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How to find unique things to do on Skye


One of the first questions I've been asked since we moved here is: “How do we find unusual things to do on Skye?” or some variation of it. Where are Isle of Skye’s hidden gems? What can I do off the beaten track on Skye?

The bad news is, I won't tell you. And, let’s be honest, probably everyone else who lives here isn’t either.

The good news is that you can still find unique things to do in Skye and I’ll tell you how to do it yourself!

When you look at a list of things to do in Isle of Skye, you’ll find that it usually repeats the same few things. There are five most popular things to do, sometimes there are a few additional things listed, but overall they are all very similar.

I would call these the most popular things to do in Skye, not necessarily the best, but ones that most people will see and read about and want to visit for themselves.

The thing is, Skye is a big island. There are lots of other things to do here. But it's also an island that's, I wouldn't say, “afflicted” but certainly affected by a lot of tourism and an infrastructure that doesn't necessarily meet the level of tourism.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan a visit here.

But you should manage your expectations about the popularity of this island and those few places, and maybe look for some other places you might also like to get a feel for what it's like here and why so many people find it so magical. place. You probably won't find many other people in the Quiraing car park…

The problem is, those in the know won't reveal themselves as the ones who leaked the location of the “next fairy pool” or made other places equally popular. In fact, there is no need to do this.

Visiting a place shouldn’t be a tick-box exercise. Of course, if you really want to see something, go for it, but don't feel like you have to see something or that you haven't “done” Skye yet. I live here and I'm definitely not done yet. I don't think you could ever!

Find something that really interests you. That would be great if you were walking. If it's history and museums, there's more than you think. If it's catering or live music, we've got you covered too.

Here are some of my favorite ways to find unusual things to do on Skye. These can obviously be applied elsewhere too!

1. Socialize with locals

This sounds very cliche and may even be embarrassing, but it is one of your best options. Not everyone wants to chat all the time because a lot of people are busy and busy with their daily lives, but there are definitely things you can do to put yourself in a position where you can chat and maybe learn more about unique things to do. Do.

Your first port of call should be your accommodation provider. If you have a local landlord then they will usually be more than willing to talk to you about what is available locally and help you with any special interests you may have. They may not share it online, but sharing it in person is another story!

Bars and cafes are another option. Sometimes if it's not too busy you can chat to the staff and ask for any advice. This is the best option if you are looking for a specific activity, such as walking or going for a swim, and are close to the location.

If you're on a local tour, don't be afraid to ask questions and find out what you can do that isn't included in the tour itinerary.

Be curious, show interest, and ask questions when you get the chance, and you'll find that many people are open and willing to talk to you.

Unusual things to do: Portriska Island

2. Use niche travel guides and blogs

Don't just look for things to do on Skye, narrow your search. Find beaches, waterfalls, walks, restaurants and more.

I'm working on a post about other things to do in Skye, so keep that in mind!

Unusual activities on the Isle of Skye

3. Visit in low season

There are a few things worth mentioning about visiting the Isle of Skye during peak season (May to September). Everything is open, from accommodation to restaurants to attractions such as museums and castles. But it’s also peak season for a reason.

The shoulder seasons also get busier and I think they will continue to do so. On the other hand, you can definitely visit during the off-season as long as you know what to expect. The days will be shorter and some major indoor attractions will be closed. But outdoors never! Yes, it can be cold or rainy, but have the right clothes.

It also gives you the chance to attend more localized events, such as the craft market, which opens on Christmas Eve.

Autumn on the Isle of Skye

4. Learn maps and apps

It sounds boring, but it's a great way to find lesser-known areas to explore.

You can actually look at something like Google Maps and zoom in and out to see what's going on around different areas. See where the roads go, click on places and see what they are like, look for beaches and their accessibility, then search for them and see if there are walking trails there.

The Isle of Skye is made up of a series of peninsulas, and you can easily look at each one and get an idea of ​​what's there.

