The Dreamy Coastal Town of Portree on Isle of Skye, Scotland
28 Best Things to do When Visiting Skye’s Favourite City
The sweetest hues of bracing blue, a hint of green, and splash of colours, give such life to my daydreaming. The quintessential dreamy harbour with a generous curve of land, fringed by cliffs with a pier designed by Thomas Telford and boats scattered on its waters is the amazing sight and the best of Portree Scotland, the welcoming gateway to the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides — the land of faeries and dinosaurs.
Portree, is Skye’s capital, the largest and the busiest town built around a colourful harbour where fishing boats still arrive to offload the catch of the day. Awash with seafood restaurants, traditional pubs, hotels and shops, this lively town has something for everyone, including the undeniable most mouthwatering aroma of fish and chips!
Planning a trip to Portree Scotland or wanting to know more about this colourful harbour town?
Perfect! This is the best guide for you — Portree offers so many things to do, from stunning views of natural landscapes to fun activities within the city along with adventures beyond the harbour. In this guide, I give you a little background information for context, best places to stay, where to go for best views of the harbour along with things to do for an amazing unforgettable visit to Portree Scotland. The best of Portree Scotland has everything for a timeless visit to the Highland.
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TOP TIPS FOR BEST OF PORTREE SCOTLAND
1 | Book Hotels and Restaurants in Advance
Portree, as the main town along with the picturesque Isle of Skye is a busy destination for visitors especially during the summer months between June and August. If you want the best places to stay at such as the Cuillin Hills Hotel or the Marmalade (both hotels mentioned below) you must book at least 3 to 6 months earlier. If you wish to dine at the best restaurants with stunning views such as The View Restaurant to make your trip extra special, then I would highly encourage you to book well in advance of your travels to secure your place. You could always cancel if plans change.
2 | Download an Offline Map
It is worth bearing in mind that some parts of the Isle of Skye do not have cell phone coverage especially around the Trotternish Peninsula like Quiraing. It will be best to plan ahead and download an offline version of Google Maps for the entire Isle of Skye to have access to when you navigate the island. Alternatively, you may like a paper or online version by Ordnance Survey, the mapping agency of Great Britain.
3 | Get a ‘midge’ Repellant
Midges are notorious in the Scottish Highland! These infamous flies thrive on swamps, marshy areas and water sources such as lakes and streams. The midge season is between mid-May and the end of September. If you are visiting the Isle of Skye or the Scottish Highlands, pack a midge repellant along. You might want to try ‘Smidge’ which is an effective repellant.
4 | Travel Insurance for Portree / Isle of Skye / Scotland
I am sure you would agree, that having travel insurance gives us peace of mind. We do not expect anything unfortunate to happen when we are on holiday but sometimes mishaps beyond our control may happen. I use World Nomads and highly recommend them. Their prices are affordable, offer great coverage and a reliable 24/7 on call service.
5 | Visit the Tourist Office Portree
Visit the tourist office – Portree iCentre when you arrive. Staff are extremely helpful and you could pick up a local map and printable directions to attractions around the island.
6 | Best explored by Car
Portree and Isle of Skye, and wider Scotland is vast and absolutely stunning and offer so much to be explored. While you can easily connect to major towns by public transportation, not every destination is connected, and the best of hidden gems can only be reached if you drive.
OUR BEST READ ARTICLES ON SCOTLAND
ABOUT PORTREE SCOTLAND
A ‘not to be forgotten’ journey through the land of the faeries will inevitably bring you to the dreamy coastal town of Portree, the capital of the fairytale Isle of Skye. Located on the east side of the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, Portree overlooks a sheltered bay.
Portree Scotland is a pretty harbour town, fringed by cliffs and has a pier designed by the famous Scottish civil engineer, Thomas Telford (1757 — 1834)
Surrounded by hills, you shall find Ben Tianavaig (413 metres) to the south, Fingal’s Seat (312 metres) to the west, and Ben Chrachaig (144 metres) to the north.
Heading north towards Staffin, is the spectacular scenery of the Trotternish Ridge, dominated by the astounding pinnacles of Quaraing, the amazing and weird at the same time rock formations of the Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock. Across the bay to the east is the Island of Raasay.
The bustling port-town is a thriving cultural centre and a perfect base for exploring the best of Portree Scotland .
