Foodie Guide: Isle of Skye Edition
Up until this point, I’ve been sharing our recommendations for fantastic food and fun in cities across the UK and Scotland. But today, I thought I’d venture into what was hands down the most beautiful place we visited on our tour of the United Kingdom.
Scotland’s Isle of Skye
Lush, green countryside, impossibly beautiful cliffs that give way to violent, churning seas, and a rainbow around every corner. This Scottish island seems like it’s lost in another era, a step back into a quieter time where people still lived off the land and cars were considered a noisy, modern inconvenience.
First, you’ll need a vehicle and a sense of adventure. There’s no other way to see Isle of Skye and if you’ve never driven on Scottish roads you’ll also need steady nerves and the patience of a saint. Many of these well-traveled tourist thoroughfares were never widened beyond the width of a horse carriage, so you’ll spend your days ducking in and out of oncoming traffic and battling these terrifyingly narrow roads. It’s worth it. I promise.
Let me take you on a tour of all the must-dos,must-eats, and must-drinks across this island.
DO IN ISLE OF SKYE
There are lots of these beautiful little spots tucked all across the island but my favorite and the least crowded, was Fairy Glen. It’s a bit of a muddy hike to the top so wear sturdy boots and be prepared for rain. It’s always raining a bit in this part of Scotland anyway. But once you summit, you’ll enjoy fantastic views of the valley below and a charming rock circle left behind to honor those mischievous little pixies whose antics have captured children’s imaginations for generations.
Another castle?! I know. I know. But this one is worth wandering. In fact, I happily spent the better part of an afternoon in the castle and the immaculate, extensive grounds. Dunvegan Castle is one of the better maintained properties you’ll visit in Scotland and they’ve done a fantastic job of preserving the history of the island as well as that of the castle estate. Definitely worth the price of admission.
EAT IN ISLE OF SKYE
BOG MYRTLE SKYE
Part bookstore, part cafe, Bog Myrtle Skye is hands down the best breakfast on the island and you’ll be sorry if you miss it. At the height of tourist season. it’s pretty tough to get a table but wait it out. Since there are piles of books nearby, it won’t be a hardship. It’s a bit like having a cup of tea in someone’s home library, surrounded by used novels and maps and comfortable armchairs. But when they bring out the food, you’ll realize something special is happening at Bog Myrtle and you’ll feel lucky just to be a part of the island’s foodie revolution.
DULSE & BROSE
Portree is Isle of Skye’s largest town and while it’s no city, you’ll find this charming island hamlet has plenty of modern, trendy cuisine to offer. Snuggled against the bay, incredible restaurants roll out the red carpet to foodies from across Scotland. Dulse & Brose is a perfect blend of fantastic foodie fare with local ingredients and an environment that doesn’t look down their nose if you happen to wander in with kids in tow. If you’re lucky, you might catch a rainbow outside for dessert.
DRINK IN ISLE OF SKYE
COFFEE AT CAORA DHUBH COFFEE COMPANY
Across the street from the Talisker Whiskey Distillery is a little coffee shop that’s always packed. And for good reason. Caora Dhubh serves up locally sourced coffee beans and some terrific bakes, including these millionaire bars that are worth their weight in gold. Grab a bite and go wandering by the water after your distillery tour to soak in the quiet harbor and a little Scottish seaside charm.
STAY IN ISLE OF SKYE
Stay in a castle in Scotland? You betcha. You’re not actually IN Armadale Castle but in family style cottages on the grounds, decked out with full amenities and an incredible view of the bay. The accommodations are startlingly inexpensive and worth every penny. Be warned that it is a bit off the beaten path on the far west side of the island but if you enjoy peace and quiet, this is the definitely the spot for you. And one of the few places where the roads are still luxuriously wide.
TALK OF THE TOWN
ST. MOCHA & LOCH LOMOND
While this isn’t technically on the Isle of Skye, it’d be a shame to miss Loch Lomond. If you’re heading to Glasgow, it’s just a slight detour and worth the stop. Don’t miss St. Mocha Ice Cream and Coffee Company where I recommend just about any flavor they offer. There is also a little village with whitewashed cottages festooned with flower gardens at Loch Lomond. There are several boutiques here where you can stock up on gifts, including homemade liqueurs. Yeah- that gooseberry gin is gonna come in handy later.
If I had to pick just one place to visit in the United Kingdom, Isle of Skye would be it. But pack a jacket, kids because even in August, it can get so cold you’ll see your breath in the foggy air coming across the loch.
We’re done with touring Scotland but I’ve got more goodies in store for you on the Emerald Isle so come back soon.