The magical land of brave warriors, romantic castles, awe-inspiring scenery, and hospitable people, Scotland’s Highlands seems to be too beautiful to be true. This fascinating realm with a rich history, captivating legends, majestic mountains, ancient forests, and mysterious lochs, is a muse for writers and a playground for outdoor lovers.
It rains and it’s often windy in the Highlands but no one would want it any other way. This is the perfect weather to discover the dramatic scenery of the Highlands shaped by a tumultuous history and dark tales of clan battles. There are monsters in the Highlands’ lakes, goblins and fairies in the forests, and ghosts in the medieval castles.
Whether you’re visiting the Highlands from Glasgow or Edinburgh, you’ll unavoidably arrive first at Lock Lomond. One of the most beautiful natural wonders in the Highlands, Loch Lomond is so picturesque that it became the muse of a very popular love song. The mesmerizing lock has a shoreline of 153 km and is surrounded by charming little villages, rolling hills and idyllic spots for hiking, water adventures or golf rounds.
The deep valley and imposing mountains of the other-worldly Glen Coe were sculpted centuries ago by glaciers and volcanic eruptions. The road that crosses Glen Coe will lead your steps through the core of an ancient volcano and reward your curiosity with superb scenery dominated by rugged mountain peaks. The breathtaking valley has a haunted past though. During a massacre that took place in 1962, 38 members of the MacDonald Clan were murdered by the government forces. Driving around the peaks of the “Three Sisters” unveils a beautiful but sad painting that’s still haunted by this tragic tale. Glencoe village is nestled between the shores of Loch Leven and the mouth of the glen. It is the perfect starting point for exploring the area of Lochaber.
If you love hiking, you’ll never be able to resist the splendid trails that await in Lochaber. This region is home to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. Part of the Grampian Mountain range, this famous 4,416-feet peak was once a mammoth active volcano that exploded and collapsed inwards. Ben Nevis means in Gaelic “mountain with its head in the clouds” because most of the times its peak is hidden in mist.
Often a base for hikers daring enough to do some munro bagging (summiting mountains over 3,000 feet), and especially for those who want to climb Ben Nevis, Fort William is a quaint town. With pubs where the finest Scotch whisky keeps both travelers and locals jolly and the flavored ale keeps on flowing, and local restaurants that serve the traditional fish and chips, High Street is the epicenter of the town. Fort William is also a great starting point for fishing trips and relaxing country walks, skiing and water activities.
Jacobite Steam Train
The Jacobite Steam Train takes passengers from Fort William to Mallaig and back. The train ride has been called the most scenic train journey in the world and it’s definitely worthy of the title. The steam train follows an 84-mile route and takes passengers deep into the Highlands. It stops at Glenfinnan, from where you can visit the lovely villages of Arisaig, Lochailort, Morar, and Mallaig, and passes by Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, and Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch on the continent.
The deep, cold, murky Loch Ness is home to Nessie, the long-necked, green creature many people see but no one has proof of. Enter this mysterious world of Loch Ness’s monster by sailing across the loch to the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle while enjoying the comments of a funny Scottish guide and keeping an eye for Nessie. The landscape is dotted with castles and romantic lighthouses watching over the dramatic scenery.
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides, has some of the most iconic and dramatic landscapes in Scotland. Enchanting and mysterious, captivating and inspiring, the Isle of Skye is adorned with a dramatic coastline and dotted with incredible geological features, like the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Cuillin. The island’s history is illustrated through prehistoric sites and medieval castles while the friendly atmosphere and cozy villages familiarize visitors with the delicious local fare and the local malt whisky.
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