There are several ways to get to the Isle of Skye, either by car, public transportation or tour. The easiest solution is to take a tour, with day trips from Inverness or 3 day excursions from Edinburgh. If tours aren’t your thing, then many people choose to rent a car and drive to the island, enjoying the stunning Scottish Highland scenery along the way.
Alternatively, there are direct trains that run from Inverness and Glasgow which go to the northernmost part of the mainland, and from here a ferry and bus to Isle of Skye. However, since public transportation runs infrequently, it makes getting around the island extremely difficult.
how to get to isle of skye:
There are several tours that run to the Isle of Skye from mainland Scotland, as well as tours that depart directly from the island. This is the easiest, most ‘hassle free’ way of getting to this very remote location. Our selection of tours include:
Isle of Skye Day Tour from Inverness:
This is a small group tour, with a maximum of 16 passengers that goes to Isle of Skye from Inverness. You’ll get to visit Eilean Donan Trotternish Peninsula, with a guided tour of well-known landmarks including the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and Quiraing. You’ll also visit the harbor town of Portree for lunch, and head back past Loch Ness.
More info: See here
3-Day Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh:
Departing every day from Edinburgh, this bestselling Skye tour explores the highlights of Northern Scotland, the Scottish Highlands and Isle of Skye. Highlights including seeing the dramatic landscapes ta Glencoe Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Crianlarich and Tyndrum, spending a full day on the Isle of Skye and viewing Loch Ness and the Grampian Mountains.
More info: See here
3-Day Isle of Skye tour from Glasgow:
A similar tour with a similar itinerary from the 3-day Edinburgh tour, which includes bed and breakfast accommodation and a boat trip to Urquhart Castle as well as stunning coastal scenic views.
More info: See here
by public transport:
There are no direct trains to the Isle of Skye, but there are trains that stop just before the island, and from here you can cross onto the mainland by ferry or bridge. There are also several direct bus routes to the island. It’s important to mention that the public transportation service on the Isle of Skye is limited, and its difficult to move around easily without a car.
So whilst it is doable, bear in mind that public transportation is not the ideal option. One solution is to take transportation to Portree, and then take a guided day tour of the island from Portree, that will take you to places where you just can’t reach by public transport. For more details, see here.
- There is a direct train from Inverness to Kyle which takes around 2hr30m and there are several trains each day. Known as the Kyle Line, it is one of the world’s most dramatic train routes with stunning scenic views of the Scottish Highlands. From here, take a Stagecoach Bus (click here for timetable) which goes onto the Isle of Skye stopping at Broadford, Sconser & Portree.
- There is a direct City Link bus from Inverness to Isle of Skye with two services each day and the journey takes around 3 hours. Click here to see the bus timetable from Inverness to Skye (Portree)
In short, both the train and the bus are both good options of getting to the Isle of Skye from Inverness and both offer stunning scenic views along the way. The bus goes through Kintail and by the shores of Loch Ness past Urquhart Castle. The train goes right through the heart of the Scottish highlands. You might plan to try both options, going out on the train and returning on the bus.
- There is a direct train from Glasgow to Mallaig train station, which is situated on the mainland of Scotland just next to Skye and the journey takes around 5 hours. From here, take the CallMac ferry to get to Armadale, which is on the Isle of Skye. The ferry ride lasts around 30 minutes. Click here for ferry timetable. From the ferry terminal at Amradale take a local bus to your destination.
- There is a direct CityLink bus from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye, with three direct services a day and a fourth to Fort William. The journey lasts around 7 hours. Click here to see the bus timetable from Glasgow to Skye.
The bottom line is that the bus will probably work out cheaper than the train and quite possibly faster if you are planning to go to the main town of Portree on Skye.
There are no direct buses or trains to get to Skye from Edinburgh. The best way to get to Skye from Edinburgh is to take a train or a bus to Inverness or Glasgow and then take the bus or train.
driving to skye:
If you are going to do the journey to the Isle of Skye by car, then it is recommended to stop along the way and plan your route to Skye so that you balance the need to get there as quicky as possible versus choosing a route that takes in as much as the stunning highland scenery as possible.
driving from Edinburgh:
The Isle of Skye is located about 235 miles from Edinburgh and driving time can range from 5 to 6 hours. Consider stopping at some of these places:
- The town of Pitlochry, which is 70 miles from Edinburgh along the M90. The quaint little town is home to Scotland’s oldest whisky distillery
- Drive from here along the A9 into the highlands
- You have a choice to make a detour from the most direct route to Skye, and instead head to Loch Ness and Urquhart Caste, which adds another 1hr20m to the journey.
- Alternatively head along the A87 from Invergarry to the Isle of Skye, which is one of the most popular driving routes in the UK, which passes five lochs and crosses the Skye Bridge.
driving from glasgow:
The magazine Travel named the drive from Glasgow to Isle of Skye as one of the greatest drives in the world! Its about a 215 mile drive and places to stop at along the way include:
- Loch Lomond, a breathtaking loch about 1 hour from Glasgow
- Glencoe, the most romantic and historic glen in Scotland
- Glen Shiel which is another picturesque beautiful glen.
- The stunning 13th Century Eilean Donan castle
Driving from inverness:
Inverness is about 120 miles from Skye. The best route is to take the A87, A887 & A 82 – via Loch Alsh, Eileen Donan, Glen Shiel, Invermoriston and west shore of Loch Ness