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Why This Lesser Known Island In Scotland Is Skyrocketing In Popularity

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Whether ‘revenge travel' is still a thing or not, travelers are exploring more of the world and bringing lesser-known gems to light.

2024 seems to be another year of continuous tourism records and huge spikes in popularity across the globe.

gorgeous waterfall on the island of skye scotland

When it comes to Europe, iconic cities and beaches are still powerhouses, but travelers are venturing off to some of the most stunning destinations without household recognition, too, at least for now.

Scotland has become one of Americans' favorite getaways across the pond and is not typically known for island getaways like Spain, Portugal, and Greece.

Yet, one of the most beautiful places in the country is indeed an island, and it's expecting over one million tourists this year, something locals question if they are prepared to handle.

Welcome to Skye – Scotland's New Tourism Hotspot

colorful homes on the island of skye

Hours away from Edinburgh, Glasgow and all the other recognizable Scottish cities you can think of lies the otherworldly island of Skye.

A mix of natural wonders, delightful locals, and the colorful capital, Portree, brimming with charming streets and historic sites, this is Scotland's version of paradise.

With Inverness being the closest major city, locals and now tourists come here for a hard reset, to immerse themselves in gobsmackingly gorgeous nature, and to take time to enjoy the little things in life.

As there are no major chains like McDonalds, Starbucks, or even name-brand hotels in sight, tourists find themselves cozied up in storybook boutique hotels and rentals to ‘hurkle-durkle‘ the day away.

cottage on skye scotland

Ranging from upscale retreats and remote cottages to, shall we say, “glampy” accommodations, finding a comfortable stay that matches your desires is seamless, even as remote as Skye may seem.

While not mainstream yet, give this gorgeous island a chance and you will see why tourism numbers are reaching an unprecedented 6 figures this year.

What To Do And What To See

The Isle of Skye offers plenty of attractions, but mostly what you will find is being in awe of the majestic scenery.

fairy pools scotland

One of the more popular activities is visiting what's known as The Fairy Pools, a free place to swim amongst mini waterfalls to prepare yourself for the gigantic Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls—a must-see!

Beyond chasing waterfalls, you can also chase castles, but many visitors simply love to hike or bike around the island through various trails to take in all the open, lush greenery and ethereal landscapes.

Skye is also a haven for wildlife viewing.

Many make a point to see the Red Deer, but boat trips are common for whale tours and to witness the island's famous Sea Eagles as well.

And contrary to popular belief, you don't have to go to Iceland to see Puffins.

They are right here in Skye too, but are easiest to find in spring.

puffin on isle of skye scotland

Of course, you can't miss the Highland Cows either, who are doing their best to bring emo haircuts back.

Most importantly, it's unthinkable to visit an island without hitting up the beach.

Camas Daraich is one of the U.K.'s most treasured hidden gems and arguably one of the nicest beaches in the country.

Holding a near-perfect 4.9-star rating on Google, beachgoers rave about the unspoiled beach, turquoise waters, and perfect white sand.

This isolated beach located on the southernmost tip of the Sleat peninsula is reachable by an approximate 2 mile hike marked with signs for easy directions.

Can Skye Handle The Influx Of Tourists?

tourists hiking isle of skye

Skye isn't used to tourism numbers in the millions, and there are definite concerns.

As remote as it may be, travelers are discovering the journey is worth it.

While the island's economy will surely benefit greatly from being the latest tourism hotspot, there is concern for congested roads, a surge in prices, environmental damage, and lack of rangers on staff.

As the island skyrockets to stardom, time will tell if new strategies will be implemented to curb the sudden influx.

One thing is for sure – the secret is out on the Isle of Skye.

dunvegan castle in scotland

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

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