1 | How old is Portree Scotland?
With an estimated population of 2,310 (mid-2020), Portree has its origin in the beginning of the 19th century, so that makes the city to be about 200 years old. The harbour town was created as a fishing village by the then Lord MacDonald.
The name ‘Portree’ comes from the Gaelic word ‘Port Righ’ which means ‘King’s Port’, and is believed to have emanated from a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540. However, there are also suggestions that the area was called Portree or Portray way before the king’s visit and the name really comes from the Gaelic word which means ‘Port on the Slope’.
2 | Why is Portree Scotland famous?
Portree is famous because it is a popular tourist destination that serves as an ideal base for exploring the endless scenic natural landscape that surrounds the bustling port and the magical Isle of Skye. The harbour town is a cultural hub, home to the award-winning Aros Centre that runs regular concerts and film screenings, celebrating the Gaelic heritage. There is everything a visitor would need — banks, churches, cafes and restaurants, gifts and bookshops, tourist information centre, fuel filling station and supermarkets.
Portree was also a filming location for some of the famous movies — Prometheus (2012), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Highlander (1986), Macbeth (2015), The Neolith (2020), just to name a few.
The enchanting harbour town of Portree also hosts annual events that draws visitors and locals such as the popular Skye Highland Games, the Isle of Skye half marathon and the Portree Show.
3 | Portree is the Island’s Transport Hub
Portree is well connected to public transportation both within the island and to the mainland. There are regular bus services connecting Portree Somerled Square to Inverness and Glasgow. You could also catch local services around Skye from Somerled Square.
HOTELS IN PORTREE SCOTLAND WITH GREAT VIEWS
Portree offers many great accommodation choices to suit all budgets ranging from hotels, bed & breakfast and self-catering options. Here are some of the best, selected for best views, and comfortable stays along with good service which you would love to stay at.
1 | Cuillin Hills Hotel
Cuillin Hills Hotel is my top recommendation. An award-winning hotel and restaurant, you will experience nothing less than the most high-quality fine dining experience at the Cuillin Hills Hotel while in Portree Scotland. Set within 15 acres of grounds, the accommodation offers spectacular views over Portree Bay to the Cuillin Mountains. Incredibly well-situated and picturesque, the outdoors is perfect for evening drinks and the ambience is definitely one to experience.
The restaurant offers a wide range of food selection, from freshly caught salmon, hearty Angus beef to delectable desserts.
The rooms are decorated in soft warm tones, and modern decor without losing the traditional touch. Along with sublime views of the surrounding area, Cuillin Hotel is a must for travellers who want an authentic experience of the enchanting Isle of Skye.
Rated as superb with a 9.8 out of 10 by visitors.
CHECK RATES, AVAILABILITY & BOOK YOUR STAY AT THE CUILLIN HILLS HOTEL
2 | Marmalade, Portree Scotland
GOOD FOR FAMILIES
Marmalade, Portree dates back to 1817 and is located at just 400 yards from the city centre. The hotel offers spacious rooms that overlook the scenic Portree Bay and the captivating Cuillin Moutains in the distance. Family rooms are available and your stay comes with breakfast included, a buffet-style continental and cooked full Scottish option.
Alfresco dining is offered in the landscaped gardens and an intimate heated courtyard as a bar area.
Marmalade is highly popular amongst guests, so an early booking is highly recommended. Rated as 9/10.
3 | Skeabost House Hotel
PET FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATION
Skeabost House Hotel is a highly rated hotel in the Highlands and is set within private grounds at the edge of Loch Snizort. While some rooms feature a four poster-beds, many of the rooms also offer views over the landscaped grounds, or towards Loch Snizort and its salmon river. The Hotel has its very own 9-hole, 18-tee golf course which provides the perfect challenge for any level of golfer. Alongside these features, Skeabost House Hotel is a licensed wedding venue.
Dining is available, at the a la carte restaurant located in the hotel’s conservatory.
4 | Royal Hotel Portree
The Royal Hotel at Portree boasts a rich history, and a long standing reputation for providing high-quality service for visitors as well as several generations of the local community. Conveniently located at Bank Street, most rooms at the hotel offer stunning views over the Portree harbour and the loch. There are two restaurants that are exclusively dedicated to seafood and the bar stocks local whiskies and ales. In the summer, the hotel hosts live music.
