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Overview

This enticing, remote region of Scotland includes one of the last true wilderness areas in Europe. The steely-blue lochs, velvet-clad mountains, white-washed villages and ethereal light combine to make the Highlands an indescribably beautiful, almost other-worldly part of Scotland. The northern Highlands is a jumble of snow-capped peaks, rocky outcrops, vast moorlands and tiny winding single-track roads. It's a long way from Scotland's urban belt farther south and once seen it's rarely forgotten.

A plethora of enchanting islands composing the inner and outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetlands offers a multitude of attractions. ...

This enticing, remote region of Scotland includes one of the last true wilderness areas in Europe. The steely-blue lochs, velvet-clad mountains, white-washed villages and ethereal light combine to make the Highlands an indescribably beautiful, almost other-worldly part of Scotland. The northern Highlands is a jumble of snow-capped peaks, rocky outcrops, vast moorlands and tiny winding single-track roads. It's a long way from Scotland's urban belt farther south and once seen it's rarely forgotten.

A plethora of enchanting islands composing the inner and outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetlands offers a multitude of attractions. Orkney has the greatest concentration of prehistoric ruins in Europe culminating in the extraordinary Skara Brae, a well-preserved stone-age village. The Isle of Islay has eight working distilleries producing the peatiest, and some of the finest, whiskeys in the country — Caol Ila is an old favorite. The Isle of Skye, with its collection of jagged mountains, is simply stunning and aptly named. Nowhere is the landscape as raw, or warm homely pubs so welcome, as the wind-ravaged, far-flung Shetland Islands, Scotland's northern outpost and a paradise for bird watchers.

Alan Murphy
About the Expert

Alan Murphy is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Britain, Scotland, India and North India. He has been writing and updating travel guidebooks for the past 12 years.

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Alan Murphy for Triporati

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Now Happening in Scottish Highlands & Islands

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northwestern Scotland, the area is very sparsely populated, with many mountain ranges dominating the region, and includes the highest mountain in the British Isles, Ben Nevis.
  • Language: English, Scots and Scottish Gaelic.
  • Currency: Pound Sterling
  • Research: Scottish Islands | Scottish Highlands
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, May to September