Visit the Highlands: Top 20 Things to Do and Must See Attractions

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The 20 Best Things to Do in the Highlands + Where to Stay?

You’re traveling to Scotland and plan to visit the Highlands?

Great idea!

Wild, green, windy and mysterious, this vast region in the North West of Scotland will for sure amaze you. With all the hikes in the moors and mountains, castles to visit, huge lakes (lochs) and incredible scenic roads, visiting the Highlands is an extraordinary experience.

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 20 best things to do in the Highlands, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.

In addition to this list of the best places to visit, I will also give you ideas for sightseeing in the surroundings as well as my selection of the best accommodations in the Highlands.

And at the end of the article, you will also find my itineraries suggestions to visit the Highlands in 4-5 days, 1 week or during a 2 weeks road trip.

So, how to visit the Highlands?

To combine a road trip in the Highlands with a stay in Scotland, you can read my detailed guides to organize your itinerary according to the duration of your trip:

Highlands: The 20 Best Places to Visit and Must-See Attractions

1. Loch Ness

Let’s start with the Loch Ness, one of the most famous lakes in the world and a must-see in the Highlands.

To explore the Loch and try to see its famous monster, you should go for a day trip through the different villages around the lake.

The easiest is to start your trip from Fort Augustus: there, you can enjoy the beautiful view over the lake and/or opt for a Loch Ness cruise.

You can then head to Drumnadrochit village, North of Fort Augustus and visit the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre to learn everything about the mysterious monster.

You might also want to have a drink on a terrace on the edge of the lake, or go for a pleasant hike along Glen Urquhart path.

Close to Drumnadrochit, you should also visit Urquhart Castle (I will tell you more about it in #3 of this article).

On the east coast of the Loch Ness, there is a very nice pebbles beach in Dores village. Still in Dores, you might come across Steve Feltham, the famous Nessie (the Loch Ness monster’s nickname) hunter, and his caravan.

This part of the Highlands is definitely a must-see during your trip to Scotland!

Loch Ness Scotland
Loch Ness – Scotland

2. Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is the highest point in Great Britain and one of the best places to visit in the Highlands.

This mountain is Scottish skiers favorite destination in winter and a hikers paradise during summer.

Nevis Range ski resort is very well equipped and offers splendid views over the mountain range. In summer, you should really take the cable car to reach the upper part of the ski resort. From there, you can enjoy many pleasant (more or less challenging) hikes.

And if you want a bit of challenge, you should opt for the 7 hours intense and breathtaking hike to the top of the Ben Nevis (round trip). The trail starts from Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Regardless of the season, dress warmly to climb the Ben Nevis and bring waterproof clothes. Up there, the climate can change very quickly!

Also, don’t forget to grab a detailed map from the visitor center before you start the hike.

Glen nevis Scotland
Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis, Highlands

3. Urquhart Castle

On the banks of Loch Ness, just outside the village of Drumnadrochit, you can visit Urquhart Castle. This ruined medieval castle dating from the 13th century is really a must-see during your road trip in Scotland!

The location is incredible, and the guided tour of the castle ruins is very interesting.

The visit begins with the screening of a short film about the castle’s history. Then, the doors open and you will go explore the ruins.

On-site, there are many explanatory panels. You can also climb in the main tower to get a perfect view of the lake or go have a look at the small beach located at the foot of the castle.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to visit the castle and go for a cruise on the Loch Ness, you can opt for an excursion that offers both activities. The great thing is that it isn’t too expensive (about 25€ per person). To book your tour, you need to click here:

4. Glen Coe Valley

Glen Coe Valley is definitely one of the most spectacular places to visit in the Highlands.

If you enjoy hiking, these green moors and mountains will feel like paradise for you!

