One Day In The Isle of Skye

So you want to see the Isle of Skye but like myself find yourself…ahem..short on time? It is not ideal, but you can see the Isle of Skye with just two days.  You will end up with approximately one day of activity time once all the pesky traveling to and fro are completed. I am not exactly sure how the decision to visit the Isle of Skye came about. I had planned a trip to Ireland and at the last minute decided to try to fit in Scotland. This was a bit ambitious for a 9 day trip and I would advise making two separate trips unless you have 3 to 4 weeks.

That being said,  I was intrigued by the Isle and had assumed (wrongly) that it was close to Edinburgh and easy to get to. How about I just skip to what we did after days of painful research to figure how to travel there and enjoy it in such a short time.

Getting To the Isle Of Skye

We took an evening flight from Dublin to Glasgow on Ryan Air (cheap and quick), followed by a bus to a hostel near the train station. Early the next morning we took a 5 1/2 hour train ride north to Mallaig.  We hauled ass over to the ferry terminal which was about a 5 minute walk to catch a ferry that was about to leave. The ferry was a 30 minute ride to the city of Armadale on the Isle of Skye.

Isle of Skye

Yay we’re here!! Oh no honey, it’s not over. The hard part is just beginning. We found the bus stop, already knowing that it was an hour and half bus ride to the city of Portree where we were staying. The bus that went directly there was coming much later. There were no taxis. We ended up on a bus that went in the right direction then got off and walked a bit (with all of our crap) and then waited at another bus stop for what felt like an eternity. In the rain, of course!  Luckily we had company;  other confused travelers, some of whom were spending even less time there than us. Nobody quite realized what a schlep this would be.

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We were nervous that the public transport system was not adequate to allow us to see the things we wanted in the short time that we had. My friend luckily had cell phone service and began to call every taxi service on the island until we found one man willing to be our driver while we were there. At that point we might have given up our first born children for a driver.  Eventually the bus came and we made it to Portree and to our cute little inn, The Isles Inn where the “check-in” area was a bar. Sweet. I like it already.

Isle of Skye
New friends?

Isle of Skye

In case you’re wondering how long this ridiculous journey involving trains, ferries and buses lasted, it would be 9 hours. It was 5:00 pm when we got started sightseeing in Skye.  Luckily, the sun doesn’t set until about 10:30pm in June. Very helpful for us in this situation. We quickly dumped our luggage in our rooms and set out to see some things while it was still daylight. We met up with our driver Kenny from Gus’s Taxis. 

Old Man Storr

He first drove us to see the Old Man Storr in the Trotternish Ridge section of the island. This took about an hour of steep climbing on wet rocks but was SO WORTH the effort. Incredible unique scenery.

Isle of Skye Wanderingredhead
I’m not sure what I’m doing here but it was awesome scenery!

Fairy Glen

This was one of my favorite places. I wish I had more time to sit, relax and have a picnic here.

Isle of Skye
If you look closely you can see my friends…they are teeny!!!
Isle Of Skye
Cool stone circles everywhere



After we romped around the Fairy Glen, let’s just say things happened and we weren’t able to see anything further this evening. Instead we ate and went back to the inn with  plans to start early the next day.  The next morning after a yummy Scottish breakfast at the inn, we met Kenny (did I mention he was a doll and basically saved our lives?) and went to see more sights. The weather refused to cooperate. How have I vexed you Mother Nature???

Coral Beach, Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls

Coral Beach is not made of Coral but is crushed beached skeletons of Red Coralline seaweed, also known as Maërl.

Coral beach

Isle Of skye
Mealt Falls
Isle of Skye
Thanks sign, I’ll try to avoid that
Isle of Skye
Kilt Rock…because it looks like a Kilt

Dunvegan Castle

I was particularly excited about this since this is the castle belongs to the last of the Highland Clans. It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. This is really cool, especially if you are a history geek like me AND have read Outlander.

