Edinburgh is a great destination for visitors to Scotland, but for many the draw of the Highlands and Islands is strong! If wide open spaces, castles and brooding hills are tempting you then you might be after an Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh.
I love the islands of Scotland and even though I’d grown up here, it was only a few years ago that I managed to visit Skye for the first time. Needless to say, it took my breath away and it’s one of my favourite spots to explore! I highly recommend including it on your Scotland trip but if you don’t want to drive a guided tour is the best option.
If you’re looking to include a side trip to Skye from the city then read on for my guide to the best Isle of Skye tours from Edinburgh.
My top choice:
this 3 day Skye Tour from Edinburgh which packs a lot of what Skye has to offer in just the 3 days (plus a trip on the Harry Potter steam train on the way back!)
6 Top Isle of Skye tours from Edinburgh
1. 3-day Isle of Skye, Highlands and Hogwarts Express tour
Rated 5.0 out of 5 (487 reviews) | Run by Highland Explorer Tours Ltd
This whistle stop tour gives you a great introduction to the Isle of Skye and also includes some other bucket list stops as well.
Some tours can just skim over what Skye has to offer, literally just ticking the place off but not this one. You’ll see many of the famous sites on the island including Sligachan Bridge, the Old Man of Storr and Dunvegan Castle.
On the way back towards Edinburgh your day is not wasted as you’ll take a place on the iconic Jacobite Express train as it goes on a trip to Mallaig and back. You’ll even go over the Glenfinnan viaduct that makes this steam train just like the Hogwarts Express!
The tour includes 2 nights accommodation in Portree on Skye and a nice wee Scottish breakfast as well!
Duncan, our driver, demonstrated the utmost professionalism and provided a better than expected tour. Duncan’s coach driving skills demonstrated that we should not not rent a car and do this tour on our own. We had an excellent time.Review by Meander84368 – see more reviews here
2. Small group tour – 5-day Highlands and Skye tour from Edinburgh
Rated 5.0 out of 5 (143 reviews) | Run by – Rabbies Trail Burners
If the idea of a huge bus tour to Skye doesn’t fill you with excitement you might like this smaller group tour run by Rabbies (one of the biggest tour operators in Scotland). There’s a maximum of 16 people on the trip so you’ll get a much more intimate experience.
As well as exploring Skye and spending 2 nights there, you’ll also head on to the North Coast 500 as well and explore some of the stops around Ullapool including the exciting road to Applecross. This is much more remote Scotland than Skye!
On Skye you’ll see The Old Man of Storr, Neist Point and some castles and with 5 days to explore on this trip it doesn’t feel rushed.
The trip was simply perfect. The agenda was packed with exactly what I wanted – great scenery, castles, local attractions, great food and and wonderful stories and tales about Scotland provided by Aaron from Rabbies – the best, most knowledgeable, funniest guide/driver ever!!! I highly recommend it!!!Review by Beata_P – see more reviews here
3. Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and Highlands Group tour – 3 days from Edinburgh
Rated 4.5 out of 5 (317 reviews) | Run by Timberbush Tours
3 day tours to Skye often have the benefit of not trying to fit in too much else so you at least get one full day on Skye – and this tour is no different.
You’ll see the Quiraing, Lealt Falls, Sligachan Bridge and Dunvegan Castle while exploring the island.
This tour also offers you the option of booking your own accommodation or going with their choice for the 2 nights on Skye.
On the way back to Edinburgh from Skye you’ll take in Eilean Donan Castle which is one of the most famous and photographed in Scotland (made famous from the Highlander film)
4. 5-Day Isle of Skye, Loch Ness & Jacobite train journey
Rated 5.0 out of 5 (18 reviews) | Run by – Highland Explorer Tours Ltd
If you have 5 days to spare then this trip slows you down a bit and adds in some more places to see in the Highlands as well. If you’re hoping to explore more than just Skye then this is a good option.
