7 Must Know Tips For the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools in Scotland

Skye Fairy Pools

The Isle of Skye Fairy Pools is a magical walk to experience in the highlands region of Scotland. Travelers are drawn in for the cascading Isle of Skye waterfalls and views of the incredible Cuillin Mountains. We had limited time to explore the Isle of Skye, and didn’t know too much about the walk before we got there. Here are our 7 best tips, what to expect, and all about our own trip to the Fairy Pools!

7 Isle of Skye Fairy Pool Tips

1. The Story Behind the Fairy Pools in Scotland

As with many beautiful places in the Scottish Highlands, the Fairy Pools are linked to tales and folklore of times past. If you’ve been to Loch Ness then you probably already have heard about Nessie the monster! Know that the local legend about the Fairy Pools goes back to the Selkies. 

These mythological creatures could morph from human form into seals and swim ashore. They are said to have bathed in the Fairy Pools in Scotland at night during a full moon. 

Whether you believe it or not, this story certainly can challenge you to use your imagination on a visit to the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools!

Fairy Pools in Scotland

2. Where Are the Fairy Pools Located?

The drive itself to the Fairy Pools can be slightly harrowing for those that haven’t driven in this part of Scotland. The public road up from the town of Carbost gradually turns tighter and tighter as you go uphill. 

On parts where there are single-track roads you will be constantly pulling over at designated passing points to let other cars go. Be sure to not go too close to the edge of the narrow road as it’s easy to slip off onto the rocky section. 

Unfortunately, we saw multiple vehicles stopped with flat tires en route to the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools. We recommend staying in nearby Carbost if possible. This way you can wake up early in the morning and be one of the first to arrive at the Scotland Fairy Pools.

We stayed overnight in Carbost, toured the Talisker Distillery, and had a delicious seafood meal at the Oyster Shed. 

From the village of Carbost it’s about a 15-20 minute drive up the winding road to the Fairy Pools. Alternatively, it will take you around 30 minutes from the main town of Portree which has a few more hotel options.

There are bus tours which go to the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools if you’d prefer to use some sort of public transport. It does get crowded depending on the time of year, especially in the peak summer months. Check out our guide below if you’re planning to rent a car on your trip to Scotland.

9 Easy Tips to Know Before Renting a Car in Scotland

Isle of Skye Fairy Pools Drive

3. Parking at the Isle of Skye Waterfalls

After you’ve conquered the drive to the Fairy Pools of Skye, the next mission is parking! When we arrived at the Fairy Pools we found parking quite easily.

By getting there in the mid-afternoon, we didn’t have to wait or worry about finding a spot in the parking area. 

At the time of our visit, it cost around 5 pounds to be there for 2 hours. There is a free parking lot a bit further up the hill if you don’t mind the extra km walk. If you’re driving a motorhome, it will cost you a bit more (8 pounds) to park in the lot just below the main Fairy Pools car park. 

Fairy Pools Parking

4. Is the Walk to the Fairy Pools Difficult? 

The Fairy Pools is an easy hike compared to many others in Scotland. For instance, we did the Old Man of Storr the next morning which was definitely a more challenging incline. 

If you just do a short walk here it should take you about 45 minutes with limited stops. From just the parking lot to the first waterfall it’s around 2.4km round trip. 

The gravel path will continue up through the valley along the River Brittle so you can go as far as you like.

There are a couple of different river crossings as well once you make your way to the top. If you plan to do the entire Fairy Pools trail it’s actually 7.4 km loop.

No up for a complete Fairy Pools hike? Don’t worry! You can turn around at any point along the series of waterfalls and head back to the car park.

Check Out the Entire Route on All Trails!

Fairy Pools Scotland Walk

5. What You’ll See at the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools

The natural beauty of the Fairy Pools in Scotland is hard to describe. A mountain stream cascades down from the foot of the Black Cuillins, creating the enchanting Isle of Skye waterfalls. From the moment you pass the first pools, you’ll be blown away by the beautiful scenery. 

There are dozens of waterfalls that drop into the crystal clear blue pools below. At this point, you’ve probably already seen the magical Fairy Pools all over social media. However, that’s nothing until you’ve experienced them for yourself!

Isle of Skye Fairy Pools Scotland

6. Can You Swim in the Fairy Pools in Scotland?

Apparently, so! Just like the selkies of the past, you can dip into the Skye Fairy Pools and have your own fun in the water. Just know that the river water will be frigid even on a bright and sunny day. 

Whether it’s safe or not as an entirely different question. Many of the pools are too close to the edges of the waterfalls and aren’t very deep. Additionally, it’s very rocky and does not look very comfortable if you went in without proper water shoes. 

We didn’t swim ourselves here and actually didn’t see a single person in the water during our walk. Given it was a rainy and cold day in early July, that shouldn’t be that surprising. Still, taking this easy walk in the Isle of Skye and seeing the magic of the Fairy Pools was enough for us.

Fairy Pools Isle of Skye Scotland

7. Wild Weather at the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools

We have one last top tip for visiting the Skye Fairy Pools! Make sure you are ready for rain which is a regular occurrence in the Scottish Highlands. Pack a solid pair of hiking shoes for the Fairy Pools walk and definitely bring a raincoat. 

We had decent weather for the start of our hike. Yet, on the way back down we were hit with a torrential downpour. The water pounded us so hard that we were happy to get back in our warm car before driving back to Carbost. 

Even if you do get rain it’s nothing to be upset about. That just means the Isle of Skye waterfalls will just be flowing a bit harder.

Fairy Pools Scotland

Are the Fairy Pools Worth Visiting?

Yes! This is definitely one of the best hikes in the Isle of Skye and is not to be missed on your visit. One of the best ways to see the Fairy Pools is by including it in a longer road trip through the Scottish Highlands. 

We rented a car from Edinburgh and took our own one day tour of the Isle of Skye. The Skye Fairy Pools were a highlight of our visit and we can’t recommend them enough! After our walk, it was easy to see why the Isle of Skye waterfalls are so popular in this region of Scotland.

Nothing Familiar Fairy Pools

Have any questions about this article or want to share your own visit to the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools? Leave us a comment below!

Safe Travels,
Brigitte & Jake

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Fairy Pools

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 Rental Car: Having a car is the best way to get around Scotland! We always use Discover Cars when traveling in Europe and have found some great deals by booking in advance.

Transportation: Omio is a great place to search for trains, buses, and transfers while traveling through Scotland.

 Tours: Check out Get Your Guide for activities all over Scotland. You can find everything from a Scottish Highlands tour from Edinburgh to a Loch Ness boat cruise, Harry Potter Magical Guided Walking Tour, and even chocolate making class.

 Flights: We always find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from London to Aberdeen for $30 USD and Edinburgh to Budapest for less than $80! 

 Accommodation: Compare multiple sites for the best prices such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also,  Hostelworld should be your go-to if you’re traveling on a budget. 

 Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.

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