The Isle of Skye ranks near the top of most visitors' priority lists: the romance of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, combined with the misty Cuillin Hills and their proximity to the mainland all contribute to its popularity. Today Skye remains mysterious and mountainous, an island of sunsets that linger brilliantly until late at night and of beautiful, soft mists. Much photographed are the really old crofts, one or two of which are still inhabited, with their thick stone walls and thatch roofs. View more
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Discover the splendid beauty and history of the Isle of Skye during this memorable, half-day excursion to Dunvegan Castle.
Isle of Skye and Dunvegan
Depart the pier in Portree, also known as the 'King's Haven' after a visit paid here by King James V, for the approximately one-hour drive to Dunvegan. En route, travel northwest past the lochs of Snizort and Greshornish. Upon arrival in Dunvegan, proceed for a visit to Dunvegan Castle. Through 750 years of recorded history, Dunvegan Castle is thought to be the oldest inhabited in northern Scotland, and the only fortress in the Hebrides to have remained intact and in the hands of one family. The castle, a fortress stronghold in an idyllic loch-side setting amidst dramatic scenery, is the crowned jewel of the Isle of Skye.
Upon arrival at Dunvegan Castle, enter via a bridge spanning the former moat. The oldest parts of the fortress date from the 15th century, with additions up to the 19th century. During your tour of the castle's interior, view many fine oil paintings, military relics, antiques and a library containing many rare books of historical interest. A number of Jacobite relics displayed here include possessions of Flora MacDonald, heroine of Bonnie Prince Charles' escape from government troops in the aftermath of Culloden.
Following your tour, re-board your coach for the picturesque drive southward along a circular route. Take in spectacular views whilst travelling around the head of Loch Bracadale, then through Glen Drynock to Sliogachan. Turning northward, pass through Glen Varragill and skirt Loch Portree before returning to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and at the castle's gift shop. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair; however, the gift shop is not wheelchair-accessible. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended.
Explore one of the most iconic images in Scotland during this picturesque, half-day excursion to the historic Eilean Donan Castle.
Depart the pier in Portree for the approximately one-hour drive over the Skye Bridge, and on to the Eilean Donan Castle. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs converge, the Eilean Donan Castle is surrounded by majestic scenery. This world-renowned castle remains among Scotland's most iconic images, and is one of the most visited attractions in the Scottish highlands.
Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid-13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries. Partially-destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, the Eilean Donan Castle lay in ruins for the better part of 200 years until it was bought in 1911. After undergoing a 20-year restoration, the castle was re-opened in 1932. It is photogenic, romantic and packed with historical architectural interest.
The castle guides greet your arrival, and are on-hand to answer your questions during your visit. You can explore almost every part of the Castle, from the Banquet Hall to the bedrooms. The introductory exhibition depicts the early history of Eilean Donan, when the castle sat at the heart of the sea kingdom of the Lord of the Isles. The massive walls and vast fireplaces are familiar features of Scotland's fortified buildings. Today, the Great Hall contains furniture, family portraits and Jacobite memorabilia, including a lock of Bonnie Prince Charles' hair. Following your visit, re-board your coach and commence the approximately 75-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and many steps at the castle. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility, but is not wheelchair-accessible. A computerised virtual tour is available for guests who are unable to manage the large number of steps at the castle. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. Due to local average temperatures, the coaches are air-cooled.
Embrace the picturesque beauty and crofting heritage of Scotland during this half-day tour of northern Skye.
Northern Skye Drive
Depart the pier for the drive north from Portree on a circular scenic route along narrow roads on the Isle of Skye, the largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Along the way, take in splendid views of the coastline across undulating stretches of heather moorland, streams and small lochs. The road rises and falls, and twists and turns as it follows the geographical contours of the northern peninsula. Pass through small communities and agricultural hamlets, where cattle and sheep graze in the foreground of distant peaks. This peninsula contains some of the most striking landscapes in Scotland.
Old Man of Storr and Kilt Rock
Next, drive north towards the Old Man of Storr, a 2,359-foot-high (719-metre-high) summit rising above the east-facing cliffs that run down the centre of the peninsula for most of its length. After a photo stop at the Old Man of Storr, re-board your coach and continue along the east coast, which is marked by spectacular rock scenery. Proceed to Kilt Rock, a 200-foot-high (61-metre-high) high cliff marked in an almost tartan-like pattern by the rock strata, with a waterfall cascading to the pebbled shore below. A photo stop is made here for spectacular views of the cliffs and waterfall from the viewing platform.