Here are a few ideas of activities to do in the region :

  • Glencoe Village is the starting point for many walks. The Lochan trails begin just outside the village, close to the car park. The various trails are signposted.
  • Pap of Glencoe hike: this 4 hours walk starts from Glencoe village and takes you up in the mountain. Remember to wear good hiking shoes and bring waterproof clothes. You should however avoid this trail when it rains, as it can get very slippery!
  • Signal Rock walk: a 45-minute (round trip) walk to the top of Signal Rock hill.
  • Lost valley hike: a 2h30 to 3h30 round trip walk (depending on your pace and the number of photo breaks you will take!) on unmarked terrain in a valley lost in the middle of the Three Sisters mountains. This superb hike will give you a condensed overview of the region. The departure point is located about 9 km after the village of Glencoe, up the A82 along the River Coe and past Loch Achtriochtan.
  • Castle Stalker is a beautiful (and popular!) Scottish castle built-in 1320 on an island on Loch Linnhe. Located on Oban route, 25km away from Glencoe, it’s only accessible by boat. You won’t necessarily have to visit it, as a quick stop on the beach will give you the opportunity to admire the place.
  • A road trip in the Highlands, across the valley along the A82 road.
Glen Coe Scotland
Glen Coe Valley, Scotland

5. Glenfinnan Viaduct

Close to Glencoe, Glenfinnan is a charming village that attracts many Harry Potter fans for a good reason: there, you can see the Hogwarts Express on a splendid viaduct!

The Jacobite Express (Hogwarts Express’s real name) is a steam train that was used multiple times in Harry Potter movies. It goes across the viaduct every morning around 10h30 and in the afternoon around 15h.

It goes from Fort William to Mallaig, with a stop at Glenfinnan.

While you’re there, you can also visit the small museum about the history of Scottish railways and the viaduct. It’s located in the train station.

For a great view of the viaduct, you can follow a path from Glenfinnan Station Museum that brings you close to the viaduct in less than one hour. It’s a great moment to see the train approaching and blowing a whistle!

Glenfinnan Scotland
Glenfinnan, Scotland

6. Loch Shiel

While you’re in Glenfinnan, take a bit of time to admire Loch Shiel, the beautiful lake that borders the village.

Loch Shiel also appears in Harry Potter movies. You can see it a bit in each of the movies, but it’s especially known for appearing in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, during the Second Task (underwater scenes) of the Triwizard Tournament.

Hogwarts castle you see in the movie has been added digitally on the hill above the lake.

In front of the lake’s small beach (where you can have a picnic or just admire the view), you can find the Glenfinnan Monument and its statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie at the top.

Around Loch Shiel you can also visit Glenfinnan Church, a charming and mysterious small Gothic church located on a hill, just outside the village.

There are also several hikes starting from Glenfinnan Visitor Centre.

Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel

7. Fort William

While in the Highlands, don’t miss Fort William.

Located at the bottom of Ben Nevis, it’s one of the most important towns in the region.

Quite animated during summer, half a day should be enough to discover its small shops, traditional pubs, and city center.

And if you want to learn everything about local history, you should also visit the West Highland Museum.

Aside from the town’s visit, Fort William is the starting point of a hike to the top of the Ben Nevis.

It’s also the place to take the Jacobite Express towards Mallaig.

8. Steall Waterfall

About 20 minutes by car from Fort William, you should definitely visit the impressive 120 meters hight Steall Waterfall.

Located in the beautiful highlands mountains, you will need to do a 1h30-2h hike to reach the waterfall, in the spectacular scenery of the Ben Nevis gorges.

The view is incredible when it’s sunny, but more authentic when there is fog!

You should plan about half a day for this excursion.

Steall Waterfall
Steall Waterfall

9. Eilean Donan Castle

One of Scotland’s most famous castles! A great place to visit during your stay in the Highlands.

Eilean Donan Castle appears in numerous movies and is the perfect representation of a medieval castle in Scotland.

Accessible by a very photogenic stone bridge, this castle located on Loch Duich is close to the Skye bridge that leads to the isle of Skye. You’ll have the opportunity to admire it and take pictures from the road, or even go inside if you have the time!

You can find more information to visit the castle on the official website.

Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

10. Sandwood Bay Beach

You want to see what a beach in the Highlands looks like?

