The Best Walks in Skye

The Best Walks in Skye

Home to some of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in Europe, the Hebridean island of Skye is a magnetic destination for walkers. Wildly romantic and romantically wild, its Tolkien-esque landscapes inspire wonder in all who gaze upon them and call for days exploring on foot.

For dreamy forays into the wild, nothing will be more tempting than immersing yourself in the scenery beyond the window of your luxury retreat. Wherever you go in Skye, you are sure to be met with some of the most astonishing scenery imaginable with snowcapped mountains, folded hills and silvery lakes. To get you started, we’ve crafted a list of some of the best walks in Skye to enjoy.

Old Man of Storr

Views of the striking spires of the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

Set in the north of Skye in the Trotternish Peninsula, the Old Man of Storr is one of the most famous sights on the island. A rocky pinnacle standing high on a mountainous ridge, it can be seen for miles around and draws photographers from near and far looking to capture its dramatic qualities through the lens. To take a step closer, one of the best ways to view the Old Man of Storr is via a walk of around a mile to the top of the mountain behind it, Storr. Perhaps the island’s most popular route, this walk is considered fairly demanding yet affords some of the most awesome views imaginable. Just remember to arrive early to enjoy a quieter path and leave plenty of time for the mile-long walk back down again.

The Quiraing

Dramatic views over Quiraing, home to one of the best walking routes in the Isle of Skye

Commanding spectacular vistas at every turn, the island of Skye has unrivalled aesthetics. That said, for some of its most spectacular scenery, the two-mile Quiraing walk is hard to beat. Located within the northernmost reaches of the Trotternish Peninsula some miles from the Old Man of Storr, this magnificent walking route passes through some of the island’s most enchanting landscapes. Walk through the grass-covered remains of ancient landslides and hike past the feet of towering stone spires on this one-mile hike to the peak. From the summit, the rewards come in the form of incredible panoramas that reach across the peninsula and the sea, with glimpses of mainland Scotland beyond.

Kylerhea Otter Hide

Two otters playing in the coastal waters of Skye

The Hebrides are home to a wonderful array of wildlife species, from majestic red deer to white-tailed sea eagles to enigmatic orcas. An unspoilt sanctuary, the Isle of Skye is particularly well-known for its otter and seal populations who reside in the waters around the island’s coast. Though there are lots of opportunities for you to see otters during island wanderings, an easy walk of around two miles (there and back) to Kylerhea Otter Hide near Breakish will reward you with one of your best chances to see these adorably charming beings for yourself. To reach the hide, park at Kylerhea car park and follow the flat, well-surfaced pathway along the banks of the Kyle Rhea strait. You can also make use of the scattering of benches along the way for dreamy picnics and pit stops, soaking up the views and keeping eyes peeled for the telltale signs of otters in the waters below.

Boreraig and Suisnish

A tumbling waterfall along the walking route to Boreraig in Skye

To journey back through time, a long walk through the Cleared Coast beckons. One for history lovers and wilderness seekers alike, this ten-mile walk in Strath to the remains of the villages of Boreraig and Suisnish provides a fascinating glimpse into the past and the communities that were once home to 120 people there. Fairly challenging, it encompasses relatively clear paths and terrain with some steep ascents. Lace up hardy walking boots and bundle up supplies, including some delectable snacks for your rambles. You’ll need to make sure you have plenty of time set aside for this one, along with the promise of a meal in one of the best restaurants on Skye afterwards.

Fairy Pools

An atmospheric view of one of the Isle of Skye's fairy pools

The Isle of Skye’s enchanting fairy pools nestle at the foot of the Black Cuillins near Glenbrittle and, along with Skye’s fairy glen, have become some of the best-known attractions on the island. Uniquely beautiful, they form a series of idyllic, crystal-clear pools and waterfalls that run from a burn higher in the mountains. A true work of Mother Nature, they attract everyone from hikers to photographers to wild swimmers and should be high on the agenda of every adventurer. To see them for yourself, pack a bag with water, maps and treats and follow the flow of a well-worn five-mile trail from the fairy pools car park. Leading you to the fairy pools and through the surrounding landscapes, this hike promises unforgettable wilderness scenes.