Skye Museum of Island Life
Afterward, re-board your coach drive around the very northernmost tip of Skye, and head to the Skye Museum of Island Life. This open-air museum is comprised of a fascinating collection of thatched cottages that offers a unique insight into the crofting lifestyle on the island at the close of the 19th-century. Following this stop, commence the approximate one-hour drive back to the pier via Uig Village.
Please note: This tour involves a minimal amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach, and grassy and uneven surfaces at the outdoor Museum of Island Life. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility, but is not wheelchair-accessible. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. Due to local average temperatures, the coaches are air-cooled.
Indulge your senses with the splendid beauty and flavours of Skye during this half-day excursion to the Talisker Distillery, and a sightseeing tour of the island's northwest coast.
Sligachan Glen and Talisker Distillery
Depart the pier for the short drive to Sligachan Glen. After a photo stop here, re-board your coach and head to Talisker, the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. Talisker is located on the western shore of the fjord-like Loch Harport at a point several miles from the open sea, in the village of Carbost.
Upon arrival, take a guided tour of the distillery, which produces some of the world's most renowned, prized and sought-after single-malt whiskies. Observe the distillation, processing and warehousing processes, view the various stills, and learn about making malt whiskey from a series of interpretative displays. Following your distillery tour, proceed to a small bar in the Visitor's Centre to sample the product.
Northwest Coast Sightseeing
Next, re-board your coach for a 75-minute sightseeing drive along the northern and western coastal routes. Pass the evocative shores of Loch Bracadale, then continue around the heart of the island. Along the way, learn about the local island lifestyle whilst passing by such famous landmarks as the Fairy Bridge, Dunvegan Castle and MacLeod's Tables. Your tour concludes back at the pier. Time permitting, photo stops are made en route.
Please note: This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach and numerous steps throughout the Talisker Distillery. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility, but guests who utilise a wheelchair can only access the still room floor, warehouse and shop. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. Guests must be at least 21 years old to be served alcoholic beverages. Due to local average temperatures, the coaches are air-cooled. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Explore the coastal beauty and history of Skye on-foot during this scenic and invigorating walking tour along the coast of Portree.
Coastal Portree and Torvaig Farm
Depart the pier and begin your guided, two-hour walking tour through Portree and its environs. The setting for Bonnie Prince Charlie's last days in Scotland, Portree is built around a bustling natural harbour and fringed by high ground and hills. As you stroll along the narrow road leading away from the harbour, pass by the Royal Hotel and brightly-painted buildings that contrast against those of whitewashed stone. Continue past a prominent monkey-puzzle tree, then set out from Portree for a trek along the coast, where the terrain becomes progressively rougher. Your uphill track then zigzags steeply before levelling out on the approach to Torvaig Farm.
Leaving the track, proceed across a section of grassland and a small stile over undulating rough ground en route to the old hill fort of Dun Torvaig. The megalithic dun occupies the entire summit of an elevated flat-topped rock rising some 50 feet (15 metres) from the sea. Walk over some rough, grassy ground that might be boggy until you reach the top of the cliff. Here, take in splendid vistas across to the Sound of Raasay, the Cuillins and the Storr, which is home to sea eagles and peregrine falcons.
Clan MacNicol Monument
After following the path along the top of the cliff, begin your descent down some steep gradients whilst admiring the views over Portree and the bay. Descend through the hazel woodland and a fairly steep rocky descent along a designated stepped path en route to the Clan MacNicol Monument. The Chiefs of the Clan lived here for many years until the last Chief left around 1830 to settle in Australia. Members of the Clan subsequently purchased the adjacent 130 acres (53 hectares) of hillside and cliff-tops in 1987. A stop is made here to take in spectacular views from the pathways before commencing the walk back to the pier.
Please note: This tour involves an extensive amount of walking for approximately three miles (about 4.8 kilometres), at times over rough terrain and boggy ground, with some steps to negotiate along the way. This tour is recommended for guests who are in good physical condition, and is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and guests who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes and sun protection is recommended. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.