You can also use the AllTrails app or the WalkHighlands website and app to find lesser-known walking routes. The thing is, many routes in Scotland are not signposted or have clear paths, so a degree of navigation is required, especially because the weather can change quickly, so you'll want to make sure your skill level is up to the requirements.

Geocaching is a fun way to find off-the-beaten-path areas. It's basically like geocaching, where you use coordinates or GPS to find “caches” left by others.

5. Explore niche interests

Think about what really interests you. You can find these on the map by searching online or asking at the museum.

On the Isle of Skye there are the Museum of the Islands in Armadale, the giant Angus MacAskill Museum in Dunvegan, the Skye Living Museum in Kilmuir and the Dinosaur Museum in Staffan, all of which There are staff willing to tell you about the history of Skye.

If you're interested in wildlife viewing, there are specialized wildlife tours to see eagles, otters and seals, as well as boat tours or bird watching tours.

6. Use social media strategically

Social media has undoubtedly played a role in the popularity of some of Skye's attractions (hello, fairy pools), and as such may have a bad reputation.

However, it's still a useful tool that can help you find more unusual things. Check out Isle of Skye-related hashtags on Instagram and Pinterest and look for pictures of landscapes you've never seen before. Photographers often tend to travel to different places. Sometimes the location won't be marked, but it doesn't hurt to ask, although not everyone will be willing to share.

Join a Facebook group (like ours – Isle of Skye Travel Tips) others share their travels or locals are willing to offer suggestions (although not necessarily specific destinations) to see if you've chosen any other places to visit.

By the way, definitely know that people edit their photos. What you see is not necessarily what you will get. It's always worth looking for more images to confirm what it looks like, maybe even Google Earth or Street View if possible. If I ever see another saturated photo of Skye’s fairy pool, making it look like a giant waterfall…

7. Stay in unique accommodation

Consider doing something in a more remote location. As mentioned above, look for nearby attractions or ask the accommodation provider.

We've stayed in some great places on our travels across Scotland. They are in completely random locations, but there are often beautiful views or beaches and trails nearby that are not mentioned anywhere on a list of things to do.

Stay in more remote, nature-focused accommodation, e.g. campsite You can also be introduced to new areas and activities.

8. Embrace slow travel

Rather than trying to rush through all the famous attractions, spend more time in one area. This allows for deeper exploration and the chance to stumble upon hidden gems.

Some of Skye’s top attractions are on the Trotternish Peninsula, but there’s so much more to see there! The same is true where the Fairy Pool is located.

9. Attend local workshops and tours

Look out for local craft workshops such as pottery or weaving Skye Weaverswhere you can watch them at work, or go on a more unique food tour, e.g. Isle of Skye Smokehouse. fox valley Be a blacksmith and you can even make your own Sgian Dubh (a small decorative knife) here.

Professional tours are another great way to see different sides of the island and meet the local residents, who you can learn from. Lots of people on the Isle of Skye are doing really cool trips, including walking and climbing, foraging, paddleboarding, mountain biking and more in the Cuillin Hills and beyond. , led by tour guides with in-depth local knowledge.

Unusual activities Isle of Skye - Mountain biking

10. Volunteers involved in local conservation projects

This will depend on availability, but I've seen people helping out with local conservation projects during their stay on Skye. This could involve planting trees, helping with road construction and maintenance, or beach cleaning. It’s a great way to meet people and get a feel for life on Skye.

These can be a little hard to find, but searching online or on Facebook can help.

Extraordinary things to do in Isle of Skye

11. explore nearby

It may seem counterintuitive, but there are plenty of great places to visit near the Isle of Skye. Take a ferry or boat trip to smaller nearby islands such as Raasay or Rona. The islands offer beautiful scenery and a sense of isolation, plus the scenery on Skye is stunning.

There are also small islands (Canna, Rum and Egg) that you can visit by boat from Skye or by ferry from Mallaig, or even stay.

The Applecross Peninsula is another beautiful area to explore, with views over the Isle of Skye.

Hopefully these tips will help you find more unusual things to do in Skye than the most popular sites! You can also join our Facebook group for more tips like this.

Sonya x

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