Solo Travel Destination: Isle of Skye, Scotland

We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Emily, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Emily lives in South Africa and submitted the following report about the Isle of Skye. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!

Solo travel rating: (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken: English, Gaelic

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The Isle of Skye…

Reasons to go:  I made a last-minute decision to visit the Isle of Skye after landing in Edinburgh with no real plan of what I was going to do in beautiful Scotland.

After doing some research online, I learned that Skye has some of the darkest skies in Scotland and that it would be a good place to see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them while I was here because the nights were overcast – but my other experiences in this beautiful place were beyond amazing.

The roads are fairly empty and narrow, and I was warned by the car rental company to be careful driving on them and to watch out for stray animals. Thankfully, I grew up in rural South Africa where the gravel and dirt roads were mountainous and practically crawling with stray animals. Isle of Skye would be a piece of cake. 

I crossed the Skye bridge from mainland Scotland into the Isle of Skye and was just in awe of the natural beauty all around. It’s like you’re in the middle of nowhere: a beautiful, green, and unspoiled nowhere. One can also catch a ferry across the loch between the mainland and the Isle but I had to skip this on my return because of time lost after a mini-kayaking incident.

I spent an evening in Portree at one of the B&B’s, where the owners gave me many ideas about what to see and do around the islands. They advised me to follow the road out of town and said “the sights will just jump out at you. You will pass Kilt Rock, a waterfall that falls into the ocean and the Storr Mountain range – including the Old Man of Storr. As you keep driving, there will be signboards pointing to various sights that you will want to stop and check out.” I did… I stopped everywhere and anywhere. It really helps that there is so little traffic there. The view of the port city of Uig is unbelievably stunning, and you can lose hours looking down at the ocean, town, and the surrounding little islands. 

I eventually arrived at Dunvegan, home of Castle Dunvegan. This is the original home of the Clan MacLeod. Just before you drive over Skye Bridge, you will pass Eilean Donan Castle, which is the famous castle from the Highlander movies. As corny as this will sound, it’s a truly romantic sight and visit. Dunvegan castle and gardens are worth exploring, they are well maintained and peaceful. Close by the castle, people have the opportunity to jump on a boat and check out some seals, which is always fun if you have the time. 

On my last day in Portree, I had signed up to do some white-water rafting. On the morning of the trip, half the group didn’t show up, so the guide took us kayaking instead. I thought, “Why not? It looks calm enough.” It was, but I am terrified of deep water, so when we capsized, all I could think was, “Sharks!”  I got back to land safely and after warming up a bit, I said my goodbye to new friends and made my way back to Edinburgh.

I will definitely be visiting the Isle of Skye again. Next time, I will spend a bit more time exploring it because I have heard of these magical Fairy Pools and Coral Beaches that need to be explored…

Truly, this has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited in my life. 

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Home of the Clan MacLeod, Castle Dunvegan

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Explorations around the Isle on those narrow roads.

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Kilt Rock… because they really do.

Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language – 1 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 2 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)


  • Erica MacLeod

    I spent a week in 2010 learning about rich heritage on the Isle of Skye. Took a B&B a few kilometers from the castle, and explored the surrounding villages between there and Portree. It was an amazing time.

  • Janice Waugh

    Sounds like a fantastic trip!

  • Shuffy2

    Woohoo! Can’t wait to get back to Scotland in June. I only visited for a few days last time and only got out of Edinburgh for a day trip to Glencoe and Loch Ness. This time, I am taking the train up to Inverness for a few days and have a day trip to Orkney and a day trip to Skye planned!

  • piecemaker

    Skye was a bucket-list destination for me on a recent trip. Fantastic scenery – check out the Trumpan Peninsula, site of a bloody massacre in the 17th century. We stayed at a great B+B on the west side of the island, overlooking a long fjord. It was easy to find accomodation by going through the Historic Scotland website – no need to book too far in advance. We took the ferry to the Island and drove over the bridge when we left. WIll definitely go back for hiking in the Quirang, a range of strange rock formations.

  • Sharon

    Can’t wait to go back to Scotland – first trip I did not have time to “explore” since I was with a group – now I travel solo and can stop and photograph as much as I want!

  • EmilyF

    Me too! It’s my next stop when I am there. If you go before me, let us know how it is! :)

  • Tamara Kidd

    Thanks Janice and Emily, Well 1 month to go! About to buy new SD cards and book a B&B for Skye 😀 Very excited doesn’t come close!

  • EmilyF

    It’ll be a journey worth doing. :) Have a great time… people are lovely, scenery is gorgeous… and well… WOW! Hiking, kayaking, random picnicking, castles, history, mystery… Keep your camera loaded! :)

  • EmilyF

    Enjoy… I love this country, and especially the Isle of Skye! :) …since you like dark skies, apparently, Skye has some of the darkest skies in Scotland – you can even see the Northern Lights on a clear night during the autumn and winter months. Search for ‘Glendale Skye Auroras’ on Facebook and you’ll come across this photographer’s (Andy Stables) photos of Aurora activity on Skye as well as other beautiful photos. He’s also very helpful with tips and advice! :)

  • Janice Waugh

    Have a fantastic trip Tamara!

  • Tamara

    Thank you for this post. I’ve got some time to drive myself around Scotland, visiting cousins I’ve never met, and exploring where ever I like… Isle of Skye it is! There is so much to see and do, glad I subscribed to this blog and read this now, I leave in about 2 months from Australia… long way to go to discover I’ve missed out on such amazing place.

  • Lukasz Basisty

    Fond of
    natural scenic beauties, special dark skies, I have been planning to go to
    Isle of Skye for quite some time now. I have Googled a lot on this topic,
    read numerous articles about planning a trip there, but never had I found an
    article so descriptive about the subject as this one. Thanks for writing such
    a nice article, hope it helps me in my trip to Scotland new month.

  • kayling05

    I have been there during a tour of the highlands about 4 years ago, it was magical!! I would go back in a heartbeat!

  • Chloe Louise

    Would love to do this trip…….does anyone have any ideas about the area of Harris as in Harris Tweed–this has been one of my goals forever…..and then to make a jacket, of course….cl

  • Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon

    I’d love to go here. I’ve been over the bridge with my family, but we never explored. I’d love to have a better look.

  • Gillian Frances

    I have been to Skye a couple of times and can’t recommend it highly enough. Last time I was there I did a week playing fiddle in unbelievably wonderful weather.
    I love the place.
    The only slightly down experience was a night in youth hostel…..12 beds, 9 of them filled with snoring, farting big men. Add a Romanian who was so large that every time he turned over the whole building shook, and it is no wonder the Canadian girl in an adjoining bunk, and I, retreated to the lounge to try to sleep. Of such things is travel made!!
    I hope to get back there just one more time. Well, maybe twice. It is a long way from Australia but so worth it.