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.
Here are our Port of Call top things to do in Portree, Scotland.
Top things to do in Portree, Scotland
Old Man of Storr
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Fairy Glen is a hidden treasure of dome-shaped hills and includes a pond and a rock formation known as Castle Ewen.
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.
Take a walk through the town of Portree
• 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
- 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 Museumfor an opportunity to find footprints of dinosaurs or look for fossils on the beach.
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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