Then you should head to Sandwood Bay, a beautiful natural bay located in the North of the region.

From Blairmore carpark, you will have to walk for about 7 km to reach Sandwood Bay Beach, considered as one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland.

This pleasant walk is very easy, as the path to the beach is rather flat and clearly indicated.

As the round trip is quite long and weather can change quickly in Scotland, you should bring waterproof clothes in case it starts raining. After the walk, your treat will be the sight of the large wild beach surrounded by hills and dunes.

In winter or in autumn, the colors are particularly incredible!

Sandwood Bay Beach
Sandwood Bay Beach

11. Visit a distillery

If you have been to all the touristy places and now wonder what to do in the Highlands, you should maybe visit a Scottish distillery.

There are 47 active distilleries in the region, the Highlands being the largest whisky production area in Scotland. It would therefore be a shame to leave the region without discovering whisky’s fabrication secrets!

Even if you don’t especially like whisky, the visits are very interesting and allow you to grasp a bit more of the local culture.

One of the best to visit is Tomatin distillery: built-in 1897, the legend says its whisky is made with the water of the surrounding rivers.

During the visit, you will be taken through all the different rooms and will learn more about the fabrication process. Of course, the visit will end with a whisky tasting session!

speyside Whisky Scotland
Whisky tasting in the Highlands

12. Apple Cross Road

This road trip through the North West of the Highlands, between Torridon and Applecross, is a great experience to do during your itinerary in Scotland.

There, you will find some of the most beautiful mountain scenery of the country!

The scenic road follows the coast from Torridon towards Applecross (or the other way around, depending on where you are coming from). The journey takes place on single-track roads, those picturesque one-way roads, in an impressive scenery with a view over the Isle of Skye.

After stopping in Applecross, a beautiful harbor village, you can continue towards Tornapress to enjoy other exceptional landscapes.

Voyage Tips - Advice

To get in or out of Applecross, take the “Bealach na Ba”, one of Scotland’s most beautiful roads, with many bends winding through the moorlands.

road Applecross
The road from Applecross to Torridon

13. Handa Island

During your stay in the North of the Highlands, you can go to Tarbet and hire a boat to take you to Handa Island in about 10 minutes.

This excursion of a few hours on the protected small Island will allow you to discover many types of birds, including the famous monk puffin and their colored beak.

The Island, a natural reserve, actually holds one of the biggest marine birds colonies in Europe.

Once on the island, you will meet the natural reserve rangers: they will explain a few rules to not disturb the animals.

You’ll then be able to visit the island on foot by following the only existing path (about 3 hours).

The visit and boat trip cost around 15£ per person and departures are planned from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, with the latest return at 5pm.

As the boats can only take about 10 people at a time, you may have to wait a little bit when going there or on the way back.

Handa Island
Handa Island

14. Scourie and the surroundings

Don’t leave the North-West of the Highlands without stopping by at Scourie, a charming village located on the coast.

There, you can go fishing, hiking or simply enjoy a walk by the beach at Scourie Bay.

For more information visit the villages’ official website.

Voyage Tips - Advice

Leaving Scourie, head south along the coast towards Kylesku. On the way, you will discover several lochs, including the magnificent Loch Assynt bordered by beautiful landscapes.

Loch Assynt
Loch Assynt, North Highlands

15. Inverewe Gardens

Opened in 2016, this botanical garden is a nice place to visit during your road trip in the Highlands!

Located on the west coast, Inverewe Garden should be visited especially during spring, summer and the beginning of autumn for its incredible colors.

The botanical collection is extensive, well kept and clearly explained. When the weather is clear, its location on the edge of the lake also offers an incredible view over the Scottish mountains.

More information about visiting hours and entrance fees are available on the official website.

Inverewe Gardens
Inverewe Gardens

16. Take the Jacobite Express

Let’s continue with a very original activity to do in the Highlands: a ride in the world’s most famous steam train!