28 THINGS TO DO IN BEST OF PORTREE SCOTLAND
1 | Somerled Square, Portree Scotland
Set in the heart of Portree, Somerled Square is the town’s focal point that leads visitors and locals alike to many of the other destinations. Shops line the central square with streets branching off it. Located close to many of the best shops, cinema, cafes and restaurants, you are sure to find a spot to enjoy a fresh brew while either you plan your day ahead or just sitting down to capture your moment to relax your feet. The quaint square is an unmissable spot.
2 | Colour House Viewpoint, Best of Portree Scotland
Adorning Portree’s shoreline is a stretch of delightful colourful houses and to get the best view of them is from the Colour House Viewpoint. The access point to the Colour House Viewpoint is located next to the Royal Hotel.
This viewpoint gives you the best views of the alluring picture-perfect colourful attraction on the cliff. This easily accessible viewpoint is one of the best experiences in Portree.
Get directions for your 6-minute walk > from Portree to Colour House Viewpoint
3 | Go on a splendid tour of Isle of Skye from Portree Scotland
Portree is ideally located to many of the highlights on the Isle of Skye, including Kilt Rock, the Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Sligachan and Bride Veil Falls, just to name a few. Some of these destinations are hard to reach without a car. If you prefer not to hire a car on your visit, I highly recommend that you join a small tour group.
The best tour group to join is Best of Isle of Skye in One Day, (rated 4.6/5) from Portree. On this tour, you shall explore some of the very best of Isle of Skye such as the Kilt Rock, Fairy Glen, the Old Man of Storr and more.
4 | The Lump, Portree Scotland
The Lump, as the name suggests is rounded in shape and sits along the town’s shoreline, dividing Portree into two parts. There are serene walking trails that spiral around the woodlands of The Lump. It is worth trekking to the hilltop as it offers a spectacular panorama of Portree harbour, along with an area for picnics and a variety of interesting sights, one of which is the Apothecary Tower. Follow a forest path from Bayfield Road
5 | Apothecary Tower, Portree Scotland
When you arrive at the hilltop of The Lump, look out for a 19th century watchtower. The Apothecary Tower is situated amidst a quiet garden and is of a rugged architectural design. You may want to look deeper at its history, or you may want to climb up the tower for a stunning view of Loch Portree.
6 | Boat Trips from Portree Scotland
Hop onto a boat and go on an amazing trip from Portree Harbour that continues on to the Atlantic to see some incredible wildlife of Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
There are several boat trips from Portree harbour offered by various companies and the best one is Stardust. On a boat trip, you may see seals, whales, dolphins, white-tailed eagles, and puffins. You could also explore the Island of Raasay during one of these trips, and enjoy the splendour of the Cuillin Mountains and the Old Man of Storr viewed from the island.
To go on one of these boat trips, head to the official website of Stardust/Skyeboattrips where you could book your trip. Select from either Portree Bay, Sound of Raasay, Sea Eagle Trail or Skye Whale Trail. Depending on which trip you book, each cruise lasts from 2 to 3 hours. Stardust runs regular cruises all year round except during inclement weather.
7 | Watch a show at the Aros Centre Portree Scotland
One of the main attractions in Portree is the Aros Centre, the community’s cultural hub. The Aros Centre offers theatre, live music, workshops and galleries. There is also a family-friendly restaurant and a play area for children. To experience an authentic Scottish Gaelic culture, the Aros Centre is the place to visit. Free private parking is also available.
Where: Aros Centre, Viewfield Rd, Portree, Isle of Skye IV51 9EU
Ben Tianavaig sits at 413 metres, dominating the Portree skyline and is one of the most striking views from Portree Harbour. It is one of Scotland’s finest short hillwalks, offering sensational views.
The walk starts at sea level, from the small town of Camustianavaig. The summit offers incredible views overlooking Portree harbour, across to Raasay and up the Sound of Raasay to the Island of Rona. On a clear day you can see for miles. It takes about 2 hours to hike up to the summit of Ben Tianavaig.
The Isle of Skye Walks has rated this hike as ‘Difficult’ because it has a rough start and a steady hike thereafter to the summit.