Unlike some of the other trips that go by road to the Isle of Skye, this tour from Edinburgh goes by ferry! So you’ll get a completely different viewpoint and you might even see dolphins too!
On Skye you’ll see the Quiraing, Armadale Castle, The Old Man of Storr, Sligachan Bridge and Kilt Rock.
You’ll only spend 1 night on Skye on this trip as it seeks to fit in much more of the Highlands.
Some of the highlands attractions you’ll see on this tour are the Tomatin Distillery, Glencoe, Loch Ness and Culloden. You’ll also catch new sites like the Kelpies near Edinburgh!
5. Isle of Skye and Scottish Highlands – 3 day tour from Edinburgh
Rated 5.0 out of 5 (158 reviews) | Run by – Highland Explorer Tours Ltd
This 3 day tour takes in the best that Skye has to offer as well as making the most of some of the wonderful Highlands that you’ll pass through on your way.
You’ll spend 2 nights in Portree allowing a full day in Skye on day 2. You’ll see a lot of Skye’s amazing outdoor spots such as The Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls and Kilt Rock.
On the way back to Edinburgh from Skye you’ll pass by Fort William, taking in the Commander Memorial (very poignant) and also Glencoe which is one of my favourite spots in the Highlands!
6. Budget backpacker 3-day trip to Skye from Edinburgh
Rated 5.0 out of 5 (239 reviews) | Run by Haggis Adventures
This kind of trip won’t be for everyone, but if you like the young backpacker vibe then the trips by Haggis Adventures might well suit you. It’s a fun trip and a bonus is that it’s also much cheaper Skye tour from Edinburgh!
The tour from Edinburgh head north to Skye and you’ll spend 2 nights at a budget accommodation option in Portree – it will be a dorm bed.
On Skye you’ll visit many of the main sites including Sligachan Bridge, The Old Man of Storr and Dunvegan Castle.
On the days to and from Skye you’ll also take in some other places on the way such as Glencoe, Loch Ness, Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Forth Bridges.
FAQ about tours to the Isle of Skye from Edinburgh
How long is the drive?
Depending on the route, it can take between 5 & 7 hours to get to Skye from Edinburgh by car or bus. Often these trips will factor in some stops on the way so it may take longer but you’ll also get the advantage of seeing more sights and stretching your legs.
Is 3 days enough or should I do more?
3 day tours should give you enough time to explore some of the main sites on Skye. You’ll likely have 1 day to travel up, 1 day on the island and another day to return.
5-day tours often try and fit in more things to do in the Highlands and don’t include much more time on Skye.
Do you have to go on a ferry?
You don’t need to go on a ferry to get to Skye and most of these tours will go on the road and bridge to the Island. There is one option that arrives in the south of Skye via ferry which is included in the tour price.
Are hotels included?
These tours are all multi day trips to Skye and so accommodation is included. There is one that allows you to choose your own so you would need to add these costs on to the tour price.
Can I choose my own accommodation?
Most tours have deals with accommodation providers and you’ll need to go with what they offer. There are some tours that will give you the option of booking your own hotels though.
Is food included?
Always check with the operators however normally meals, other than breakfast after your night in a hotel, are not included.
Are attractions included?
If attractions are part of the tour then often they are included – for example many of these Skye tours include a trip on the Jacobite Steam train (Hogwarts Express) and the tickets are included.
Sometimes where you’re simply stopping at the site, like at Eilean Donan, admission isn’t included.
It’s always best to check with operators in case you’ll need to add on other attractions in to your budget.
Do tours run all year round?
Some tours to Skye from Edinburgh will run year round but mostly they will run in the high season from Spring through to early Autumn (Fall). You’ll find that these dates have the most departure times available.
Can children go on the tours?
Some tours allow children to go on but often if that’s the case you’ll need them to be 5 or over. Remember that it’s a long drive and toilet stops might not be so easy to come by!
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