How to get to the Fairy Pools from Inverness

Rent a car, take the bus, travel by train or join a tour. We outline all the possibilities!

How to get to the Fairy Pools from Inverness

By Kay Pearson on 23rd January 2020

If you are wondering how to get to the Fairy Pools from Inverness, read on! The Fairy Pools have become one of Skye’s top attractions in recent years. The crystal clear pools framed by the majestic backdrop of the Cuillin Mountains is a unique spectacle, and one that is drawing crowds from all over the world.

However, with its remote rural location on the Isle of Skye, it is not the easiest place to get to.  Consequently, to save you puzzling over the logistics, we have outlined all of the ways in which you can get to the Fairy Pools.  As it can be very tricky and expensive to get accommodation on Skye between April and October we have based our recommendations on travelling from the nearest city; Inverness.

Option 1 – Rent a car and drive to the Fairy Pools

There are a number of car hire agencies both at Inverness airport and in the city itself. As most of these don’t open until 8am (later on Sundays) it may be advisable to pick up the car the night before, so that you can set off early in the morning to go to the pools.  

The most popular route is to go on the A82 via Loch Ness.  However, be aware that this road is twisty and can get very congested with slow moving tourist traffic in the summer.  When you get to Skye the roads are mostly single track so can also be very slow, particularly as you will feel compelled to pull over and take photos every few minutes, adding time to your journey! 

Make sure you check what time your car rental company’s opening hours are as most close around 6/7pm (earlier on Sundays).  Consequently, you may need to take an extra day’s rental, or make sure you pick a rental company which has a key drop box.  We would definitely allow at least 10 – 12 hours for your day.

As we are on Skye every day we see far too many hire car drivers endangering both themselves and other road users, so we do provide this option with a caveat; if you are not used to driving in the Scottish Highlands, on the left-hand side, and/or on single track roads, don’t try to drive to the Fairy Pools (it will not be fun for anyone!)

Option 2 – Take a bus to the Fairy Pools

You can catch a Citylink bus from Inverness Bus Station at 0845, arriving at Sligachan (the nearest main bus stop to the Fairy Pools ) at 1147. Whilst this bus will get you onto Skye, there really is no easy way to get all the way to the Fairy Pools from here, as it’ still a few hours walk from here/11 miles by road.

Whilst there is a public bus from Sligachan to Carbost (2 miles from the Fairy Pools), it only operates a couple times a day and does not fit in with the bus times. Consequently, the only option is to organise a taxi for when you get to Sligachan – as taxis are very limited on the island this would definitely need to be booked well in advance. We’ve used Gus’s Taxis in the past who are based just down the road in Portree.

The last Citylink bus back from Sligachan is at 1750 and returning to Inverness at 2046.  The bus costs approximately £46 return (less if you book in advance).

Option 3 – Take the Train to the Fairy Pools

You can take a train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, which is situated just before the Skye Bridge, around one hour’s drive from the Fairy Pools. 

The scenery on this 2 hour 40 minute journey is wonderful and the first departure is at 0855, arriving at 1130. However, as with the bus option, you still need to get from the train station to the pools and there are no public or private transport options for this. You would need to hire a car in Kyle of Lochalsh, or try to pre-book a taxi.  The last train back to Inverness is at 1713 and a return train ticket costs around £42.

Option 4 – Take a tour from Inverness to the Fairy Pools

As you have probably concluded from the info above, it is not easy to get to the Fairy Pools!  Consequently, due to massive customer demand, we have introduced a new Fairy Pools Tour into our 2020 schedule.  

Our Ultimate Isle of Skye Tour is the only scheduled tour available from Inverness which enables you to hike to the pools AND experience all the highlights of Northern Skye inlcluding Kilt Rock, Portree and the Cuillin mountains, as well as seeing Eilean Donan Castle and Loch Ness/Urquhart Castle on the way home. It is a jam-packed day which enables you to take in all of the sights, in complete comfort, with our highly experienced driver guides.

We hope that you will visit the Fairy Pools and, if you do choose to go with us, we guarantee that you will take home wonderful memories to last a lifetime!

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