Port Profile: Portree, Scotland

Learn everything you need to know about cruise destinations under Avid Cruiser’s Port Profiles section (you’ll find a tab above on the navigation bar). Each week, we’ll provide one or more port profiles for those are planning trips or for those who need inspiration to do so. Today’s feature, Portree, Scotland.

Portree is the main town on the Isle of Skye

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The first thing we need to set straight about Portree is that this is not a destination that is famous for attracting a party going crowd. The town is sometimes referred to as the capital of the island of Skye, but don’t put too much focus on the “capital” description: It’s nature and scenery that are at the center here on the Inner Hebrides.

That’s reflected, in fact, in a book: A Book of Silence, written by the British author Sara Maitland. She went to Skye after experiencing a strong desire for stillness.

It would seem that the mixture of silence, nature and scenery is a favorable one – at least if you ask the Brits. According to a survey by Virgin Travel Insurance in 2009, the Isle of Skye was one of the favorite destinations for travel hungry Brits (according to the same survey, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and New York’s Times Square were some of the largest disappointments for travelers).

The Isle of Skye, in fact, is one of Scotland’s biggest tourist destinations. Add the fact that Skye was recently voted fourth best island in the world by National Geographic magazine, and it should stand clear that any visitor could be in for a real treat.

Portree is known for its picturesque harbor, protected by the dominating cliffs of Ben Tianavaig. Cruise passengers who venture further on the island will find that Skye features a large number of monuments from the early Middle Ages. Castles are plentiful, with some of the more well-known including Dunvegan Castle, Armadale Castle, and Dunscaith Castle.

The different castles are a reminder that the island has not always been as peaceful and friendly as today. As different clans have ruled over different parts of the island, they have sometimes found their interests to be in conflict.

Another reminder of past times is the Gaelic language and culture that are still very much alive on Skye.

Skye has a population of close to 9,500 inhabitants, some 2,500 of which live in Portree.

Read Avid Cruiser’s full Port Profile featuring Portree.

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