Wild Camping on the Isle of Skye 

Naming just one region of Scotland a “campers’ paradise” is challenging. However, I don’t think many of you will mind if I give the Isle of Skye this title. There’s a reason Skye has been in many movies – its craggy coastline and jagged mountains look otherworldly. 

Surprisingly, those interested in wild camping on the Isle of Skye won’t find much info online. As a result, I decided to create a list of the best wild camping spots on this beautiful island and provide all the essential information necessary for a safe and memorable camping experience.

Map of Wild Camping Locations on the Isle of Skye

You can easily find the locations of the best wild campsites on the island using this map. Red icons mark wild camping areas, green icons mark motorhome campsites, and blue icons mark designated campsites.

Wild Camping Spots on Skye

Coral Beach 

Coral Beach, Isle of Skye
  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 45 minutes 
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 20 minutes 

The availability of wild camping on Coral Beach can be unpredictable. The area from the car park to the beach is open grazing land, and at various times there is a herd of cows and one bull enjoying the grass. There is no fence between the grassland and the beach, and because of this, the cows also wander onto the beach. It is not safe for you or the animals to pitch a tent while they are roaming free.

If you definitely want to camp here and the livestock is around, then you can walk to the northern end of the beach, where there are some rocks and flat land that is suitable for camping just above. It takes around 45 minutes to walk from the car park to the beach.

The alternative is to check the tide times and walk over to Lampay and camp there. Bear in mind you will be trapped during high tide.

Coral Beach in the northwest of the Isle of Skye is unlike any other beach in Scotland, made from crushed white coral such as seaweed. The white coral gives the water a breathtaking tropical blue look whenever the sun comes out. It’s an ethereal place and an ideal destination for a family picnic and perhaps some swimming. 

It takes about 45 minutes by car to get here from Portree, the island’s capital. The beach is next to Claigan, a small crofting community about 4 miles north of the picturesque village of Dunvegan.  

If you’re planning to stay here with a pet, you must always keep it leashed and under close control at all times if livestock is grazing.

The road connecting the beach with Claigan is very bumpy, but there’s a large car park (free parking) at its end. When the weather’s nice, the car park can become quite busy, so make sure to arrive there early in the day.

The Quiraing 

The Quiraing
  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 35 minutes 
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 2 minutes

One of Scotland’s most distinctive landscapes and, the Quiraing is located some 25 miles north of Portree on the Trotternish Peninsula. It’s famous for its pinnacles of rock, hidden plateaus, and high cliffs. This is the kind of place that leaves visitors breathless as it looks like something straight from a magical realm. 

You can leave your car at the vehicle park next to the single-track road, 2.5 miles from Staffin or 5.5 miles from Uig. The parking lot features flat and dry ground. It is, however, relatively small and fills up very quickly during the summer months. 

If you go in the southerly direction, i.e. away from the main path of the popular Quiraing Walk, you will find several flat and grassy Scottish wild camping spots. However, many campers decide not to stay here due to the high winds. I recommend walking the Quiraing Walk for about 20 to 30 minutes until you find a not-so-windy place to pitch your tent. 

Avoid camping in this area in low visibility conditions (mist). Not only is it dangerous, but you won’t be able to take stunning photos of this gorgeous landscape. 

Loch Slapin (Near Torrin) 

Loch Slapin
Photo by wfmillar via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 1 hour
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 1 minute 

A little-known sea loch on the Isle of Skye, Loch Slapin is situated in the island’s southwestern part and is roughly 3.7 miles long. The main settlement here is the small village of Torrin, on the road from Elgol to Broadford. 

While searching for a nice camping spot, you’ll notice several places where you can park your vehicle next to the road. Once you do that, finding a grassy, dry, and flat area to pitch your tent shouldn’t take more than a minute. You won’t find any facilities nearby, but those aren’t what an actual wild camper needs. 

What makes camping here so great are the spectacular views. Loch Slapin is ideally located: several peaks of the nearby Cuillin Mountains fall directly into the loch, creating unforgettable scenery. Wild camping here is also very convenient – you’ll never be far from the B8083 road that can take you to other parts of the Isle of Skye.

Be aware that many other campers will also be searching for a good spot along the loch. I recommend getting to the area as early in the day as possible if you want to secure a truly great place for your tent. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water with your wild camping gear and essentials

Camasunary Bay 

Camasunary Bay
  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 1 hour 10 minutes 
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 1 hour 30 minutes

Are you looking for a more remote wild camping location on the Isle of Skye? If so, Camasunary Bay is one of your best options (and one of my favourite wild camping spots on the Isle). It is located in the south of the island, with the nearest village being Elgol. 

