The Isle of Skye is one the top destinations when visiting Scotland. To make the most of your stay you must consider the travel options, including how to get here and once on the Island how to get about.
Car hire is the preferred option by many visitors to Skye, as it allows the flexibility to come and go as you please. If you choose to stay in one of the more remote parts of the Island a car is an essential.
If you prefer not to drive choosing accommodation in one of the larger villages (Portree, Broadford or Dunvegan) would be advised. There are local buses that can be relied on, but they are not that frequent.
The nearest International Airports are Edinburgh and Glasgow, while the nearest Local Airport is Inverness.
To get to Skye from Glasgow or Edinburgh there are a few options.
There are many car hire companies at the airports (including Rhino Car Hire), it would always be worth booking in advance.
It is possible to hire a car on Skye in Portree Morrisons Car Hire and in Armadale DriveSkye, booking in advanced is always recommended.
If you will be driving on Skye you may find a Skye Road Map useful.
Drive from Edinburgh
The shortest route (via Spean Bridge) is 232 miles from Edinburgh to Portree on Skye. It will normally take 5 hours to drive, in the summer months when the roads are busy it can take a bit longer.An alternative route is to stop half way in Inverness and maybe find somewhere for for a bite to eat. Driving via Inverness adds 35 miles (267 miles in total) but is a good option to break up the drive.
If you are flying into Edinburgh and looking to stay the night before heading to Skye then check the Edinburgh Accommodation Search website to find somewhere to stay.
Drive from Glasgow
It is 216 miles from Glasgow to Portree on Skye. It will normally take 5-6 hours to drive, in the summer months when the roads are busy it can take a bit longer. It is always worth stopping in Fort William to break up the Journey. Fort William is a small town about half way from Skye to Glasgow with shops on the High Street and many good places to eat.
Drive from Inverness
It is 112 miles from Inverness to Portree on Skye, it will take about 2.5 hours if the roads a quiet, but during the summer it can take a bit longer.
Once on Skye you may find our Travel Distances table useful as is shows the distances between the different Skye villages.
If you plan to drive to and around Skye then read through our Driving Tips for some general advice and tips for Single Track Roads.
There is not a railway on Skye. There are two train stations on the mainland that are very close and connect to local bus routes.
- Glasgow to Mallaig - then the Ferry to Skye.
- Inverness to Kyle – then a Bus on to the Island.
The Bus Company ‘City Link’ presently offer coaches from both Glasgow & Inverness to Skye. Full details of these routes including timetable can be found on their website. In the summer it can be worth booking online to ensure you get a seat.
Inverness to Skye Timetable (spring 2023)
Glasgow to Skye Timetable (spring 2023)
The local bus routes on Skye (village to village) are operated by the company Stagecoach. Full timetables can be found on their website.
Skye Timetable (2022-23)
There are 3 main ferry ports on Skye which are all operated by the company Calmac.
- Mallaig (mainland) to Armadale (skye)
- Sconser (skye) to Raasay
- Uig (skye) to Lochmaddy (North Uist) or Tarbert (Harris)
Full detail of each route is on Calmac’s website including full timetables and the recommended option to book online.
Mallaig to Skye
If you are planning to take the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale be aware there is limited public transport onwards from Armadale to the rest of Skye. There are some private taxi services which can be booked, but the bus service is very limited. If you need more flexibility then maybe consider using the Skye Bridge were more public transport options are available.
The Skye Bridge
Though Skye is an island we do have a road bridge spanning the sea between the villages of Kyle of Lochalsh (mainland) and Kyleakin (Skye).
If you are driving following the directions from a Sat Nav, be aware if you a traveling from the south and select the shortest rouge some devices will take you to Mallaig where there is the ferry to Skye.
Check your route carefully to ensure it takes you slightly longer route using the free road bridge.
There is the scenic route to drive to Skye. If you are not in a rush and wish to take in some of the spectacular views on route to Skye then the Glenelg ferry is a great option.
Take the boat ‘Over the Sea to Skye’.
- Glenelg (mainland) to Kylerhea (skye)
This small private operator has full details on their website.