Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye, Scotland – Insider Guide!

If you’re looking for places to stay on the Isle of Skye, you’re in the right place. I’ve lived and worked in the tourism industry on Skye for five years now, coming to know a thing or two about the island. 

One of the most common misconceptions by people who visit Skye is that it is a small place. The island actually spans 1,656 km² and a lot of driving is required to get around. This makes choosing a good place to stay on the Isle of Skye really important for getting the most your of your experience.

To help you discover your Highland home away from home, I’ll break down the various areas on the island, outlining the pros and cons of staying in each. I’ll even throw in some recommended Isle of Skye accommodation options too! No matter your budget or travel style, I promise there is something for you.

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When it comes to choosing a place to stay on the Isle of Skye, it is important to know what is on offer. Different kinds of travellers will have different needs which I address in the location breakdown below. 

Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye – Quick Answers

AreaKnown For…Ideal For…
🌈 PortreeCentral LocationFirst-Timers
✅ TrotternishDramatic LandscapesProximity to Main Sights
🥃 CarbostQuiet AreaWhisky Connoisseurs 
⛰️ SconserHeart of the CuillinMunro Baggers
🏃 KyleakinGateway to SkyeFlying Visits
🏰  DunveganSeat of Clan MacleodHeritage Hunters
🌸 SleatBeautiful ViewsConvenience
🥘 EdinbaneRelaxing SpotFoodies
🥾 BroadfordAdventure HubOutdoor Enthusiasts 
✨ WaternishOff The Beaten TrackDark Sky Lovers

🗺️ Isle of Skye Accommodation Map

🏠 Best Accommodation on the Isle of Skye

This post contains affiliate links. If you use them, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Best Budget Accommodation
Skyewalker Hostel

Skyewalker Hostel

  • Voted the best hostel in Scotland
  • Friendly staff
  • Geodesic solar dome
Book Now
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
Sligachan Hotel

Sligachan Hotel

  • Microbrewery, bar & restaurant 
  • Amazing mountain views
  • Central location 
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Best Luxury Accommodation
The Tables Guesthouse

The Tables Guesthouse

  • Close to amenities
  • Warm hospitality
  • Thoughtful details
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Best Accommodation For Hillwalkers
Skye Basecamp

Skye Basecamp

  • Basic but well-equipped
  • Hosts are knowledgeable about hillwalking 
  • Sits at the foot of the Red Cullin
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Best Accommodation For Couples
Skye Eco Bells Glamping

Skye Eco Bells Glamping

  • Romantic rustic wood cabin
  • Off-grid
  • Cute and cosy stay
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Best Accommodation For Families
Tianavaig View Apartments

Tianavaig View Apartments

  • Clean and comfortable 
  • Outdoor dining area
  • Central location with great views
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Best Accommodation For Foodies
Edinbane Lodge

Edinbane Lodge

  • Fine dining restaurant 
  • 10-course taster menu
  • Relax in comfort
Book Now

Best Places to Stay on the Isle of Skye

1. 🌈 Portree – Central Location Ideal for First-Timers 

The island’s capital, Portree is the main accommodation hub on the Isle of Skye. This compact town boasts a wide range of accommodation options, from hostels to high-end hotels and self-catering holiday cottages. 

Portree is one of the most practical choices for people travelling without a car. It is a central location which is serviced by buses. For those embarking on guided tours to more remote areas of the island, it is also a popular pick-up and drop-off point. 

If you’re looking for convenience, Portree is the best place to stay on the Isle of Skye. There are a range of shops, restaurants and bars here. Just be warned, during high season, you’ll need to book dining in advance. There are two Co-op supermarkets in town, plus two petrol stations. 

The main downside of Portree is that is essentially the tourist Mecca of the island. This means that it gets incredibly busy, can be difficult to park and accommodation gets booked up very far in advance, particularly in peak season. 

