Self catering holidays guide on what to see on the beautiful Isle of Skye
Enjoy reading through our guide on suggested things to see and do on a self-catering holiday on the Isle of Skye. Have a peaceful cottage holiday on the beautiful Isle of Skye. We hope that you find this information useful but if you have any hints or tips that you want to share with us do get in touch. On the Isle of Skye you can enjoy spectacular views of lochs and see the beauty of the magnificent Cuillin Hills.
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The Isle of Skye is officially part of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland but is not part of the mainland. Instead, it is an island which has to be reached via a bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh. As a remote and sparsely populated isle, there is ample choice of both country cottages and also cottages by the coast. Most people reach the Isle of Skye via a drive from the Highlands of Scotland which is an amazingly scenic route with dramatic mountain scenery and plenty of lochs along the way. This route also passes by the beautiful historic Eilean Donan castle which is an essential stop off point both on account of the historical interest of the castle (you will find here that the walls do indeed have ears!), sheer magnificence of the place but also for a cup of tea at the cafe. If you prefer to arrive by sea then ferries also travel to the Isle of Skye but the route by road is pretty amazing, it would be a shame to miss it.
The Beauty of the Isle of Skye
Once you have arrived at the Isle of Skye for your self catering holiday, if the weather is good, you should be spell bound by this enchanting island. There are good reasons why so many artists have made this place, with a different kind of light, their home.
Getting around the Isle of Skye
Before you travel be aware that the Isle of Skye is not a small place. It is not huge either though but be aware that because many of the roads outside of the main entrance point are small it takes time to explore the island and there are quite a few places with single track road where cars have to take turns. For this reason you may want to stay centrally on the island in a country cottage or if you decide to stay in the North or South be aware that journeying to the other side of the island is going to take you quite alot of time. The ideal option would probably be to book a number of short breaks if you can, with a few days spent in the North, a few days in the centre of the island and a few in the South, that way you should get to see all that the Isle of Skye has to offer.Portree is the main town in the Isle of Skye, and there are a number of restaurants and bars here.
If you haven't travelled to Scotland before you may not know that outside of the cities, many places have quite rigid dining hours (for example many restaurants and pubs serve meals only between 12 and 2, outside of those hours you are out of luck) and don't tend to stay open late in to the night. This is something that people used to a 24-7 society have to adjust to and can require a degree of forward planning. It is all part of their relaxed attitude to life and their work life balance, which may not result in great customer service for you, but is part of the culture of the place. There are other advantages of the Scots' more relaxed approach in that they tend to be a friendly bunch who are very approachable. Another interesting feature of the Isle of Skye is that you may well hear the language of Gaelic spoken by locals in this part of the world as this language is spoken here. Don't worry though, most speak English, albeit with a Scottish accent so you will have no problem conversing with the locals on your self catering break.
What to see on the Isle of Skye
The Coast: Being an island, a great attraction of the Isle of Skye is the coastline which is varied and in parts dramatic. There are many pretty seaside villages to visit such as Staffin (Staffainn in gaelic), as well as beaches and high cliffs. Boat trips to see whales and seals run from various ports on the island. Seals are commonly spotted on these boat trips and some trips involve visits to interesting sea lochs. Be prepared to get wet! Most provide waterproofs which are definately needed. In terms of whale watching, the trips that run from the quiet south of the island over towards the Isle of Rum may well result in sightings (we spotted a whale on our trip to Rum out of season! but had no such luck with other trips). Basking sharks can also sometimes be spotted in this part of the sea off Skye.
Whilst on your cottage break, if you get a chance to take a day trip over to the Isle of Rum, it is a good chance to see another island in the Inner Hebrides. The Isle of Rum is very peaceful, teeming with wildlife and nature, and is a dedicated nature reserve. It's a simply wonderful place to visit but not for the faint hearted as the boat trip from Skye to Rum is exhilarating to say the least and certainly gets the adrenaline pumping with waves crashing on to the boat and a bumpy ride.
The wildlife in this part of Scotland is diverse. It is common to see sea eagles in the quieter coastal parts of the island, particularly around Staffin, as well as deer in the less visited southern parts of Skye.
The Cuillin hills are a mountainous area in Skye, popular for mountaineering. For others, they provide spectacular scenery from a distance.
Trotternish in the north of Skye is an area with amazing scenery with strange rock formations such as the Storr, which some climb up. Others simply drive up nearby and marvel at the 'Old Man of Storr'. Not far from here there are cliffs near Staffin which are a dedicated viewpoint and a site where many dinosaur fossils have been found. This part of Skye is truly fascinating and even has an other worldly quality.
In Skye whilst on a self catering cottage holiday, you can go hill walking, climb the Cuillin Hills, explore Dunvegan Castle, go seal watching on boat trips, horse riding, watch sheep dog trials, and fishing. There are fantastic wildlife watching opportunities in season to see deer, sea eagles, whales and seals. Many find the Isle of Skye simply amazing and breathtaking even.
Good places to visit on the Island of Skye include: the Otter Sanctuary Kylerhea, Mallaig, Plockton, Dunvegan Castle, and Armadale Castle.
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