The perfect itinerary for 2 days on Isle of Skye

The perfect itinerary for 2 days on Isle of Skye

I’ve seen other bloggers say that you can do Scotland’s Isle of Skye in a day, but I disagree.

Skye is a large island, and there is loads to see. I think you need 2 days minimum to see the major sights on Skye. To explore the island at a slow pace, it would be easy to spend a whole week hiking around the pretty landscapes and visiting the historic ruins and viewpoints.

For my trip around Scotland, I decided to book 3 nights in Portree, leaving 2 full days in between to sightsee around the island. It was enough, though it did feel just a little rushed – there were a few activities that we missed because we ran out of time, or because the weather wasn’t great. Skye deserves to be explored at a relaxed pace to be properly appreciated.

There are two major driving loops that you can do on Skye – one around the north and one out west. For our trip, we rented a car and did one driving loop per day.

If you’d prefer not to drive, you can choose to do a similar itinerary on a 3 day tour from Edinburgh or a 3 day tour from Glasgow.

Here’s my perfect Isle of Skye itinerary for 2 days on the island!

Isle of Skye itinerary map

Isle of Skye map guide:

0 – Portree

Day One:

1 – Dunvegan Castle
2 – Neist Point Lighthouse
3 – Talisker Distillery
4 – The Fairy Pools
5 – Sligachan Old Bridge

Day Two:

6 – Old Man of Storr
7 – Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls
8 – Duntulum Castle
9 – Uig
10 – The Fairy Glen

Airbnb in Portree, Isle of Skye

Where to stay:

We stayed in an Airbnb cottage in Portree – the biggest town on Skye. It was a surprisingly good find, as the photos on the Airbnb listing looked average but the reviews were great. The cottage turned out to be totally adorable, and it was one of the few places that we could find with 2 double bedrooms for ourselves and our other married friends (yep, that’s right – we go on married couple trips now).


Day one itinerary:

Get ready for a big day of exploration! This day includes the most driving with much of the journey following narrow, single lane roads, which take you to some of the most spectacular spots on the island. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged and that your SD card has plenty of room for photos!

Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye, Scotland

1. Dunvegan Castle

Start your morning by driving out to Dunvegan Castle. This 13th century castle is home to the MacLeod clan, and is pretty neat to walk through with its historic displays. The gardens here are absolutely gorgeous, so make sure you put aside time to explore the outdoor areas as well.

Neist Point Lighthouse, Isle of Skye, Scotland

2. Neist Point Lighthouse

Next, head out to Neist Point Lighthouse. You may have seen photos of this spectacular peninsula already as this is one of the most iconic places on Skye. You can walk down to the lighthouse from the car park, but we opted to instead walk along the cliff edge until we found the famous photo spot. Be prepared – this walk can be muddy!

As you drive back past Dunvegan, you can stop for lunch as there are a few cafes nearby. We went to the Lochside Crafts & Tea Room for some tasty toasties.

Talisker Distillery, Isle of Skye, Scotland

3. Talisker Distillery

After lunch, head south to the town of Carbost where you’ll find Talisker Distillery – the oldest (and for a long time, the only) distillery on Skye. Many visitors choose to take a tour, but if you want to do this, be sure to book ahead as the tours fill up quickly. We ended up doing some tastings in the bar and reading about the history on the visitor center displays instead.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

4. The Fairy Pools

Next up is the Fairy Pools, which I found absolutely magical! This waterfall cascades down into numerous smaller pools, and you can climb all over the rocks to get some amazing photos with the scenic mountain backdrop.

The pools require a bit of a walk, and I might add that this walk can be muddy and has a river crossing (in which everyone in our party got their shoes wet – even the ones wearing waterproof hiking boots!), but it was totally worth the soaked socks.

Sligachan Old Bridge, Isle of Skye, Scotland

5. Sligachan Old Bridge

On your way back to Portree, stop at the Sligachan Old Bridge for a photo op. This stone bridge is totally adorable and is surrounded by gorgeous scenery.


Day two itinerary:

It’s best to start day two early so that you can beat the crowds. We made the mistake of leaving around 9:30 AM and we ended up struggling to find parking and available seats at cafes. I’d suggest an 8:30 AM start if you can drag yourself out of bed that early.

Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, Scotland

6. Old Man of Storr

Start the day by driving north to Old Man of Storr – a spectacular rocky outcrop with views that will blow your mind. The muddy hike up to the lookout takes about 2 hours return. Remember to take some water and snacks!

You’ll probably want a big lunch after that hike, so head straight to the town of Staffin and grab a table at one of the cafes – try the Skye Pie Cafe, Telford Tea Rooms, or Columba 1400 restaurant. We arrived at Staffin around 1:00 PM and all of these options were full up, so we unfortunately had to settle for a soup at the local grocery store! If you get there earlier, you may have more luck.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls viewpoint, Isle of Skye, Scotland

7. Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

After lunch, it’s time for a photo stop at the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls viewpoint. The scenery here is 100% gorgeous. We even had a busker turn up and play us some Scottish tunes on the bagpipes while we admired the view from the cliffs. What a dream!

8. Duntulum Castle

Drive onwards to the northernmost point on Skye. We stopped at Duntulum Castle for a quick look at the ruins with their ocean backdrop, but were caught in a rain storm 5 minutes in and had to quickly retreat to the car. I got back first and managed to escape the worst of it, but everyone else got thoroughly drenched! Fun times.

