The Isle of Skye is one of the most thrilling places to go wild swimming in Scotland. Also known as the Misty Isle, the Isle of Skye experiences on average 1810.0 mm of rainfall every year so you won’t be stuck for finding a place to go for a dip. Whether you prefer to dip in the sea or a beautiful natural rock pool, the Isle of Skye really does have it all.
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Best Wild Swimming Spots on the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is an island full of adventure and if you are feeling brave enought, we would definitely recommend going for a wild swim in some of the many beautiful pools and waterfalls. We discuss these in more detail below.
- Fairy Pools
- Glenbrittle Beach
- Torrin Pools
- Loch Sheanta
- Sligachan River
- Elgol Harbour
- Staffin Beach
- Glenbrittle Falls
- Talisker Bay
- Allt Daraich Falls
- Coral Beach
- Preparing for your trip to the Isle of Skye
One of the most popular places to go wild swimming on the Isle of Skye is the Fairy Pools. These magical waterfalls and pools flow down the glen at foot of the Black Cuillins. This will be one of the busiest places you will visit on the Isle of Skye, especially if you are going during peak hours of the day.
There is a large parking area where you will need to pay to park and then follow the path down to the river. There are plenty of pools that you can swim in at the Fairy Pools and during periods of high water, you may even see some people jumping into the pools from the rocks above.
Glenbrittle Beach is a black volcanic sandy beach at the foot of the Cuillin Mountains and at the head of Loch Brittle. There is a campsite along the shore with incredible views across the loch. Plenty of free parking is available for Glenbrittle Beach.
The Torrin Pools are a quieter alternative to the Fairy Pools and can be found on the road towards Elgol from Broadford. When you reach the small town of Torrin, you will pass by a purple building on your left which is a coffee shop. Further down the road, there is a road on your left hand side, follow along here and you will see the Fairy Pools on your left. Enjoy the views from these gorgeous pools of the surrounding mountains and Loch Slapin.
Loch Sheanta is one of the most beautiful spots on the Isle of Skye. With only a short walk from the small car park, it is the perfect place to go for a wild swim on the Isle of Skye. When the sun is shining, the water in this small loch lights up crystal clear with a gorgeously green tint. The water gets deep very quickly here so it is important that you are a capable swimmer to go swimming at Loch Sheanta.
Follow the Sligachan River up from the Sligachan Bridge and you will find multiple swimming holes, perfect for a dip. The views of the Cuillin Mountains surrounding this river are just breathtaking on a clear day. If you have a moody day on the Isle of Skye, this spot is just as beautiful.
It is worth noting that after a lot of heavy rain, this river can be very fast flowing, make sure you find somewhere that is safe to enter if this is somewhere you want to go for a dip.
Elgol is one of the most underrated areas on the Isle of Skye. The drive along the winding single track roads through the mountains is some of the best scenery you will see on the island. Elgol Harbour is where many of the boat trips leave, taking you over to the smaller isles or to Loch Cruisk. The harbour is rocky but it is enjoyed by many for a bit of swimming during the warm summer months.
Staffin Beach is one of the most popular beaches to visit on the Isle of Skye due to its incredible black sand and the famous dinosaur footprints that are revealed here at low tide. Staffin Beach is also relatively easy to get to in comparison to some of the other beaches on the Isle of Skye that makes it appealing to tourists and making it a great place to go wild swimming on the Isle of Skye.
One of the best spots for wild swimming on the Isle of Skye in our opinion. Situated further down the road from the popular Fairy Pools, yet with no visitors. You can park up at the Glenbrittle Youth Hostel where you will see a large waterfall. Follow the path up towards the mountains and you will see many perfect swimming holes up the river.
Talisker Bay is a beautiful black sandy beach near the small village of Carbost on the Isle of Skye. It is well known for the towering sea stack on the left and the large powerful waterfall on the right. The best time to visit Talisker Beach for a swim is at low tide as this is when the beautiful black sand is revealed. At high tide water is incredibly clear in this bay, perfect for swimming if you can access the water over the rocks.
Allt Daraich Falls
This is one of our favourite places for wild swimming on the Isle of Skye.
There are a number of waterfalls and small cascades along Allt Dairaich, all plowing into crystal clear plunge pools surrounded by the stunning Cuillin mountain range.
There are many swimming holes that are perfect for swimming in if you can brave the icy temperatures.
Continue to follow the path and you will come across plenty of waterfalls and swim spots.