As I told you a bit earlier in this article when talking about Glenfinnan Viaduct, the Jacobite Express is an old steam train that was restored and put back in service following the success of the Harry Potter saga.

The train was used several times in the movies, to represent the Hogwarts Express!

If you want to treat yourself with a unique trip, you can book a ticket for the train that goes between Fort William and Mallaig every day, passing through incredible landscapes.

The round trip lasts about 4 hours, with a 2 hour stop at Mallaig (so 6 hours total). Prices are around 30£ per adult in standard class and 55£ in first class.

You can buy your tickets on the official website. You should book several weeks or even months in advance to have a seat!

Voyage Tips - Advice

You can also try to get a ticket without a reservation at Mallaig station. A small number of tickets are set aside to be sold a few minutes before the train’s departure.

Jacobite express Scotland
Onboard the Jacobite Express!

17. Inverness

Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is located close to the Loch Ness.

Here are the best things to do in Inverness:

  • Inverness Castle, to walk along the esplanade and contemplate the view over the city
  • St Andrew’s Cathedral
  • The town hall
  • Old High St Stephen’s church, the oldest church of Inverness
  • The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, to discover the history of the Highlands (free entrance)
  • Fort George, to enjoy a stroll along the city’s ramparts and visit the Highlanders Museum
  • Culloden moors, where one of the biggest battles in Scottish history took place.
Inverness
Inverness

18. Isle of Skye

During your trip to the Highlands, you must go the Isle of Skye!

There, you will discover spectacular landscapes of moores, rocky valleys, mountains, steep cliffs, and white sandy beaches. For hikers and nature enthusiasts, this is the paradise on earth!

You should stay a minimum of 2 full days to really appreciate the island.

To go there, you can cross the Skye bridge, connecting the village of Kyle of Lochalsh to the island, or take the ferry from Mallaig.

To prepare your trip to the Isle of Skye, you should read my detailed article: The 20 Best things to do in Isle of Skye.

In this guide, in addition to the list of the best attractions and activities, I also give you all my best tips as well as itineraries to visit the island in 2, 3 or 4 days.

Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye – Neist Point

19. Dunrobin Castle

Let’s continue this Highlands guide with Dunrobin Castle.

Located North of Inverness, it really looks like it was taken straight out of a fairy tale!

Dunrobin Castle, the largest residence in the Highlands, is surrounded by a beautiful park and seaside gardens.

The visit costs 11£ and will take you around 2 hours (castle interior and gardens included).

More information on the official website.

Dunrobin castle
Dunrobin castle

20. Attend the Highland Games

Visiting the Highlands also includes discovering local culture and traditions. And there is nothing more Scottish than the picturesque Highlands Games!

These traditional sports events take place every year during summer.

Participants dressed in kilts compete in strength games such as hammer, trunk or stone-throwing, tug of war and Scottish wrestling. During the event, bagpipes players contribute to the joyful and festive atmosphere.

The most prestigious competition takes place on the first Saturday of September in Braemar, in the presence of the Queen. However there are events all over the region during summer, so don’t hesitate to go and have a look, it’s a lot of fun!

Highland Games Scotland
Highland Games, Scotland

The 3 best things to do around the Highlands

After your road trip in the Highlands, you may want to visit the surroundings. So here are the most beautiful places to visit nearby!

Orkney

Orkney is an archipelago composed of 70 small islands in the North of Scotland. Its capital is Kirkwall and its largest island is called “Mainland”.

The archipelago has it’s own culture and history and is imbued with a strong identity.

Breathtaking landscapes, rich flora and fauna, archeological and historical sites, cliffs and beautiful beaches. That’s what you should expect in Orkney, one of Great Britain’s best destinations.

To go there, you can take the plane from Inverness to Kirkwall (less than 1-hour flight), or take the ferry at John O’Groats (40 mins to cross).

Shetland Islands

Located north of Orkney archipelago, the Shetlands are also among the country’s most beautiful islands.

This archipelago of over 100 islands (only 15 of them are inhabited), is located close to Norway. Its geographical location has given the Island rich heritage and history, resulting from a mixture of Scandinavian and Scottish cultures.

