The Isle of Skye is a popular Scottish destination – and for good reason. Its scenery is characterised by ancient landslides, lush rolling hills, dramatic coastlines and plunging waterfalls. Here, there are some of the most unique and stunning landscapes in Scotland (if not the world!).
On top of that, quaint villages and castles make this island a must-visit on your trip to Scotland. So with so much to see and do, how do you plan your perfect itinerary? After doing the trip myself, I’ve put together an Isle of Skye itinerary for 2 days that covers all the major highlights of the island.
In my opinion, having 2 full days to explore is the right amount of time to fit everything you want to see in without rushing (too much!).
You can, of course, stretch it out to 3 days. You then have the luxury of seeing the sites at a leisurely pace.
This Skye 2 day itinerary is perfect for those who want to get outdoors and explore the island’s magical scenery. It’s ideal for those who have a car or camper but it can be modified for those who don’t drive.
How to get to Skye
Whether you’re driving or using public transport, you can easily get to Skye. In fact, there are two ways! Have a look below:
1. From Mallaig: take the short CalMac ferry over to Armadale, Skye (I saw dolphins when I did this!). From there you can either drive or get a coach to Portree.
2. From Fort William: drive or get the CityLink bus to Portree. Enjoy magnificent views through the Great Glen, the dramatic Seven Sisters of Kintail above Glen Shiel and look out for Eilean Donan Castle. Go over the Skye bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh.
Editor’s tip: Both journeys are well worth doing. I recommend travelling to Skye via the bridge and departing via the ferry. From Mallaig, you can ride the Jacobite Steam Train over Glenfinnan Viaduct – rated one of the best railway journeys in the world!
The beautiful Quiraing is a must-visit on this Isle of Skye 2 day itinerary!
How to get around Skye
The most flexible way to get around Skye is to drive. You can either use your own vehicle or hire one. Use Rentalcars.com to compare the best car rental rates for your trip.
How to see Skye if you don’t drive
Don’t drive? Don’t worry, you can still travel around Skye. Truthfully, you won’t have complete freedom to go where you want, so choose one section of the island you want to focus on. Don’t try to see it all!
Although there are buses on the island, they’re infrequent and unreliable so I don’t recommend them. You don’t want to get stranded.
There are also taxis but they’re exceptionally expensive. You might be able to wrangle a deal for multiple stops – a private tour if you will – but it’s still likely to be £100+.
The best ways to get around Skye if you don’t drive:
Do a tour
If you want to see a lot of Skye but don’t fancy driving, your best option is to do a small group tour. They’re a great way to meet fellow travellers and your transport is covered.
I personally love doing small group tours when I can as it takes all the hassle out of planning.
The best Skye tours are:
- Isle of Skye and Elean Donan Castle Day Tour
- Isle of Skye Scenery Day Tour with Fairy Pools
- Isle of Skye Small Group 3-Day Tour from Edinburgh
These tours are very popular and likely to sell out so make sure you book them in advance!
Editor’s tip: Discover the best small group tours to do in Scotland here.
Another great option is hiring e-bikes. And for bonus points, it’s eco-friendly too! You can hire e-bikes from Skye Ebikes at an affordable rate.
The bikes are easy to use, come in a range of sizes and make tackling the hilly landscape of Skye a breeze. Plus, you don’t have to worry about paying for parking either.
Skye Ebikes is located on the Trotternish Peninsula. If you do this option, I recommend focusing your itinerary on this area only. You’re in luck as the Trotternish Peninsula has the best natural scenery on Skye anyway in my opinion!
Isle of Skye 2 day itinerary
Isle of Skye itinerary day one: The Trotternish Peninsula Loop
Today is a busy day exploring the beautiful landscape of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula. It’s a pretty easy route.
You just have to follow the loop around. Make sure you have your camera ready as the jaw-dropping Quiraing and Old Man of Storr awaits – read my full Trotternish Loop itinerary!
Today’s itinerary is a great option if you’re short on time, you only have one day on Skye or you don’t drive as it has the majority of popular sites on the island.
There’s no wrong or right way to do the loop. Most people do it anticlockwise so clockwise may suit you better if you want to avoid crowds. If you’re cycling, you might prefer to go anticlockwise as there are fewer steep slopes to go up!
Start your day in Portree, the capital settlement of Skye. This is a good base if you’re staying the night on the island as it has the highest concentration of accommodation and places to eat.
