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Prepare to be spellbound by Portree – the largest and most lively village on the Isle of Skye. This charming harbour town, lined with brightly painted houses is rather bonnie indeed, providing a fantastic view of the surrounding emerald hills and an array of gleaming boats on the waterfront. This fairy tale location is a 5-hour drive northwest of Edinburgh or Glasgow, with a never-ending display of breathtaking Scottish scenery along the way. Follow the fae through fairy pools, hike Scottish highlands and visit stoic castles all within an hours’ drive from town. Portree is the perfect spot to explore some of Scotland’s most magical and enthralling locations. Pack your hiking boots and your camera and journey to the Isle of Skye.
View our handpicked collection of emotive and enchanting experiences for you to explore by hire car…
Driving time: 30 minutes from Portree 🚗
At the foot of the Black Cuillin near Glenbrittle are the vibrant turquoise Fairy Pools that carve their way through the harsh Scottish highlands. The walk along the pools is a 2.4 km round trip and takes about 40 minutes – if you don’t get put under a fairy spell, that is. A great place to park is the Forestry Commission carpark located nearby.
Spotlight on the Fairy: Native to the Scottish plains, these creatures are extremely private, mischievous beings that possess a variety of magical powers. Be sure to respect the fairy pools or you may find yourself in hot water.
Driving time: 35 minutes from Portree 🚗
Are you ready for an adventure? Make sure to eat a second breakfast and travel the Quiraing. The journey is a 7km loop, clearly marked with walking paths and will take you roughly 2 hours to complete. This iconic Skye landscape is a landslip defined by its jagged cliffs, sweeping hillsides and eerie pinnacles. It’s not hard to see why this extraordinary setting has been used for many Hollywood films, such as Macbeth (2015), Stardust (2007), and the upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). Remember to bring a camera to capture these breathtaking views forever.
Spotlight on the unicorn: It is easy to imagine a white unicorn watching you from an elevated position as you journey through the Quiraing. It is worth noting that the unicorn is also Scotland’s national animal.
Driving time: 30 minutes from Portree 🚗
Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continually inhabited castle in Scotland and has been home to the Chiefs of clan MacLeod for 800 years. What was once a grand fortress to keep people at bay now welcomes visitors from April through to October every year. Stroll through the 5 acre gardens, featuring woodland glades and shimmering pools. From the castle, you can also take a boat to see the resident Loch Dunvegan seal colony.
Spotlight on the Fairy Flag: Dunvegan Castle is the home of the mysterious Fairy Flag, an ancient brown silk cloth, which most people claim is a gift from fairies. This mythical flag can be seen on display at the castle.
Driving time: 1 hour from Portree 🚗
Journey to the most westerly point of the Isle of Skye, known as Neist Point, and take in sweeping views from Moonen Bay to Waterstein Head. Neist Point is home to a lighthouse built in 1909 which you can walk down to from the nearby carpark. From the path you will see stunning views of the high cliffs and the lighthouse itself - you may even be lucky enough to spot whales or dolphins! We recommend bringing your camera and aiming for sunset to capture this truly spectacular view.
Spotlight on the Selkie: Move over mermaids, Scotland has a creature far more fascinating in the form of a Selkie. Known as the seal people, the gentle and beautiful Selkie can shapeshift from seal to human form with ease by removing their seal skin and putting it back on.
Driving time: ~ 5 minutes in Portree 🚗
With all the comforts of the mainland, Portree is the largest village on the Isle of Skye, and a great place to stay and explore the island. The town as it is known today is only around 200 years old, with a beautiful harbour known by its colourful buildings and rich Gaelic history. Choose from a range of accommodation options, browse local boutiques and devour famed local seafood at this charming island capital.
Tip: Visit Portree, Isle of Skye in Spring and Summer – the chance of rain is lower and there is an abundance of beautiful flowers and animals to see.
Suggested read: West Scotland