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Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scotland is the perfect place for a road trip. The scenic Braveheart country has thousands of lochs, misty hills and mountains, a famous sea monster and enough clan stories to keep you entertained for weeks. I joined a 3-day trip from Edinburgh that took me to Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Glencoe and many other places in the Scottish Highlands.

Organised tour through Scottish Highlands

I went by invitation of Heart of Scotland on their 3-day Isle of Skye tour. The trip started and ended in Edinburg, and on the way to Isle of Skye we visited Eileen Donan Castle, Glencoe and the Scottish Highlands, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness and several other beautiful landmarks in Scotland. As a side bonus, we also went looking for hairy coos.

I really enjoyed this tour and our lovely guide Colin. I traveled by myself so it was the perfect way to experience more of Scotland. The tour is suitable for families, solo travelers and couples and it costs between £109 – £119 per person.

Scotland is the perfect place for a road trip. The scenic Braveheart land has thousands of lochs, misty hills and mountains, a famous sea monster and enough clan stories to keep you entertained for weeks. In this 3-day itinerary from Edinburgh, you'll see Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Glencoe and many other places in the Scottish Highlands. Here's an itinerary for the perfect road trip in Scotland.

DAY 1:

Ben Nevis mountains and Eileen Donan Castle
Ben Nevis Mountains 

In the Scottish Highlands, you’ll inevitably come across a few mountain ranges. The most remarkable of them is Ben Nevis (1344m), which is the highest not only in Scotland but in all of the UK.

On the first day, we stopped at the Commando Memorial; a monument dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces. It was raised during World War II.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Eileen Donan Castle

One of my favorite stops on this road trip was the Eileen Donan Castle. I must have taken a few hundred photos from all possible angles (except from above). In my defense, it is a nice-looking castle, and it often stars in movies about Scotland. It’s like a Scottish trademark.

Eileen Donan is the name of the island. It’s a tidal island where three lochs meet: Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh.

It costs a fee to get into the castle, but that’s not why I didn’t go inside. I preferred the view from the outside, and I liked walking around the area and photographing from all sides. Clearly.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe

Eileen Donan castle is located close to Isle of Skye and the Skye bridge. So if you’re headed there, be sure to stop by the castle first.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

The bridge to Skye

DAY 2

Isle of Skye

We spent two nights and one whole day on Isle of Skye, which is not nearly enough to explore the island fully. We had a pretty tight schedule and got to see some of the main highlights like the Fairy pools, Fairy Glen, Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and Duntulm castle.

You can read all about my trip to Isle of Skye here.

Isle of Skye is any photographer’s and nature lover’s dream destination. It’s beautiful and unique, it’s rugged and mysterious. Lots of clan history, lots of Scottish tales and back pipes. People aren’t exaggerating when they say it’s the prettiest place in Scotland.

It really is that special.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Kilt Rock

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Fairy Glen

DAY 3

Five Sisters of Kintail, Loch Ness and Glencoe
The Five Sisters of Kintail

While driving around the Highlands, our guide Colin shared some clan stories. Most of them involved war and old clan grudges, but the legend of the Five Sisters of Kintail was about something else.

The legend tells the story of seven sisters, two of whom were taken as brides by two Irish brothers. The girls’ father had made a deal with the local sorcerer that if all his daughters were married within 7 years, they would forever remain young and beautiful – which sounded like a pretty sweet deal at the time. When departing, the two Irish lads promised to return with their five older brothers who would marry the remaining sisters.

The father waited and waited, and then on the last day before the 7 years were up, he saw a ship approaching. Everyone was relieved and began celebrating, but then, right before the ship reached land, it was caught in a vicious storm and everyone drowned. The sorcerer held up his end of the bargain by turning the remaining five sisters into the graceful mountains we know as the Five Sisters of Kintail.

Moral of the story? Don’t trust luck when your butt’s on the line.

Glencoe and Scottish Highlands

The Five Sisters

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Fresh Highland raspberries

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

And delicious blueberries

Loch Ness

So, in case you didn’t know, Scotland has A LOT of lochs. Like, 31,460 in total.

Loch Ness is the most famous of the bunch, because of the sea monster that might or might not live there. We went there on the third day of the Scottish highland trip, and for me it was a highlight. At the lake, you can take a boat ride, enjoy lunch or take a swim – if you dare.

Read my post about Loch Ness here.

Loch Ness, Scotland

Loch Ness, Scotland

Loch Lubnaig

While Loch Ness is interesting because of Nessie, others are simply popular for their beauty. Like Loch Lubnaig. It’s not as crowded as Loch Ness and it’s much more tranquil and nice here.

People come to Loch Lubnaig to camp, but it also looked like a lovely place for a picnic. You can even swim here (without the fear of becoming a sea monster snack).

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe

There were lots of places I wanted to see in Scotland, and Isle of Skye was my number one. Besides that, I desperately wanted to visit Glencoe.

Glencoe is part of the Scottish Highlands and it’s famous for two things. One; it’s extremely beautiful (the most stunning place on mainland Scotland). And two; it was the place of the infamous Glencoe massacre where 38 men, women and children from the MacDonald clan were murdered in their sleep by their guests.

Oddly enough, it was nothing special by Highland standard. The problem with the massacre at Glencoe is that it was a breach of clan etiquette. While it was considered acceptable to butcher hundreds of defenseless men and children, you weren’t allowed to be sneaky about it.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

The story is tragic and it has been told since 1692 when the massacre happened. But it’s just one of many bloody clan fights that has taken place in the Scottish Highlands.

I would have liked to spend more time in Glencoe; ideally several days so I could do some hiking. But with our busy schedule, I was glad that we at least made a stop here. It really is a beautiful part of Scotland. Aside from Isle of Skye, it’s the prettiest place I visited.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

One of Scotland’s many, many bagpipers

Scottish highlands and Glencoe, Scotland

Hamish, the wee coo

On this trip, I quickly found out that clan stories are a huge part of Scottish history. Another Scottish yet quite so dramatic symbol is the cows. They are a-dorable!

These highland cows are called coos and they have long horns and wavy hair. So, so cute. We drove past a field and saw these two coos: Hamish and his mother Honey. I just had to stop for a photo.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe

Hamish and Honey

There’s so much to see in Scotland and the things listed here are just some of the highlights. As always, I have a long list of places I’d love to visit if I come back, like Glennfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter train), Finnich Glen, Staffa Isle (Fingal’s cave) and I’d LOVE to see some puffins. There’s always more to see and do for a traveler, it never ends.

Scottish highlands and Glencoe

Many thanks to VisitBritain and VisitScotland for generously hosting me in Scotland, and thanks to Colin from Heart of Scotland for being a wonderful guide. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own, regardless of who is footing the bill.

Have you been to Scotland? Where’s your favorite place?