This spectacular region of Scotland boasts dramatic mountains, mysterious lochs, and breathtaking valleys. All of which has made camping in Skye one of the most popular outdoor vacations in the UK. Especially in recent years, as the North Coast 500 has gained incredibly popularity.
Having spent years going back and forth to what is arguably Scotland’s most beautiful region, we’re now here to help you plan your Skye camping holiday.
Here, we will show you what each region of Skye has to offer so you can plan where you want to camp or park your motorhome.
Then, we will share some of our favourite campsites in Skye, followed by wild camping information (it’s legal to wild camp in Skye!) and a few of our favourite Skye wild camping spots.
So grab your tent and your walking boots – it’s time to start your Isle of Skye camping adventure!
Which region of Skye should you camp in?
Although Skye isn’t that big, it’s nice to have an idea of what is in each region so you can decide where you want to be based for your Skye vacation.
To make things easy, we’ve split Skye up into four areas: North, South, East and West. Below we show you what each area has to offer.
Northern Skye, which we will class as north of the island’s capital of Portree, is ringed by a spectacular coastal road. That road will take you past an iconic rock face called the Storr, which is a moderate hike with spectacular views. A little further north is the Quiraing, another picturesque peak with views well worth the two-hour hike.
The villages in the north like Staffin and Uig are small, but are pretty and have many amenities. There’s also some great natural attractions like the magical Fairy Glen, and the cliff top coastal ruins of Duntulm Castle.
So if you’re looking to be based in a rural region with easy to moderately challenging walks, access to some of Skye’s most famous attractions, and lovely coastal views and quaint villages, then staying in the north may be a good choice for you. (Related: Scotland’s hidden hiking paths).
The south of Skye, which we will designate as from Portree straight south to the Cuillin Mountains, is a region with a diverse landscape.
Skye’s pretty capital of Portree has an array of pubs, restaurants, and shops, and is the place to find live music and enjoy local cuisine.
Further south and you’ll reach Sligachan, a small village which is home to a picturesque old bridge, as well as the Sligachan Waterfalls. It’s also close to the Fairy Pools – a pretty set of blue and green waterfalls with natural swimming pools.
If you’re a keen walker, hiker or climber, then camping in the south could be for you as this region is home to the Cuillin Mountain ranges.
Made up of two ranges – the Black Cuillin and the Red Cuillin – these mountains are dramatic and have some of the best views throughout the UK. Some of the peaks are challenging to summit, and the Black Cuillin actually has 11 Munros – a Munro is a Scottish mountain that is over 3000ft. If you’re planning a walking and camping holiday in Skye then a good walking in Skye book – like this one – could be handy.
East Skye, which we will class from Kyleakin across to Broadford and down to the Aird of Sleat, is flatter than other parts of Skye, and is made up of many pretty fishing villages.
Skye’s second largest settlement, Broadford, has hotels, pubs and restaurants, and is a great base if you want to explore the Red Cuillin – the smaller of the two Cuillin mountain ranges.
The A851 road from Broadford will take you down the Sleat Peninsula – known locally as the ‘Garden of Skye’. This wild rural area of moorland gives way to more green landscape near the coast. Here there’s pretty views across to mainland Scotland, and you can also catch the ferry to the mainland from Armadale.
West Skye is wild, rural, and mostly uninhabited, making it a paradise for anyone who wants to get back to basics and away from 21st century life. That said, the biggest settlement – Dunvegan – does have some great little cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
The Duirinish peninsula, which sits between the beautiful Loch Dunvegan and Loch Bracadale, has some of Scotland’s most unspoiled and dramatic stretches of coastline, and is home to Macleod’s Maiden – a set of three sea stacks. You can also find a black sand beach at Orbost.
The stunning Dunvegan Castle & Gardens is well worth visiting in the west, as is the Duirinish Stone. If you’re looking to go even more remote then head to Neist Point Lighthouse for cliff-top views across the ocean and the island of Uist. This region isn’t explored often, but for those adventurous enough, the rewards are well worth it.
Some of the best campsites in Skye
Below are a few of our favourite campsites in Skye which we’ve separated by region. Then we discuss wild camping in Skye, before we tell you some of our favourite wild camping spots on the island!
This little-known campsite on the north coast of Skye is peaceful, remote, and simple with very basic facilities. However it’s cheap, the owners are friendly, and the coastal views and the sunsets and sunrises here are spectacular.
It’s also close to the pretty fishing village of Uig, as well as the iconic Storr – a 674m peak that dominates the eastern coast of Skye.
This small campsite has modern clean toilets and showers, sits beside the north-eastern coast, and is surrounded by rolling hills. The pitches for tents and motorhomes are big, and the nearby village of Staffin has some amenities too.
It’s not so far from Portree either, so you can easily take the scenic coastal road south to the island’s capital for an array of food options and independent shops.
The main plus point to this campsite is its location. Sligachan is a great place to be based if you’re wanting to visit Portree, explore the spectacular Cuillins, and see the Fairy Pools or Old Bridge of Sligachan.
The site itself is clean and has wonderful views of the nearby river and mountains. The pitches are spacious too, and there’s a small on-site shop and a pub just across the road as well.
Glenbrittle Campsite & Cafe
Set on the banks of Loch Brittle, and with a backdrop of the Black Cuillin ridge, this campsite is arguably the most beautiful on Skye.
