Portree (Gaelic: Port Rìgh) is the main village on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Inner Hebrides. With a population of 2310 in 2020, it's the obvious base for exploring the island. The name means "King's Port", probably a reference to James V. It's not a ferry port but in bygone years was a significant port for emigration, for trade when the roads were just muddy tracks, and for naval patrols against the king's foes - in 1746 Bonnie Prince Charlie snuck through town under their noses.
1 Visit Scotland iCentre (tel +44 1478 612992) is the tourist office, on Bayfield Road IV51 9EL, open Apr-Sep M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00; and Oct-Mar M-Sa 10:00-16:00.
Get in Edit
By bus: Scottish Citylink Bus 914 / 915 runs twice daily between Glasgow and Skye. The route north is from Buchanan St Station via Glasgow Airport, Dumbarton, Loch Lomond west bank, Crianlarich, Glencoe, Fort William, Invergarry and Kyle of Lochalsh, then over the Skye Bridge to Broadford, Sligachan and Portree; about 7 hours in total. Most buses continue to Uig ferry terminal.
Bus 916 / 917 runs twice daily from Inverness via Loch Ness and the Skye Bridge, then via Broadford and Sligachan to Portree; 3 hours 30 mins.
Stagecoach Highlands Bus 51 / 52 runs from the ferry pier at Armadale to Broadford and Portree 3 or 4 times daily.
Bus 56 runs 3-5 times M-Sa from Portree via Skeabost and Edinbane to Dunvegan (50 min) and Lonmore, with a couple continuing west to Colbost and Glendale.
Bus 57 circles the Trotternish peninsula. Bus 57C is clockwise, Portree > Uig > Flodigarry > Staffin > Portree and 57A is anti-clockwise the reverse route. It runs every 3 hours or so M-F plus Sa in summer.
1 The main bus stand (you'd struggle to call it a station) is in Somerled Square. No facilities beyond a draughty perspex shelter, but it's surrounded by pubs and eating places.
By car follow main road A87 across the toll-free Skye Bridge and continue northwest.
Get around Edit
Portree is a small town: almost everything is only 5 minutes walk away. You might want to take a bus to the Co-op supermarket on the edge of town.
There is also mountain bike rental; useful for exploring locally.
Car rental is available from Morrisons +44 1478 612688.
- 1 The Harbour has colourful houses and shingle beach, with attractive hills sheltering the bay from the ocean gales.
- 2 The Lump is the headland just south of town; events are often held here. The Apothecary Tower is a folly of 1830, wrecked by a storm of 1978 but rebuilt, and you can ascend the interior steps for fine views. The hills seen east across the channel are the island of Raasay - until the 20th century you could only get from one end of that island to the other by ferry to Skye and out again.
- 3 Bride's Veil Falls are a cascade on the road between Lochs Fada and Leathan. By this point the Old Man of Storr should be in view - unless the clouds are right down and you're not destined to see him today.
- 4 The Storr is the contorted landscape created 10,000 years ago when its ice straitjacket melted and there was a 20-mile long landslide along the east coast of Trotternish. This exposed the rugged peak of The Storr (719 m, 2359 ft), with the distinct 50 m pinnacle of The Old Man of Storr. The Old Man can be seen from the road, an anti-clockwise circuit gives the best views. Or hike up for a closer look: Walkhighlands suggest a 3 mile, 3 hour return hike. Signage at the car park would indicate a two hour return hike with moderate difficulty. Regardless of your ability, do not bank on two hour return hike.
- See Uig for points further north in Trotternish, such as Kilt Rock, the Quiraing, and Museum of Island Life.
- What's on? See Skye Events for ceilidhs and live music, at various venues.
- Isle of Skye Pipe Band parade on summer evenings, usually on Thursdays at 19:00 around Somerled Square.
- 1 Aros Community Theatre, Viewfield Road, IV51 9EU. They put on various shows, see website.
- Look up your ancestors: Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre has records back to the 17th century. The bulk are 19th century, when many emigrated especially in the famine years. The Centre is within the Hostel on Dunvegan Rd, open M Tu Th 10:00-13:00, 14:00-17:00.
- Boat trips from Portree harbour are run by Stardust and Spindrift. Wildlife spotting, fishing, and some trips land at Applecross or Rona.
- Skye Live is a music festival held on The Lump. It was previously in autumn but has moved to spring, with the next on 11-13 May 2023.
- Skye Highland Games are held on The Lump in early August, with the next on Wednesday 9 Aug 2023.
- Skye Agricultural Show is held on the first Saturday of August on King George V playing fields on Park Road, with the next on Sa 5 Aug 2023.