The easiest way to go to Shetland Island is by plane from Inverness, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Kirkwall. The flight takes around 2 hours.

Lewis and Harris Island

A few kilometers North of Skye, Lewis and Harris is the largest British island (excluding Great Britain and Ireland of course!).

This wild island featuring enchanting landscapes is home to many historical remains, including impressive prehistoric menhirs dating back several millennia.

This island with a strong Gaelic culture is especially famous for its white sandy beaches and turquoise sea that will probably remind you the best tropical beaches! The most beautiful one is Luskentyre beach, so don’t miss it during your trip.

To reach the Island, you can take a ferry from Ullapool or from Uig. You can also take the plane from Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow or Aberdeen.

Lewis and Harris islands
Ile Lewis et Harris

How many days to visit the Highlands?

The Highlands is probably the most beautiful region in Scotland and would therefore require at least 4 or 5 days to visit the most emblematic locations.

If you can spend 1 to 2 weeks in the Highlands, that would be even better, allowing you to explore the region thoroughly.

The best way to visit the Highlands is by car. You may spend quite a lot of time driving, but that’s part of the experience!

Many places are far from everything, so a road trip is clearly the best ways to enjoy the beauty of the landscapes.

As the tourism season is relatively short in Scotland (everyone goes there at the same time!), you should check rental cars prices as soon as possible to get the best prices.

To help you prepare your trip, here are 3 itineraries depending on the duration of your stay: 4-5 days, 1 week or 2 weeks in the Highlands.

4 or 5 days in the Highlands

4 or 5 days is really the minimum to get a good grasp of the region’s atmosphere.

Here is the itinerary you should follow:

  • Day 1: Discover the Loch Ness and visit Fort Augustus (where you can go for a cruise on the loch), Drumnadrochit (to visit Urquhart Castle), Inverness and the small village of Dores.
  • Day 2: Hike in Glen Coe Valley. This gorgeous valley is one of the best places to visit in the region! You should do the “Lost Valley hike” (about 3h round trip), and/or the Pap of Glencoe (4h). You can also go for a short road trip through the valley on the A82 road.
  • Day 3: Glenfinnan and Mallaig: stay for a day in Glenfinnan to walk to the famous viaduct and see the Jacobite Express. Then, take a stroll along Loch Shiel and visit all the points of interest located around. Then, head to Mallaig and take the ferry to Armadale, on the Isle of Skye.
  • Days 4 and 5: the last two days of your trip will be dedicated to the visit of the Isle of Skye. I give you all my best tips to visit the island here: How to visit the Isle of Skye?
Visit Isle of Skye
Visit the Isle of Skye

1 week in the Highlands

If you have planned a 1 week trip in the Highlands, you can follow the previous itinerary and add the following:

  • Day 6: Come back to Mallaig from Armadale and then go to Fort William. You can then do a short hike to Steall Waterfall and come back to Fort William to enjoy dinner and a drink in a pub.
  • Day 7: Fort William is located at the foot of the Ben Nevis, so if you’re up for it, you can hike to the top of the highest point in Great Britain (7h walk). Another option is to go to “Nevis Range”, where you will find easier walks offering superb panoramic views of the area.

2 weeks in the Highlands

If you have 14-15 days to visit the Highlands, you should spend the first week exploring the North coast by car.

The best is to follow the North Coast 500, a new road that allows driving along the coast for 500 miles (800 km) and discover amazing landscapes.

This would be your route for the first 7 days :

  • Start from Inverness and head North on the east coast towards Wick and then John O’Groat. Stop by Dunrobin Castle on the way.
  • Follow the north coast up to Sandwood Bay, then go towards Scourie. You can go to to Handa Island by taking the ferry at Tarbet (just before arriving in Scourie).
  • After visiting Scourie and the surroundings, go South to Drumbeg and then Stoer (where you can see the famous Old Man of Stoer, a 60-meter rock facing the sea)
  • Then continue on the route towards Inverewe garden and take the Bealach Na Ba road to get to Applecross.
  • After visiting Applecross and its surroundings, head South towards the Isle of Skye. Don’t forget to stop by Eilean Donan Castle, 1 hour south of Applecross.

