10 Best Things to Do in the Scottish Highlands

What is the Scottish Highlands Most Famous For?

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    The Scottish Highlands offers majestic and wild scenery and blissful seclusion amid lochs and mountains. This northern part of Scotland beamed to a global audience in the likes of the Harry Potter films and the Outlander TV series. From hunting for the Loch Ness Monster to scaling Ben Nevis and even kicking back on one of the region’s stunning, tropical-style beaches, every inch of the Scottish Highlands seems to promise adventure and mystery.

    No matter whether you’re more at home in the big city or out in the endless countryside, the Highlands have a treat in store. This collection of the best things to do in the Scottish Highlands will help you make the most of your trip.

    1

    Loch Ness

    Go in search of Nessie

    Loch Ness is a freshwater lake that’s known the world over as the reputed home of the famous, dinosaur-like Loch Ness Monster, more affectionately known as Nessie.

    Stretching for almost 37 km and reaching depths of over 200 metres, Loch Ness sits south of Inverness at the heart of the Scottish Highlands, and it figures high on the itinerary of most visitors to Scotland. It’s possible to walk or cycle all the way around Loch Ness in a few days, but if you’re pressed for time, you can head out on a boat tour for some Nessie-hunting of your own.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Loch Ness, Inverness-shire, IV63 6TU, UK

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    2

    Take the West Highland Line across the Glenfinnan Viaduct

    Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps

    Travelling across the Scottish Highlands by train is an excellent way to take in the region’s abundance of unmissable views. The scenic West Highland Railway Line connects Glasgow with the town of Fort William and the ports of Oban and Mallaig. The scenery is worth the ride alone, and you’ll catch plenty of glimpses that just can’t be had other than by train thanks to a total lack of roads.

    The route also passes some of the most low-key and isolated train stations in the UK, and Harry Potter fans will be thrilled with the chance to pass over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, just as the Hogwarts Express has so many times.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Glasgow Queen Street Station, North Hanover Street, Glasgow, G1 2AF, UK

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    3

    Eilean Donan Castle

    No man is an island – but this castle is

    While not everyone knows it by name, Eilean Donan Castle is quite simply an iconic image of Scotland. The framing of this privately owned 13th-century castle takes the term ‘picturesque’ to extremes, set on its own small island, surrounded by lochs and mountains, and even with views of the Isle of Skye.

    The Eilean Donan Castle – the name of which translates as the Island of Donnán, after a Celtic saint – has had a rich history since being founded as a monastic cell. It was ultimately destroyed during the 18th century’s Jacobite uprisings, and what you see today is actually a 1930s reconstruction of the ruins.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, IV40 8DX, UK

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    ภาพโดย Syxaxis Photography (CC BY-SA 4.0) เวอร์ชั่นแก้ไข

    4

    Inverness

    Shopping and architecture in the Highlands’ capital

    It’s not all wilderness in the Scottish Highlands – the region’s historic capital city of Inverness is as worthy of a visit as any of its other attractions. Highlights for culture lovers include Inverness Cathedral, which dates to the 19th century and is the UK’s first built after the English Reformation. There’s also the more modern Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

    The expansive indoor-outdoor Inverness Botanic Gardens are also well worth a look, while the Victorian Market’s 19th-century shopping arcade is a great choice of picking up gifts and souvenirs.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Inverness, UK

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    5

    Ben Nevis

    The roof of Scotland

    Ben Nevis is where it’s at when it comes to serious British mountain climbing. It is, after all, the tallest peak to be found anywhere in the UK. This monster of a mountain soars 1,345 metres above sea level and forms of part of the Three Peaks Challenge, which involves climbing Nevis plus England’s Scafell Pike and Wales’ Snowdon – all within 24 hours.

    Ben Nevis’ 2 main tracks are suited to walkers and climbers with different levels of experience. The mountain is part of the Grampian range and was first climbed in 1771. These days, some 125,000 people still make the ascent each year.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Glen Nevis, Fort William, PH33 6ST, UK

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    6

    River Lochy Falls

    A naturally rejuvenating rest stop

    The River Lochy Falls are picturesque waterfalls that you can access by way of Strone Hill, a spot that has long since served as a resting stop. It would be easy to pass right by the falls, but you’d be missing out.

    Strone Hill sits between the River Lochy and the road that runs from the village of Tyndrum to the port of Oban. It follows the short Waterfall Woods Trail – one of 2 alongside the An Darach Ruadh Trail – delivers you to an unforgettable viewpoint from which to gaze at the falls in all their might.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Dalmally, PA33 1AX, UK

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    7

    Isle of Skye

    One big, sparsely populated and eye-catching island

    Rugged, fantasy-like landscapes are the order of the day on the Isle of Skye, the Inner Hebrides archipelago’s biggest island despite having a population of just 10,000. Skye sits off the northwest coast of Scotland but is linked to it by a bridge over Loch Alsh to Eilean Bàn. Mountains dominate the Isle of Skye’s inland area, but there are also plenty of lochs and dramatic coastline scenery.

    Boat trips from the village of Elgol are a great way to spot wildlife on Loch Coriusk or smaller nearby islands like Raasay and Rona. Back on firm ground, the town and de facto capital of Portree has several boutiques for souvenir shopping.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Portree, IV51 9EL, UK

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    8

    Glencoe

    Dramatic landscapes packed with history

    The small village of Glencoe has a population of less than 400, but that doesn’t stop it and the surrounding valley from pulling in the crowds with its show-stopping landscape. Head out on the water of triangular-shaped Loch Leven, which sits alongside the Glencoe valley – the castle that once held Mary, Queen of Scots even sits on one of the islands in the loch – or embark on the area’s challenging Lost Valley hiking trail.

    Back in the village itself, make time for the Glencoe Folk Museum, which sits in an attractive row of white-stone and thatch-roofed cottages.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Glencoe, Ballachulish, PH49 4HS, UK

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    9

    Fort William

    The end of the line, but just the beginning of the adventure

    Set at the edge of Loch Linnhe, Fort William is considered first and foremost as the drop-off point for adventurous types looking to scale the dizzying heights of Ben Nevis – but there’s undeniably more to see and do there than just that. The town is also the terminus of one branch of the scenic West Highland Railway Line, and it’s frequently name-dropped as the UK’s ‘outdoor capital’.

    Fort William is a great place to base yourself for exploring the rest of the Scottish Highlands – but no-one would blame you if all you wanted to do was hunker down in a pub here and get a sample of the finest Scotch whisky.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Fort William, PH33 6TQ, UK

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    10

    Stroll the Scottish Highlands’ stunning beaches

    You won’t believe you’re still in Scotland

    If you washed up on one of the Scottish Highlands’ pristine beaches, you’d be forgiven for believing you were somewhere else, far away. That’s the nature of these windswept stretches of sand – they really are the kind of landscapes you’d usually associate with the Caribbean or parts of Southeast Asia.

    Among those especially worth seeking out include the remote but fantastically wide Strathy Bay, the dune-fringed Sinclairs Bay with its drop-dead-gorgeous white sand, and the challenging-to-reach but equally rewarding Sandwood Bay.

    สถานที่ตั้ง: Sinclairs Bay, Keiss, KW1 4XG, UK

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    Chris Wotton | นักเขียนประจำ

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