was the highlight of my trip to Scotland. There are many things to do in the Isle of Skye and while I stayed for 4 days on the island, I haven’t managed to see everything this island has to offer. This post will focus on Kyleakin and the Trotternish Peninsula.

Bridge from the mainland to the Isle of Skye

How to get to the Isle of Skye

There are various ways to get to the Isle of Skye. There’s a bridge that connects Kyle of Lochalsh (on the mainland) with Kyleakin (on the Isle of Skye). This bridge is accessible for cars and pedestrians. You can get to Kyle of Lochalsh by train or bus from Inverness and Fort William.

Another option is the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale. Once more, you can book this ferry if you’re travelling by car, but also when you’re a pedestrian. You can get to Mallaig by train from Fort William.

The Old Man of Storr on Skye
The Old Man of Storr

Where to stay on the Isle of Skye

Although you can visit the Isle of Skye on a day trip from Inverness, I would recommend not rushing the experience and staying longer on the Island. However, because Skye is a very popular destination in Scotland, accommodation can be very expensive. I decided to stay in 3 different hostels on the Isle of Skye:

  1. Skye Backpackers Hostel in Kyleakin (1 night)
  2. Portree Independent Hostel in Portree (2 nights)
  3. Broadford Backpackers Hostel in Broadford (1 night)

Portree is the most central town on the island and the best place to base yourself when exploring the island. However, this town is also more expensive than other villages. Therefore, I decided to stay in different places to budget my accommodation.

What to see on Skye

Kyleakin

Kyleakin is located on the south of Skye. Most tourists drive past it when they enter Skye from Kyle of Lochalsh. Originally, I hadn’t planned to stay in Kyleakin long. I arrived here at the end of my sixth day on my solo trip in Scotland. However, most buses on the Isle of Skye are operated by Stagecoach, and, to be honest, their timetables on Skye are awful! You may feel lucky when there are 2 or 3 buses a day. This meant that I was stuck in Kyleakin the next morning.

I hadn’t expected that there would be anything to do in Kyleakin, but (luckily) I was wrong. This tiny village is actually very cute! I decided to go on a walk to the castle ruins of Kyleakin that I found in this very useful walking guide with 40 walks on Skye. The views were very pretty. Moreover, I just love the smell of fresh salt water.

Ruins of Caisteal Maol in Kyleakin
Ruins of Caisteal Maol in Kyleakin

The Cuillin

At the end of the morning, I (finally) hopped on a bus. From the bus, I had some amazing views. For example, I could make out The Cuillin, a range of rocky mountains. Next time I’m visiting Skye, the Cuillin are certainly on my list!

The Cuillin
The Cuillin: View from the bus from Kyleakin to Portree

Portree

Finally, I arrived in Portree, a lovely colourful village. I wandered through the touristic city centre (not that the town is large) and grabbed some lunch. There are many day tours and cruises that make a stop in Portree, so it’s really busy. I even saw one enormous cruise shop (that was probably larger than the complete village). I returned to the main square (a.k.a bus station) and took another bus to another must-see on Skye: the Old Man of Storr.

After dinner, when I had returned to Portree, I was able to explore the town further and admire the coloured houses. My hostel was painted bright yellow. Portree was a lot quieter at this time of day, too.

Portree in the evening
Portree in the evening
What is the Trotternish Penisula? The Trotternish Peninsula is the northernmost peninsula of the Isle of Skye. There is a great variety of nature and there are many must-see attractions on this part of Skye. Attractions such as the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock can be found in this part of the island.

The Old Man of Storr Hike

The Old Man of Storr is a large pinnacle of rock that can be seen from afar. The hike to the Old Man is one of the most popular hikes of the Isle of Skye (and can be found in the walking guide as well).

Hiking to the Old Man of Storr

The views from the top were absolutely amazing. Moreover, the hike wasn’t very difficult so I would recommend it to everyone. It’s not sufficient to see the Old Man from afar or your (touring) car. Take the time to hike, explore, and admire. From the top, you can see the mainland of Scotland as well. It’s definitely one of the things in the Isle of Skye you shouldn’t skip!

Storr and views over Raasay
A happy Sanne who has made it to the highest point of the walk

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

Unfortunately, when I was descending from the Old Man, the clouds returned and it became very, very cold. Nevertheless, I was determined to see another famous attraction on Skye: The Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls. Probably, this attraction is one of the most popular things to do in the Isle of Skye.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

The cliffs are 90 meters high and supposedly they look similar to a pleated kilt (hence the name).

Kilt Rock
Kilt Rock

Quiraing

There were more things to do in the Isle of Skye so I woke up early the next day. During my first day on the Isle of Skye, the weather had been pretty good. The weather on the next day couldn’t have been worse: there was a very thick mist. I had just planned to hike the Quiraing track (a walk that can take a few hours). Nevertheless, I decided to stick to my original plan and hoped that the weather would improve during the day. Luckily, I had an enormously friendly bus chauffeur who dropped me off at the start of the walk instead of at the nearest bus station!

The Quiraing a must-see on Skye
The Quiraing Hike

The weather barely improved during the hike, but I didn’t really mind. The mist gave the walk a mysterious atmosphere. I could almost believe that faeries do exist after all. When I finally arrived at the end of the walk at the viewpoint, the mist had lifted for the most part. While this hike took me a large part of the morning, it was certainly one of my favourite things to do in the Isle of Skye.

The Quiraing
The Quiraing

Duntulm Castle

The walk had taken a sizeable portion of my day, so after the walk (and a search for the nearest bus stop and a long wait for the next bus), I took a bus to Duntulm Castle. Nowadays, the castle is in ruins, but it has great views. When the weather is good (I didn’t have that luck) you can see some islands that er further north and you have chances to discover some wildlife. A ‘fun fact’: Duntulm Castle was the furthest north I had ever been in the world. (Now I need to go to Scandinavia for a new achievement).

Duntulm Castle
Duntulm Castle

After visiting Duntulm Castle, I said goodbye to the Trotternish Peninsula with its many attractions and headed back to my hostel in Portree. Over the next two days, I would be exploring different parts of the Isle of Skye.


More things to do in the Isle of Skye

For more things to do in the Isle of Skye, read my second post about other must-see attractions on other parts of the Isle of Skye.

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Isle of Skye Quiraing

9 Replies to “Exploring Scotland Solo: Things to do in the Isle of Skye”

  1. I swear I commented on this but I guess I must have forgotten? Either way, this post makes me insanely jealous, I really want to visit the Isle of Skye haha. Shame about the weather suddenly dropping and making it turn very cold, but it looks like you had a great time regardless – and those views! Beautiful.

    Have a good weekend dude 🙂
    Amy; Wandering Everywhere

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