Scotland is well known for the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. There are plenty of things to do in the Isle of Skye from stunning viewpoints and castles. In today’s blog post, I talk about my experience in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye and give my top tips and tricks to create your perfect Scotland itinerary!
Hello everyone & welcome back to my blog! Remember how in my Tuscany road trip post I mentioned that I will be writing about my travel escapades throughout the years? Well, this is one of them. I want to help my fellow readers plan their trips and get to know places they maybe a) have never heard about or b) have been on their bucket list for a long time! Scotland is an insanely beautiful country with lots to offer and it should be on everybody’s wish list.
Before I get into my Scottish adventure, here is a fun fact about Yours Truly. I have Scottish heritage from my father’s side! Going to Scotland and finding out more about my family’s history has always been a dream of mine and I made that dream come true!
As usual, at the end of the post, there is a map with all the places I mentioned!
Some things you should know:
It’s cold. Like, really cold.
▷ I visited in March and felt like I was in the dead of winter. Make sure to pack a lot of thick clothing and leggings and a nice, big jacket to keep you warm! UK weather is very unpredictable. It can be nice and sunny one minute and pouring rain the next. Pack some good hiking boots because you will need them.
▷ You would definitely need a car to get around. What you can do is fly to a main airport (we flew to Manchester, England) and rent a car from there!
▷ Plan ahead! There is lots to see in the Isle of Skye. We tried to fit in as much as we can in three days BUT, I will be back in November to tick off more places.
There are hotels all over the Isle of Skye and the Highlands. However, they can be a bit tricky to get to since the area is so big. One tip is that you chose your location strategically so that way, it would be easier for you to go out and explore.
We weren’t strategic at all.
Our hotel was in Ardgour. While the hotel is simply stunning and very comfortable and the views are just to die for, the location was a bit of a struggle when we wanted to go out and explore. What we had to do was get on a ferry whenever we left the hotel & take the same ferry back when we were done with our adventures. The cost adds up as the cost was around £10 per person one way. Don’t do like we did!
PS: the hotel we stayed in was Ardgour Inn. The Inn is a cute, little inn owned by a local Scottish family. The rooms are big, the views are breathtaking and there is a small bar attached to the Inn where you can have authentic Scottish food. I tried Haggis from there and I liked it! The consistency was a little weird but it tasted good.
Getting to the Scottish Highlands:
We flew to Manchester, stayed the night there, rented a car and drove to the Ardgour. On the way there, we stopped for a night in Carlisle which is located right by the English-Scottish border. This is the route we took:
The drive from Carlisle to our hotel took around four hours which isn’t too bad. As expected, the weather was gloomy but the views during the drive there was stunning! We stopped by a gas station to buy some snacks and I took these pictures of these snow-covered mountains. This was my first time being this close to snow! #mediterraneanislandproblems.
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When to visit the Isle of Skye:
According to my research, June is the best month the visit because it isn’t packed with tourists just yet. If you don’t mind the cold weather and the unexpected rain, winter is a good time to visit as well. April and May are the driest months so if you don’t like rain as I do, those two months are the perfect time to visit.
What to do in the isle of Skye:
▷ Eilean Donan Castle:
Also known as the most photographed castle in Scotland, this castle belongs to the MacKenzie Clan. Fun fact about this Clan is that our clan, the MacKays, and the MacKenzies were once enemies! And here we are, going in our enemies castle haha!
You have to pay to go in and photographs are not allowed but I did manage to sneak some in haha. I don’t remember exactly how much the ticket cost but you can check the official website and get the exact amount!
This castle was built in the 13th century and is located at the point where three lochs ‘lakes’ meet. Each room described what was the purpose of it and how the family lived. The lovely ladies who worked there had a book about all the Scottish clans that ruled Scotland back in the day and she was so happy when we told her our family name! She spent 30 minutes talking to us and she even showed us the family tartan which is purple and green.
Each room had pictures and information on what the room was used for and how the family lived. My favourite was the kitchen. So much so that I couldn’t leave without taking a picture!
The kitchen was one of the last rooms and we were guided out of the castle. There is a small souvenir shop where I bought a postcard and these delicious shortbread highland biscuits! They were so buttery and sweet. I’m going to go on Amazon as soon as I finish writing this post and order me some!
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▷ Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint:
On our way to the castle, we came across this stunning viewpoint. The Highlands and Isle of Skye have a lot of these viewpoints. Simply park your car and admire the stunning views.
▷ The Old Man of Storr:
This has to be by far my favourite place we visited in the Highlands. The Old Man of Storr is a collection of big, pointy rocks located on the top of a hill and can be seen from miles around. These rocks date back thousands and thousands of years and according to the official Isle of Skye website, the hike leading to the stones is one of the busiest in Scotland!
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The hike in itself is very steep but the views are simply breathtaking.
The view from the top makes it all worth it too! The hike isn’t too long – probably around 30 minutes depending on how fast you walk. Close to the Old Man of Storr, there is a cute village where you can grab a bite to eat. You’ll need it after that hike!
After that, we did make a stop at Fort William. I didn’t quite enjoy it as much (I didn’t take any pictures in fact) because it was very touristy. It reminded me of Lake Garda in Italy. Very busy, a lot of shops and a lot of restaurants. I wouldn’t recommend visiting if you’re a) short on time like we were and b) if you want to avoid touristy places like us.
Here is a list of places I will be going to in November!
- Fairy Pools
- Loch Ness Lake
- Neist Point & Neist Lighthouse
And that brings an end to this rather short, but hopefully, interesting post. I have a lot of posts lined up for my blog to subscribe to my Newsletter and follow me on my social media to stay updated! Don’t forget to Pin & share this post with your friends and family! Until the next one!