Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness (Review and Tour Options)

On my latest trip to Scotland, I had been selected to take photographs for the tour company Get Your Guide. This meant I got to take a free Isle of Skye tour from Inverness and visited some incredible Scottish landmarks.

Below I’ll review my trip from Inverness to the Isle of Skye and detail some options to choose from to help you select the best day trip to Skye from Inverness (including the same one I took).

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All photographs Copyright Stephen Anthony Rohan. Contact me if you wish to buy a license.

How to Get to Isle of Skye from Inverness

Highland Cows in Scotland
Highland Cows in Scotland

There are three main ways to get from Inverness to Skye including taking a tour, driving or by public transport.

Take a Tour: There are lots of tours of Skye from Inverness and below I’ve detailed five of the best ones, including the one I took. Prices start from around £60 for a full-day including pick up and drop off in central Inverness. Click here for a full list of available tours.

Drive: The best way to get to the Isle of Skye from Inverness if you want the freedom to explore on your own is to drive. Our partners at Discover Cars have some of the best rates for car hire in Scotland. Click here to check the prices.

By Public transport: Buses 917 goes between Inverness Bus Station and Uig on Skye stopping at major destinations including Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree. The journey time from Inverness to Portree is three hours and 15 minutes and costs £31.70 ($41.50). Click here for the timetable.

5 Best Isle of Skye Tours from Inverness

There are a few different tours from Inverness to Isle of Skye, which include many of the same stops along the way. Most tours include a stop at Loch Ness, Eilean Donan Castle and Portree, as well as other destinations around Skye.

A couple of the trips from Inverness to Skye also include a visit to the Fairy Pools; a group of crystal-clear pools at the bottom of a waterfall and perfect for wild swimming, and definitely one of the top things to do on the Isle of Skye.

1. Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Tour

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

Highlights: Eilean Donan Castle, Portree, Lealt Falls
Duration: 12 hours

This full-day Inverness to Sky tour is the one I took and included stops at Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness, Eilean Donan Castle, Portree, the Old Man of Storr and Lealt Waterfalls. You can read a full description of the tour below.

This Inverness to Ilse of Skye day tour includes pickup from central Inverness (next to the railway station), a knowledgeable guide (English only) and transport in an air-conditioned minibus. You can check the availability of this tour using the form below, or click here to book.

2. Isle of Skye and Fairy Pools Tour

Highlights: Kyleakin, Portree, Fairy Pools
Duration: 11.5 hours

This awesome Skye day tour from Inverness includes visits to the picturesque village of Kyleakin, the Sligachin Bridge where you can drink from the pure waters for eternal life (apparently) and a stop at the capital of Skye, Portree, for lunch.

You’ll learn all about the history, myths and legends of Skye from your driver and tour guide as pass some of the most picturesque places in Scotland. After lunch, you’ll head to the gorgeous Fairy Pools where you’ll have 90 minutes to relax, take pictures or take a dip.

You can check the availability of this tour using the form below, or click here to book.

3. Full-Day Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness

Highlights: Fairy Pools, Portree, Eilean Donan Castle
Duration: 12 hours

This Inverness to Skye day tour combines both of the above options and includes both Eilean Donan Castle and the Fairy Pools, as well as other attractions like Urquhart Castle and the town of Portree.

You can check the availability of this tour using the form below, or click here to book.

4. 2-Day Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness

Highlights: Dunvegan Castle, Fairy Pools, Old Man of Storr, Loch Ness
Duration: 2 days

As the full-day tours of Skye from Inverness can be quite long, another excellent option is this two-day tour which allows you to experience this beautiful part of Scotland without rushing from place to place.

The tour includes visits to Loch Ness, the 13th Century Dunvegan Castle, the Fairy Pools, Lealt Falls and Loch Ness. It also includes one night’s accommodation in the beautiful harbour town of Portree.

This is definitely one of the best Isle of Skye tours from Inverness as you get to see a lot more than on the day trips. You can check the availability of this tour using the form below, or click here to book.

5. 3-Day Isle of Skye Tour from Glasgow

Highlights: Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Inverness, Skye
Duration: 3 days

Although this tour starts from Glasgow, it includes a trip to Inverness and is an excellent option if you’re looking to really explore Skye and the Scottish Highlands.

This action-packed Highland adventure includes trips to the bonny banks of Loch Lomond, dramatic Glencoe, Fort William, Inverness, and of course the Isle of Skye including Portree and other top sights around the island.

You can check the availability of this tour using the form below, or click here to book.

My Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness

Below you’ll find full details of my Isle of Skye tour from Inverness along with pictures I took along the way. This was one of the most impressive tours I’ve taken in terms of scenery, and our friendly and knowledgeable guide made it even more interesting as we learned the history of the places we visited.

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness

Loch Ness, Scotland
Loch Ness, Scotland

I went to the meeting point next to Inverness Railway Station and our minibus arrived on time at 8am. We set off and followed the River Ness out of the town before joining Loch Ness. Our first stop was Urquart Castle on the shores of the loch which was recorded as early as 1296 when it was captured by King Edward I of England.

Loch Cluanie

Loch Cluanie
Loch Cluanie

We made our way along Loch Ness before following the River Moriston to Loch Cluanie. We stopped at Cluanie for photos and it really was an idyllic spot with pink heather overlooking the loch and mountains.

It was just a quick stop before moving on again and travelling along a deep Glen that had been the site of fighting between the English and the Jacobites. It was made all the more atmospheric as our tour guide blasted Wardruna and songs from the Braveheart soundtrack (a little cliched, but it worked).