9 | Hike The Scorrybreac Circuit when Visiting Portree Scotland
The Scorrybreac walk is a 3.1 km loop that takes you along the shores of Portree. There are a few rough sections and it is therefore, considered moderately challenging. It is suggested that the loop takes about 55 minutes to complete. The trail features incredible views and scenery over the harbour, one in best of Portree Scotland.
10 | Visit Skye Batiks at Portree Scotland
Skye Batiks features a blend of Celtic and Indonesian culture. Renowned for its exquisite colours, Skye Batiks are unique, handmade and offer you an opportunity to make a fashion statement. Browse the official website of Skye Batik before your visit.
Where: Skye Batiks, The Green, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9BY
11 | Stroll around Portree Scotland
Before you leave the colourful Portree, make time to stroll around the town and wander to the waterfront and the harbour. The harbour is especially picturesque with the fishing and pleasure boats moor.
The waterfront is awash with charming seafood eateries and traditional pubs. The most mouthwatering aroma, that of fish & chips and vinegar just beckons a stop.
12 | Dine at The View Restaurant, Portree Scotland
Portree is home to some amazing restaurants but the absolute must-try is The View Restaurant at the Cuillin Hills Hotel (9.8/10). The views are absolutely spectacular and it is an experience not to miss.
The View Restaurant serves a wide range of dishes, ranging from meat, seafood, vegetarian and vegan. It is a highly popular dining destination, so if you are planning on dining here, best to make a reservation as early as possible.
13 | Enjoy a Pony Ride through Skye’s Countryside when visiting Portree Scotland
There are some exciting activities a visitor to Portree can experience and one of the best ones is a pony ride through Skye’s stunning countryside.
The Isle of Skye Trekking Centre is a family-run business and offers pony therapy that aims to promote the mental well-being of everyone. The Trekking Centre offers three different pony-trekking routes, all taking you through some wondrous country landscape of Skye.
Pony Trekking is available for adults and children over 4 years of age, making this a great activity for all the family. Rides are available hourly throughout the day.
ADD TO YOUR BEST OF PORTREE SCOTLAND ITINERARY
14 | Hiking the Quiraing – The Top Highlight of Isle of Skye
Hiking the Quiraing is one of your best of Portree Scotland visit, indeed it is the top highlight for most visitors to the Isle of Sky.
The Quiraing is part of the Trotternish ridge and formed by a massive landslip, creating pinnacles, high cliffs and hidden plateaus. There are rock formations with names such as The Needles, The Table and The Prison. With its million shades of green, the Quiraing is a breathtaking spectacle and is one of Skye’s most dramatic landscapes. A hike here offers some postcard-perfect vistas of the island at every turn.
The Quiraing walk is a loop that begins at the car park and returns you to the starting point. It covers a distance of 6.8 km (4.2 miles) with an elevation of 543 m (1,781 ft) and takes about 2 to 4 hours to complete depending on ability and stops. Give yourself as much time as possible to enjoy the views, to take pictures, and to absolutely soak up the views!
The walk is rated as ‘medium’ in length and ‘hard’ for difficulty as there are some narrow cliffsides paths with steep drops.
You do not have to complete the loop if you wish not to. You could go as far as the point where the main path diverge into two separate paths, and these give you incredible views as well.
Top tips when walking the Quiraing:
1 | The car park is located at the summit of the minor road linking to Uig and Staffin. The walk starts on the north side of the road – look out for a footpath sign to Flodigarry.
2 | Be sure to bring suitable hiking boots and warm waterproof clothing. The weather in Skye can change dramatically within minutes and you wouldn’t want to be caught out.
3 | There is no signal here, so you might want to download an offline map or take a compass along with you.
4 | If you are planning on camping overnight, do let someone know of your plans. In case of emergencies, your contact will know where to reach you.
Driving time from Portree to Quiraing is 37 minutes via A855
15 | UIG Pottery, Isle of Skye, from Portree Scotland
Set amidst the dramatic landscape of Uig at just 25.7 kilometres (16 miles) from Portree, UIG Pottery is the home of traditional Scottish pottery. Distinctive stoneware created by hand is brought to life, inspired by the natural beauty of the surroundinng sea and landscape.
