Scotland entices visitors and locals alike with its age-old mythical tales—and the Isle of Skye’s dramatic coastline and rugged mountain tops offer the perfect backdrop from which to explore them.
The Isle of Skye’s magical, dramatic coastline, and landscape make this island off the West Coast of Scotland a must-see on your visit to the Celtic nation. Draped with captivating history and folklore, the largest island of the Inner Hebrides offers a mystical, and unforgettable experience.
A trip to Scotland would be incomplete without a walk or a hike surrounded by purple heather and overlooking dark lochs, or lakes. Known for its rugged mountain ranges, the Isle of Skye is a remote haven for hikers and nature lovers. The hiking opportunities are endless and will, literally and figuratively, take your breath away. Make your way up its majestic geological wonders, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Cuillin Range for jaw-dropping panoramas of the island, and the surrounding sea. Whatever the weather, be it rain, mist or sunshine, the Isle of Skye’s striking scenery is reason enough to visit the island.
Skye’s wealth of history might also capture your attention. You can easily delve into the past here, with prehistoric sites and Scottish clan castles dotted around the island to satisfy your curious mind. From dinosaur fossils to clan warfare, and Highland clearances to the Jacobite rebellion, the Isle of Skye’s sometimes dark past will enchant you as you make your way around its winding coastline. Both the Clan McDonald and Clan MacLeod castles, Armadale and Dunvegan, respectively, still stand tall to this day and are definitely worth the visit.
Scottish history is laced with folklore and tales of magical creatures, and the Isle of Skye is no exception. The island’s enchanted past circles around its fairies, and almost every brook and hill has a magical fairy story. Legend has it that fairies inhabited the Isle of Skye many moons ago, and if you’re lucky, you might spot one or two fluttering around the island’s mystical scenery.
One sight that is especially linked to Skye’s fairy culture is the entrancing Fairy Glen on the island’s northern coast. The glen’s rolling green hills, rocky outcrops, and mystical feel are something straight out of your childhood fairy tales. Though they may be not be any traceable legends linked to the fairies and the glen on this part of the island, the unusual and magical landscape may be what gave it its name.
One place, however, that has become a popular attraction and has long been associated with fairies is the Fairy Pools. These crystal blue pools are a series of waterfalls surrounded by large rocky cliffs and lush greenery. Legend also has it that another Scottish mythical creature, the selkie, sometimes bathes in these crystalline waters at night, turning from a seal into its human form under the cool moonlight.
There’s no lack of fairy folklore on the Isle of Skye, as you can also visit its Fairy Bridge, Fairy Knoll, and the expansive Quiraing Range, where it is said that each of its valleys, peaks, and plateaus could be a potential meeting place for the fairies of the Isle of Skye.
The island’s phenomenal wildlife is also a sight to be seen. You can catch sea otters, whales, dolphins, highland cows, red deer, sea eagles, and many other stunning creatures around the Isle of Skye’s mountains and waters.
After a hard day’s hike, castle tour, and fairy pursuit, warming your stomach and soul with a sip of one of the island’s whiskies seems like a fair reward. The Isle of Skye makes whisky that’s as beautiful as its scenery. The most well-known and oldest distillery is Talisker, which has produced a rugged single malt since 1830. The Torabhaig Distillery, Gaelic for “the hill above the bay”, became the island’s second distillery in 2017. And the third and final distillery is located on the small island of Raasay just off Skye, called the Isle of Raasay Distillery.
Be it nature, hiking, history, wildlife, whisky, or fairies, there truly is something for everyone visiting the Isle of Skye. While May-July and October-March might be the ideal periods for a hike, a visit in the winter might offer a chance to experience the mystical Northern Lights, which can be seen floating high above the snow-kissed mountains and rolling hills—the perfect way to wrap up your magical moment on this Scottish island.