Known as the “outdoor capital of the UK”, the Scottish Highlands offers gorgeous, remote and rugged natural landscapes. From the highest peaks to the deepest lochs, this breath-taking travel destination will make you feel worlds away from modern civilization. Defined by quaint villages where traditional pubs serve up local produce and picturesque vacation homes where neighbors are few and far between, the Highlands is the ultimate escape. But if you’re looking for shops and amenities, there are also some great towns and cities waiting to be explored.
Known as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness makes a great base for travelers. It’s also fantastic for a day trip if you’re looking to do some shopping and sightseeing. Some of the attractions not to miss include Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, Inverness Cathedral, Inverness Castle, Inverness Botanic Garden, and the Victorian Market filled with tiny shops for gifts and souvenirs. When the sun goes down, you’ll find plenty of pubs with live music as well as some great whiskey venues for whiskey tasting (such as The Malt Room and The Piano and Whisky Bar).
2. Fort William
Located close to our luxury lodge is Fort William, a bustling town that is popular with tourists and also the gateway to Ben Nevis, the UK’s tallest mountain. From here, hikers can also embark on the Great Glen Way, a long-distance path covering 125km that runs all the way to Inverness. The town itself is a fantastic day out, with a selection of shops, cafes and restaurants to choose from. The Nevis Range Mountain Resort also has ski runs and a number of forest trails. There are also some fantastic activities on our extensive estate.
Just over an hour away from our lodge and Fort William is the town of Oban, overlooking the Firth of Lorn. It’s the largest town between Fort William and Helensburgh, playing host to over 25,000 people during the busy summer season. It’s known to many as the starting point for a trip to the Isles, so if you’re planning on exploring the Inner and Outer Hebrides, this is the perfect base. You’ll find the freshest seafood in Scotland, as well as some award-winning restaurants where you can sample the catch of the day.
Set beside the River Tay, Perth is one of the largest communities in the Highland region. Home to the spectacular Scone Palace and the famous Huntingtower Castle (once home to Mary Queen of Scots), it’s a great little spot for sightseeing. Other attractions include The Black Watch Castle and Museum, Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Branklyn Garden, and Elcho Castle. This city is located right on the edge of the Highlands in central Scotland and can be easily reached from Dundee or Edinburgh in the Lowlands.
A town and former burgh on Scotland’s north coast, Thurso is one of the highest points on the mainland. Few travelers venture this far north when they enjoy a vacation in the Highlands, but if you want clear night skies to see the Northern Lights, a trip up here will be worth it. There are also some lovely beaches to explore.