Driving time from Portree to UIG Pottery is 24 minutes via A87
16 | Visit the Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye when at Portree Scotland
The ‘Old Man‘ is a large pinnacle of rock on the Trotternish Peninsula and is one of Skye’s most famous and busiest walks. An absolute icon of the island.
There are several legends associated with the ‘Old Man’ for example one suggests the rock is the thumb of a giant buried beneath the Storr but the one I like the best is one narrated by a Scotsman and the story goes:
There was once an old man and his wife who used to walk up the Storr every evening to watch the sunset and to look out at the incredibly beautiful views over the ocean. The Old Man’s wife died one day and he was heartbroken. So, he decided to walk up The Storr one last time. While watching the sun set and the beauty of the ocean, he thought of his wife whom he missed very much and remembered how happy they were. This was one place where he could remember his wife and be happy, and so he wished that he could stay there forever.
The faeries saw how sad the Old Man was and how much he wished to stay at The Storr, so they granted him his wish by turning him to stone.
Whichever legend you choose to believe, there is no denying that this part of the Isle of Skye is rather special and makes the best of Portree Scotland.
If you wish to get up close to the Old Man of Storr, you shall find that the walk up Storr uses the same path as you would walk down, and return to the same point, the car park. The Storr Walk covers a distance of 3.8 km (2.36 miles) at an elevation of 288 m (944 ft). You could complete the walk with no stops in 1 hour 15 minutes or do so at leisure to suit. You will want to stop as many times as possible to capture the amazing sceneries that the hike affords. This walk is categorised as ‘medium’ in length and ‘medium’ in difficulty.
Top tip: Ensure comfortable and suitable walking boots and clothing.
Driving time from Portree to Old Man of Storr is 15 minutes via the A855.
17 | Bride’s Veil Falls, Isle of Skye, from Portree Scotland
Nearby the Old Man of Storr, is one of the most popular waterfalls called Bride’s Veil Waterfall. This pretty cascade is reminiscent of a bridal veil, hence the name. It is ideally located just by the road and is worth a photo stop.
Driving time from Portree to Bride’s Veil Falls is 12 minutes via the A855.
18 | Visit Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls from Portree Scotland
Skye is home to an amazing rock formation that looks so much like Scotland’s traditional fashion, the pleated kilt.
Set amidst an extremely picturesque area along the coast of Skye in the north east Trotternish Peninsula, the Kilt Rock is a 60 metre high sea cliff that resemble a kilt, with vertical basalt columns and intruded sills of dolerite forming the pattern. This part of the Isle of Skye was formed over a million years ago.
Alongside Kilt Rock is Mealt Falls, a giant waterfall plummeting down 55 metres from the clifftop into the sea. Utterly spellbinding.
Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. So, don’t be surprised if it is a little crowded during the peak season.
Visiting the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint on the Isle of Skye is definitely one not to miss when in Portree Scotland.The viewpoint is easy to reach. There is no need for hiking or to walk very far, and makes for a quick visit.
Driving time from Portree to Kilt Rock & Mealt Falls is 28 minutes via the A855.
19 | Explore the beautiful Dunvegan Castle and Gardens when visiting Portree Scotland
Located on the picturesque shores of Loch Dunvegan in the northwestern side of Skye is the beautiful Dunvegan Castle and Gardens. Built in the 9th century for the Clan MacLeod, it has been opened to the public since 1933 and is a popular visitor attraction. The castle is surrounded by three gardens and makes a spectacular sight especially in the spring months.
Inside the castle, you shall find beautifully furnished rooms, oil paintings and treasures belonging to the clan. One of the clan treasures is the Faerie Flag, a tattered banner that is said to have been given to the Clan MacLeod by the faeries. It is believed that when the flag is raised in battle, the clan would be ensured of victory.
Before leaving, ensure you head to the Dunvegan Castle Viewpoint to get the best view of the castle as a whole.
Driving time from Portree to Dunvegan Castle is 32 minutes via the A850.
20 | Don’t miss the picturesque Sligachan Bridge
The Sligachan Bridge is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting bridges on the Isle of Skye located in one of the most picturesque parts of the island near the Cuillin Mountains. From the Sligachan Bridge, you can capture perfect views of the Black Cuillin and the River Sligachan. This is one part of Skye that is truly natural and rewards visitors with unspoilt beauty, so ensure you are unhurried when visiting Sligachan from Portree Scotland
Nearby, there is a restaurant inside the famous Sligachan Hotel (9.3/10) which has an award-winning whisky bar. The hotel is pet friendly and highly popular given its history and peaceful settings.
