At highlands of scotlandwhich is like saying the Scottish Highlands, hold countless charms.
They have always been a magical place, but they have become the preferred destination for thousands of tourists thanks to the movie Braveheart, the story of rebel William Wallace and his fight against the English. This Mel Gibson film put Scotland on the map (even if much of the film was filmed… in Ireland).
But the truth is that the Highlands of Scotland are really amazing. The snowy mountains covered in mist, the deep blue lochs, the famous Loch Ness, the iconic castles, the typical Scottish cattle (known as the Highland Cattle), the whiskeys of the region or the aurora borealis, are just some of the attractions.
There are also men with kilts, bagpipes and a tight accent, difficult to understand for those arriving from outside. Don’t worry, you get used to it and the Scots help too.
Highlands of Scotland or the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish territory is divided into two major regions: the Lowlands and the Highlands (the Lowlands and the Highlands, respectively).
In the Lowlands, in southeastern Scotland, are the big cities, such as Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee. The Highlands, to the northwest, are sparsely populated, and their only major city is Inverness, which is situated on the north shore of Loch Ness.
The little urbanization is compensated by the greatest natural beauties of all the United Kingdom, with lakes, fjords and snowy mountains, unique in this territory.
Top attractions in the Highlands of Scotland
Loch Lomond National Park
As we said before, the snowy mountains are one of the attractions of the Highlands. The elevations are immense, brown in color and exhibit low, dry vegetation. Its top is already covered with snow and temperatures drop to levels that really make your teeth chatter.
But the mountains are just part of this National parkwhere you can still find valleys, lakes and a series of natural charms that are worth exploring and discovering.
Always with mountains and lakes as a backdrop, the Scottish Highlands never cease to amaze. Glencoe is a small village, where it is worth stopping for a light meal before continuing on to the next stop: Fort William.
Fort William is a small town on the Highlands route, from which you can head to Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK🇧🇷
Also passes through here Jacobite Steam Trainthe train that inspired the famous Hogwarts Train, from the imaginary Harry Potter. In addition, in Fort William you can also find the Ben Nevis distillery, which is worth a visit.
This castle was rebuilt in the 20th century, from the ruins of an older one that existed there. It is on an islet – the Isle of Skye, bathed by a lake. There is a stone bridge – the Skye Bridge – which leads visitors from the land to the castle grounds.
Along the way, you’ll pass by several lakes, such as Lochs Lochy, Garry and Cluanie, real attractions for those visiting the Highlands.
Broadford is a small village on the way and where you can stay overnight. However, if you prefer to stay in a bigger city with more to offer, then Portree, nearby, is a good option.
Portree to Inverness is almost a three hour journey. This city offers many accommodation and dining options.
From this territory it is possible to watch one of the most fascinating natural spectacles: the Aurora Borealis. A sky illuminated in purple, green and yellow colors, which marvels anyone and should be immortalized in photography.
Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle overlooks Loch Ness, one of the ex-libris of Scotland for those who venture into the Highlands. In fact, it is not open to the public and it is only possible to visit its ruins.
As for the lake, it is essential to go there, take a few pictures and, of course, take a peek and see if Nessie – the monster that lives there – is worthy of showing up or not.
An important detail: in Scotland you must say loch. If you say lake, you’ll see the Scots’ queasy air.
From Fort Augustus to Stirling
Fort Augustus is at the southern end of the lake. It is a small town that works more during the summer months than the rest of the year. Stirling Castle is also worth a visit, as is the statue of Robert the Bruce, Scottish king, which stands in front of it.
Still here you will find some traces of William Wallace, the warrior made famous in cinema by that film braveheartby Mel Gibson.
Wallace would have been a contemporary of Robert the Bruce, having won several battles against the English armies, in search of an independence that would never come.
It is a fact that William Wallace’s life is mixed up between historical reality and legend, but it is yet another attraction to discover the fantastic city of Stirling.