Coral Beach sits just north of Dunvegan and is a great beach for wild swimming on the Isle of Skye. Although the beach is called Coral Beach, it is actually made up of tiny pieces of Red Coralline seaweed, known as Maërl. The sun-bleached colour of this coral-like seaweed gives the water that tropical colour in the sun, tempting everyone in for a swim.
There is a small amount of parking for this beach and the walk there is around a 3.5km walk round trip.
Before You Leave on Your Trip to the Isle of Skye
Before you leave on your trip to the Isle of Skye there are a few things you will need to get organised to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. These include how to get there and around the island, what to pack and where to stay, all of which are discussed below.
How to Get to the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is connected to mainland Scotland by the Skye Bridge, a free road bridge, from Kyle of Lochalsh to the village of Kyleakin on the island. In high winds, the bridge will close to high vehicles and on days of particularly extreme weather, the bridge may close to all vehicles.
Another option is to get the ferry over to Skye which typically takes around 30 minutes, leaving from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale. You can check the timetables online as there is typically only a morning and afternoon ferry running.
If you are travelling to Skye without a vehicle, buses run from Scotland’s major cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh direct to Isle of Skye’s capital, Portree. Buses to the Isle of Skye run from other areas in Scotland and you can plan your bus journey to Skye here.
Once you are on the island, you can book onto a tour that departs from Portree and takes you around the best sights that there are to see on the island. Read more about this tour and book your place right here.
Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye
These recommendations may vary depending on what activities you are wanting to do whilst on the island. We have based these accommodations close to the centre of the island and near Portree. In the summer Portree is extremely busy and we would recommend that you look to stay elsewhere if you want to avoid the crowds and traffic.
In the winter months, however, Portree is a pleasant and central location from which it is easy to get to many of the sights around the island.
Luxury – If you are looking for a comfortable apartment stay to come home to after a day exploring, Quayside Apartment is the perfect place for you. With spectacular views and a good central location, this accommodation is comfort plus for your next trip to Skye.
Mid-range – The Portree Hotel is a great central location for your stay in Skye. This hotel overlooks the main square in Portree and during the winter months, there are wood-burning stoves to keep you warm after a day of exploring.
Budget – If you are looking for a budget place to rest your head but still have a great view, The Pink House is the place to stay just for that. A continental breakfast is included in your stay and you can book a room with a great view out to sea.
If hostels are more your scene, you can check out the hostels available in Isle of Skye here.
Also Read – All the Best Free Things to do in Glasgow
What to Pack for the Isle of Skye
When it comes to packing for a trip to Scotland there is one item of clothing that you are going to need all year round: a waterproof. It rains in Scotland on average 250 days a year, meaning that during your trip to the Isle of Skye in winter, you can expect rain at some point. Due to this, the number one item on your packing list is a good waterproof jacket.
Second to that, another item to not leave home without is a good pair of warm and, if possible, waterproof boots. A lot of the best sights on Skye require a bit of walking to reach them and the conditions underfoot can become very muddy. You do not want to ruin a good pair of white trainers so pack some sturdy boots.
You will definitely need a hat and gloves during the winter months as the wind chill can be bitter.
Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see around the Isle of Skye, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.
Main Photography Camera – Sony A7 Mirrorless Camera
Main Lense – Sony F3.5-5.6 28mm-70mm
Camera Stand – Neewer Portable 177cm
Vlogging Camera – Sony HX90v
Action Camera – GoPro Hero 8
Drone Camera – DJI Spark
Camera Bag – Yahan Camera Bag
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Scotland
I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.
To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using World Nomads, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support.
So there you have it, your guide to where to stay on the Isle of Skye, glamping edition. If you are visiting this incredible place and have any other questions on what to expect, leave us a comment down below. We love to chat about this stuff! If you have already been, let us know how it was! Did you get a clear day to see the sights? Did you manage the trip without getting caught in the rain? Let us know in the comments below!
Also, remember to share this with your friends and family that you are going to share this amazing experience with. Sharing is caring and we want to ensure that everyone is fully prepared to maximise their experience completing this stunning walk.
If you are planning a Scotland trip soon then check out our other Scotland content right here. Come and find us on social media to see where we are currently exploring. Tag us in your photos from your stay and we will share them with the rest of our community of explorers and backpackers.
- Visiting the Isle of Skye in Winter – All You Need to Know
- Isle of Skye – The Best Things to Do in Skye
- Isle of Skye Itinerary – One Day on the Isle of Skye
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