A trip to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Scottish Highlands. Encapsulating lochs, mountains, castles and glens, the Scottish Highlands is globally revered for its history and sheer beauty.
While there’s plenty to explore here, by far the biggest attraction is the sense of stillness in a time. That’s because the Scottish Highlands is a place where nature – past and present – rules the roost. Captivating views and scenic walks offer the utmost peace and tranquillity, making any corner of these lands the perfect place to get away from it all.
It’s impossible to cram every last detail about the Scottish Highlands into one post, let alone several of them. But for those who are yet to visit, here is an overview of what to expect, how to get here, and what to see while you’re here.
The Scottish Highlands: An Overview
When people think of Scotland, the image that comes to mind is likely the glorious glens and dramatic mountainous terrains of the Scottish Highlands.
Formed by some of the oldest rocks in the world, its landscapes carry with them a wealth of stories just waiting to be told by local tour guides.
The Scottish Highlands is located just north of Dalnaspidal when driving up from the Lowlands.
As the site of many historical battles, the Highlands to this day remain mostly uninhabited. So if you are looking to get away from the crowds, the Scottish Highlands are just the ticket.
It’s possible to visit the area all year round, although the spring and summer offer the best weather conditions for exploring on foot. If you are planning to visit in the colder months, a warm roaring fire will be there to greet you in many of the pubs.
Areas To Explore In The Scottish Highlands
- Back of Keppoch
- (the) Black Isle
- Boat of Garten
- Bonar Bridge
- Conon Bridge
- Dulnain Bridge
- Duror (of Appin)
- Fort Augustus
- Fort William
- John o’ Groats
- Kyle of Lochalsh
- Muir of Ord
- North Ballachulish
- Roy Bridge
- Spean Bridge
How To Get To The Scottish Highlands
Airport – Inverness Airport is located within the Highlands itself. It offers direct flights to Amsterdam, Benbecula, Belfast City, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Kirkwall, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester, Stornoway and Sumburgh.
Various public transport options exist to connect from Inverness to elsewhere within the Highlands. Several car rental firms also operate within the vicinity of the airport.
If travelling from further afield, Glasgow Airport or Edinburgh Airport may be more convenient to get to initially, before making your way up to the Highlands by car or public transport.
Car – The A9 is an arterial route running from Falkirk to Scrabster in the very north of the Scottish Highlands. It hugs much of the eastern coastline. The A87 offers connectivity to the Isle of Skye and the A835 runs to Ullapool. If looking to get off the beaten path, be advised that the Highlands are mostly connected by sparse rural roads.
Train – Train stations found in the Scottish Highlands mostly hug the eastern and western coastlines. Services run as far north as Thurso, with some of the main stations including Inverness, Perth, Wick, Keith, Dingwall, Kyle of Lochalsh and Mallaig.
Ferry – Ferry ports can be found at Thurso, Mallaig and Oban. There are additional ferry ports across Scotland that could also form part of your journey up to the highlands.
Bus – Public bus services as well as private bus tours can be found across the Scottish Highlands. View all public bus services in the Scottish Highlands.
Scottish Highlands Top Visitor Attractions
Anyone who visits the Scottish Highlands will never be short of things to do.
Some of the most popular towns and cities include Inverness, Fort William, Aviemore and Glenfinnan. These form handy hubs for being in close reach of amenities, not to mention a fantastic array of restaurants and bars to help you thoroughly enjoy your stay.
The top attractions on the Scottish Highlands include Fort George, Ben Nevis, Steall Waterfall, Tomatin Distillery Visitor Centre, Loch an Eilein, Clava Cairns and the Jacobite Steam Train.
There are also around 90 different day trips to explore. Some of the most popular excursions include visits to Dunrobin Castle, Glencoe, Isle of Skye and Culloden.
Where To Stay In The Scottish Highlands
The range of holiday lets available in the Scottish Highlands varies from rustic cottages to wooden cabins. Though one thing that remains consistent is the spectacular 360 views you’ll wake up to each morning, regardless of whereabouts you stay.
At present, Best Scottish Cottages has 49 holiday lets available across the Scottish Highlands.
Be sure to check them out, and let us know if you are in search of a property that’s close to a particular location or even activity so that we can match you to the perfect spot for your break.
Scottish Highlands FAQs
Have a question about visiting the Scottish Highlands? We’ve answered some of the most popular questions below. But if you don’t see your question, please get in touch and we’ll get back to you.
Where Are The Scottish Highlands?
The Highland Boundary denotes where the Lowlands end and the Highlands begin, and this can be found north of Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee. The Lowlands snake round the eastern side of Scotland and include Aberdeen, making the Highlands found more towards the eastern side of the tip of Scotland.
Is It Worth Visiting The Scottish Highlands?
Absolutely. In fact, we’d go as far as to say no visit to Scotland, or even the UK is complete without a visit to these majestic lands. From breathtaking landscapes to sampling a dram of whisky, or learning more about the history of these isles in one of the many museums that can be found here, the Scottish Highlands offers something for everyone, and if you haven’t been it is worth checking out the Scottish Highland Games in 2023.
How To See The Scottish Highlands Without A Car
Scotland is well connected by public transport, including trains, buses and regional airports. Depending on where you wish to visit in the Scottish Highlands, it is possible to plan your trip around public transport options.
We recommend researching your route in advance. Likewise if staying in the Scottish Highlands without a car, it’s wise to opt for a location that is close to plenty of amenities and transport options.
What Is The Closest City To The Scottish Highlands?
Inverness is a city that is within the Scottish Highlands and is easy to get to via air, car, train or local bus services.
Best Scottish Cottages – Holiday Lets Scottish Highlands
Ready to book your break to the Scottish Highlands? Here at Best Scottish Cottages, your Scottish Highlands break is just a few clicks away.
On our Collections page, you can choose a holiday by type, including everything from treehouses to farmhouse stays, hotels and B&Bs. You can also plan a trip of a lifetime, such as a dream wedding stay or a holiday for any other special occasion.
Can’t wait to get away? Check out our late availability for last minute holiday lets in the Isle of Skye and beyond to secure your break with us today.
New here? Be sure to give us a follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook where we post regular inspiration for your next break in Scotland. Plus, be the first to find out about our latest holiday rentals or special deals we have on offer.