Scottish Highlands Travel Guide

Loch Long, Scottish Highlands - © Richard Webb

Introduction and Overview

The Scottish Highlands Travel Guide explores further the Highlands, synonymous with the picture-postcard images of Scotland incorporating the magnificent scenery, wild wildernesses, imposing mountains and forests.

The area guide features travel information on local transport and travel, facts & figures, entertainment, events, maps and accommodation.

The Scottish Highlands has its own distinctive character and charm that greets visitors to the area. The Highlands offer a distinctly Scottish flavour and many see them as Scotland at its most resplendent. The Highlands have a rich culture with strong cultural heritage influenced by history and the Gaelic language.

The region is synonymous with a number of well known symbols including kilts, bag pipes, tartans these can all be seen at the Highland Games that take place at various locations across the region.

The capital of the Highlands and the only major centre in the entire region is the city of Inverness, the most northerly city in the UK. Inverness is a transport hub with access to the rest of the Highlands and other parts of the UK.

The city is located close by to the famous Loch Ness, there is a exhibition centre and visitors centre where visitors can learn more about sightings of the legendary Loch Ness monster.

The geographical location, transport facilities and local amenities mean many visitors use Inverness as a base upon which to explore the surrounding areas further.

Local attractions include the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, exploring the history of the area and the 19th century Inverness Castle, with its gothic styled architecture and distinctive red sand stone. Inverness Cathedral dates back to the 19th century, known for its square looking squires.

The city includes a choice of bars, cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues including traditional music and dance venues.

Shopping facilities include the Eastgate Centre where visitors will find a range of high street names, whilst at the Victorian Arcade there is a choice of small, independent shops.

Wherever you happen to be in the highlands you are sure to encounter natural beauty such as the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Affric and Ben Nevis to name but a few. This is a mountainous area with many miles of coastline to see and explore too.

There is also some flatter land such as is found in Sutherland, where visitors are treated to one of the wilderness spectacles in Europe. With these surroundings, landscape and environment, wildlife truly flourishes here, wildlife enthusiasts can see whales, dolphins, otters and eagles among others.

Photography fans would be advised to ensure bringing their camera, the combination of the scenery, environment and wildlife make for a photographer’s paradise.

The awe inspiring landscape, peace and tranquillity and feeling of open space is undoubtedly one of the main attractions of the Highlands. However for the active and adventurous there are a wealth of activities that you can take part in ranging from mountaineering and climbing to water sports to off-road biking, and many others.

Fort William and Lochaber are particular hot spots in this area and have been said to be the outdoor capital of the UK. Those seeking an altogether slower pace of life are catered for with many historical sites, castles, towns and distinctive culture.

See Visit Highlands for further information.

At the southern end of the Highlands is the town of Fort William located 65 miles south west of Inverness. Fort William is the second largest settlement in the Highlands after Inverness, its proximity to Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, West Highland Way and Great Glen Way paths make it is a centre for touring the West Highlands.

The area is famed for the rugged landscapes notable for their mild Atlantic climate. Local attractions include the West Highland Museum with collections of Jacobean era memorabilia and the Ben Nevis Distillery & Visitor Centre. The town hosts the annual Fort William Mountain Festival, a celebration of mountain culture with films, workshops and more.

The Lochaber area includes some of Scotland's best mountain scenery that shows Highland grandeur at its best.

Aviemore is located 30 miles south of Inverness within the Cairngorms National Park. Aviemore is popular resort with visitors with its mountains, slopes and wide river valleys. The high plateau of the Cairngorms provides views that are ever-changing throughout the day as sun and shadow move across the hills.

There are pinewoods, rocky passes and moorlands to see here. The Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the UK at 4,528 square km, covering approx 10% of Scotland. The park is famous for its outstanding scenery and stunning landscapes.

The park is home to many threatened species of wildlife and plants, visitors will find moorland, lochs, farmland, rivers, native forest and mountain here.

Although there are variations in the Highlands landscape the mountain profiles of Skye create perhaps the greatest sense of the wow factor. The wonderful surroundings have drawn visitors to the island for a long time. Skye is joined to the mainland by the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh and there are ferry connections.

Back on the mainland Lochalsh is rugged hill country but still has a wow factor to it, visitors will find glens, fishing villages, mountain ranges, traditional culture and a relaxed pace of life.

The largest village in Lochalsh is Kyle of Lochalsh, the local tourist centre is located here where visitors can find useful information on local sights and attractions.

Local attractions include the historic Eilean Donan Castle, among the most famous in Scotland, Glen Shiel Battle Site and Pictish Brochs at Glenelg.

The Isle of Skye is a scenic island located in the Inner Hebrides off the Scottish mainland. The largest town is Portree with other small towns and villages located on the island.

The island has scenic sea cliffs, beaches, mountains and hills making it a favourite place for walkers, there are also plenty of historical sights to discover. There are a number of arts and crafts industries on the island including jewellers and chocolatiers and there are number of art studios and galleries.

The Northern Highlands offer splendid variety, visitors will find quiet remote wildernesses along with ancient archaeological sites of Caithness. The Northern Highlands have sublime landscapes great for walkers and climbers. There are lochs to the delight of anglers who like peace and quiet.

The town of Dornoch is located on the east coast, the picturesque town is known for its sandstone townhouses, the 13th century Dornoch Cathedral, the 16th century Dornoch Castle now a hotel and one of the best golf courses in Scotland.

Ullapool is a small town that is the largest settlement in the area, the town has a strong tradition in the arts and culture. The location and amenities including a choice of bars, cafes, restaurants, pubs and entertainment in the town make it an ideal place for visitors to base themselves when touring the area.

Local attractions include Achmelvich Beach known for its white sand, Rogie Falls, Ullapool Museum located in a Grade I listed building and Lael Forest located a few miles away.

The Scottish Highlands include a varied and scenic landscape making it a fascinating place to visit. There are plenty of natural attractions for those that like scenic natural scenery and varied environments.

There is history with historic castles and country houses and a wonderful feeling of peace, tranquillity and space making it an ideal retreat for those wanting to relax and get away from it all.

The Highlands provides a wonderful wilderness for visitors to explore alongside its charming towns and villages.

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