The waters of Sligachan are also associated with a legend that says the waters are enchanted. According to the legend, if you hold your face in the cold running stream for a full 7 seconds, you shall be granted eternal beauty.
Recommended read: The Enchanting Sligachan Bridge and the Magical Waters of Sligachan on Isle of Skye – this post gives you complete information on places to stay, how to get to Sligachan and the legend.
Driving time from Portree to Sligachan Old Bridge is 15 minutes via the A87
21 | Explore the Trail of Dinosaurs when visiting Portree Scotland
Many many millions of years ago, about 170 million years according to geologists, the Isle of Skye was the stomping ground for dinosaurs. Fossilised footprints and dinosaur bone remains belonging to the rare Middle Jurassic were found on the Isle of Skye. With fifteen percent of all Middle Jurassic discoveries worldwide made on Skye, the island is well known as Scotland’s ‘Dinosaur Isle‘. Scotland’s largest dinosaur fossilised prints were found as recent as in 2002. You can still see some of their footprints in some parts of the island especially at Staffin Bay and Brother’s Point where remains of dinosaur bones and fossilised footprints have been discovered.
22 | Dinosaurs at Staffin Bay
One of the places that is open to the public and free to explore is the pretty An Corran Beach at Staffin Bay. Huge footprints can be seen on the sandstone rocks.
The prints are covered during high-tide, and by sand and seaweed that are washed onto the beach. You may want to plan your visit at low tide or after a storm when the sea has swept the sand away.
While this small secluded beach is popular for dinosaur finds, it is also a lovely beach for morning and sunset walks.
Top tip: You can only see the dinosaur’s footprints at low tide. You can check the tide times for Staffin Bay here.
Driving time from Portree to An Corran Beach is 33 minutes.
If you wish to follow the trail of dinosaurs on Skye further, head to Brother’s Point
23 | Brother’s Point Isle of Skye
Brother’s Point, known as Rubha nam Brathairean in Gaelic, is a headland that extends out to the Atlantic Ocean. Once a lesser known hidden gem, Brother’s Point these days has become one of the most exciting places to explore. The dramatic views of the peninsula are stunning, and since 2018, dinosaur tracks have been discovered here.
Rubha nam Brathairean is located on the Trotternish Loop, near Culnacnoc and is one of those places that has yet to find its spot as one of the best hikes on the Isle of Skye. Nevertheless, it is a great hike that offers incredible views of the island’s coastline.
The trek begins at Brother’s Point Parking, at Culnarnoc, and is 3.5 km (2.25 miles) with an elevation of 238 m (780 ft). It will take anything from 1 to 2 hours to complete and return to your starting point, but it may take longer for some of us who are unhurried and who completely get lost in the moments of utter serenity.
To get to the shore from the car park, cross the street and walk south along the road for about 60m. Look out for the sign to Rubha nam Brathairean, take a left turn onto a rough trail down a narrow gorge heading towards the coast. You will come to a gate, turn right here and continue down onto a grassy footpath leading to the shoreline. After a short walk, the views open up to a beautiful coastline. The shore, a rocky beach strewn with huge knobbly pebbles is the place where you could explore for signs of the ancient beings. Ensure you are here at low tide, so you could easily notice the prints.
Top tip: Be sure to check Brother’s Point tide times before heading out.
If you wish to hike up, walk along the beach on your right, follow a faint trail and sheep trails. The path becomes clearer the further along you walk. You ascend and the peninsula of Brother’s Point comes into view.
The trek is easy, although there are some steep, narrow sections along the way. The trek runs along an edge of the cliff towards the end, leading to the peninsula.
Ensure you are using suitable, waterproof boots and windproof clothing.
Driving time from Portree to Brother’s Point is 26 minutes via A855
24 | Staffin Dinosaur Museum
To learn more about dinosaurs on Skye, visit the Staffin Dinosaur Museum where there are fossils and dinosaur prints on display. Located within a short drive from Portree, you shall find fossils and information on Stegosaurus, Megalosaurus, Cetiosaurus, Hadrosaurus, and Ceolophysis that have been identified in the area. The museum is open daily, from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets are £4 for adults, £2 for children and £10 for family.
