Portree, Scotland, UK cruises

Portree is a bustling port overlooking a sheltered bay, on the east side of Skye. It is the capital of the “Misty Isle,” the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago, and a thriving cultural center.

Skye’s lochs, towering cliffs, craggy coves and rugged Ciullin Mountains create breathtaking landscapes, making for a memorable visit to the exposed but glorious Hebridean Islands.

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 harbor 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.

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.