The Isle of Skye has a stunning Scottish landscape characterized by coastal cliffs, craggy hills, and medieval castles, and its capital of Portree (pop. 2,300) is just as inviting as it is rugged. For generations, city-weary Glaswegians have been escaping here on weekends, drawn by idyllic scenery and relative proximity. Now it’s casting a wider net, welcoming a postpandemic influx of American visitors.
Greeting them upon arrival are quaint yet luxuriously appointed inns like the Cuillin Hills Hotel, with a pristine lawn at the edge of the loch. On the horizon is Bracken Hide, a sustainably constructed wilderness lodge consisting of 27 cabins around a Nordic sauna. Nearby, explore the landscape on countless miles of well-maintained hiking trails. Amble your way along the Old Man of Storr, a mossy pinnacle that stands some 2,300 ft. above sea level. Or complete a 4.3-mile circuit through the Quiraing, with unmistakably Tolkienesque terrain.
When you’re back in town, you’re as likely to hear and taste the local culture as you are to see and feel it. The annual Skye Live Music Festival returned in 2022, and the island recently celebrated the opening of Torabhaig, its first new whisky distillery in 190 years. Save room for the fried fish: Portree’s seaside chippers are among the best in all of Britain.
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