Almost everyone has that bucket list of locations they want to experience and explore before they die.
While I completely encourage you to do that, I mean I have built a whole website around that very idea, this post is specifically about why you need to add the Scottish Highlands to your list. So without delay, let's dive in.
The Scots are incredibly hospitable, super friendly, gracious, open-minded, and brilliantly hilarious, and I'm not just saying that because one of my best buds is Scottish. Cambridge University did a study and found that Scottish people were the most agreeable and cooperative people in the whole of the U.K. The vibe of a nation is built around the vibe of the people and Scottish peeps being throwing nothing but good vibes.
A couple of Scottish lads teaching Katie and I how to play LOTR
No two mountains are the same and the Highlands are full of epic peaks. I wanted to stop every five miles on our road trip to take pictures. I was literally moved to tears looking out at the vast, wild beauty of the Highlands. My heart was overwhelmed with appreciation for God and his creation. The mountains seemed to proclaim his glory while simultaneously pouring out his love to us. I felt truly honored to stand in this magnificent space.
When was the last time you took a casual drive through your neck of the woods and just rolled up on some castles? Okay, if you live in the U.K. that is pretty common. For the rest of us, that's a rare and epic treat. The highlands have many amazing castles that you can explore.
Rather than just driving through the Highlands, you can pull off the road and hit the trails. However, be mindful that the Highlands weather can and does change rapidly. I do not recommend any spur of the moment/unplanned hiking here. Making sure you have adequate gear and water is a must. Even in the summer, the Highlands can be quite cool.
Coastlines & Water Ways
The Scottish highlands have incredible mountain vistas, but they also have amazing coastal views. Ancient glaciers once cut their way through this landscape which the relentless rivers capitalize on, and what is left is something for you to behold. The highlands are filled with lochs, amazing rivers, and a breathtaking coastline. The coastline of Scotland is over six thousand miles long, leaving you enough room to get lost for a while. Some of these locations have shorelines that you can walk and enjoy, and others are jagged cliff sides with a sheer drop-off into the ocean below. Both are beautiful!
Of course, no one is more famous than Nessie, who rules the roost in the world famous Loch Ness. Loch Ness is a stunning location, I encourage you to explore. For more about Loch Ness, click the button below to read about hunting the Loch Ness monster.
The Highlands also offers up some unique experiences inside the villages that reside there. Here you have the opportunity to see shops, sample local food, and find lodging. Want to immerse yourself in a little local culture? Try some stout Scottish Whiskey or Scotch Ale. Inverness is a great city to explore and the village of Glencoe was one of my favorites. I love quaint little places.
The best time for you to go experience the Scottish Highlands is June to August. Please make a mental note that you will be incredibly far north so don't expect summer months to be very hot. We visited in July, and we still wore beanies and jackets. The air off of those lochs can be quite cool, and air coming from the mountains will be as well. Some of them still had snow on them even in the summer.
For international flights, your best airport options are Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. All of these airports are similar in distance from the Highlands. Aberdeen is the closest, with Edinburgh and Glasgow not far behind. Acquiring a rental car shouldn't be very complicated and is usually priced quite fairly. Let the adventure begin!
As always, keep it safe, keep it cool, and stay curious.