Grab a coffee from Cafe Arriba, a cute little cafe with lovely sea views. Then, make sure you go and see Portree’s colourful harbour with its famous painted houses.
Afterwards, grab snacks from the Co-Op (that includes lunch!) so you’re well-stocked for the road!
2. Old Man of Storr
The Old Man of Storr is an iconic Skye landmark and not to be missed (which will make it particularly busy!).
The ‘Old Man’ is a large rocky pinnacle that stands high with a needle-point that can be seen from miles around. The Storr is part of the Trotternish ridge, an ancient landslide on the peninsula.
The walk up to the Old Man of Storr is about 1hr15m out and back but I recommend leaving two hours so you’re not rushing and you get the photos you want. You can find the start of the track from the road.
It has a medium level of difficulty to hike.
3. Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
This quick stop offers gorgeous views along the island’s coast with a waterfall plunging hundreds of feet down the cliff face into the sea below.
On a clear day, you may be able to see Kilt Rock, so named as its shape looks like the pleats of a kilt!
4. Staffin Sands
The beautiful Staffin Sands is a long stretch of beach that’s well worth a look. If you visit at low tide, the rocky bed reveals fossilised dinosaur footprints. Pretty incredible!
My absolute favourite stop on this Isle of Skye itinerary! Much like the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing is another ancient landslide.
You’ll follow the road inland up a winding slope with magnificent hills all around you until you get to the top. Soon, you’ll see the dramatic landscape unfold.
Hills plunge into lochs in the distance while rocky outcrops rise sharply out of the ground.
There is a hike here too. It’s about 2 hours long and best done on a clear day when you can see the path clearly. If you don’t fancy hiking, I think you can see plenty if you follow the path a little way from the car park.
6. Duntulum Castle
Head back down the way you came and along the coastal road to the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Here, you’ll find Duntulm Castle.
These days it’s more of a ruin than a castle but it has lovely views of the northern coast of Skye and out towards the Isle of Harris on a clear day.
Take care when exploring this area as there are sheer drops. The castle ruins themselves are too dangerous to get inside and explore.
7. Skye Museum of Island Life
If you’re interested in learning about the history of the people of Skye, the Museum of Island Life is a must.
The museum has a selection of small stone cottages with thatched roofs – traditional croft dwellings of Scottish villagers across the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
You’ll be able to see a croft kitchen, croft bedroom, barn, weaver’s cottage, old smithy and Ceilidh house complete with artefacts from the mid to end of the nineteenth century.
8. Rha Waterfalls
Follow the road down the peninsula to Uig then take a left inland to Rha Waterfalls. If you’re lucky, you’ll have this quiet little spot to yourselves as it’s often overlooked.
You’ll need to follow a short muddy trail through the woods to reach the falls but it’s worth it!
9. Fairy Glen
The final stop on day one of your Skye itinerary before you head back for a well-deserved rest is Fairy Glen!
Fairy Glen looks like a fairy tale landscape. Formed from another landslide, it consists of paths winding through small steep hills, streams and bushes. The most famous spot is a clearing where someone has made a spiral in the earth.
People sometimes put stones there but it’s advisable that you don’t. Locals remove a lot of artificial elements left by humans to try and preserve the natural beauty of the landscape!
Isle of Skye itinerary day two: The North West
Day two of your itinerary has fewer spots but the most driving. Make sure your camera is well-charged and your snack bag is well-stocked!
This itinerary explores top sites on the northwest of the island before finishing in the south. Today it’s all about castles, an iconic lighthouse and whisky!
1. Dunvegan Castle
Start your day with a drive across the island to Dunvegan Castle. Unlike Duntulm, it’s very much intact. The 13th-century castle is the only Highland fortress to be inhabited by the same family for over 800 years.
Home to Clan MacLeod, you’re able to see much of the castle’s historic collection inside. There’s a lovely garden to explore too.
Dunvegan Castle tends to be closed during the winter months – opening in April. If it’s closed during your visit, you can always have a peek around the outside. It’s still just as impressive!
2. Neist Point Lighthouse
Neist Point is another iconic Skye landmark. The lighthouse is perched at the very end of a narrow and rocky peninsula.
You can either walk down to the lighthouse or walk along the adjacent cliffs and take a photo of Neist Point. It can be muddy so bring good footwear.
3. Talisker Distillery
Time for a whisky stop (or buy a bottle to enjoy a tipple later if you’re driving). Located south of the town of Carbost, you’ll find the oldest distillery on Skye. It was established in 1830!