This campsite is also probably the best on the island if you’re wanting a holiday focused on outdoor activities. It’s right on the doorstep of Skye’s best hiking routes, it’s beside a beach and seaside loch for kayaking and paddle boarding, and there’s many places nearby for wild swimming including the beautiful Fairy Pools.
The campsite is rural, and there’s next to no phone signal, so plan your supplies in advance. The reward is worth it though as you can spot red deer and sea eagles from your pitch. The campsite staff make great coffee and food on-site too.
Ashaig Campsite Skye
This no frills campsite is relaxed, unpretentious, friendly, and the facilities are spotless. There’s the possibility to make your own campfire here – just ask first – and lots of dog walks nearby too. Plus you can see the beautiful Isle of Raasay from some of the pitches.
As the site is only a few miles from Broadford and the Kyle of Lochalsh, you’re never too far away from shops, pubs, and cafes.
For something a little different, one of our favourite glamping sites in Skye is Skye Yurts. Located on the Sleat Peninsula, the yurts with their cozy decor, comfy beds and wood-burning stoves feel like a bubble of luxury amongst the rural landscape.
They’re set against trees and look out towards the Sound of Sleat – a sea channel flanked by a dramatic and extraordinarily pretty coastline.
This campsite is perfectly located for exploring western Skye, and is just a 20 minute walk from Dunvegan Castle, and around 20 minutes drive from one of Scotland’s prettiest beaches – the isolated Coral Beach with its Mediterranean-esque turquoise water and white sand.
The facilities at this campsite are modern and clean too, the staff friendly and the pitches spacious. As it’s situated close to Dunvegan there’s some decent options for eating out nearby.
Skye Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Situated around halfway between Portree and Dunvegan, this site offers the best of both worlds as it has easy access to Skye’s stunning rural west, but is also close to the capital and therefore the main routes north and south.
As to be expected from a Camping and Caravanning Club Site, the facilities are spotless and modern. Other plus points are the various walks nearby, and the ability to kayak and paddleboard on the loch that the site is situated beside.
Wild camping in Skye
Thankfully wild camping is permitted and legal in Skye thanks to Scotland’s Right to Roam Act. However authorities ask campers to “tread lightly” and to respect a few guidelines:
- You should camp away from enclosed fields, and pitch your tent away from buildings, roads, and historic structures.
- Campers should be vigilant to avoid disturbing wildlife such as deer, capercaillie, and grouse.
- When wild camping in Skye, do not light fires as wild fires are a danger. It is recommended to use a stove or storm cooker. The Swedish brand Trangia make great camping storm cookers that are safe and virtually indestructible.
- Take any rubbish with you, and leave your camping spot exactly the way you found it.
The Right to Roam Act also gives access to most of Scotland’s land and inland water, as long as it does not encroach on someone’s privacy and private land.
Here is a list of what the Right to Roam Act doesn’t give you access to, and therefore what you should avoid:
Where you must avoid:
- Walking in and going through buildings. An exception would be bothies – small mountain and rural huts that can be used by walkers and hikers – see a list of bothies and where they are by clicking here.
- Land clearly attached to a building (private garden, backyard).
- Sports fields.
- Schools and school land.
- Building sites.
- Working quarries (disused quarries are fine, but be extremely cautious and stick to known and safe paths).
Now you know you’re allowed to legally wild camp in Skye, and where to avoid, here’s some of our favourite wild camping spots!
Some of the best wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye
Of course one of the best parts about wild camping is finding your own special spot to pitch your tent for the night.
However, if you’re looking for inspiration, then below are a few of our favourite wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye. Just make sure your tent is midge proof as these little biting flies can be a real menace.
This stunning white sand beach is white not because of coral, but due to the calcified remains of seaweed! It’s one of the prettiest beaches in Scotland, and because of its remote nature it’s a great place for star spotting at night too. You can park your car at the Coral Beach car park and trek down towards the beach.
This rural sea loch in the south of Skye is surrounded by lush green grass and wildflowers, and has many secluded spots and relatively flat places near the shoreline. The loch is quiet and a great place for wild swimming and kayaking.
This easily accessible loch lies close to the road from Portree to Staffin. We love this place as on one side of the loch is the dramatic Storr, and from the other you can see across the sea to the islands of Raasay and Rona. Camp on the eastern shore so you’re away from the main road, but can still enjoy the gorgeous views on each side.
If you want to go very remote, then get the daily ferry that runs from Sconser to the Isle of Raasay – the large island that sits off the eastern coast of Skye. Raasay has a population of less than 200 and is full of vast areas of uninhabited land, perfect for wild camping.
Camping in Skye: Weather and best months to visit
The temperature on the Isle of Skye tends to be pleasant from June through to the start of September. However even summer can be a bit chilly at night, and it is advisable for hikers, bikers, and campers to be prepared for all weather and eventualities.
June and July are prime times for nature lovers as wildflowers are in bloom and birds such as eagles and Scottish crossbills can be spotted.
Many campsites are open in spring and autumn too, but expect temperatures to range from around 5-15 Celsius. Rain is common in these seasons as well.
Winter can be cold, and temperatures can dip below freezing. That means snow is often forecast in the winter months so wrap up warm if you’re traveling to the region.
Recommended for your camping in Skye adventure
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