I have stayed in Portree on several occasions and love the place, heres why-
Portree is the largest settlement on the Island of Skye. For those of you who dont know Skye is an island situated of the north west coast of Scotland.Portree is about an hours drive from the bridge that connects Skye to the mainland. The road leading to Portree is very scenic, but be prepared to crawl especially in the summer when Skye can get very crowded with tourists. Situated on the east side of the island about half way up the island, Portree makes a good base to explore the rest of the Island.
Portree is a really attractive town of about 2,500 inhabitants. It has a wonderful harbour, which is edged by different coloured houses, which look out to the deep-sea loch. Behind the harbour are hills.
From the harbour it is a steep climb to the main town centre. In the centre is the very attractive Somerled Square, which is surrounded by several small shops and banks.
There is a good tourist information office that stays open all year and has excellent walking maps, lists of accommodation, and lots of other useful information about the area. I have always found the staff helpful and friendly.
The town has a good selection of small independent shops. There is a butchers, a general stores that seems to stock everything, and a newsagents to name a few. I would recommend the bakery on Somerled Square, which will make up rolls for you to take on a picnic, however avoid the sausage rolls!
There are two banks in the town in addition to cash machines. Portree has a very friendly library, which is particularly good for children.
If you like unusual shops then you will enjoy the Skye Batik shop that has a huge selection of batik clothes in addition to wall hangings. It is a very friendly shop and the staff will offer you tea or coffee whilst you browse. Next door to Skye Batiks is an excellent outdoor shop where you should be able to find most things to enable you to enjoy the great outdoors in safety.
On the outskirts of the town is a co-op, essential if you are self catering. It has a good range of foods and alcohol and keen prices. Also on the edge of town is a small swimming pool. Every time I have been with my children the water has been freezing! It is also worth mentioning that you are only allowed 1 child under 8 per adult.
To the south of Portree is the Aros experience. This is a large centre where you can pay to experience an introduction to the history of the are through dioramas accompanied by an audiocassette. I would give this part of the centre huge thumbs down. It is expensive and not well done. However I would recommend the CCTV of a sea eagles nest, in the breeding season only. The centre also has a good restaurant where you can get a cup of tea or a full meal.
There is a god range of accommodation in Portree and the tourist information centre will be able to help you if you arrive without a reservation. We have always self-catered as I think this is the best option with young children. Although I have never stayed in any of the local hotels I have visited a few and will give you my opinion, albeit limited-
Portree independent hostel. This is situated on Somerled Square. We once gave a lift to a hiker staying there who spoke highly of the place. I know it has a laundry and charges around £10 per night for a bed.
Royal hotel. Situated on Bank street, this one seems friendly and has a historic building so should be atmospheric!
If you fancy something a bit more up market then the Bosville hotel may be for you. This is probably the smartest place in town and also the most expensive with doubles around £80 per night.
Portree has numerous bed and breakfast places but I have no knowledge of any so again visit the tourist information office or look on line.
Portree has some of the best fresh fish I have ever tasted. I would recommend you go to the small shop on the harbour. It is only open a few times a week and as I cant remember when I suggest you check the notice on the door. The fish here is the freshest you will get but dont expect it to be cheap, it isnt! However if you are not self catering you will need to get your local fish from the fish and chip shop in the centre of town, not nearly as god Im afraid!
The town has several good places to eat including the Portree house hotel where you can get a god Sunday lunch at reasonable prices. If you like seafood then I would recommend the chandlery seafood restaurant at Bosville terrace. Food here is expensive but excellent.
There is also an Indian take away in Portree down by the harbour but I thought the food was not that good and preferred the cook-chilled version from the co-op at half the price!
Oh and the title? Well Portee is Gaelic for kings harbour named after James v who landed in Portree in 1540 to assert his authority over the lords of the Isles. If you ever get the chance to visit Portree then take it, youA will not be disappointed!
Portree – the capital of Skye! To those of you who have not had the very real pleasure of visiting the Isle of Skye I bet that conjures up mental images of a bustling city so I had better explain further or you're going to be in for a shock! Portree is a lovely, but relatively small town situated on the East Coast of Skye, and it makes an ideal base for exploring, as it is quite central to the island. It is sheltered to the west by the island itself and to the east by the Isle of Raasay and beyond that the mainland of Scotland. The name Portree denotes Kings Harbour and recalls a visit by James V. A short, steep road descends to the harbour where you can see the lifeboat moored awaiting action. There is a lifeboat day, usually on August Bank Holiday Saturday, when you can see the lifeboat performing 'rescues' in the harbour. There are many pleasure craft here and boat trips leave at regular intervals. We went on a trip to see a salmon farm and then on to see the seals basking on one of the many smaller islands in The Sound of Raasay. On the way the skipper caught a fish and attracted a sea eagle to feed close to the boat! The shopping in Portree consists of the staple shops, butcher, baker, newsagent, Post Office etc, together with a selection of excellent gift and antique shops. There is also a small branch of Safeways in the town and a larger Co-op on the outskirts going out towards Dunvegan. So, if you’re self-catering there’s no problem getting supplies. There are also a couple of good shops selling hiking and climbing supplies so there’s no excuse for trying any climbing ill prepared! The major banks, Clydesdale and Royal Bank of Scotland, are also represented in Portree. Meall House overlooking the harbour, which now houses the Tourist Information Office, is the oldest building in Portree and was once used as a prison. There is a good selection of hotels, guesthouses,
self-catering accommodation and campsites in the area. The present Royal Hotel stands on the site of Mac Nabs Inn where said Bonnie Prince Charlie goodbye to Flora Macdonald in 1746 before exile to France. The Cuillin Hills Hotel, The Bosville Hotel and The Portree Hotel are three more of the main hotels in the centre of Portree. The Portree House Hotel is situated just out of Portree on the Uig road and has a restaurant serving excellent food. We always pay at least one visit there when we’re on the island. On the subject of food, Portree has a wide variety of eating establishments. The hotels all have restaurants providing meals, but, if you’re budget doesn’t run to this, there are many pubs serving pub grub. There are also a couple of good takeaways. There’s a fish and chip shop on the side of the main car park and another on the harbour side. There is a Chinese takeaway down one of the side streets in the centre of Portree, which is very good and an Indian restaurant down by the car park. I can’t vouch for the Indian restaurant, as we haven’t tried that one yet. There is also a fish restaurant on the harbour side, which looks good but is again as yet untried by us. We hope to remedy that next time we visit. The pubs in the town also have live music in the evenings, usually traditional stuff – accordion, bagpipes, guitar etc. We didn’t really bother much with this so again I can’t comment any further than to say it is available.