  • Central location
  • Proximity to Trotternish Loop
  • Range of facilities
  • Public transport links
  • Super touristy
  • Town setting
  • Difficulty parking

Top Accommodation in Portree

2. ✅ Trotternish – Dramatic Landscapes Ideal for Bucket List Ticks

The Trotternish Peninsula is home to the most dramatic scenery on Skye. Featuring famous attractions such as the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing, Trotternish is the best place to base yourself if you want to be close to the must-see sights.

Although this northern section of the island is home to plenty of attractions, comparatively few people stay in the area. This is because it is more remote and a bit far from shops and restaurants.

The main accommodation hub in the Trotternish area is the wee town of Uig. Close to the Fairy Glen and Outer Hebrides ferry terminal, the town is pretty small but there are a couple of shops and a few places to eat. 

Staffin is also a good base for those who want to stay north of Portree but still have some amenities. There are loads of self-catering holiday homes in Staffin, as well as a local shop. If you’re travelling with children, this is also the home of the famous dinosaur beach

Owing to the sparseness of amenities in the northern part of the island, the Trotternish Peninsula is best suited to those travelling with their own transport

  • Dramatic landscapes
  • Proximity to main sights
  • Breathtaking views
  • Rural options
  • Challenging to navigate with public transport
  • More remote

Top Accommodation in Trotternish

3. 🥃 Carbost – Quiet Area Ideal for Whisky Connoisseurs 

The small village of Carbost draws in tourists for two main reasons. Firstly, it is just a stone’s throw from the iconic Fairy Pools. This popular attraction sees hoards of visitors around the clock who visit to snap Instagram pictures and dip in the ice-cold pools. While it is one of the busiest spots on Skye, it is popular for good reason.

The second reason is the top attraction in Carbost; Talisker Distillery. This lochside distillery is the oldest working one in Skye, drawing in whisky connoisseurs from all over. Embark on a tour to see how Scotland’s most famous export is made or even enjoy a tipple yourself!

There are not many facilities in Carbost and the surrounding area. The Old Inn is the best place for evening meals and they also do breakfast. The Oyster Shed and Cafe Cuil are good options for lunch. The nearest petrol station and supermarket is located in Portree but there is also a community-run convenience store located in Carbost.

While Carbost village can get pretty busy, particularly during peak season, the surrounding areas are much quieter. Portnalong is a wonderful place to stay on the Isle of Skye, benefitting from a rural location ideal for spotting local wildlife

Top Tip!
Want to see the best attractions without the crowds? Visit the Isle of Skye during winter for a completely different experience! Fewer tourists, snow-capped mountains, icy Fairy Pools and aurora borealis make Skye an incredible destination out of season. 

There is only one bus that services this part of the island so this area is not recommended for those travelling without a car unless they are happy to walk a lot or try their luck at hitchhiking! 

  • Quiet part of the island
  • Chance to see wildlife
  • Proximity to Fairy Pools and Talisker
  • Challenging to navigate with public transport
  • Fewer facilities

Top Accommodation in Carbost

4. ⛰️ Sconser – Home of the Cuillin Ideal for Munro-Baggers

While plenty of international tourists visit the Isle of Skye for its jaw-dropping landscapes and fairytale scenery, it is also the pinnacle of hillwalking in Scotland. Boasting 12 Munros (that’s a Scottish hill of over 3,000 feet), people flock from all over to tick some of the UK’s highest mountains off their peak-bagging map. 

Sconser, comprising the area of Sligachan and the township of Sconser, is an ideal location if Munro-bagging is your goal. Sitting in the shadow of both the Red Cuillin and the Black Cuillin, it is well located for those wanting to get up into the hills. 

For those looking for more low-level attractions, there are plenty of beautiful walks close by and the Sligachan Bridge, which legend says is a portal to an underwater fairy world. 

Sconser is also the most common place on Skye to spot Scotland’s most famous residents; highland coos. Often seen around the area of Sconser during summer, it is sometimes possible to catch a glimpse of the shaggy wee calves if you time your visit right. 

If you’re combining your visit to the Isle of Skye with a trip to Raasay, Sconser is home to the ferry terminal, making it a convenient destination to travel onwards to this island destination. 

