The Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides, offers an intriguing and curious contrast of landscapes and cultures. Between the green rolling hills and the jagged mountain ranges, the Quiraing ridge dominates the north of the island, attracting wildlife watchers and hikers keen to test their abilities. The island’s rich with history, too—its Celtic, Norse and Scottish influences can be picked up in casual conversations (and more formally at the Aros cultural center), while Scottish Gaelic is enjoying something of a revival. Skye’s also home to 170-million-year-old dinosaur footprints, the 800-year-old Dunvegan Castle and the Talisker distillery which dates back to 1830.
Portree is the center of commerce and cultural life on the island, with a number of boutiques, cafés and pubs that belies the town’s size. The eye-catching harbor welcomes cruise ships and fishing boats bringing in the day’s fresh catch (which you can easily find at the many restaurants). If you choose to remain near the harbor, spend at least an hour wandering the narrow streets nearby.