Portree cruises

The town of Portree, situated on the east side of Skye and overlooking a sheltered bay, is the capital of the ‘Misty Isle,’ the largest island of the Inner Hebrides archipelago. It’s connected to the west coast of Scotland by bridges. Portree lies just over 60 miles from and almost due west of Inverness. Skye’s lochs, towering cliffs, craggy coves and the rugged Ciullin Mountains create breathtaking landscapes, making for a memorable visit on selected cruises around British waters.

Portree’s Cultural Heritage

According to popular legend, the name Portree comes from the Gaelic ‘Port-an-Righ,’ which translates as ‘King's Port.’ It’s said to be a permanent reminder of a visit by King James V and his fleet of warships in 1540 to persuade the island clans to support his rule. Another story is that the name existed before the King’s arrival and really comes from the Gaelic for ‘Port on the Slope.’ What is more certain is that from the late 1700s, Portree developed as a fishing port and the harbour remains the heart of this community. Indeed, you’ll almost certainly want to capture its waterfront on camera, both the row of brightly painted houses and the less showy but equally charming whitewashed and natural stone residences.

Discover Portree

While Portree itself is undoubtedly worth taking time to explore, not least its charming pubs and boutiques, there are many popular day trips out of the town. These include the Talisker Distillery, the oldest on the island, where Skye’s unique malt whisky is produced. There are lochs to admire and boat trips to spot sea eagles. Riding and hiking opportunities are in plentiful supply too, such as the walk to see the Fairy Pools at Glen Brittle, the crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle.

You might also visit Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the MacLeod Clan and the oldest continually occupied Scottish Castle. Should you venture onto the mainland, you can follow the coast road to the meeting of three sea lochs, where Eilean Donan Castle stands on an islet at the end of a photogenic stone bridge. It is one of the classic Highlands landscapes.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Skye Coastal Walk

    Discover the glorious scenery of Skye on this coastal walk.

    Skye Coastal Walk

    After meeting your guide at the pier at Portree, you’ll set out on a leisurely coastal walk along stunning Portree Bay. Passing through the lovely harbour town, you’ll arrive at your starting point and begin to enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh sea air.

    The walk is approximately 3½ miles long and will take you along the superb coastline of Skye and up to a viewpoint where you’ll have magnificent views across the sea to the island of Raasay.

    There will be plenty of photo opportunities along the way, so don’t forget your camera! If you’re fortunate, you may even see majestic Sea (white-tailed) sea eagles nesting on the cliffs nearby.

    After your walk, you’ll head back to Portree pier.


    This excursion will operate on foot. There is 2½ hours walking on this tour over narrow or rocky pathways in some places. A warm jacket, waterproof clothing and binoculars are recommended. Flat, non slip shoes are recommended. This walk will not run in cases of extreme weather.

    Tour code

    PTR_006

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    2½ hours

  • Wildlife Watch

    Step aboard an exclusively chartered sightseeing boat to discover the wonderful native wildlife of Skye.

    Wildlife Watch

    You’ll board your boat at Portree pier and set off for a gentle boat ride along the Sound of Raasay. Sit back and admire the rugged coastline, and take a moment to enjoy the surrounding scenery, peace and tranquillity.

    Your crew will share a little local history with you and look to seek out the local wildlife. The native species that frequent the waters of Skye are seals, porpoises, dolphins and whales. Above the water you’ll find a variety of birdlife including puffins, buzzards, gannets and gulls. You may be lucky enough to spot the white tailed sea eagles, which are often found nesting on the nearby cliffs.

    After your wildlife watch, you’ll head back to Portree pier.


    This excursion will operate by boat. The boat ride will last around 1 hour and 45 minutes. This tour involves limited walking; however there are some steps to negotiate when boarding the boat and a degree of agility is required. There are also steps to reach the toilet facilities below deck. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed. This tour is subject to weather conditions and may be cancelled at short notice. A warm jacket, waterproof clothing and binoculars are recommended. There are limited binoculars available on board upon request. Flat, non slip shoes are recommended.

    Tour code

    PTR_004

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    2 hours

  • Isle of Skye Panorama

    Head across the Isle of Skye to capture the highlights and dramatic rugged landscape.

    Isle of Skye Panorama

    As you set off from Portree, your drive will take you along the coastline of the hilly Trotternish peninsula. Admire the scenery as you pass through the horseshoe bay of Uig, take a glimpse of what life was like on Skye a century ago, through a visit to the Museum of Island Life - consisting of a group of small thatched cottages which depict rural life for crofters and farmers of the past. A short walk from the Museum you’ll visit the monument of the heroine Flora McDonald, who famously rescued Bonnie Prince Charlie.

    Afterwards, continue to the northern tip of the island and round to the east coast of the peninsula. Here, you’ll witness the scenery becoming more mountainous as you pass by the dramatic mountain formation of Quiraing. A photo stop will be made at Kilt Rock which affords lovely views and a waterfall that splashes down into the sea. Following the road south, a further stop will be made at the distinctive Old Man of Storr rock formation, a large singular slab of rock that overlooks the surrounding land from high above.

    The final leg of your tour will take you past scenic inland lochs and rivers, before returning to Somerled Square in Portree.