  • Chance of seeing highland coos
  • Proximity to Munros
  • Easily accessible via main Skye road (A87)
  • Good for trips to Raasay
  • Close to the main Skye road (A87)
  • Gets busy during the summer months

Top Accommodation in Sconser

5. 🏃 Kyleakin – Gateway to the Island Ideal for Flying Visits 

If you are driving to Skye via the bridge, Kyleakin is the first township that you will enter. If you are one of the many tourists visiting Skye for one day, Kyleakin is an ideal base. Many people don’t know that it takes around an hour and a half to get from the bridge to the main sights in the north, making what is a long journey, even longer!

If you have very limited time on the island, it is best to stay close to the bridge and explore this area well. While lots of websites will tell you that there is nothing to do in Kyleakin, this isn’t true. 

The ruins of Caisteal Maol make for a good adventure and there several other pretty hikes in the area, including a number around the ‘Hill of the Red Fox’. Kyleakin is well-facilitated, with a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets. Everything within the town is also within walking distance, ideal for foot travellers to the island. 

If you like myths and folklore, don’t miss the opportunity to learn about Kyleakin’s most notorious resident, the legendary Norwegian Princess better known as Saucy Mary. 

  • Close to the mainland
  • Proximity to facilities
  • Easily accessible via Skye Bridge
  • Far from the main attractions 
  • Popular with coach tours

Top Accommodation in Kyleakin

6. 🏰 Dunvegan – Seat of Clan Macleod Ideal for Heritage Hunters

Situated on the northwest of Skye, Dunvegan is a popular village for those who appreciate a little bit of history. Best known for the incredible Dunvegan Castle which doubles up as the seat of Clan Macleod, Dunvegan is a great place to base yourself if you want to be out of the hubbub but still enjoy excellent attractions on your doorstep.

Dunvegan is home to one of Skye’s best beaches, Coral Beach, and also attracts plenty of visitors wanting to visit the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. It is a popular spot for those looking to get a feel of island culture in an important historical area. Therefore, it is particularly well suited to those exploring their Scottish ancestry. 

Dunvegan has a fairly good range of amenities including a post office, shops and a petrol station. There are quite a few holiday homes in Dunvegan which makes this a good place for families looking to visit Skye. 

For foodie travellers, Dunvegan is a good place to base yourself if you are planning on experiencing the island’s high-end gastronomy scene. The Three Chimneys Michelin-starred restaurant is just a stone’s throw from this area – just remember to book in advance if you fancy it!

  • Rural setting
  • Lots of self-catering accommodation
  • Close to basic amenities
  • Not well served by public transport

Top Accommodation in Dunvegan

7. 🌸 Sleat – The Garden of Skye Ideal for Breathtaking Vistas

The Sleat Peninsula is likely to be many visitors’ first experience of the Isle of Skye. Home to the ferry terminal in Armadale, this is a wonderful part of the island. It is a great option for those who like history as three of the Isle of Skye’s castles are located there. 

Armadale House is well worth a visit and a ticket also gets you entrance into the beautiful gardens. The forest makes this a wonderful place to visit during the autumn months and the castle ruins are impressive year-round. Knock Castle and Dunscaith Castle also sit in this area, offering a more off-the-beaten-track castle experience. 

While Carbost’s Talisker Distillery is undoubtedly the most popular whisky hub on the island, tours and tastings book up quickly. A good alternative for whisky enthusiasts is to visit the Torabhaig Distillery which is still somewhat of an under-visited gem on the island. 

Boasting views of the mainland and the Black Cuillin (depending on whereabouts you are), Sleat is a wonderful area if you’re looking for sweeping vistas of wild terrain while still benefitting from being close to food and drink options

  • Close to the ferry terminal
  • Proximity to amenities
  • Amazing views
  • Further from the main attractions 
  • Busy during peak season

Top Accommodation in Sleat

8. 🥘 Edinbane – Sleepy Village Ideal for Foodies

Sitting between Dunvegan and Portree, Edinbane is well-located for those looking for an escape from the hustle of the island’s capital. Portree is just a 20-minute drive away meaning that all amenities are close by however, you get to avoid the peak season congestion that the capital brings. 

