The Scottish Highlands; The Best Tourist Activities
Written by: Doug
Published: 29th August 2017, last updated: 9th November 2020
The Scottish Highlands are an unforgettable tourist destination. If you are searching for an unforgettable experience to share with someone special, look no further and treat yourself to a romantic break in the Highlands.
This region is one of huge cultural and historical significance, and there are plenty of activities to entertain even the most discerning tourist. From a spot of sightseeing to the three W’s (walking, wildlife and whisky) there’s something for everyone, though lovers of nature especially will be particularly impressed with this ruggedly beautiful wilderness.
Why not whisk your other half off on a romantic trip to the Highlands, or bring the whole family for some good outdoorsy fun; once you go, you’re sure to fall in love with this unique and memorable region.
Here are some of the Highlands’ major tourist attractions where you can show your love – don’t worry, if there’s too much to do in one trip you can always come back!
About the Scottish Highlands
The term Highlands is used for the area north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault, although the exact boundaries are not clearly defined, particularly to the east. The area is sparsely populated, with many dominating mountain ranges throughout the region, and it includes the highest mountain in the British Isles- Ben Nevis.
The whole area is now one of the most sparsely populated in the whole of Europe- the population density in the Highlands and Islands is less than one seventh of Scotland’s as a whole.
The best time to visit the Scottish Highlands is probably the summer months of June to August, but realistically with it’s such high Northerly location you can never really guarantee warm or dry weather.
The winters in the Highlands are harsh, but that in itself can have an eerily beautiful quality, snow topped mountains and scenery disappearing into the mist can have an incredibly romantic feel, perhaps why it is such a popular wedding destination.
Historical Sightseeing in the Scottish Highlands
The Highlands and sightseeing go hand in hand. You can find a number of impressive Medieval castles dotted around the landscape, looming majestically over surroundings. Eilean Donan is one such castle and is probably one of Scotland’s most recognisable images. Situated in the middle of a loch, it is only reachable via a causeway and makes for an excellent photo opportunity, a perfect couple selfie spot, as well as being an impressive example of the era’s architecture.
This region is also home to one of the world’s most famous lakes (or lochs, to use the Scottish terminology); Loch Ness. Whether you catch a glimpse of the elusive Loch Ness Monster Nessie or not, you’re sure to admire the breathtaking scenery. Check out our guide here if you are interested in finding out more about other Scottish lochs.
If you’re a fan of military history, there are also plenty of battlefield sites where you can relive important battles from years gone by.
Eilean Donan Castle
Walking and Hiking
For walking and hiking fans, there’s no better place than the Scottish Highlands. Within this region is Britain’s largest National Park, the Cairngorms, which contains some of the highest mountains in the UK, together with beautiful river valleys of the River Spey and the River Dee and ancient Caledonian pinewoods full of wildlife.
For the more adventurous or experienced climbers, there is Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak, which is located at the western end of the Grampian Mountains near Fort William. Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the whole of the British Isles, with it’s summit rising to a whopping 1345 metres above sea level. An estimated 150,000 people ascend it each year.
Hiking in the Highlands
With many smaller mountains to choose from, there are options for lovers of all ages and experiences.If you are interested in hill climbing, you can find out more about the Munros of Scotland here.
With its untouched scenery and rugged wilderness, it’s no surprise that the Highlands contains a variety of wildlife, and is a paradise for nature lovers. If you know where to look, you can find some of Scotland’s most iconic animals. From soaring Golden Eagles to majestic Red Deer, cute critters like the Red Squirrel and even whales, dolphins and seals in the waters off the coast, there are plenty of creatures both large and small that call this region home.
Whether you want the assistance of a tour guide to find this wildlife, or you’d rather explore these ancient habitats in the company of your significant other only, is up to you. There’s enough to make any nature enthusiast happy.
Red Deer in the Highlands
Scotland is famous worldwide for its whisky, and if you visit the highlands you have the perfect opportunity to sample as a couple some of the best that this region has to offer and get an indication of how each unique whisky came about.
This area is Scotland’s largest whisky-producing region, and Highland single malts are held in high regard for their nuanced taste; shaped by the local landscape. Whether you want to visit the distilleries of household names such as Glenmorangie or The Macallan, or you’d rather seek out some lesser-known hidden gems dotted around the area, whisky-lovers and novices alike will be spoiled for choice.
A wee dram o Whiskey to warm the soul
Take Your Pick
With so much to do, you won’t struggle to fill up your days if you’re heading to the Scottish Highlands for a romantic getaway, and action packed adventure, or to spend some quality time with the whole family. These are just some of the area’s main attractions – part of the experience is finding things for yourselves. Whatever your preferences, the Highlands make an excellent choice for a trip and gives you a great taste of what Scotland is all about.
About the author