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Highlands Transportation/itinerary recommendation

We are traveling by train from Edinburgh to Inverness in mid-September (assuming not cancelled). Thinking of day trip to Skye, trying to decide between:
A) car rental/ self-drive
B) train to Kyle of Lochalsh, and using skye tours
C) bus from Inverness to Portree then skye tours

What would you recommend of the three? No real option to spend more than a day there.
Thanks for your input,

Posted by
7618 posts

I would do either b or c. It will be a loooong day, so it will be nice to let someone else do the driving all day. Plus having a guide will eliminate lost time and make better use of your time.

Posted by
21088 posts

A tour would be more efficient, but I would caution you that the weather in that part of Scotland is unpredictable. It rains a lot. You could end up paying for a tour on a day of really heavy rain--a day when you might prefer to head east from Inverness--where it tends to be drier--rather than west. There's a lot of demand for tours on Skye, so it's not like you can wait until the day before you want to go to Skye (when you might have at least a vague idea of what the weather's going to do) to book the tour. Some careful searching on the Internet might turn up a tour with a 24-hour cancellation clause. I found one such in 2019.

Posted by
6488 posts

If you don't want to drive yourself this is one time a guided day tour from Inverness might make sense. There are all-day tours that might work but depends on what you want to do on Skye. This one is a long day but it does give you the opportunity to visit a couple of castles on the way instead of just taking the train or bus from Inverness. I know tours like this never give you as much time at a destination as you would like but it's something to consider as an option. If you will have already visited Eilean Donan and/or Urquhart castles then this probably wouldn't appeal. Just a suggestion.

Posted by
1325 posts

"There's a lot of demand for tours on Skye."

Any time in the near future (within at least a year) I doubt this will be true. Tourists will be few and far between.

Posted by
5625 posts

Upon reading this the first time, it seemed that you might have specific reservations for a specific train departure* at a specific date and time. Maybe that’s not negotiable ... if not cancelled. And then, already in Inverness, it seems you’re talking about a long day trip to visit Skye, returning for the night to Inverness.

But if there’s any possible flexibility in your schedule, how about heading from Edinburgh to Skye, maybe even spending the night, then busing to Inverness from there? Then take a train back to Edinburgh on the other end, if you’re heading back there. Maybe though, your plans won’t allow doing things in reverse. Either way, I hope your trip can happen!

Posted by
44 posts

I really appreciate the feedback- I had looked at the Rabbies tour from Edinburgh, but having done a 12-hour bus tour in New Zealand, not keen to repeat! While we will probably rent a car for at least part of our stay in Inverness, I am leaning toward train to Kyle then mini-bus tour; it is difficult to enjoy scenery while driving- at least for me.

Posted by
1813 posts


There's a big difference between being able to wake up on Skye, spend a full day, stay overnight and leave the next morning and traveling to Skye in the morning and back to Inverness that night. The latter seems hardly worth it.

Skye is pretty big. I think whether you travel to Kyle of Lochalsh or Portree depends on whether you want to see the Trotternish or the Cuillin Hills. If you only have one day and feel you must go, I recommend the Portree option.