eeilean-donan-castle

The Scottish Highlands are full of magical castles, mythical monsters, mountainous hiking and many lochs and glens to explore. There is no shortage to luxury in the Highlands either. Whether traveling by the Orient Express through the rocky glens, or staying in a historic castle, Luxe Travel Advisors can show you through the Highlands without sacrificing comfort or style. Read our top 10 must-see sites in the Scottish Highlands.

Start your trip in Inverness, the gateway to the Scottish Highlands and one of the most northern cities in Scotland. This quaint city lies along the River Ness, which opens out to the ocean, and from here, you can cruise the lakes and oceans for spectacular views. For some Scottish fun, try your hand at the Highland games, often played during spring and summer months.

From Inverness, Loch Ness is a short trip away. Many visitors head to the infamous lake in search of “Nessie,” the Loch Ness Monster. The fabled creature that lives in Loch Ness is not the only thing to search for while you’re here. Explore the Urquhart Castle ruins while here, tour the lighthouse as Lochend or hike one of the many beautiful trails.
Aberdeen, located in the northeastern Scottish Highlands, is Scotland’s third largest city. This metropolitan area is a great base city for exploring the Highlands area. Of course, there is plenty to discover within the city limits as well. Over 45 parks beautify the “Granite City” known for its use of granite buildings from the Victorian area. Because of this, the buildings still look fresh and new 200 years later. Spend a day beholding the various gardens, stroll through King’s College, or take in the many cathedrals and their centuries old cemeteries. Speak to a Luxe Travel Advisor about booking a room at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen, and enjoy the country estate and woodland peace.

The approximately 70 Orkney Islands dot the northeastern coast of the Scottish Highlands. Most often accessible by boat, the islands are full of a rich and varied history, sometimes quite different from the mainland. Ferries run regularly to the islands from Thurso, Scrabster, Gills Bay, and Aberdeen. On the other hand, take an exclusive cruise around the islands. If you enjoy prehistoric relics, be sure to check out the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar ceremonial circles. While not as large as Stonehenge, very few henges are circular as these are and date back just as many years.

Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands

On the western side of the Scottish Highlands, sits the Isle of Skye. Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye is the oldest inhabited castle in the country, home to the Clan MacLeod since the 13th century. Visit the beautiful gardens here and enjoy a fine meal or afternoon tea in the café. Search for puffins or seals by boat, or take an afternoon fishing or hiking one of the many trails on the island.

Many areas in the Scottish Highlands, such as Glen Coe and Glen Nevis, are popular spots for hiking and rock climbing. Glen Coe, located at the southern part of the Highlands, and Glen Nevis, near Fort William, offer stunning landscapes with comfortably sloping hills, winding waterfalls, and emerald valleys.

Ring of Brodgar Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands are home to many of Scotland’s famed castles. In addition to Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, find the romantic Eilean Donan in the western Highlands. One of the most picturesque castle settings with Loch Duich and rugged hills in the background, this castle has been a backdrop for many feature films as well. Close to Inverness, find the haunted Cawdor Castle, and the blue velvet clad ghost. If your fear of ghosts keeps you out of the castle, the unique gardens here are still worth a visit. The most elaborate Z plan Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire also has a haunted history with a princess roaming the halls. Contact a Luxe Travel Advisor and ask how you can stay in the exclusive Inverlochy Castle Hotel in Fort William. This 19th century baronial mansion is two miles from the ruins of the Inverlochy Castle, for which it was named.

Many areas in Scotland produce the nation’s drink of choice, Scotch whisky. However, no region offers more distilleries than in the Scottish Highlands. Sample some of the best the region has to offer at the Highland Park Distillery in the Orkney Islands, with tours in the spring and summer. In the Isle of Skye, try the Talisker Distillery. In Fort William, after a day of hiking or exploring the castles enjoy complementary tasting while touring Ben Nevis distillery. To cap it all off, head to Speyside’s “Whisky Trail” and visit the oldest licensed Scotch distillery, Glenlivet.

Visits to the Scottish Highlands are incredible any time of the year. Travel in the summer and enjoy the outdoor natural beauty. Enjoy a cozy fire in your room in winter, while enjoying picturesque hills and castles in a soft blanket of snow. To enjoy the Highland wonderland any time of year, contact the Luxe Travel team at 1-866-365-8747 or concierge@luxetravel.com.