Driving time from Portree to Staffin Dinosaur Museum is 29 minutes via A855
25 | Visit the Magical Fairy Pools from Portree Scotland
One of the highlights of visiting Isle of Skye is to take a dip (if you can) in the magical Fairy Pools. The Fairy Pools are a series of beautiful crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle fed by the fresh spring waters from the Cuillin Mountains. This place looks absolutely surreal and should firmly secure a place on your best of Portree Scotland itinerary.
The Fairy Pools is a great attraction for some ‘wild swimming’, if you can dare the cold, otherwise these magical pools make great photo spots.
The walk to the Fairy Pools begins at the Fairy Pools Car Park on the road to Glenbrittle and uses the same route there and back. The distance to the first waterfall is 2.4 km (1.5 miles) at an elevation of 100 m (328 ft) and takes about 40 minutes to complete with no stops. However, as with magical places like these, you may find exploring the stunning surroundings and the different pools to be a rewarding experience and time is not of the essence. Perhaps, 2 hours is a better estimate of time for the Fairy Pools.
The walk is rated as ‘Short’ in distance and ‘Medium’ in difficulty.
While this is an easy walk, and the streams are shallow, you still need to ensure that you use suitable waterproof hiking boots because there are several streams and rocks to jump across.
The Fairy Pools is also easily accessible from the nearest village, Carbost on the West of Skye. The best time to visit is either first thing in the morning or later in the day when the crowds are fewer.
Driving time from Portree to Fairy Pools is 35 minutes, via A87 and A863. There is a fee for parking.
26 | Step into a Fantasy around the Mystical Fairy Glen
An easy drive from Portree, on the West side of Trotternish at Balnacnoc and just north of Uig are the mystical, towering cone-shaped peaks and rolling hills of the Fairy Glen, a place that is straight out of a fairytale storybook. The landscape of this geological wonder is truly unique, with a basalt outcrop of rock, towering over the glen. It’s likeness to that of a castle ruin, and has been named (mysteriously) ‘Castle Ewan’. Castle Ewan along with all the mounds offer some of the best vantage points for some great views and photos over the splendid landscape.
While the Isle of Skye has a long history involving the faeries, the Fairy Glen has no stories or legends of faeries related to it. The area is named Fairy Glen for the simple reason that it is a geological wonder that has resulted in an unusual landscape.
Parking for Fairy Glen is limited. You may want to park at Uig and walk up to the Fairy Glen. It takes 30 minutes. Alternatively, check for Fairy Glen Parking before heading out.
Driving time from Portree to Fairy Glen is 25 minutes via A87.
27 | Visit Lealt Falls from Portree Scotland
Penultimate to your visit to Portree, visit Lealt Falls which is worth a stop on any roadtrip around the Isle of Skye’s Trotternish Peninsula. A dramatic waterfall on the River Lealt (AKA Abhainn an Lethuillt in Gaelic), descends a deep narrow gorge, dropping some 90m into the valley floor before emptying into the Sound of Raasay at Invertote. The falls are stunning after a rainfall and often appear orange in colour due to the surrounding peat.
There are two viewing platforms at Lealt Falls. The first, on the northern edge of the parking area, is a trail that leads through a wooden gate, and towards a Viewing Platform extending over the gorge. This viewing area is conveniently accessible and suitable for visitors with mobility issues.
Accessing the second platform is a little tricky but doable. Continue east, along the gorge towards the sea. The path is rough with a steep but short descent and ascent close to the viewpoint. This viewing area offers wonderful views of the sea.
Lealt Falls is easily accessible from Portree via A855 coastal road with ample parking spaces. Park at Lealt Falls Car Park.
Driving distance from Portree to Lealt Falls is 22 minutes via A855
28 | Just drive …..
Just like that, time flies in this magical Isle and if you can manage time wise, hop into your car and drive …. drive around the island as much as you can. More often than not, you will find a lay-by for a quick stop where you can capture magnificent views, really speechless moments for that timeless memories. You will find little spots of white on the meadows or by the lochs happily grazing away, whitewashed houses in the distance with twirls of smoke emanating from its chimney, and the many, many lochs under the misty skies. Yes, it rains every so often but the skies also bloom with rainbows.
