Visiting the Scottish Highlands immerses you in some of the wildest and most beautiful landscapes in the British Isles. The region will enchant you with its rugged mountain peaks, shimmering lochs and sun-dappled forests carpeted with bluebells. Soak in history and culture at centuries-old castles, learn about the ancient art of whiskey making at world-famous distilleries and savour the delicious local cuisines.
Things to do in Highland
The Highlands are dotted with dozens of fairy-tale castles, all with their own unique stories to tell. On the northern coast, Dunrobin Castle was built in the early 1300s and features a lavish French-inspired façade. Magical Eilean Donan Castle is a Scottish icon, instantly recognisable by its arched bridge and waterside setting.
Rugged landscapes make the Scottish Highlands one of Europe’s top outdoor adventure destinations. You can hike sections of the 154-kilometre-long West Highland Way and summit Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles. The Shetland Islands, Outer Hebrides and Orkney offer spectacular sea kayaking.
Set on the shores of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle has been standing for more than 1,000 years. Wander around the ancient ruins and climb the mighty Grant Tower for sweeping views over the loch. As you gaze out over the water, watch for ripples on the surface. It might just be Nessie, the famous Loch Ness Monster. Visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition Experience to find out more about the mysterious creature that supposedly inhabits the lake.
Across the region, you’ll find pubs and restaurants serving traditional Highland fare. Save your appetite for oatcakes topped with sharp cheddar cheese, hearty barley soup and homemade haggis seasoned with herbs and spices. With dozens of whisky distilleries to discover, you’re never too far from a dram in the Scottish Highlands. Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye is one of the oldest and bottles some of the finest single malt Scotch in the world.
Getting around Highland
Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Highlands at your own pace. The region is well-serviced by local buses and long-distance coaches and major train stations include Inverness, Fort William and Plockton. Inverness is a 3.5-hour drive from Edinburgh and Glasgow.