Skye vacation rentals

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Popular amenities for Skye vacation rentals

Your guide to Skye

All About Skye

Skye is an island on Scotland’s northwest coast whose history dates back to prehistoric times. It’s home to seven medieval castles, some of which are ruins that have succumbed to years of weathering and battles, while others, like the Armadale Castle, remain more intact. The island’s Dunvegan Castle is still inhabited today.

The Black Cuillin Hills mountain range is the dominating landscape on Skye, named for its dark-colored basalt and gabbro rocks. The steep, grass- and moss-covered mountains make for challenging hikes like the Quiraing Walk, a path that is constantly shifting due to massive landslides. The 1.4-mile Old Man of Storr hike is another of the most iconic trails on the island, where you can see this 160-foot, speared rock formation surrounded by untamed, bright green moss. All across the island, overflowing lochs create dozens of waterfalls, ranging from the towering 131-foot Eas Mor Waterfall to a series of small, grouped cascades like the Falls of Rha.

As you explore Skye’s rugged terrain surrounding your Skye rental accommodations, you can look for some of Scotland’s native highland cows and red deer. Along the coast, rare grey seals make appearances near Skye’s rocky beach shores.

The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Skye

Skye sees rain year-round, but summers are warm and see a bit more sunshine than other seasons. This time of year, you can visit the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland, the Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, open to visitors all summer before closing in early fall. Fall’s cooler temperatures make it an ideal time to hike through Skye’s lush, grassy mountains.

Spring is cool and less rainy than autumn, and purple orchids sprout up across Skye’s highlands. These beautiful flowers dot the path along the Fairy Pools hike in spring, ending at a series of small waterfalls. Winters are cold but not extreme, and it seldom snows. On a cold day, you can explore indoor attractions such as the Skye Museum of Island Life, featuring 100-year-old cottages with relics inside them showing what life in Skye was like for villagers at the time.

Top things to do in Skye

Kilt Rock

The 180-foot, pleated Kilt Rock formation resembles the garment of the same name. An elevated lookout point near the cliffs offers a sweeping view of Kilt Rock and the dramatic Mealt Falls waterfall. The falls are nearly as tall as Kilt Rock, flowing from the nearby Loch Mealt and cascading over the basalt cliff face into the Atlantic Ocean. The combination of wind and water flow is known to make a mystical, calming sound as you take it in.


The small fishing village of Elgol sits at the junction of the seascape and the Black Cuillin Hills mountain range. It’s home to Elgol Beach, accessible by a short, steep walk from Elgol. Black rocks covering the shore date back nearly 200 million years, meeting the deep blue Loch Scavaig waters. The grassy Black Cuillin Hills create a dramatic backdrop behind the beach, with honeycomb rock formations lining the shore. You can swim in the loch waters, but they will be chilly throughout the year.

Dunscaith Castle

The Dunscaith Castle, built sometime during the 13th or 14th century, sits on an elevated rock over Loch Eishort. It’s one of the few castle ruins in Skye that you can walk through on your own, exploring the standing remains of staircases, overland bridges, and supports connecting an overwater drawbridge leading to the castle. Many Gaelic legends refer to this castle and its centuries-long history of sieges between rival clans.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How is the weather in Skye?

    Skye's weather is variable and unpredictable. Summers can reach 60°F (15°C) with long daylight hours, while winters are around 37°F (3°C) with shorter days. Rain is frequent throughout the year, so pack waterproof clothing. Winter may also offer opportunities for snow-related activities.

  • What are some of the best things to do in Skye?

    Hiking the Quiraing, visiting the Old Man of Storr, and exploring the Neist Point Lighthouse are often recommended activities. Visitors may also enjoy a tour of the Talisker Distillery or a walk around the packed streets of Portree, Skye's largest town.

  • What is the best time of year to visit Skye?

    Skye is most frequently visited between June and August when the weather is warmest, averaging around 60°F (15°C). During this time, the annual Skye Highland Games, featuring traditional Scottish events, attract many visitors.

  • What are the best places to stay in Skye?

    Portree, Skye's largest town, is a popular place to stay, providing easy access to many of Skye's attractions. Other frequently chosen areas include Dunvegan, known for its historic castle, and Broadford, which has an array of accommodations and amenities.

  • What are the best places to visit in Skye?

    Often recommended places to visit on Skye include the natural wonder, Fairy Glen, the rugged landscape of Quiraing, and the Armadale Castle Gardens and Museum. Visitors also frequently enjoy exploring the colorful town of Portree and the ancient Dunvegan Castle.

  • What are some hiking trails in Skye?

    Skye is a hiker's paradise with trails like the Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, and the Fairy Pools. The Trotternish Ridge, a 20 mile (32 km) trail offering panoramic views, is also popular. For a coastal hike, consider Neist Point.

  • What are some family activities to do in Skye?

    Families often enjoy visiting Skye's natural wonders, such as the Fairy Pools and Dinosaur Footprints at Staffin. A boat tour to see the seals, or a visit to the Aros Centre to explore Skye's cultural and natural heritage, are also frequently suggested.

  • What are some of the best day trip ideas in Skye?

    Many visitors to Skye enjoy day trips to the Fairy Pools, a beautiful, natural waterfall phenomenon. Another often recommended excursion is exploring Dunvegan Castle and its gardens. A boat tour to see the abundant wildlife, including seals and eagles, is frequently suggested.

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