Isle of Skye Brewing Co, Scotland

9. Uig

Next stop is the township of Uig, which holds the Isle of Skye Brewing Co. It’s unfortunate that the onsite shop doesn’t have a tasting room (whyyyyyy!?) but you can purchase some of their bottled brews to enjoy later.

10. The Fairy Glen

The Fairy Glen (not to be confused with the Fairy Pools that we did on day one) is not far from Uig. The Fairy Glen is a magical little grassy spot with rocks arranged in mysterious patterns. We unfortunately missed this spot, which I am quite devastated about because I’ve heard that it is really lovely! From here, it’s back to Portree for your last night on Skye.


Highland cow, Isle of Skye, Scotland

A few tips for your trip to Skye:

  • Download offline maps. You’ll find that there are a few places on Skye which have no phone reception, so if you’re relying on Google Maps to get around, download the map area before you head out.
  • Take a raincoat (if you have one). Umbrellas are inferior as the wind will pick them up!
  • Wear layers. The weather on Skye can change in 5 seconds (literally!) so be prepared for anything.
  • Take waterproof shoes, like gumboots or hiking boots. It’s muddy!

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18 Responses to “The perfect itinerary for 2 days on Isle of Skye”

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      It was definitely cold – and windy! The changeable weather was all part of the charm though, and it meant that the landscape is nice and green 😀 Thanks Charmaine!

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I know, right!? Skye is such an amazing part of the world 😀

      Reply
  1. Eric Stowell

    Hi.
    Isle of Sky is a very beautiful place to be! I highly recommend staying in or at least eat at The Folly Restaurant in Uig. The views that overlook the bay are some of the best, along with the mini tower that was used for the ‘tax man’ – keeping an eye on the port and who is doing what in the village, and reporting it back to the owner. The staff were awesome, the rooms were super clean, there was a TV, but who needs it when you can just look out your window and the little boats bob up and down and the twinkling of the lights. Food was excellent btw!!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks for the recommendation, Eric! The Folly Restaurant sounds like a great place 😀

      Reply
  2. Chaitali

    Hi,
    We have planned two days at portree and loved your description of the things to do… only problem is that i am down with a fractured knee and would have restricted mobility. So the twi places that i could avoid clearly are hiking across fairy pools and the climb at old man of storr… any other place that i ahould be careful with?
    Regards
    CB

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Hi Chaitali, yes you should definitely avoid those two options if you have limited mobility. Most of the others should be fine… you might struggle to reach the viewpoint to see Neist Point Lighthouse, but the carpark still provides some lovely views!

      Reply
  3. Stephanie

    I’ve been searching everywhere for a short itinerary for the Isle of Skye (one with maps/roadtrips and labels) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS!!!! i was about to give up and only stick down to Edinburgh and Glasgow, but now you have me thinking I can make this trip happen. Would you mind sharing how y’all got up to Portree? We are coming in from London up that way so we have an open book on where to come in.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m so glad you found my post useful, Stephanie! Isle of Skye is definitely worth the journey. We drove up to Portree from Glasgow – you can find full details of our Scotland road trip here (and I also have an itinerary for London to Glasgow here) 🙂

      Reply
  4. Elisabeth Mackenzie

    Thanks for this info. I would suggest three days would be bette though, to include a wee boat trip to Loch Coruisk from Elgol and also a look at the south end of the island. Sleat (and its views to the mountainous mainland) is definitely worth a visit too…. Armadale, isle Ornsay and more.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks for the suggestions, Elisabeth! I’m sure it would be easy to spend a week in Isle of Skye, if you had the time 😀

      Reply
  5. Mrigya Sharma

    Hi Ashela – this is a great article! Thank you 🙂 I am visiting Skye next week from London (with a stopover in Glasgow) and then continuing my journey to Edinburgh. Do you have any recommendations on when I can fit in Glenfinnan Viaduct for the train ride? I have 2 days in Skye and 2 in Edinburgh and am very confused! Ty ! 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Hi Mrigya, how exciting that you’ll be visiting all these amazing places in Scotland! I’d definitely recommend doing Glenfinnan on the drive between Glasgow and Isle of Skye – this is when we did it on our Scotland itinerary 🙂

      Reply
  6. J. Sloan

    Just a great itinerary. Thanks for all the suggestions of things to do and see. What time of year did you visit?

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      No problem! I visited in mid-September, which was a good time as it was just outside of peak season (summer) but the weather was still fairly decent 🙂

      Reply
  7. Eric Stowell

    I have been twice, June 2017 and June 2019. Lets just say that 2017 was 1,000x better. Less people, less traffic. In 2018 a TV show said something about Skye needing to be on your bucket list. They are right, but it was a NIGHTMARE this past June. We turned around and left the Isle because of the traffic. That night on the news, idiot people stopping in the middle of the street to go take pictures. Horrible.

    Chernobyl is the same way now too. 2017, there were about 12 of us in the entire city. Now because of a tv show, there are 1000’s of people there daily.

    Good luck!!

    #BlueMooseTraveler

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh that’s really interesting to know – sometimes a bit of media coverage can push things too far! Maybe the hype will quieten down after a while? Destinations do tend to go through periods of popularity that sometimes only lasts a few years. Lets hope it’s that way for Skye (and Chernobyl – I visited in 2013 and there was no-one else in sight!).

      Reply

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