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

Our first major stop was at Eilean Donan Castle on the shores of Loch Duich. Duich is a sea loch and this resulted in the castle being shelled by ships when the British fought the Jacobites who were holed up in the castle.

I decided to forego the 11 quid entrance fee and instead went off to explore the small village of Dornie on the banks of the loch, but not before having a walk around the outside of the castle to snap some pictures.

Address: Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh IV40 8DX. Click here to see the location.
Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm, Mon-Sun
Entrance: Price £11 ($14)

Sligachan and River of Eterrnal Life

Speed, bonnie Boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

The Skye Boat Song

After Eilean Donan we made the short journey along the loch to Kyle of Lochalsh and across the Skye Bridge. Liall played the famous Skye Boat Song about Bonnie Prince Charlie as we crossed. Until 1992 the only way to reach the island was by boat.

After an hour or so of following the A87 along the coast, we stopped at the small village of Sligachan. Legend has it that if you wash your face in the River Sligachan and let it dry naturally it will make your skin look youthful, and that if you take a drink from the waters you’ll have eternal life.

I’m not sure I could handle the latter, so I opted for a quick wash in the hopes of hanging on to part of my youth on the wrong side of 40. There is a stone footbridge across the river with absolutely stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Portree – The Capital of Skye

It was another hour or so onward to Portree, the capital of Skye. Portree is a pleasant harbour town with a population of just over 2,000 people. There are lots of gift shops, a few pubs and cafes and a pleasant quayside with a small beach backed by cliffs and colorful houses.

There is a park a short walk from the harbour that is a must-visit with stunning views across Loch Portree. My only complaint is that we had less than 90 minutes to grab some lunch and explore, which wasn’t as much time as I’d have liked.

The Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr
Old Man of Storr on Skye

The Old Man of Storr is a rocky outcrop overlooking the Sound of Raasay on the eastern coast of Skye. It is famed for its protruding rock formations which resemble a person’s fingers, rising up from a grassy plain from the coast.

The Old Man is visible for miles and we first spied it rising majestically over the island before even reaching Portree. We stopped at the roadside to take pictures, but the location wasn’t great as there was a busy road and a load of power lines running right in front of it, obscuring the view somewhat.

Lealt Falls

Lealt Waterfall in Scotland
Lealt Waterfall in Scotland

Our final stop on Skye was at the far northern end of the island to see the Lealt Falls, a series of waterfalls cascading down from the mountains to the sea nearby. There were wooden walkways out over a raine to get a good view of the falls, and another higher up overlooking the cliffs and ocean.


Bonnie Scotland
Bonnie Scotland

We left Skye via the bridge and headed on a northern route back so as to do a loop rather than go over old ground. We stopped at the roadside above Stromferry for pictures of the beautiful loch before heading back to Inverness and arrived at around 8pm.

If you’d like to take this same tour, enter your details below or click here to find out more.

What to Pack for an Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness

It’s no great secret that Scotland sees a lot of rain (today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky) and on my trip although it stayed dry, there were a few downpours. As such waterproofs or an umbrella would certainly be useful.

Here are a few things to consider packing on your Inverness to Isle of Skye road trip:

  • Waterproofs
  • Umbrella
  • Walking shoes or boots
  • Water bottle
  • Packed lunch (you can also buy something along the way)
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera
  • Small backpack

Getting to Inverness

I took the bus to Inverness from Glasgow. The journey time was four hours and it was a very scenic route. There are also trains which take just over three hours. There are also daily buses and trains from Edinburgh and other major Scottish towns and cities.

Where to Stay in Inverness

Budget: I stayed at the Inverness Student Hotel which has a central location, comfortable dorm rooms, a kitchen and lots of common areas for working or relaxing. Click here to book with Hostelworld.

Mid-range: Cedar Villa Guest House is a charming B&B in the centre of Inverness just 400 metres from the castle. Rooms come with en-suite bathroom, free Wi-Fi and a cooked breakfast. Click here to find out more.

Luxury: The four-star Bunchrew House Hotel is located less than 3 miles from Inverness and offers a luxury stay in a 17th Century Scottish Mansion set within 20 acres of land. The sumptuous rooms come with gorgeous views, en-suite and breakfast is included. Click here to find out more.


Can you do a day trip to Isle of Skye from Inverness?

It’s easy to do a Skye day trip from Inverness and there are a few different options for getting there. You can take a tour, drive, or use public transport.

How long do you need to explore Skye?

Skye is a small island so you can see most of the major tourist sights such as Portree, the Old Man of Storr and Lealt Falls in one day. However, it’s also worth spending a couple of days on Skye if you really want to explore properly.

Is Isle of Skye near Inverness?

The Isle of Skye is 77 miles (124 kilometres) from Inverness. It takes around 3 hours to drive and slightly longer if going by public bus.

Can you take a train from Inverness to Isle of Skye?

There are no trains from Inverness to Skye. If you wish to make the journey using public transport you can take bus 917 from Inverness. The bus takes around 4 hours and costs £31.70.

Is the Isle of Skye worth going to?

The Isle of Skye is definitely worth going to as it’s one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. It’s part of the Inner Hebrides and benefits from a gorgeous coastline, waterfalls, mountains and dramatic scenery.


Now you know about the best Isle of Skye tours from Inverness, which one will you choose?

With so many incredible sights to see along the way including ancient castles, lochs, waterfalls, small Highland villages and stunning scenery at every turn, taking an Inverness to Isle of Skye tour is a must when in Scotland. Don’t delay, click here to book your trip today!

You might like my other articles about Scotland:

Dunhuang, Gobi Desert, China

About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

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