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Largest of the Hebrides, the Isle of Skye can be a dramatic and remote place - like the end of the world, if you want it to be. Mist shrouded hills even out into lush moors, then rise up again into the jagged Cullins mountains before tumbling steeply into the sea. But if you stay in Portree, the island's capital (and one of the best places to stay in Skye), you'll be in Scotland's third most popular place to visit, close to the castles, museums and cosy pubs.
If you're coming to Skye be prepared to get outside. And be prepared for the weather to be changeable. Probably from fine to very windy and rainy and back. One of the island's main landmarks is the Old Man of Storr, a 50metre high pinnacle of rock six miles to the north of Portree. In a landscape of impressive basalt peaks, The Old Man stands out as so pot-bellied and piercing as to be virtually unclimbable.
Just to the north of The Old Man of Storr is Kilt Rock, a basalt cliff, which has pillars which make it look like the folds of a kilt.
The Quiraing, a basalt escarpment of pinnacles around Staffin Bay, is another of Skye's natural highlights. As is the Fairy Glen, but this time for the opposite reason - it's not vast and craggy, it's on a much smaller, more rounded scale, small, conical hills around ruined cottages - curious and atmospheric.
Skye's other wonders are its native inhabitants. The flora can be breathtaking, and impressive for its resilience, but it's less famous than the fauna, especially Skye's Golden Eagles, Red Deer and Salmon.
If you're loving the landscape, but you fancy some time indoors, visit the Gallery An Talla Dearg, which exhibits works inspired by this landscape.
Skye's manmade highlights include:
- Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, the seat of Clan MacLeod, and the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland;
- ruined Castle Duntulm, once a MacDonald fortress;
- the Museum of the Isles, in part-ruined Armadale Castle;
- and the Talisker Distillery - if you take a guided tour you'll receive a free dram of their smooth, sweet single malt.
For country house comfort
- Greshornish House sits on its own peninsula, amongst ten acres of private land, the perfect traditionally cosy match for the island. After a day out exploring, this is one of the best places to stay in Skye, what with its long fires, squashy sofas, luxurious bedrooms and tasty food.
- Kinloch Lodge is located on the South coast of the island and is an old hunting lodge turned country hotel. Home comforts here are accompanied by Michelin starred cuisine. It's a real home from home just with much better cooking!
Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Skye, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice. Alternatively check out all our recommendations in the Highlands and Islands.
Best Hotels in Skye
Woodbine House 5 rooms from $84Portree, Skye
A delightful B&B on the west coast of the isle of Skye. The rooms have a homely feel and there's an excellent family suite. With self-catering options, it could be perfect for a family or group trip to Skye. Friendly owners and a great location prove a winning combination.Back to Nature - Skye is the ideal place to get back to basics and return to the wind and the wild.Local exploring - A great base for exploring the beauitful west coast of Skye.Kayaking - Guests can hire sea kayaks to explore the surrounding coastline.Birdwatching - Skye is a great spot for puffin watching.
Glenview 3 rooms from $110Portree, Skye
A charming and homely B&B run by helpful owners, on the picturesque island of Skye. The rooms are cosy and comfortable with stunning views of the Trotternish peninsula. The superb restaurant focuses on local produce such as oysters and venison. Perfect for a remote getaway.Back to Nature - Escape to the picturesque, wild Scottish island of Skye with it's dramatic landscapes and stunning wildlife.Local exploring - The perfect base for exploring the amazing island of Skye, with cosy beds and hearty meals.Sights nearby - Visit the iconic natural landmarks such as the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and the Trotternish Ridge.Great walks - There is superb walking around the nearby Trotternish Peninsula.