Neist Point

A distant view of Neist Point lighthouse in Skye on a balmy eve

One of Scotland’s most iconic lighthouses, Neist Point Lighthouse awaits for exploration on the most westerly tip of Skye near Glendale. Proposing a relaxed route that’s perfect for leisurely ambles in the rejuvenating sea air, it can be reached following a walk of less than a mile from the nearest car park. While it should be avoided on blustery days given the nature of its clifftop trail, this walk is a gorgeous proposition on calm days when the surrounding cliffs and coastalscapes set a glorious backdrop. In the summer months, there’s also the added chance of seeing whales and basking sharks in the sea from the cliffs, so remember to bring a pair of binoculars with you.

Talisker Beach

A view of glassy waters on Talisker Bay

The name Talisker may be more synonymous with whisky, but this wonderful beach on the Isle of Skye makes for the most astonishing destination for walks. Coated with shingle and soft black sand and backed by hulking cliffs with tumbling vegetation and waterfalls, it is easily one of Skye’s most beautiful beaches. To get there, head to the beach’s small car park around a ten-minute drive from Carbost village. Upon arrival, you can pick up a walk of less than a mile from the car park towards the dog-friendly beach, ready to dip your toes into the fresh, cool waters of Talisker Bay.

Sgùrr na Strì

View of Camasunary Bay in morning light with Sgurr na Stri to the right and Gars-bheinn to the left

If you are looking forward to navigating the otherworldly landscapes of the Isle of Skye in style, then the call of Sgùrr na Strì will be hard to resist. Perfect for seasoned hikers, this craggy, low outlier of the Cuillin mountain range calls to experienced walkers hoping for a worthy challenge. A demanding hike of nearly 15 miles, it takes the best part of a day to complete, yet affords an immense outlook from the summit, encompassing Loch Coruisk, the Cuillin ridge and the sea. To begin with, pursue a long rambling trail before getting ready to traverse the final rugged stretch amongst rocky terrain. Upon reaching the summit, take time to admire the sight of some of the finest views in the British Isles before commencing your return to your luxury retreat.

Coral Beach

The white coral sand of Coral Beach on the Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is traced by mesmerising coastline, affording a wealth of walking opportunities for those looking to savour sweeping sea vistas. One of the best beaches, Coral Beach near Dunvegan is renowned for its striking aesthetics, layered in a powdery crushed white coral that looks like sand. Together with the tropical blue of the waters here, it’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Hebrides.  Great for families, the walk to Coral Beach from the Claigan car park is just over a mile long. Head down at your own pace and spend relaxed hours beach-combing, view-gazing from the ‘Ghrobain’ hill behind the beach and, if you’re feeling brave, paddling in the water on balmy days.

The Skye Trail

A view of the Rubha Hunish cliffs in the north of Skye

An unofficial long-distance route that is attracting attention for its incredible coastal and mountainscapes, the Skye Trail extends for nearly 80 miles around the Trotternish Ridge from Rubha Hunish to Broadford. Commencing at the island’s northernmost point, the beginning of the trail is marked by Rubha Hunish’s towering cliffs which are home to a number of bird species, including peregrine falcons, kittiwake, fulmars and even puffins. A real magnet for wildlife enthusiasts, the cliffs of Rubha Hunish often provide a wonderful spot to see whales out to sea, including Minke whales who often make appearances in July and August. Suitable for experienced hikers only, sections of this trail require strong map-reading skills as there are no waymarked routes; however, for hikers well-versed in mountain terrain, there is no finer challenge in Skye.

Feeling inspired to discover the beauty of Skye on foot? Take a look at our luxury cottage collection.

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