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Reviewed on 19 Sep 2021
Whitewashed cottages and pastel-painted homes fringe the sloshing waters of Loch Portree, small fishing skiffs bob by the quaysides and whisky flows in the nearby pubs – welcome to the capital and largest town on the Isle of Skye. A range of hostels in Portree promise to be among the most budget-friendly accommodation choices in this charming and enticing place. You can use them as a stepping stone to the primeval peaks and long-lost glens of the Trotternish Peninsula, or as a base between the quaint farm-to-table eateries and craft shops that coalesce in the centre itself. The good news is that hostels in Portree don't compromise on service. Reception staff and in-house information stands can help you put together that Scottish hiking itinerary, while a mix of shared dorms and double ensuite rooms keep all sorts of travellers interested.
Hostels in Portree ooze the sort of down-to-earth Scottish character you'd expect of low-cost, low-key accommodation choices in an old Hebridean fishing village. Lichen-speckled stones and grassy lawns front their buildings, while some establishments lurk in age-old cottages with sloping slate roofs and high chimney stacks. Delve inside and it's all about the warmth of the lounge – a real treat after long hikes over the windy ridges of the rock-ribbed Trotternish Peninsula – and the cabin atmosphere of the rooms. Talking of rooms, there's a medley of private rentals and shared spaces to book in hostels in Portree. The upshot? Solo adventurers, couples and young families alike will have something to pick from.
By putting all sorts of travellers together in the same bunk room or common space, Portree's cheap and cheerful lodges also manage to nurture a unique vibe. You might catch hikers sharing tales of the Fairy Glen or sailors talking about the conditions out on the Sound of Raasay, come evening. There might be foodies comparing notes on Scottish produce in the self-catering kitchen. What's more, the reception staff are often eager to share their local knowledge, whether you want tips on breathtaking Skye hiking trails or recommendations on the best places for haggis in the Inner Hebrides.
Pinpointing the right hostel in Portree is about deciding what sort of trip to the windblown, historic, mountain-carved Isle of Skye you're after. For example, a stint in the Portree Youth Hostel is sure to be more about Gaelic heritage and whisky tasting than an escape to the more off-the-beaten-track corners of the region. In fact, that enticing cottage-like hostel offers doubles, family rooms and single-sex dormitories within walking distance of Portree Harbour, the local shingle beach and the ruined 19th-century watchtower that looms above town – all of the mainstay attractions. However, if you're keen to pull on the walking boots and get a taste of Skye's fabled countryside, you might want to venture down to the Glenbrittle Youth Hostel. It's isolated in the Black Cuillin range, with the translucent Fairy Pools waterfalls and the jagged summit of Sgurr Dearg right on the doorstep.