Greshornish House 8 rooms from $122Isle of Skye
Remote but luxurious B&B on its own private peninsula on the Isle of Skye. 10 acres of land provide stunning views. Log fires and rustic charm. Luxurious rooms and tasty food.Views - Great views from hotelSecluded setting - For escaping.Remote - Off the beaten track.Four poster beds - For romantics.Recommended by - Good Hotel Guide, Sawdays
Toravaig House 9 rooms from $129Isle of Skye
A peaceful contemporary hotel set overlooking the Atlantic waters. Log fires and a choice selection of whiskies can be enjoyed after a day pursuing one of the many outdoor activities on offer. A restaurant serving freshly caught seafood perfectly rounds off this award winning gem of a hotel.Fishing - The Hotel is perfecly located to indulge in salmon and trout river fishing as well as trout and arctic char in nearby LochsGreat walks - Wild coastal scenery, deep fjords and secluded windswept bays and a wealth of history make for excellent walksSailing - The owners offer a day excursion around Skye on their luxury yacht SolusViews - Great views from hotel
Hillstone Lodge 3 rooms from $147Colbost, Skye
Hillstone Lodge offers refreshingly modern accommodation, overlooking Skye's wild landscape. Designed with stylish elegance, the rooms offer excellent sea views. Just a short walk from the coast, it's perfect for a quiet relaxing retreat.Country Escape - The perfect cosy base to return to after a day exploring around Dunvegan and wider Skye.Active Holiday - Hill walkers and mountaineers will cheerish Skye's superb mountainous landscape.Great walks - Make the most of the excellent walks all along the nearby coastline.Sailing - The perfect port of call for a sailing trip around the Hebrides.
Coruisk House 2 rooms from $184Skye
Tucked away on the picturesque peninsula of Elgol, Coruisk house offers a superb restaurant with elegant rooms. Both rooms are stylish and comfortable with warm colour schemes and luxurious furniture. For intrepid mountaineers the nearby Cuillin's lie in waiting.Local exploring - Perfect for exploring the south coast of Skye with cosy beds and hearty meals waiting for you on your return.Country Escape - This stylish hotel makes the perfect bolthole for a rural escape to the rugged, wild landscape of Skye.Sights nearby - Historians will enjoy visiting a local Neolithic stone circle, several chambered cairns and the High Pasture Cave.Birdwatching - Birdwatchers can go in search of golden eagles and peregrin falcons.Recommended by - Sawdays
Duisdale House 18 rooms from $206Sleat, Skye
Escape to this rural nineteenth century hunting lodge on Skye's stunning south-east coastline. Explore the extensive gardens and local beauty, before retreating back to cosy four poster beds in surprisingly modern interiors. Look out for statement wallpaper. Great for a romantic weekend away!Great walks - Skye is renowned for its fantastic walking for all abilities.Views - Great views from hotelSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.Birdwatching - Good birding near the hotel.
Hotel Eilean Iarmain 16 rooms from $239Skye
A lovely hotel on a small harbour overlooking the Sound of Sleat. The individually furnished rooms are cosy and comfortable with many boasting great views. The standout feature is the hotel's heralded restaurant which focuses on local seafood and game. A remote gem.Hideaway - The perfect spot to getaway from it all, overlooking the Isle Ornsay lighthouse and the hills of Knoydart across the sea.Beach Life - Explore the stunning secluded beaches on Skye, with the nearest just a minutes walk from the hotel.Birdwatching - Skye is a great place for birdwatching especially puffin watching.Fishing - Take a sea fishing trip off the coast of Skye.Recommended by - Sawdays
Kinloch Lodge, Skye 15 rooms from $267Isle of Skye
Stunning scenery, dazzling food and plenty of peace and quiet just a short drive from the Skye Bridge. The elegant and traditional rooms are filled with natural light. A cosy sitting room with an open fireplace is the ideal spot to unwind with a whisky. Exceptional Michelin Star cuisine.Foodies - Foodies won't be able to resist the stunning Michelin Star restaurant- check out the taster menu with excellent wine pairings.Romantic Break - A picturesque south Skype romantic retreat offering excellent food, roaring fires, chic suites and long country walks.Great walks - Venture on a Wild Walk with resident naturalist Mitchell Partridge, packed lunches are provided on request.Fishing - The area won't dissapoint, keen anglers can fish for salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout.