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PORTREE, ISLE OF SKYE, SCOTLAND

Portree isn’t what you’d call a large place, but this town of 4,000 or so is the Isle of Skye’s big city. As the official capital, not to mention the commercial and cultural center of the island, Portree is not just a way in, but also a gateway to what lies beyond some incredible verdant Scottish countryside. The landscape features rolling hills and dramatic mountain ranges, perhaps best represented by the Quiraing and its distinctive geographic features hidden behind ho-hum nicknames such as “The Needle” and “The Table.” Then there’s 800-year-old Dunvegan Castle overlooking, and reflected picturesquely by, a loch of the same name. Oh, there are also dinosaur footprints, actual tracks from 170 million years ago that you can literally walk in. With all this countryside goodness available, don’t pass up a chance to walk the cafés, boutiques and quaint streets of the city.