- Gulf filling station at the south edge of Portree has fuel for only a few pence more than mainland supermarket prices. It's open 24 hours.
- 1 Co-op supermarket, Woodpark Road IV51 9HQ. Daily 07:00-22:00. Large supermarket on the edge of town. Wide range of food, including excellent organic, fairtrade and ethically sourced produce.
- Co-op convenience store, Bank Street IV51 9DA. Daily 07:00-23:00. Smaller but more central than the main Co-op.
- Over the Rainbow, Quay Brae, IV51 9DB (town centre, by Co-op). M-Sa 09:00-17:00. Gift and craft shop.
- MacKenzie's Bakery, Somerled Square, IV51 9EH (By bus stand). M-Sa 08:00-17:00. Bakery selling pies and cakes made locally.
It is necessary to pre-book during the summer season. You are unlikely to find space in a restaurant without booking. There can even be long queues outside the fish & chip shops.
- Fish & chips takeaways along the Quay include Harbour Chip Shop (daily 11:00-21:00) and The Chippy (daily 08:00-20:00).
- Café Arriba, Quay Brae, IV51 9DB, ☏ . Daily 08:00-17:00. Brightly decorated harbourside cafe with Med-style snacks and meals, coffee and vegetarian choices. Dog friendly.
- Lower Deck Restaurant, 1 Douglas Row, IV51 9DD (on the harbour), ☏ . Daily 12:00-14:30 & 18:00-21:00. Specialises in simple, fresh seafood dishes.
- Dulse and Brose is within Bosville Hotel, open daily 12:00-14:00 and 18:00-20:45.
- Taste of India on Bank St is open daily 17:00-23:00
- 1 Prince of India, Bayfield Road. Luchtime and 1630-2300. Generally good Indian/Bangladeshi food. In June 2022 they are only taking cash.
- Scorrybreac, 7 Bosville Terrace IV51 9DG, ☏ . W-Su 17:00-21:30. Fine dining with fresh local produce.
- Central in Somerled Square are Caroy House bar and grill, and Cuchullin cafe / restaurant.
- Bars include Pier Hotel on Quay Street, Merchant Bar within Bosville Hotel, and The Isles Inn on Somerled Square.
- Distillery: Isle of Skye Distillers make gin and vodka in Portree. No tours.
Portree has many guest houses and a few hotels/hostels. These can all be fully booked at any time of year, particularly in the summer. It would be unwise to arrive without pre-booked accommodation. Prices can also be very high.
- 1 Portree Youth Hostel, Lisigarry Court, Portree IV51 9EW, ☏ . Small hostel now run by Hostelling Scotland near Portree's main square, with male and female dorm both of 8 beds. With modern kitchen and dining area. Dorm beds £25 ppn (£17 in winter), rooms from £58 breakfast £6.
- 2 Portree Independent Hostel, Old Post Office, The Green IV51 9BT, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. A centrally located hostel, sleeps 60. Friendly staff, spacious kitchen and common room, as well as a laundromat open to non-residents. Dorm £19 ppn.
- Tongadale Hotel is a simple place on Wentworth St, B&B double £90.
- Bosville Hotel is a small boutique hotel at 9 Bosville Terrace, B&B double £200.
- Marmalade Hotel, Home Farm Rd, Portree IV51 9LX, ☏ . Georgian mansion with contemporary decor. B&B double from £200.
- Altogether some 50 B&Bs in Portree, plus self-catering cottages.
- 3 Viewfield House, Portree IV51 9EU (south edge of village), ☏ , email@example.com. Georgian mansion, now an upscale country-house hotel open mid-April to mid-Oct with good dining. B&B double from £150.
- 4 Glenview Hotel, Culnacnoc, Portree IV51 9JH (16 miles north of Portree, 4 miles south of Staffin), ☏ . Offers comfortable accommodation just ten minutes from the Old Man of Storr. Open all year. B&B double £90.
- ÒranEas. Modern luxury self catering home in Portree, just 5 minutes walk from Portree town centre. You can view their accommodation walk-through video on their website.
As of June 2022, Portree and A87 have 4G from EE, O2 and Vodafone, and a basic mobile signal from Three. 5G has not reached Skye. Wifi connections in local accommodation are usually fast.
Go next Edit
- Portree is so central that you'll probably explore the whole island while based here, but you could relocate to Broadford or Armadale to see Sleat.
- Raasay is usually done as a day-trip via Sconser. Stay longer if you want to unwind.
- Uig is the ferry port for North Uist and Harris. No ferries in winter 2022 / 23 as the port is being re-built.
|Routes through Portree|
|Uig ←||W S||→ Broadford → Kyle of Lochalsh|