The Top Things to Do in Glencoe, Scotland

Take in the scenery from above with views of Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands
Take in the scenery from above with views of Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands | © Urban Myth / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Richard Collett
14 October 2021

Glencoe might be one of the most popular destinations in the Scottish Highlands. You’ll find all the classic highland activities here – from Scotch whisky tasting to hiking and kayaking, plus snowshoeing if you’re on a winter trip. But Glencoe is also guaranteed to surprise: you’ll have the chance to ride husky sledges through the highlands, drive remote mountain roads to hidden glens and who could pass up on a visit to the Highland Chocolatier? To inspire your journey into the Scottish Highlands, these are the top things to do in Glencoe, Scotland.

Planning a trip to the Scottish Highlands in the near future? Join our wintertime adventure to Glencoe and the surrounding valleys for some active outdoor therapy and cultural activities led by our Local Insider.

Embark on a Snowshoeing Adventure at Glencoe Mountain Resort

Ski Resort
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Glencoe Mountain Resort, Scotland
© Fraser Band / Alamy Stock Photo
Surrounded by the natural beauty of Rannoch Moor, Scotland’s oldest ski centre is without a doubt the highland’s winter sports capital. Tackle the longest, steepest ski slope in Scotland, snowboard down scenic mountain runs or hurtle down the massif on a sledge. Best of all, why not embark on a unique snowshoeing adventure? Strap on the snowshoes and head off-piste into the wild, snow-capped outdoor landscapes of the Glencoe Mountain Resort – with experienced local guides leading the way.

Catch a Glimpse of the Northern Lights

Natural Feature, Park
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Photographer taking a picture of the northern lights
© Leo Patrizi / Getty Images
You don’t need to visit the Arctic to see the Northern Lights, you can experience this otherworldly natural phenomenon in Glencoe. Visit the Scottish Highlands at the right time of year and, with a little luck, you’ll see this spectacular light show in the dark skies. The Aurora Borealis can be seen between October and March – and on a clear, dark night in the highlands, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re in Norway or Iceland.

Join a Husky Ride with Bowland Trails

Sports Center
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Ever wanted to ride a Husky sledge across the snow? Visit Glencoe in winter and that’s exactly what you can do. You’re a long way from Alaska, but with the help of a team of hard-working huskies and the experienced trainers at Bowland Trails, you’ll soon be holding on tight to the reins as you’re sent hurtling across the glen on the back of a sledge. The husky teams at Bowland Trails have won British, European and world championships, so, don’t worry, they’ll keep you safe.

Visit a Highland Chocolatier

Dessert Shop, Dessert
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Highland Chocolatier Grandtully Scotland  May 2017
© Stephen Finn / Alamy Stock Photo
The Scottish Highlands are always full of surprises, but few are as welcome as the chocolatey delights waiting to be sampled in the village of Grandtully. Overlooking the flowing highland waters of the River Tay, you’ll find an award-winning chocolatier mixing Perthshire cream with rare cocoa, sourced from the South Atlantic island of Sao Tome. Chocolate-lovers will revel in the unique opportunity to taste hand-crafted Velvet Truffles and Spiced Pralines on tastings and tours led by Iain Burnett – a renowned culinary expert who’s better known as the ‘Highland Chocolatier’.

Go Scotch Whisky Tasting

Bridge, Distillery
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UK, Scotland, Fort William, Ben Nevis Whisky Distillery, Copper Stills  (Property Released)
© Jon Arnold Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Can any trip to the Scottish highlands ever be complete with a Scotch whisky tasting? In Glencoe, you’ll have plenty of chances for a dram or two of the local liquor at the local shops, bars and restaurants. Glencoe favourites include the historic whiskies produced down the road at the Oban Distillery, where refined malts have been prepared since 1794. The nearby Ben Nevis Distillery has been in operation since the early 1800s, while Dalwhinnie Whiskeys on the edge of the Cairngorms has been satisfying Scotch lovers in Glencoe since 1897.

Sea Kayak on Loch Leven

Hiking Trail
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Scotland Loch Leven Two men on a lake in a kayak
© Robert RT / Alamy Stock Photo
Why not take to the water for a sea kayaking adventure on Loch Leven? This large expanse of water is where the River Coe empties after its winding journey through the glen. You’ll love how easy it is to escape the rest of the world as you paddle your way out into the loch, surrounded by mountain peaks and rare birdlife. Your loch-side vantage point offers a glimpse of Glencoe from a unique perspective.

Visit the Glencoe Folk Museum

Museum
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Glencoe & North Lorn Folk Museum in restored cottage with thatched roof, Lochaber, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK
© Arterra Picture Library / Alamy Stock Photo
There’s more to Glencoe than mountains and lochs, including intriguing history all around you. Delve deeper into the local culture with a visit to the Glencoe Folk Museum – housed in a traditional 18th-century thatched hut – where you’ll find historic local artefacts and collections dating back hundreds of years. You’ll be shocked to learn of the true story behind the infamous Glencoe massacre that scarred the community for centuries.

Drive the Glen Etive Road

Architectural Landmark
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Sron na Creise from the Glen Etive road, Rannoch Moor, Highland Region, Scotland, UK
© Vincent Lowe / Alamy Stock Photo
Fort William to Glencoe, Glencoe to Oban, Glasgow to Glencoe – the list of epic road trips in the Scottish Highlands goes on and on. But have you heard of the drive from Glencoe to Glen Etive? It’s one of the most scenic road trips in Glencoe – think remote mountain scenery – and, at 12mi (19.3km) long, one of the shortest. Better known as the ‘James Bond Road’, this is where the Bond movie Skyfall was partly filmed.

Stroll Through the Glencoe Secret Garden

Park
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Hiding in plain sight – just off the main street in Glencoe village – you’ll find a hidden world of highland flora awaiting you at the Glencoe Secret Garden. This small playpark is surrounded by some of Glencoe’s greenest greenery and, although it’s rather small, it makes for a lovely little escape from the busy streets of the village around it. Sit back on the grass with a cold iron-bru in hand.

See the Glencoe War Memorial

Architectural Landmark
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A view of a memorial commemorating the massacre of Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands.
© Alan Finlayson / Alamy Stock Photo
A lasting tribute to the people of Glencoe and the surrounding villages can be found overlooking the River Coe. As with most communities in the United Kingdom, many soldiers from Glencoe were killed during the First and Second World Wars – and the community built a wonderful memorial to honour their memory. Pay your respects and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the lovely riverside setting in this often overlooked part of Glencoe.
These recommendations were updated on October 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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