The Isle of Skye has some beautiful castles that are steeped in rich history. Why not stop by on your next road trip adventure to Skye?
1. Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan was a stronghold of Clan Macleod for around eight centuries. The castle now houses a stunning collection of paintings and heirlooms including The Fairy Flag- one of the Macleod’s most treasured possessions that is rumoured to have miraculous powers.
The castle is also known for its beautiful gardens complete with ornate bridges, islands and a rich variety of colourful plants.
2. Duntulum Castle
Duntulum Castle is said to be the first fortified castle of the Iron Age. Unfortunately, only ruins of this fort remain after the Macdonalds abandoned the castle in 1730. Today, it is said that the castle is haunted by the ghost of a former Clan Macdonald nursemaid.
3. Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. The beautiful castle is not actually on the Isle of Skye but is en route if you are coming through Dornie so we thought that we would include it anyway!
Eilean Donan's (Donan's Island) name comes from St Donan, an Irish monk who established a monastery on the island around 500AD. The castle has an interesting history which can be learned about today in the castle's excellent visitors centre.
4. Caisteal Maol (Moil Castle)
Caisteal Maol, meaning bare castle relating to its ruined state, occupies a prominent position on a headland looking over the Kyle of Lochalsh. The castle, also known as Dunakin, once belonged to King Haakon, a Viking king who sailed through on his way to the Battle of Largs 1263.
The castle is easily reached and sits on a small hill east of Kyleakin. It's definitely worth a trip for the view!
5. Knock Castle
Knock Castle (also known as Caisteal Uaine or Caisteal Camus) was seized from the MacLeod Clan by the Macdonald Clan on their drive to control all the lands of Sleat. Like any self-respecting castle, it has ghosts. One ghost a Green Lady – a gruagach- is associated with the fortunes of the family who occupied the castle. She will appear happy if good news is to come and you hear the sound of weeping if the news is bad. The castle is also said to have another spirit - a glastaig – who looks after the livestock.
6. Armadale Castle
Armadale Castle, which in 1790 became the home for the head of MacDonald clan, has a fantastic gardens and also features the Museum of the Isles. A fire destroyed much of the original mansion house in 1855. In 1971 the castle and surrounding 20,000 acre estate were purchased by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. The trust aims to educate the public about the history of their Clan and its role in Highland life over the centuries. The gardens and grounds offer delightful walks.
7. Dunscaith Castle
Dunscaith, or Dun Sgathaich, Castle was built in 1300 and was passed from the Macaskills to the Macleods to the Macdonalds who abandoned it in 1618. It is said that the castle was built in a single night with the help of a witch. It is also said that Celtic warrior queen Scathach trained her heroes here and where Irish legend Cuchulainn learned how to go to battle.
Want to find out more about the history of the castles of Skye or other points of interests and top spots to visit? Our app, The Local Guide, will keep you informed and guide you around your tour of this fascinating island.
Find out more here or download our app.
We hope that you love the Isle of Skye as much as we do!
There are many reasons why the island is topping all of the top destination wish lists! Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a place to relax; coming from afar or looking for a holiday closer to home: Skye has it all.
1. Eilean Donan Castle
Whilst technically not on Skye, we couldn’t miss out Eilean Donan Castle. This stunning castle near the village of Dornie is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles and it’s clear to see why! Spanning from a monastery in 500AD, to a Jacobite castle, to a memorial to the members of the Clan MacRae, there is so much more to the castle than it’s breath-taking beauty which you can learn about at the visitor centre and through our app.
2. Kilt Rock
Kilt Rock’s dramatic cliffs got their name due to their resemblance with the Highland kilt.
Can you see it?
This beautiful spot attracts people from all over the world and there is a popular stopping off point at the car park beside the Mealt Waterfall- a 60m waterfall that falls from the cliff into the Sound of Raasay below. It can be very windy at times so please be careful and do not stray from the designated viewpoint.
3. Sligachan Bridge
Another iconic view when picturing the Isle of Skye. Sligachan Old Bridge is a stunning place to stop and take in the views. There is much more to the bridge than a pretty view, however. Legend has it that if you go down to the bridge and dip your face in the enchanted water, you will have eternal beauty. Just a wee word of warning- it’s cold! Ps. also keep an eye out for a fairy or two!
Here, you can also take in the breathtaking views of the Cullins!
4. The Skye Bridge
Again, not technically wholly on Skye… but the Skye bridge is an iconic view that has to be appreciated. It is well worth going to Am Ploc viewpoint in Kyle of Lochalsh to take in the Skye bridge’s lovely design which links Kyle of Lochalsh on the Scottish mainland to Kyleakin on Skye.
5. Trumpan Church
Trumpan Church is at the end of the public road on the west side of Waternish. The ruined church was at the center of one of the bloodiest episodes in the island’s history and has many stories to tell.
6. Stein Village
Stein is a pretty village and is home to one of the oldest Inns on Skye which offers traditional bar meals using fine local produce. The beautifully picturesque village could have been totally different if the locals had followed the British Fisheries Society’s plan to turn it into a major fishing port in 1790! We must admit, we’re glad they didn’t! Go up to the end of the B886 track at the Loch Bay settlement on the west side of the Waternish Peninsula to take in this superb view!
7. The Fairy Pools
The crystal clear Fairy Pools on the River Brittle attract visitors from across the world and it’s obvious why. As well as a stunning viewpoint, it is a great place if you fancy some wild swimming!
8. The Old Man of Storr
Take a lovely walk to the Old Man of Storr for incredible views to Raassay, Rona and the Scottish Mainland. The Storr is the highest point of the Trotternish Ridge which was created by a massive landslip. There is a longer walk called the Quirang which takes you across the Trotternish Ridge and has some stunning views in it’s own right.
10. Neist Point
In our opinion, this is one of the most stunning lighthouse locations in Scotland. Neist Point is located on the most westerly tip of Skye near Glendale. There is a nice, easy walk to reach stunning views of the high cliffs and lighthouse. It is particularly stunning at sunset!
11. Elgol Mountain View
If you visit the shoreline at Elgol you will be treated to stunning views of the Cuillin Ridge. If you want a closer look, you can take a boat trip along Loch Scavaig and into Lock Coruisk- one of the most spectacular freshwater lochs in the country.
Even Skye’s main town is beautiful! Life in Portree revolves around its harbour- as it has done for centuries! The best opportunity for a picture of the harbour is from the grassy slopes in front of the Cullin Hills Hotel. For an alternative viewpoint, you can also head to what is known as The Lump (its proper and nicer name is Sron a’ Mhil!). The Lump is a lovely circuit walk which should take around 30 minutes and goes past Apothecary’s Tower- a tower that was built to let passing ships know that there was medical assistance available if required.
Make sure you don’t miss a thing by downloading our audio tour guide app - The Local Guide! We’ll direct you to these iconic spots and many, many more and tell you all about the fascinating stories of Skye’s past without you having to study a lengthy guidebook! Working off GPS, it’s just like having a local in the car with you!
Find out more here or download our app.