In all of its wonderful experiences on this island, there is none quite like meeting the friendly iconic Highland coos. You may find these wonderful coos happily grazing with their family around the A850 between the Fairy Bridge and Dunvegan or around the village of Sconser, located between Broadford (Skye Bridge) to Portree (A87)
HOW TO GET TO PORTREE SCOTLAND
The town of Portree can be reached by car, bus or train and a combination of any of these options. However, driving is the best option to explore the Isle of Skye as public transportation is a challenging option to use to explore all the sites noted in this post.
I use Travel Supermarket as my go to site to hire a car. Travel Supermarket is a price comparison site for various travel related products but I find the tool to compare prices and availability of cars including the type of car is easy to use. In addition, their site offers live updates on prices and availability, therefore it is advantageous to lock-in low prices if booked well in advance.
1 | Driving to Portree 26otland
As a guide, here are the driving times and distances from some main cities in Scotland.
From Aberdeen to Portree: 346 km (215 miles) — 4 hours and 53 minutes;
From Edinburgh to Portree: 379 km (236 miles) — 5 hours and 18 minutes;
From Glasgow to Portree: 336 km (209 miles) — 5 hours and 13 minutes;
From Inverness to Portree: 183 km (114 miles) — 2 hours and 40 minutes;
2 | Can you Get to Isle of Skye by Train?
There are no railways on the Isle of Skye. There are a couple of train stations nearest to the island and it involves taking a bus connection or a ferry to reach Portree. For example:
2.1 | By Train and Ferry
Take the train from Glasgow to Mallaig, then the ferry to Skye.
2.2 | Train and Bus
There are no direct trains or buses from Edinburg to Portree. You could travel from Edinburgh to Inverness by train and then take the buses to reach Portree.
2.3 | Travelling by Bus to Portree/Isle of Skye
2.3.1 | National Bus Service
The National Bus Service is currently provided by the Bus Company ‘City Link’. City Link presently offers coaches from both Glasgow & Inverness to Skye. Full details of these routes including timetable can be found on their official website. In the summer it can be worth booking online to ensure you get a seat.
Inverness to Skye Timetable (spring 2022)
Glasgow to Skye Timetable (spring 2022)
2.3.2 | Local Bus Service
The local bus routes on Skye (village to village) are operated by the company Stagecoach. Full timetables can be found on their official website.
Skye Timetable (summer 2022)
When in Portree, take a few moments to just watch the comings and goings of the harbour. I was totally amazed with how quickly the harbour transforms in a very short space of time by the arrival and departure of boats along with the swing of everyday life of tourists aboard and off boarding.
The harbour town of Portree is a fantastic base for sightseeing the Isle of Skye as it revolves around the scenic untouched landscapes, tales of magical faeries and castles. Alongside these you shall also find world class whisky distilleries and endless unique wildlife species.
It is impossible to capture all of the experiences in one post, so I shall be writing more on the Isle of Skye. Ensure you subscribe to stay connected.
This is not a sponsored post or any of the activities subsidised in any way. It was fully paid for by myself and I enjoyed every bit of it -:)! My sincere wish is that you have found this guide on the Best of Portree Scotland and the 28 suggestions to be helpful in planning your travel to the Isle of Isle and wider Scotland If so, use the links embedded in this guide and related posts to book your activities, and places to stay. We earn a commission from qualified purchases at zero cost to you. You could support TTS in other ways also. We appreciate your continued support to keep this blog going.
As a single traveller, it is often difficult to get a photo of myself at places I visit. I travel minimal these days, often without a tripod or my heavy camera equipment. Moreover, the time taken to set up the tripod plus the wind makes it less attractive when hiking! I don’t do well with selfies either -:). Anyways, this is a photo of me at Quiraing, Trotternish Peninsula, Skye, taken by a kind traveller on my first visit to Skye.
Have a splendid time discovering Portree and the Isle of Skye
Best Tips: Book tours and tickets beforehand so not to miss:
Our Best Selling Day Trips and Multi Day Trips to undertake when visiting Scotland:
1 | See the best of Scotland in a day — Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Scottish Highland
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’28 in Best of Portree Scotland’ first published at timelesstravelsteps.com
Regularly edited and updated. Last update August 12, 2022