A 5 days trip to the Isle of Skye

A 5 days trip to the Isle of Skye

Our trip will take you for 5 days through some of the best sceneries Scotland has to offer and all the way to the enigmatic Isle of Skye.

Our roadbook: 5 days, 400 miles

  • Day 1 – Glasgow to Mallaig
  • Day 2 – Mallaig to Portree
  • Day 3 – The Quiraing
  • Day 4: Portree to Fort William
  • Day 5: Fort William to Glasgow

Highlights

  • Harry Potter’ Glennfinan Viaduc
  • Skye’s natural wonders and iconic Quiraing
  • Fort William outdoor wonders with Ben Nevis and its numerous lochs
  • Glasgow’s vibrant city center

Day 1: From Glasgow to Mallaig

The best spot to start your trip is Glasgow International Airport, which serves most of Europe with regular flights. An alternative is Edinburgh airport located less than an hour away.

We arrived late the night before at Glasgow, as we preferred to start early and refreshed the day after. We collected our rental Kia eNiro for the trip and headed to the nearest hotel for a good night of sleep.

Spring

In the morning, we headed North on the A82 in the direction of Balloch. Balloch is a small recreational town on the shore of Loch Lomond. It is a very popular weekend destination for locals from Glasgow and Edinburgh in search of nature and outdoor activities. As we didn’t have time for kayaking or visiting the local castle, we condensed it with a copious English Breakfast and a small walk on the shore of our first Loch.

Winter

The road continues along the western shore of the lake. It is very narrow and for people not used to right-hand driving, it can be a bit tricky to pass the incoming truck traffic. As we leave the lake area, the landscape slowly transforms into an Alpine setting with brown meadows blanketed by a thick layer of fog, overlooked by towering peaks covered by snow. We left in Spring, we are now in Winter.

Fall

We passed Fort William, the Mecca of outdoor activities in the UK, and continued our journey. Our first destination was the now world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, mostly known for its several appearances in the Harry Potter saga. From the viewpoint above the rail track, Loch Shiel opens its arm in the opposite direction. We enjoy this 360 degrees view as we eat our picnic. The landscape is flooded by a golden light like an Indian Summer afternoon—what a day.

Summer

Our final stop for the night will be at Mallaig where the road stops but a ferry offers a crossing service to Skye. We drive an old section of the coastal road and discover emerald water you could only imagine in the Caribbean or in the southern coast of France’s Brittany. 

Finally in Mallaig, the West Bay car park is equipped with a fast charging point from ChargePlace Scotland and will recharge our car overnight after 150 miles.

Day 2: Mallaig to Portree

We started our day with heavy rain. Thankfully, the first hour of the day was busy getting on the ferry. It only takes 40 minutes to cross the straight and it runs nearly every hour so you don’t need to plan too much in advance if you go off-season. We finally made it to the famous Isle of Skye. From Armadale, a small winding road will take you north to Portree. It starts with wood areas and cultivated fields, but the further north we drive the more dramatic the scenery becomes, the sea getting in and out of the land via numerous lochs on this ragged coastline. Do not hesitate to stop at the various parking you will see as there are numerous sightseeing options such as falls or viewpoints.

After an hour’s drive, we arrived at Portree. We did a quick tour but as the rain had stopped and we didn’t want to miss this weather opportunity so we continued our route to the picturesque Old Man of Storr located 20 km away. From the main parking, you have several hiking trails that will either take you to its feet or around it to get a better view. Be careful, it is steep but the path is well maintained and most people should be able to make it. 

We continue the road along the shore that goes all the way around the northern peninsula and to the small town that comes with the lovely name of Uig.

We stopped at the ferry terminal to plug our car into the local fast charger from ChargePlace Scotland as we enjoyed our middle-of-the-afternoon fish and chips at The Pier Restaurant overlooking the bay and ferry terminal.

 

Right after finishing, we continued our route to Dunvegan Castle on the island’s Western side before driving south to the famous Fairy Pools. We discovered that the island deserves well its reputation. Valley after valley, we saw some of the most amazing and diverse landscapes we have ever seen, from the coastal road on an emerald see to deep green forest, and mountains with frosted tops. The road ends at the Fairy Pools car park with a well indicated hiking trail heading to the several cascades and whirlpools, overlooked by a Black Cullins mountain range.

We headed back to Seakbost Hotel located a short drive away from Portree and charged at the hotel charger for free.

Day 3: The Quiraing

In the morning we drove back to Uig on our way to the Quiraing. The Quiraing is an icon of Scotland known to boast some of the most amazing views of the country. The Quiraing is located on the Trotternish Loop on the Isle of Skye. To get to the Quiraing, we took the single track minor road connecting Uig with Staffin. This narrow road can become quite congested with cars during the busy summer months, so if you are traveling here during this time, have patience. There is a 4.5 mile (7 km) circuit you can do through the Quiraing. This hike takes you up and over the pinnacles, for amazing views over the Isle of Skye, and then down along the path we hiked. Allow approximately 2 hours for this hike.

Generally speaking, rain showers do not last long in Scotland. If you arrive at the Quiraing and it is pouring, be patient. Sit in your car and wait for the rain to end. Most likely, this rain will wash away the other visitors, and once it clears up, you may have the trail to yourself. This happened to us several times on the Isle of Skye. We head back to the centrally located Seakbost Hotel for the second night.

Day 4: Portree to Fort William

To drive out of the island we decided to use the newly constructed and very impressive Skye Bridge that connects the island to the rest of the UK. But before that, we decided to visit the small village of Elgol on the southern side of the island. It is a lovely place that gives the impression to be at the end of the world. On the way back we stopped for a small hike that takes us to the Camasunary beach. The place is a very large isolated beach at the foot of the Black Cullins range, cut in half by a river, we highly recommend it. Right after leaving Skye, the road to Fort William passes next to the very famous Eilean Donan Castle, a selfie hot spot.

The road from Skye to Fort William is equally impressive with lush forests, lakes, and brown meadows. We stay at Fort William for the night, the city is equipped with several public chargers from ChargePlace Scotland, so it is not an issue to recharge our car overnight. 

You can find our recommended lodging option in Fort William here.

Day 5: Fort William to Glasgow

Last day of our trip, we indulge ourselves with an extended morning in bed before hitting the road south on the A828 to return to Glasgow. Despite being the same road we took to start our trip, the weather has changed to a beautiful blue sky and dramatically changed the landscape. We have the impression we never drove there and we can’t stop being amazed by the ever changing scenery that unfolds in front of our eyes. As we approach Glasgow, we have 3 hours left before our return flight and decide to do a quick city tour and end up testing an unexpected local burrito joint. We return our beloved EV to the rental company without any trouble and catch our flight. Scotland was amazing, we can’t wait to come back. 

If you decide to extend your stay and take your return flight the day after, Glasgow offers numerous lodging options. Our favorite, the Novotel City Centre is conveniently located at the edge of the city center while offering parking with charging to its guests.

The route

Recommended stays:

Glasgow Novotel City Centre – 181 Pitt Street – Double from 80£ – Charging: Type 2 4kW
Skeabost Seakbost Hotel – Skeabost Bridge – Double from 120£ – Charging: Type 2 6kW

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