The colourful town of Portree is the Isle of Skye’s largest town. It is a port of call for many cruise ships and a great place to use as a base to start your exploration of this magical rugged island.

We travelled to Portree with Holland America on the Zuiderdam.

Here are our Port of Call top things to do in Portree, Scotland.

Top things to do in Portree, Scotland

  • Old Man of Storr is one of the most popular destinations on the Isle of Skye because of its incredible landscape on Trotternish Ridge. It is one of the largest landslide areas in Europe. The “Storr” is the result of this ancient landslide. To hike roundtrip to reach the base of the Old Man will take about 1 1/2 hours. The trail is marked as difficult. It is steep, rocky and is very rough and strenuous. It is located 6 miles or almost 10 km from Portree.

Old Man of Storr is one of the most popular destination on the Isle of Skye because of its incredible landscape on the Trotternish Ridge. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Old Man of Storr is one of the most popular destinations on the Isle of Skye because of its incredible landscape on Trotternish Ridge. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • The Quiraing is located in the north of Isle of Skye on the Trotternish Ridge. The scenery is spectacular and the rock formations are out of this world making the area perfect for use in Sci-Fi movies. The ridge was shaped through a series of huge landslides creating dramatic peaked hoodoos, cliffs and concealed mesas. Some people choose to explore this area on the 6.8 km walking loop. The trail is difficult and you should check weather conditions before going. The journey takes you near high cliffs and can be very dangerous when there is high winds or fog.

The Quiraing is located in the north of Isle of Skye on the Trotternish Ridge. The scenery is spectacular and the rock formations are out of this world making the area perfect for use in Sci-Fi movies. The ridge was shaped through a series of huge landslides creating dramatic peaked hoodoos, cliffs and concealed mesas. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

The Quiraing is located in the north of Isle of Skye on the Trotternish Ridge.  Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Kilt Rock is part of the Trotternish coastline and offers ocean views across to mainland Scotland. The nearby Mealt Waterfall free-falls 60 metres off the cliff’s side into Ramsay Sound. From the waterfall you will be able to view Kilt Rock’s pillar-like rock formations made of basalt. Many imagine the rock formation to look like the folds of a Scottish kilt. Please stay within the designated viewing areas as people have fallen from this attraction. This area has also been used in Sci-Fi movies.

Kilt Rock is part of the Trotternish coastline of the rugged countryside of Isle of Skye and offers ocean views across to mainland Scotland. The nearby Mealt Waterfall free-falls 60 metres off the cliff’s side into Ramsay Sound. Visit the top things to do - Sky Museum of Island Life, The Storr, Quiraing, Cuillin and the Fairy Pools in the northwest coast of Scotland. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Kilt Rock is part of the Trotternish coastline of the rugged countryside of Isle of Skye and offers ocean views across to mainland Scotland. The nearby Mealt Waterfall free-falls 60 metres off the cliff’s side into Ramsay Sound. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Trotternish coastline is a famous spot for geologists worldwide. It is a living outdoor museum featuring interpretive panels in several areas discussing the Middle Jurassic period when dinosaurs roamed this unique land. Walk along the beaches filled with fossils and maybe you will discover a dinosaur bone or tooth embedded within a rock. Arrow heads can also be spotted here dating from the Neolithic era. The nearby Dinosaur Museum features a noteworthy collection.
  • Stafainn Dinosaur Museum offers an excellent collection of Middle Jurassic history and dinosaur fossils. It showcases discoveries found on the Isle of Skye. Dugald Ross created the museum in 1976 as a teenager and is well-known for recording Scotland’s first dinosaur bones. If you are planning a visit to the area and you would like to find footprints of dinosaurs on the beach or look for fossils, you can book a tour. The museum is located close to Kilt Rock and Mealt Waterfall. It is a 25 minute drive from Portree. 
The Stafainn Dinosaur Museum offers an excellent collection of Middle Jurassic history and dinosaur fossils. It showcases discoveries found on the Isle of Skye. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

The Stafainn Dinosaur Museum offers an excellent collection of Middle Jurassic history and dinosaur fossils. It showcases discoveries found on the Isle of Skye. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Skye Museum of Island Life  
    The 19th century crofting village shows how crofters lived on the Isle of Skye 100 years ago. Its ideal location has sweeping views of the ocean below.
This incredible 19th century crofting village museum shows how crofters lived on the Isle of Skye 100 years ago. It is situated in an ideal location and has sweeping views of the ocean below. A croft is a small area of enclosed land used for farming purposes and is unique to northern Islands, Highlands and Hebrides of Scotland. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

This incredible 19th century crofting village museum shows how crofters lived on the Isle of Skye 100 years ago. It is situated in an ideal location and has sweeping views of the ocean below. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Fairy Glen is a hidden treasure of dome-shaped hills and includes a pond and a rock formation known as Castle Ewen.

Discover the enchanted geological landscape of Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The area looks as if it could be the home to magical faeries. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Discover the enchanted geological landscape of Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The area looks as if it could be the home to magical faeries. Photo Credit: Wendy Nordvik-Carr

  • Fairy Pools is worth a visit if you have time and the weather is good. To reach the first pool and a waterfall from the road, it will take about a 20 minute hike along a path, crossing rivers by using stepping-stones. The pathway can be very muddy and slippery.

Be prepared

• Bring cash in local currency if you plan to eat lunch or buy anything from small stores or shops as some places do not accept credit cards.

• Wear good sturdy walking or hiking shoes to navigate uneven terrain, cobblestones, dirt and wooden floors.

• Make sure you have all-weather waterproof clothing and wear layers. Weather conditions can change and you should be prepared for rain and wind.

Tours and shore excursions

Avoid the disappointment of not seeing the best of this wonderful island by booking a tour excursion before you arrive.
  • When we visited the Isle of Skye, we took a 5 1/2 hour shore excursion tour at a cost of £139.98 for 2 from TourSkye.com. We chose the tour because of the good reviews on TripAdvisor. The tour was with a small group of about 12 people. The guide was very knowledgeable and we saw the most we could on a day visit.
  • There is a shuttle bus from Portree in the summer months operated by Go Skye.
  • The Go Skye operators run tours from March to September to include all the famous spots the Isle of Skye is known for: The Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, Mealt Falls, Quiraing, Uig Brewery, Uig Pottery and the Fairy Glen.
  • Cruise ship shore excursion tours are also available from Go Skye

A once in a lifetime experience

The Trotternish coastline is famous for its Middle Jurassic history. Book a tour in advance through the Stafainn Dinosaur Museum for an opportunity to find footprints of dinosaurs or look for fossils on the beach. 

Shopping

There are wonderful handmade wool products to buy, sheepskin rugs and unique souvenirs.

Bring cash in the local currency to buy lunch or any other purchases you plan to make. Most places do not accept credit cards. We stopped to pick up lunch on our tour. In the gift shop at the Skye Museum of Island Life, we almost bought three lovely well-priced gray sheepskins. Sadly we did not have enough cash upon discovering there was no credit card service.

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