Castle in the distance

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I was really impressed by the beautiful castle gardens. I wasn’t expecting such a variety of bright color. Even in the yuck weather this garden was a joy to walk through. Bridges, waterfalls and once again we were waiting for fairies to pop out.Isle of Skye

Yep, I’m cold. But that waterfall though…

Next Kennie drove us to the place I was most excited to see…The Fairy Pools!!! According to Kennie, and the internet, this would only take us 40 minutes to an hour to see which was basically all the time we had left before we had to head to the ferry and then catch the train to Edinburgh. Bonus,  we got to see a Highland Cow!

Isle of Skye

The Fairy Pools

This is kind of funny. Like most things on the Isle of Skye, you have to walk quite a bit to see them. The fairy pools were no different, except that we really didn’t realize that we had seen them. The weather went from bad to super bad just as we arrived. It actually altered the landscape, covering paths and forcing us to hop over streams, balance on rocks to cross larger streams, trod through mud, etc. Hey, no problem! I have my rain boots and I like an adventure, right?

Isle of Skye

Isle of skye
this sort of says it all…3 miserable chicks (I’m the happy one taking the pic)

Isle of Skye

isle of skye wandering redhead
No shortage of fresh water to fill our bottles

Yes, I like an adventure, but this got out of hand. After 30 minutes of walking and seeing gorgeous scenery in the pouring rain, but seeing nothing that looked like the fairy pools on google images, we turned and went back to the car. It turns out, the heavy rain turned the dainty little fairy pools into some raging fairy rapids.

We had to laugh at this irony…and then cry because all of our phones were wet from trying to take pictures in the rain. As the phones dried on the dashboard, Kennie cheered us up with a quick trip to get local oysters at The Oyster Shed.  These were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had. Crisp and freshly caught that morning. Definitely a nice treat before leaving the Isle.

Curious to see how to properly hike the Isle of Skye and see the Fairy Pools on a good day?

Read More: Five of the Best Hikes in Skye

As we left with full bellies but drenched pants, the rain stopped, the sun came out, the sky became blue and it was the most beautiful day we had seen on this trip. And we had to leave.

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I mean…seriously? You should have seen our faces. I had a few choice words for Mother Nature.

We were miserable and wet so we changed on the ferry, then got some food for the train ride. Thankfully, they sell wine on the ferry…in adorable personal size bottles. Perfect. There are several little cafes in Mallaig, as well as a grocery store where we bought rice for our wet phones (it really worked). On the train home we met some fun Scottish men who traveled with lots of booze and were happy to share. Winning! And then we saw this…

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The Harry Potter bridge! My life is complete.

Read More: Ireland Road Trip


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Isle of Skye

About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. Five of the Best Hikes in Skye | 29th Jul 17

    […] And if you want to know how to do Skye in one day read all about it here – Skye in One Day […]

  2. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad | 25th Jun 17

    Hahaha I’m actually so impressed by how much you saw in basically a day!! Gives me hope because I’m doing a west coast road trip in August and we’re considering hopping over to Skye, but we might only have a day so I’ve been questioning whether it’s worth it. I think we’re gonna judge it on the weather and how we feel (which is nice – no commitments!!) but after reading this I really hope we get to go!

    • csaradar | 26th Jun 17

      That sounds like a good plan. It really is amazing there (weather permitting:))

  3. Mike Clegg - | 24th Jun 17

    It doesn’t sound particularly easy to get there but does look worth it. Also love that Highland Cow!

    • csaradar | 24th Jun 17

      It is worth it but I would definitely allow more time to enjoy it and wait out the crazy weather changes. LOL. Highland cows certainly are special.

  4. | 10th Mar 16

    Lived there for 6 years. Didn’t see half of the things y’all saw…

    • csaradar | 10th Mar 16

      Haha. So you think we did pretty well for the short time we had?

  5. Riad Saradar | 24th Sep 15

    Excellent piece, makes me wanting to visit Ireland.

  6. Marilyn | 22nd Sep 15

    Cherene, I loved this story of your adventure here. You turned unfortunate circumstances and bad weather into an amazing time, and the photos are wonderful! Congrats on the blog!

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