Island hopping in Scotland is a must-do when visiting this beautiful country. The Isle of Skye is one of the more frequently visited islands by tourists, due to its size (larger than some) and its many hotspots.
If you are staying for only a couple of days, a day tour with SkyeBus will allow you to see as many spots as you can. Within the almost 10-hour day tour, SkyeBus takes you around the whole island with stops along the way, so you can imagine how small the island is! SkyeBus picks up in the town of Portree, which is one of the main towns on Skye from which most tours operate.
The bus leaves around 9:30 am to the first stop of the day: Old Man of Storr, which was featured in the Disney film The BFG.
It’s a short photo stop, and depending on the weather, there may be heavy fog blocking the view of this rocky formation.
Rain and fog are common on the Isle of Skye, so be sure to be prepared for the weather.
The next short stop is Kilt Rock, a cliffside that looks like the back of a kilt… if you squint your eyes. You will spend a few minutes there to capture some photos (and try to decipher the kilt), then continue to Quiraing, which is a beautiful pass and popular spot for hikers.
There is more time here to wander away from the bus and take in the view. From the height of the land, you can see much of the landscape of northern Skye, and much of it is unbroken greenery.
After a short drive from Quiraing, there is a quick stop to pick up breakfasts and coffee or to just stretch your legs. SkyeBus then takes you to the Fairy Glen, which is an adorable little spot with a beautiful surrounding landscape.
Your tour guide will give you some tips to avoid angering the fairies of the glen, then let you roam for a good amount of time. The glen itself is an incredibly interesting spot, made up of little hills and rocky structures. You can climb to the top of one such structure for an amazing view.
After returning to the bus, settle in for a slightly longer ride to a quiet little town for lunch. SkyeBus takes you to a small café, and on the ride there the tour guide hands out a menu for everyone to mark down their order. They have a reserved table for the tour group in the café and the guide will place the order to make the process a little faster and simpler. This café always has a soup of the day and it’s perfect for chilly and rainy weather. Bring cash for this lunch stop, as they only take cards above a certain amount.
Following lunch, SkyeBus takes you to Neist Point, which is a famously photographed cliffside on the westernmost point of Skye. There are a few options for walking here; you can stay up by the road and wander along the cliffs, or you can walk down to the lighthouse and up to the actual point. Be careful to avoid sheep poo on this climb!
The top of Neist Point takes you right above the water and exposes you to buffeting winds, but provides an excellent view. After taking it in, head back down and to the lighthouse.
There’s no access to the lighthouse but it is worth seeing up close. Walking back up to the parking lot is quite steep, but there are concrete stairs and ramps with a railing, so it is accessible for folks of all physical shape.
The final stop of the day is the Fairy Pools. It’s an easy walk alongside the river, although there is a section at the beginning where you have to cross the river by hopping across some large rocks.
The Fairy Pools are made up of little waterfalls and pools of calm clear water, and the Cuillin Mountains create a majestic backdrop. The trail is incredibly peaceful, with only the sound of water and birds, and it’s a great way to end the day.
Part of what makes the tour so enjoyable is the small group size, allowing everyone to bond and chat throughout the day. The SkyeBus tour is £54, or £49 for students and children (approximately $65-70 USD ). You can find more information and make a booking here: www.skyebus.com.
Much of the land on this scenic island is relatively untouched, understandably so. As a result, the majority of the roads are wide enough only for one car, and there are little nests on the side of the road for cars to pull into to allow cars to pass. For this reason, if you do plan to forego a tour and drive around the island, be sure to familiarize yourself with these road practices.