There, you will have two options: to pitch a tent in the bay (which has plenty of space) or to stay in the bothy (a free-to-use shelter made of rocks). The bothy is warm and cosy, with a sleeping room featuring wooden bunks made of planks and a dining room with tables. It also provides lovely views of the bay. 

You’ll be able to leave your vehicle at an off-road layby between Elgol and Broadford. To be more precise, this layby is located 3.2 miles from Elgol and 11.3 miles from Broadford. It takes about an hour and a half to reach the bothy from the off-road layby. 

While staying at Camasunary Bay, explore the rocky beaches and scenic inlets to the left of the bothy. I camped in the area in 2019 and absolutely loved its remoteness and beautiful sunsets. I chose to stay in the bothy, as doing so wasn’t that different from sleeping in a tent – it features no heating, electricity, toilets, or running water. 

Check out our ultimate guide to beach wild camping in Scotland for more awesome beaches.

Neist Point 

Neist Point
  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 1 hour
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 5 – 10 minutes 

Neist Point is one of the most popular wild camping spots on the island. This is the most westerly tip of the Isle of Skye, famous for its spectacular cliff scenery and the iconic Neist Point Lighthouse. The closest settlement is the community-owned estate called Glendale, which encompasses several small crofting townships. 

The best thing about this place is that visitors can wild camp high above the lighthouse. There is a large hill right before the lighthouse – Nest Cliff Viewpoint – where you can pitch your tent. Park your vehicle at the car park, walk across the moorland, and look for a dry and flat spot. 

While staying here, take some time to explore the area – Marvel at the sight of a century-old lighthouse and fish pollocks from the nearby rocks. In the evening, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful sunsets from the Viewpoint. 

The car park mentioned above is located at the end of the road leading from Dunvegan. It’s pretty small and fills up quickly, so if you find it packed, look for empty spots further down the road. It takes about an hour of driving to get here from Portree. 

Ben Tianavaig 

Ben Tianavaig
Photo by John Allan via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 10 minutes 
  • Walking Distance from Vehicle: 1 hour (for the summit) 

If you’d rather wild camp somewhere closer to Portree, Ben Tianavaig is an excellent option. A 1355ft high mountain, Ben Tianavaig dominates the skyline of the island’s capital. It takes only ten minutes to get to this majestic place from Portree. 

An important thing to mention here is that you’re better off camping at some other location in case of low visibility. Not only will you expose yourself to unnecessary danger, but you won’t be able to enjoy the beautiful bay views that this mountain provides.

Moreover, the route that leads up to the summit can get wet and muddy. It also takes campers near cliff edges. A particular disaster recipe would be walking up Ben Tianavaig during the night. Choose a dry, clear day with light winds if you plan to camp at this top-notch destination. 

Besides easy access from Portree and incredible views of the harbour, Ben Tianavaig also provides campers with a breathtaking panorama comprising the Island of Rona and the Sound of Raasay. It’s one of my favourite wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye for a good reason – you won’t forget your time on this mountain soon. 

Motorhome Wild Camping on Skye 

Motorhome, Isle of Skye

Shulista, A855 

  • Map 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 45 minutes 

One of the best motorhome wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye can be found on the Trotternish Peninsula, some 25 miles north of Portree. 

Shulista is a very small off-road layby – it cannot accommodate more than three motorhomes at once. However, it provides superb 360° views of the surrounding nature. Make sure to come here fully prepared, as there are no shops or gas stations nearby. 

Kilmuir, B884 

Photo by John Allan via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 35 minutes 

Located just minutes from Loch Dunvegan and the marvellous Dunvegan Castle, this small, quiet off-road layby can accommodate three vehicles at once. 

Here, you can expect amazing views, a relatively good phone signal, and quick access to provisions – the picturesque village of Kilmuir is just to the east. 

Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle 

Glen Brittle 
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 40 minutes 

Do not confuse this simple layby with the popular Fairy Pools Car Park – here, you can stay free of charge. The parking space is located at the entrance to a forest road. It can accommodate up to 8 motorhomes at once. 

As its name suggests, this layby is close to Fairy Pools (cascading green waterfalls) and Glen Brittle (a scenic valley). However, due to its proximity to the river, it is notorious for midges – don’t forget to bring a head net and insect repellant. 

Lealt Falls Car Park

Lealt Falls
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 20 minutes 

A popular stop on road trips around Trotternish Peninsula, Lealt Waterfall is among the most beautiful waterfalls in entire Scotland. 

