More than anything else, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides offers 639 square miles of pristine nature: rugged mountains, green valleys, caves, glens, crystal clear waterfalls and out-of-the-way beaches. Otters and seals feed on the salmon and trout that populate the island's unpolluted waters. The over 200 species of birds native to the area include endangered species like the golden eagle and the northern gannet. Skye is also known as the source of one of Scotland's finest malt whiskies. The island has not always been a peaceful place. Under Bonnie Prince Charles, a descent of Maria Stuart, it was the focal point of a power struggle between the Scots and the English. A bridge connecting Skye to the mainland was constructed in 1995. Those who desire even greater remoteness can take a ferry from Uig to the Outer Hebrides, where they will find nothing but sheep, cliffs and wind.
Romantic ruins and exotic garden
The former manor house of the MacDonald Clan lies between Ardvasar and Kilmore on the Sleat promontory in the extreme south of the Isle of Skye. Originally, the clan chiefs had lived there in simple farmhouses. It was only after they had come to money that they had a representative castle built in 1790. After a few decades it was added to at a huge expense, only to burn down shortly after. To this day, the romantic property is largely dilapidated. Worth seeing are the restored 17th century garden with exotic plants and the Museum of the Isles.
An alpinist's paradise
This basalt massif on the Isle of Skye is a paradise for Alpinists. The mountain range is home to twelve Munros, as Scottish mountains higher than 3,000 feet are called. The highest is the Sgurr Alasdair at 992 meters. The Glen Sligachan mountain hotel is the starting point for hiking trails with every level of difficulty. Most of the trails are unmarked as they cross screes, rocks and gullies worn into the mountainside. The views here are overwhelming on clear days. You can see as far as the mainland to the east and all the way to the Outer Hebrides as well.
Castle above a seal colony
The castle above Loch Dunvegan has been inhabited for over 800 years, longer than any other castle in Scotland. The landlord is the clan chief of the MacLeods. In Victorian times a park was created where many plants thrive thanks to the mild Gulf Stream. Below the castle there is a small mooring for motorboats. From here, tours are offered to the seal colonies in the bay off Dunvegan.
Legendary rock needle made of black basalt
The almost 50 meter high rock needle made of black basalt is visible from afar and a landmark of the Trotternish peninsula. All around there are smaller upright rocks, which in old stories are called his family. His wife, the second largest rock needle, unfortunately collapsed years ago. Legend has it that they were looking for a runaway cow in the area. Then they met giants and fled. When they looked back, they were turned into stone.
Open-air museum on work, poverty and emigration
The open-air museum on the Trotternish peninsula tells of the hard life of former islanders. Topics are work, religion, poverty and emigration. The seven traditional cottages house apartments and workshops. At the cemetery of Kilmuir lies the grave of Flora MacDonald. The Scottish national heroine helped Prince Charles Edward Stuart to escape after his lost battle against England.
Only whisky distillery on Skye
The only whisky distillery on Skye is the Talisker distillery, founded in 1830. It is known for its double distilled single malt whisky, which is considered to be one of the best. Guided tours and whisky tastings are on offer.