You can opt to do a distillery tour here but you’ll need to book in advance as spaces fill up quickly. Alternatively, you can have a look around the visitor centre and try a whisky or two at the bar.
4. The Fairy Pools
You may have noticed that Skye has a bit of a fairy theme. Its otherworldly landscape certainly gets the imagination going. Another such spot is the Fairy Pools.
Surrounded by a scenic mountain backdrop, waterfalls cascade down into a pool. The water is so clear that you can see the stony bottom.
There’s a 40-minute walk to the Fairy Pools but I recommend leaving an hour or so to factor in stops. The trail is graded as a medium level of difficulty and can be very muddy.
Plus you’ll have to cross a small river using stepping stones so make sure your shoes are waterproof and you have a spare pair of socks!
5. Sligachan Old Bridge
The last top on this 2-day Skye itinerary is Sligachan Old Bridge. The old stone bridge is on your way back to Portree so it’s a no-brainer!
Interestingly, Sligachan is a pedestrian bridge for walkers and cyclists only Legend has it that the waters below are enchanted and washing your face there will give you eternal beauty.
Isle of Skye itinerary: top tips
- Whatever you do, don’t forget to pack midge repellant! As beautiful as Skye is, the island is unfortunately plagued by these horrible flies and they will bite you all over given half the chance.
- The Isle of Skye is a popular tourist destination so it’s pretty expensive. Keep costs down by avoiding the summer months as they tend to be busy and in higher demand.
- Pack comfortable clothing, plenty of layers and a windproof raincoat as the weather can turn at any point. You’ll want to bring your camera too!
- Although there are plenty of places to grab a bite, I recommend bringing a packed lunch with you so you can eat on the go.
- Most roads are narrow, single-track roads so be mindful of oncoming traffic.
- A lot of the top landmarks have car parks but you’ll need to pay £2-£3 for parking.
- Car parks don’t really have places to secure your bike so you might have to get a bit creative with signposts.
Get more tips in my complete guide to Scotland here!
Best time to visit Skye
As I’ve previously mentioned, Skye is popular. Arguably one of the most popular places to visit in Scotland. It’s certainly the busiest island!
June to August (Scotland’s high season) tends to be the busiest, making hotel and restaurant prices higher. There’s also more traffic on the roads and more crowds at popular landmarks – which will also make parking spaces trickier.
During the winter months, visiting Skye is challenging in another way (snow and ice!) but it’s not impossible.
The already magical scenery becomes a winter wonderland under a blanket of frost and snow. Some attractions might be closed. You’ll also need to check e-bike and tour availability. If you’re driving, drive carefully!
The best times to visit Skye are the shoulder seasons (March-May and September-October). You’ll have fewer crowds, better prices and better weather to travel in! I visited in September and even then it was quite busy.
Where to stay on Skye
- Skyewalker Hostel – for budget backpackers
- Viewfield House – for amazing cooked breakfasts and beautiful hotel
- The Portree Hotel – for a great central hotel option
Check out this quick guide to the loveliest unique getaways in Skye!
Best places to eat on Skye
- L’incontro Takeaway – for cheap and delicious stonebaked pizza
- The Chippy Portree – for the best traditional fish ‘n’ chips
- Seabreezes – for amazing seafood and fine dining
- Cafe Arriba – for a cafe with vegan and vegetarian options
Editor’s tip: If you’re keen to dine out at restaurants, I strongly recommend you make a reservation a few days in advance no matter what time of year you’re visiting.
Isle of Skye 2-day itinerary
So, that concludes your Isle of Skye itinerary for 2 days! The handy thing about it is that you can easily modify it to suit your interests and timeframe.
If you’re staying on Skye for 2 days or more, I recommend relaxing and taking your time.
If you don’t drive or only have one full day, stick to working your way around the Trotternish Peninsula. Wondering how Skye fits too a wider West Scotland itinerary? Read my guide to the West Coast.
If you have any questions about this Skye itinerary, let me know in the comments below!
Discover more Scotland travel tips:
- 20 Best Things To Do On The Isle Of Mull
- How To Get To Glenfinnan Viaduct From Fort William (A Complete Guide For 2023)
- Mull Accommodation: The Best Places To Stay In 2022
- 10 Best Things To Do In Edinburgh For The Ultimate Travel Itinerary
- 10 Days in the Scottish Highlands: The Ultimate Itinerary
- No-Fly Holidays: The BEST Train from London to Edinburgh (Review)
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- Caledonian Sleeper Train Review: Is It Worth It?
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