During this road trip, you can stop wherever you want along the road to admire the numerous beaches, discover beautiful villages, go for hikes or even visit a distillery. This road trip should take you about a week!

For the 2nd week of your trip in the Highlands, you can:

  • Spend at least 2 days on the Isle of Skye. From Applecross, take the Skye bridge to get to the island. All the best places to visit are in my detailed article: Visit the Isle of Skye.
  • Take the ferry from Armadale (Isle of Skye) to Mallaig.
  • Visit Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel within a day
  • Go to Fort William and stay there for 2 days to discover Glencoe valley and the Ben Nevis.
  • It’s now time to go back towards Inverness, with a last stop to do the Loch Ness cruise and Urquhart castle visit.

Where to stay in the Highlands

You won’t have any trouble finding suitable and not too expensive hotels, guesthouses or B&Bs. The most important is to plan your Highlands itinerary in advance, so you can book your nights and make sure you will have a place to sleep.

In summer, everything is often fully booked and it’s very risky to go without a reservation! And if by luck you find something, you might end up paying a crazy price for it.

So really, my best advice is to try to plan your trip to the Highlands as much in advance as possible.

Here is a list of the best places to stay in the Highlands depending on your location.

Where to stay in Fort William

  • Fort William Backpackers: Located in the center of Fort William. Bed in a dormitory from 22€. Strong points: the atmosphere, the welcome, the location. The best choice for backpackers!
  • Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club: Located 1.5 km from Fort William. Scottish style double room starting at 100€/night with breakfast included. Strong points: indoor heated swimming pool, the free parking, the breakfast.
  • Nevis Bank Inn: Located on the banks of Nevis river, 10 minutes away from Fort William’s town center. Large double room from 190€, breakfast included. Strong points: pleasant staff, very clean and a good restaurant.
  • Inverlochy Castle Hotel: 5-star hotel located 6 km away from Fort William. The place is actually a small castle that offers double rooms with a view on the gardens and the peak of Glen Nevis. Prices start at 550€ breakfast included. Strong points: the extraordinary setting, the amazing breakfast and the wonderful staff. The best choice for a luxury trip to the Highlands!
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Where to stay in Inverness

  • Inverness Student Hotel: A youth hostel located 10 minutes walking from the town center. Bed in a dormitory starting at 20€ and breakfast for 5€. Strong points: home-made scones, warm atmosphere, location, and price. Perfect for backpackers!
  • The King’s Highway Wetherspoon: Located only 5 minutes from the castle. Large double room from 80€/night, breakfast included. Strong points: central location and price
  • Glen Mhor Hotel: Located on the river banks, 5 minutes away from the town center. Cozy double room with a view over the cathedral from 145€, breakfast for 14€ extra. Strong points: The warm welcome, the location, the view and the great breakfast.
  • Jurys Inn Inverness: Located near Inverness. Modern and bright double room from 190€, breakfast included. Strong points: indoor swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, free car park. This is my favorite for its excellent value for money!
  • Bunchrew House Hotel: close to Inverness, this charming hotel is located in a beautiful 17th century building with a garden. Comfortable and elegant double room starting at 400€/night, breakfast included. Strong points: the setting, the excellent meals, the amazing breakfast, the calm, the wonderful staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Inverness!

Where to stay in Scourie

  • Scourie Guesthouse: Located in Scourie. Modern, comfortable and well equipped double room with sea view, from 130€ per night breakfast included. Strong points: the warm welcome, the great breakfast with delicious homemade muffins + the nice view!

