The Scottish Highlands – Lonely Planet Top 10

One of the Best Regions to Visit in the World

If you have travelled to the wilder parts of the world, we’re sure you’ll have heard about Lonely Planet. Well, it turns out they are familiar with the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, and like it so much they’ve named it in their top 10 regions to visit in 2019.

This is something we’ve known all along of course; the Highlands of Scotland are truly world class when it comes to scenery, history, and hospitality. Everyone should experience it at least once in their life, many return every year.

What makes the Highlands so great?

Relative ease of access to somewhere in Europe where you can find real solitude is a major draw for many visitors. Others relish travelling through unbelievably dramatic scenery, whether on foot or by car, that appears at first glance, untouched for millennia.

History though, is around every corner. Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, Neolithic settlers, Pictish kings, Viking invaders and centuries of dispute with England, have all left their mark on our dramatic landscape. 

Things to Do

Some visitors wish to come and do nothing, and there’s no finer place to do it. Picking a remote cottage might mean you see no one on your visit and a phone signal can be hard to come by. It sounds great to us!

Others wish for a more active holiday, and the Highlands offer plenty to do. If you are based on Skye, you could be on a boat looking for sea eagles in the morning and walking in the Cuillin hills, or visiting the fairy pools in the afternoon. Or, if staying more centrally, cruising on mysterious Loch Ness may appeal, and a visit to the famous Loch Ness Exhibition Centre is popular with those on the look out for Nessie.

Ancient castles feature in many glens and around lochs, often they are open to the public. Some are atmospheric ruins others are restored homes where you can immerse yourself in clan history.

Culloden battlefield, near Inverness, has a modern visitor centre that guides you through the background of the conflict between Jacobite and Government forces that culminated in the last pitched battle on British soil. 

Whisky is ever popular with visitors and locals alike, and there are many famous Scottish distilleries to visit. Golf was invented in Scotland and you don’t have to look far for a challenging course. You might want to take on a wildlife safari or 4×4 adventure, or just take a gentle tour around the quiet glens on narrow roads through pretty villages. Don’t forget your camera.

Where to Stay

All the highland regions have their own character, and each could be recommended for its own unique reasons. If you are staying in self catering accommodation, you will need a car to get about.

Skye is popular, and it’s an island with dramatic scenery that offers space to relax in first class accommodation. The west coast is beautiful with many mountains and glens, and a little quieter. It can take more of an effort to get there, but it’s always worthwhile.

The east coast is quieter still and the scenery offers more in the way of rolling hills and fields than dramatic mountains and cliffs. It’s easy to get to and rich in history.

If you are looking for a touring holiday and want to see as much as possible, we would recommend a central location with good road links. If you base yourself around Loch Ness many of the most popular attractions are within a day trip. You benefit from being able to use the main roads that link Inverness to the rest of the Highlands and getting to Fort William, the west coast and Skye is straightforward.

If you (or your children) find it hard to leave modern life behind, the internet may be available in your accommodation. Download speeds won’t be what you’re used to though, so forget about streaming movies or online gaming. Choose carefully and your stay will be all that you hoped for.

If you like visiting places “off the beaten track”, or easy walks in the hills, keep an eye on these pages. We’ll be sharing our favourite places with you and hope they will inspire you to come and stay in our wonderful country.

One thing we would urge you to do, is take your time. There is a great deal to discover throughout the Highlands of Scotland, and much like a good malt, it shouldn’t be rushed.