The Most Beautiful Places in the Scottish Highlands

Marvel at these stunning photographs of the Scottish Highlands and dream up your next big trip
Marvel at these stunning photographs of the Scottish Highlands and dream up your next big trip | © John Peter Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Alexander Crow
18 October 2021
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The Scottish Highlands are the home of mountains, glens, deep lochs, ancient woods and hidden beaches. From Sandwood Bay to Rannoch Moor, here are the most beautiful places to visit in the region.

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The Caledonian Canal

Natural Feature
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© John Peter Photography / Alamy Stock Photo
The Great Glen stretches for more than 60mi (97km) from Inverness down to Fort William. Much of this famous geological fault line is filled with the depths of Loch Ness with the Caledonian Canal linking the other parts, enabling boats to cross from the North Sea to the Atlantic.

The Trossachs

Forest, Natural Feature, Park
Map View
© John Potter / Alamy Stock Photo
The land to the east of Loch Lomond – known as the Trossachs – is full of small glens, fairytale woodlands and peaceful lochs. In the spring, this area is covered in wildflowers, especially the Scottish bluebell – and the sight is tremendous. It’s a popular destination for visitors from Glasgow, to the south.

Sandwood Bay

Natural Feature
Map View
© David Robertson / Alamy Stock Photo
To give you an idea of the scale in this photo, the beach is a mile long and the sea stack – Am Buachaille – is 215ft (65m) tall. Remote and usually empty of other people, Sandwood Bay can only be reached by a 4mi (6.4km) walk. Legends of shipwrecks and buried Viking longships abound, this is a true place for reflection.

Loch Hourn, Knoydart

Natural Feature
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© larum stock / Alamy Stock Photo
This loch marks the northern border of Knoydart and it’s truly wild. Where Loch Nevis is the “Lake of Heaven”, Loch Hourn means the “Lake of Hell”. When the storms sweep in, it’s not hard to see how it was named – despite its astonishing beauty. The mountain is Ladhar Bheinn, standing at 3,346ft (1,020m) high.

Camusdarach, Morar

Natural Feature
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© Kenny Ferguson / Alamy Stock Photo
You would be forgiven for thinking the silver sands and clear waters stretching between Morar and Arisaig are tropical – or perhaps the Mediterranean – rather than on the West Coast of Scotland. Ewan McGregor once said that this was his favourite place, not just in Scotland, but the whole world, and who are we to argue? Here, you can enjoy incredible views across Skye, Rum and Eigg.

Ben Loyal

Natural Feature
Map View
© David Robertson / Alamy Stock Photo
Also called the “Queen of Scottish Mountains”, Ben Loyal rises from the North Coast of the Highlands – and this jagged granite peak is prominent on the skyline for many miles around. The area is sparsely populated and spectacular. Once visited, it will remain with you: Loyal by name, loyal by nature.

Meall na h-Aodainn Moire

Natural Feature
Map View
© Julian Cartwright / Alamy Stock Photo
Although a summit in itself, Meall na h-Aodainn Moire is usually added to an ascent of the nearby Ben Vrackie – and both offer excellent views over the surrounding area, including the always-popular Pitlochry. When the heather is in bloom, the Scottish Highlands are clad in imperial purple.

Loch Torridon

Natural Feature
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© JOHN BRACEGIRDLE / Alamy Stock Photo
This 15mi (24km) sea loch is at the heart of some of the most incredible scenery to be found anywhere in the British Isles. Carved by the actions of ancient glaciers, it cuts through some of the oldest rocks in the world. The area is a favourite of photographers, climbers, walkers and those keen to see the varied wildlife that inhabits the hills, woods and waters.

Faskally Woods

Forest
Map View
© Stephen Finn / Alamy Stock Photo
Within an easy walk of Pitlochry, these woodlands are another place to catch the splendour of autumn. During the daytime, they are reflected in the still waters of Loch Faskally and offer a chance to capture nature in all its glory. If Faskally Woods are naturally beautiful during the day, at night – for a few weeks a year – they become ethereal. The ‘Enchanted Forest’ is an award-winning light and sound event like no other.

Glen Affric

Natural Feature
Map View
© Julian Elliott / Alamy Stock Photo
Travel a short way south of Inverness to visit this remote glen and you have the chance to witness nature as she is meant to be. One of the best areas to see surviving fragments of Caledonian pinewoods, this valley is home to rare species: such as capercaillie, crossbills, pine marten and wildcat.

Rannoch Moor

Natural Feature
Map View
© Stephen Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo
A huge expanse of peaty bog, Rannoch Moor is a place of pilgrimage for many photographers – the light renowned for its outstanding properties and the views exceptional in all directions. This is a place where the sky feels huge, where the world slips away into mountains and lochs and troubles can dissipate in awe of nature.
These recommendations were updated on October 18, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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