    This excursion will operate by coach. Walking is at passenger’s own discretion, however to derive full enjoyment of each stop some walking is necessary. Passengers must be able to negotiate steps onto and off the coach. The terrain is uneven in parts. Flat, comfortable shoes are advisable. The views are dependent on local weather conditions on the day, which can be changeable. The coach will stop in Kilmuir at the Museum of Island Life. There is around 300 metres to walk to and from the Flora MacDonald Monument, which is on a slight incline. On return, coaches are only permitted to drop off at Somerled Square and passengers will be required to walk approximately 500 metres to the tender point.

    Tour code

    PTR_002

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • The Clan Macleod Dunvegan Castle

    Journey across the Isle of Syke and visit Dunvegan Castle, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland.

    The Clan Macleod Dunvegan Castle

    Setting off from Portree, admire the spectacular scenery as the road weaves through the islands' western landscape, passing by Loch Snizort and Loch Greshornish.

    Dunvegan Castle was the stronghold of the chiefs of the Clan MacLeod for nearly 800 years. It remains their home today and is continuously inhabited. Inside the castle there are many treasures that behold a quirky tale or two, such as a 17th century 4 pint drinking horn, the ‘Fairy Flag’ and a lock of hair preserved in a locket, clipped from Bonnie Prince Charlie’s head by famous Flora MacDonald as a keepsake.

    The castle gardens offer pathways through woodland glades and are made even more charming by the presence of a small cascading waterfall. The views are amongst the finest in Scotland, with Loch Dunvegan and the Black Cuillins Mountains as a backdrop. There is an abundance of flora and fauna, and you may be lucky enough to catch sight of seals or otters in the loch.

    On leaving the Dunvegan Estate, your return drive will follow the scenic southern route, where you can admire more spectacular landscape, before arriving at Somerled Square in Portree.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The visit to Dunvegan Castle is around 1½ hours and is free flow at your own leisure. There is varying terrain which includes some uneven ground and steps. Flat, comfortable shoes are advised. The views are dependent on the local weather conditions on the day, which can be changeable. Upon return, coaches are only permitted to drop off at Somerled Square and passengers will be required to walk approximately 500 metres to the tender point.

    Tour code

    PTR_001

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Talisker Distillery & Beautiful North-West Skye

    Travel deep into the heart of Skye on a sensational journey of sight, sound, smell and taste.

    Talisker Distillery & Beautiful North-West Skye

    Head south out of Portree towards the Cuillins - ferocious mountains that are by far the most challenging range in Scotland. Stop to take in the majesty of the Red & Black Cuillins at the beautiful Sligachan Glen.

    The road heads west alongside the Cuillins towards the Talisker Distillery, descending through the village of Carbost, which largely grew up to service the distillery. The origins of legal distilling at Talisker date back to 1825 with the arrival at Talisker House of Hugh MacAskill.

    On the grounds of this age-old institution, step inside the Visitor Centre and savour the peaty aroma of Talisker malt. This legendary and much appreciated whisky is distilled right here in a remote stillhouse on the shores of Loch Harport. Touring the facility, you will see the mash tuns, the stills and the distillery’s white-painted warehouses lined up along the shore, carrying the name of the distillery in black lettering along the side.

    Sample a wee dram for yourself, savouring the distinctly peaty aftertaste you will have learned about on your walk through the distillery.

    Back on the coach, follow the northern and western coastal routes past the evocative shores of Loch Bracadale and around the heart of the island, learning all about island life as you enjoy the panoramic views en route back to Portree and the ship.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There are a significant number of steps to negotiate inside the distillery. Minimum age to participate is 8 years old. This Tour does not operate on Sundays.

    Tour code

    PTR_007

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Highlands and Eilean Donan Castle

    Take a drive across to the mainland to visit Scotland’s iconic Eilean Donan Castle, the most photographed castle in Scotland.

    Highlands and Eilean Donan Castle

    Leaving Portree, your drive will skirt the Cuillin Mountains, one of the most distinctive and beautiful mountain panoramas in the British Isles. A brief photo stop will be made for you to enjoy their sheer beauty.

    Your journey will take you across to the mainland over the Skye Bridge, and head along the dramatic coastal road and onto Eilean Donan Castle. The image of Eilean Donan has graced the covers of endless calendars and postcards and has even lent itself to films such as ‘Highlander’ and ‘James Bond’. The castle dates from the 13th century and a guided tour of 2 of the castle's rooms will allow you to gain an insight into its history, from the Vikings and the Jacobite rebellion, to the stories of Bonnie Prince Charlie. You’ll then have an opportunity to explore the castle at your own leisure.

    After your visit, sit back and relax as you enjoy once more the lovely scenery of the Isle of Skye on your return journey to Somerled Square in Portree.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey time to Eilean Donan Castle is 1½ hours each way. This tour involves around 1½ hours of walking over some uneven ground including a number of steps within the castle. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. The views are dependent on the local weather conditions on the day, which can be changeable. On return, coaches are only permitted to drop off at Somerled Square and passengers will be required to walk approximately 500 metres to the tender point.

    Tour code

    PTR_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    Duration

    4½ hours