The car park is close by and accommodates five motorhomes. It is quiet, open year-round, and features several wooden tables. It’s a great place to stay for all those who don’t want to park too far from the main road. 

Old Man of Storr, A855

Old Man of Storr
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 10 minutes 

Located along A855 but still set back, this layby combines a view of Loch Leathan, Bride’s Veil Falls, and “The Old Man of Storr” – one of the most famous rocky hills on the Isle of Skye. 

The layby has a rubbish bin and enough space for 2-3 motorhomes. It is less than five minutes away from the water and toilet facilities. 

Sleat Peninsula, A851

Sleat Peninsula
Photo by Roy Lathwell via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Map
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 50 minutes 

The last motorhome wild camping location on my list is located on Sleat Peninsula, along A851. As a long-unused road, it is one of the best wild camping spots in the area – you won’t have to worry about blocking anyone’s access. 

The only thing to remember here is that this abandoned road has no exit. So, if you drive all the way down it, you’ll also have to reverse all the way back. 

Official Campsites on Skye 

Skye, UK

Skye Caravanning Club Site 

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  • Price: From £8.35 per night 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 20 minutes 

Anyone interested in Skye camping will sooner or later find out about the Skye Caravanning Club Site. Renowned for the friendliness of its staff and the cleanliness of its facilities, it’s one of the best campsites in Scotland. 

Another excellent thing about this campground is its location. It is relatively close to the capital and the island’s main routes while providing easy access to Skye’s rural west. 

Kinloch Campsite 

Dunvegan Castle, Skye
  • Map
  • Price: From £15 per night 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 30 minutes 

Regarding popular campsites on the Isle of Skye, nothing beats Kinloch Campsite. It takes only half an hour of walking to get to the majestic Dunvegan Castle from here. You will also be within walking distance of pubs, restaurants, and shops in Kilmuir. 

The facilities are excellent, with a great laundry room, free Wi-Fi, and hot showers. There are also hard-standing pitches for motorhomes, each equipped with an electric hook. 

Glenbrittle Campsite 

  • Map
  • Price: From £11 per night 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 50 minutes  

Another excellent official campsite for a Skye camping trip can be found on the island’s western coast. Its name is Glenbrittle Campsite – a fantastic destination for those who’d like to see the sea eagles or just get off the grid (no cellular reception here!). 

There are 30 spaciously-situated hookup pitches and a reception/cafe/shop area. The campground staff makes delicious on-site food and coffee. 

Skye Yurts 

  • Map 
  • Price: From £80 per night 
  • Driving Distance from Portree: 50 minutes 

Are you looking for something a bit different? Located in the south of the Isle of Skye, the Skye Yurts provide visitors with a unique glamping experience. Each of this campsite’s yurts is equipped with a wood-burning stove, comfortable bed, and cosy decor. 

Compared to other campsites, this one has a much higher nightly fee. The cosiness is worth it, though. 

Check out our guide to wild camping in Mallaig as well.

Wild Camping Skye General Advice 

Nature on the Isle of Skye

Beware of Boggy Ground 

Almost every spot in Skye’s wilderness looks like a great place for tent pitching. But then you step there, and your hiking boots squish out water. Stay away from the boggy ground if you don’t want to wake up and find your tent swimming in the water. 

Answer the “Call of Nature” Far from Water 

When wild camping on the Isle of Skye – or anywhere in Scotland, for that matter – do all your business as far away from water as you can. Moreover, make sure to bury the waste with a trowel. 

Camp in Small Numbers and For Three Nights Max 

Wildlife on the Isle of Skye

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code advises against staying in one place for more than three nights. By staying longer, campers can cause unnecessary damage to the landscape. 

Don’t Park in Passing Places 

Some of the best wild camping spots on the Isle of Skye can be accessed only via single-track roads. Do not park your vehicle on these narrow roads – by doing so, you’ll be blocking other people’s access. 

Respect “No Overnight Camping” Signs 

When visiting Scotland as a camper, you’re bound to bump into “no overnight camping” signs now and then. If you bump into any such sign on the Isle of Skye, respect it, even if it’s in a remote location. After all, there are so many other places where you can pitch your tent.

For other great camping locations in the country, see our post on the best wild camping spots in the UK.

The Takeaway 

This stunning Scottish island is on many travellers’ bucket lists for a good reason. Fortunately, its breathtaking scenery can be experienced in a rather cheap way – through wild camping. 

Hopefully, the descriptions provided above will help you find a wild camping spot – or an official campsite – whose location and scenery suit your needs. Have a great time! 

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