Where to stay in Ullapool

  • Millview Bed & Breakfast: This B&B features large and clean double rooms from 60€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the warm welcome and the good breakfast
  • Croft 17 B&B: Cosy double rooms with sea view starting from 80€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location, the settings, the warm welcome.
  • Harbour House: Hotel located on the waterfront, 10 minutes away from the center of Ullapool. Double room starting from 100€ per night, breakfast included. Strong point: the view over the bay, the location, the staff.
  • The Arch Inn: Located at the edge of Ullapool’s dam. Comfortable and well equipped double room with sea view, starting from 115€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location, the view, the friendly staff, the calm and the great hotel’s restaurant!
Visit the Highlands
Visit the Highlands

Where to stay in Plockton

  • Keiran’s House: Located in Plockton. Clean and comfortable double room starting from 125€/night, breakfast included. Strong points: Great host, good location, very calm!

Accommodation on the Isle of Skye

  • Portree Youth Hostel: Youth hostel located in Portree town center. Bed in a dormitory from 23€/night. Strong points: Ideal location, very clean, the friendly staff.
  • Sky Lodges: Located 2.9 km from Portree. You will stay in small wooden chalets, well equipped and nicely decorated starting at 130€/night. Strong points: eco-friendly concept, modern equipment.
  • Cuillin Hills Hotel: Located in a 6-hectare domain facing Portree bay. Double room with traditional decoration from 210€/night breakfast included. Strong points: wonderful view, great meals, charming personnel. This is my favorite for its great location on the Isle of Skye!
  • Skeabost House Hotel: Located on the edge of Loch Snizort, in Portree. Cozy double room with a view on the park or on the loch from 270€/night breakfast included. Strong points: the superb view, the very comfortable rooms, the amazing staff, the golf course. This is the best hotel for a romantic stay on the Isle of Skye!

How to get to the Highlands

To get to the Highlands, you will first have to take an international flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Flights prices to Scotland vary widely, so it is a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner. It’s the best way to pay the best price!

Best time to visit the Highlands

The period from April to September is perfect to visit the Highlands and avoid the cold winter temperatures.

May and September are generally the sunniest months, and it’s not high season yet. This means fewer tourists and cheaper hotels!

June to September is the high season as well as the “Midges” season, and these little mosquitos can be very annoying! As it’s summer, it’s also the warmest time of the year in Scotland.

To sum it up:

To avoid the Midges and have the most chances to see the sun, the best time to visit the Highlands is at the beginning of Spring, the end of the summer or even in Autumn to enjoy the colorful landscapes.

Of course, if you don’t have the choice, visiting the Highlands during summer is also an amazing experience!

Tourist map of the Highlands

To help you visualize where the best places to visit in the Highlands are located, I have made this tourist map of the Highlands, listing everything I talk about in this guide. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button, the one with the little arrow.

What to Pack for the Highlands?

To visit the Highlands in the best conditions, you will need to bring warm and waterproof clothes (even during summer). Temperatures can drop quickly, especially with wind and altitude.

In winter, you should consider double or even triple layers to protect yourself from the cold. You will also need a good pair of walking boots to be comfortable while hiking.

If you plan to explore the Highlands during summer, you will need to protect yourself from Midges. They can be very aggressive!

Here is a list of the most important stuff you should pack for your trip to the Highlands.

  • A waterproof coat
  • A pair of good waterproof hiking shoes
  • A pair of gloves
  • Several pairs of warm socks
  • Several sweaters
  • One or two thermal t-shirts
  • Comfortable pants for walking
  • A pair of waterproof over-pants if you plan to do a lot of hiking
  • Thermal tights or underpants. They will be your best friends when it’s cold and windy!
  • An umbrella
  • A mosquito repellent lotion
  • A hat and a scarf (for the winter)
  • A camera or a good smartphone
  • long sleeves T-shirts to protect yourself against the midges (for the summer)
  • If needed, an adapter to charge your phone (as Scotland is in UK, they use G type plugs)
  • A small backpack for hiking
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Scotland travel Guides

You’re traveling to Scotland? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Scotland: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Scotland are listed there.

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best places to visit in the Highlands
Best places to visit in the Highlands

 

Vincent

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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