If you’re visiting the island hoping to chance a glimpse of some of Skye’s most famous wildlife, Edinbane is a good base. Deer, otters and eagles all frequent this area so make sure you keep your eyes peeled!

This sleepy village is most famous for its fine dining scene, making it the perfect location for foodie-loving travellers. Edinbane Lodge and Edinbane Inn are both popular choices for those who like the finer things in life. 

While there is a range of accommodations in this area of the Isle of Skye, the nicest are by far the traditional, country house options. If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to this, there is also camping and the usual self-catering options available.

  • Quiet area of the island
  • Fine-dining options
  • Amazing views
  • Not much to do
  • Expensive
  • Challenging to navigate with public transport

Top Accommodation in Edinbane

9. 🥾 Broadford – Adventure Hub Ideal for Hikers and Foot Passengers

The second-largest settlement on the island, Broadford is a good choice for those wanting to be within eyeshot of nature while still being within walking distance to an ATM, shops, restaurants and bars. As well as this, you’ll also find a decent-sized Co-op and EV charging points in town. This is the location of the Isle of Skye’s hospital too but hopefully you won’t need that! 

Nestled in the shadow of the Red Cuillin, there are countless beautiful walks in this area, both into the hills and at low level. The ruined villages of Boreraig and Suisnish just outside Broadford are highly recommended for those wanting to see a tangible impact of the Highland Clearances

Broadford is the perfect location for those travelling by public transport. As the settlement is centred around Skye’s main road, it is easy to catch a bus to Portree or leave the island via Kyleakin. 

Although less pretty than other villages, Broadford is still a beautiful place to stay on the Isle of Skye, with wonderful lochside properties outside of the centre. There is a range of independent shops selling artisan crafts, great if you need to stock up on gifts for family and friends back home!

  • Well connected by public transport 
  • Hub for hiking and climbing
  • Lots of amenities within walking distance
  • Can get busy during peak summer months
  • Less quiet than other areas

Top Accommodation in Broadford

10. ✨ Waternish – Dark Sky Areas Ideal for Northern Lights Chasing 

The Waternish Peninsula is an often overlooked area to stay on Skye but it really shouldn’t be. Although a little further from the main attractions on the Trotternish Loop, Waternish offers a peaceful and relaxing stay in a quiet part of the island.

If you’re visiting outside of the summer months hoping to see the night sky in all its glory, Waternish is the place to come. There are a few dedicated dark sky areas in this part of the island and on a clear winter’s night, it is possible to see the Milky Way and, if you are very lucky, the Aurora Borealis

Waternish also has its fair share of history. It is the site of the Fairy Bridge, an unassuming spot with a romantic story behind it. This is a wonderful alternative to the better-known Sligachan Bridge. 

It isn’t all love stories though. Trumpan Church stands ruined, a testament to a brutal act of war between the Macleods and the Macdonalds. Nearly the entire village of Macleods was burned alive here. 

While you won’t find the big attractions that make the guidebook covers in Waternish, the area is great for repeat visitors to Skye looking to see a different side of the island. If you want to get off the beaten track, it’s a great base. 

Read: How to See the Northern Lights on the Isle of Skye.

  • Quiet area with dark skies
  • Off-the-beaten-track location
  • Fascinating history and legend
  • Far from the main attractions
  • Not easily accessible without own transport

Top Accommodation in Waternish

With so many amazing areas with their own unique character, choosing where to stay on the Isle of Skye can be a daunting prospect! Portree is the best all-round option for convenience but is also the tourist centre, making it very busy. If you like quieter locations both Edinbane and Waternish are good options. Whisky enthusiasts will love the distilleries in Carbost and Sleat and families will find a range of holiday homes all over the island. 

Where is your favourite place to stay on the Isle of Skye? Share your experiences in the comments!