Nestled in the northern part of the United Kingdom, the Scottish Highlands boast breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and a unique cultural tapestry. A 5-day journey through this rugged and enchanting region promises an unforgettable experience. From mist-covered mountains to ancient castles, the Scottish Highlands offer a diverse range of attractions that cater to every traveler’s interest. Let’s embark on a journey through the Ultimate 5-Day Itinerary in the Scottish Highlands to uncover the hidden gems and iconic landmarks that define this mystical land.
Day 1: Edinburgh to Inverness
Start your Highland adventure in the charming city of Edinburgh. Explore the historic Edinburgh Castle and stroll down the Royal Mile before hitting the road to Inverness. En route, make a pit stop at the picturesque town of Pitlochry, known for its quaint charm and the famous Pitlochry Dam. Upon arrival in Inverness, take a leisurely walk along the banks of the river Ness and enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
We stayed at this adorable B&B when we stayed the night in Inverness – linked here. It put us in downtown Inverness which was perfect to be able to park and walk everywhere we wanted to explore throughout the city.
Day 2: Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle
No visit to the Scottish Highlands is complete without a trip to Loch Ness. Begin your day with a boat tour on the mysterious lake, keeping an eye out for the legendary Loch Ness Monster. Visit Urquhart Castle, perched on the shores of Loch Ness, and explore its ancient ruins. The panoramic views from the castle grounds are a photographer’s dream, especially on a clear day like we had (photo below).
We had a wonderful time with all the “Nessy” shops and trinkets you can buy in the area but also enjoying the drive around Loch Ness. The views are absolutely stunning when you have a clear blue sky and the sun shinning!
Day 3: Isle of Skye
Drive westward to the Isle of Skye, a haven for nature lovers. Explore the otherworldly landscapes of the Fairy Pools and the Old Man of Storr. Take in the breathtaking views of the Cuillin Mountains and the coastline. The Isle of Skye is also home to quaint villages like Portree, where you can immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine. You can also come to the Isle of Skye for a day trip and don’t have to spend the night, but highly recommended!
Day 4: Glencoe and Ben Nevis
Travel south to Glencoe, a glacial valley steeped in history and surrounded by towering peaks. Hike the trails and soak in the dramatic scenery. Continue your journey to Fort William, nestled at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK. Adventurous souls can tackle the Ben Nevis hike, while others may opt for a scenic steam train journey on the Jacobite Express (aka where all of the Hogwarts fans flock to)
Day 5: Stirling Castle and Return to Edinburgh
On your final day, head back toward Edinburgh, but not before making a stop at Stirling Castle. Perched atop a volcanic crag, this historic fortress offers commanding views of the surrounding countryside. Explore the castle’s rich history and marvel at the architecture. Finish your journey with a leisurely drive back to Edinburgh, reflecting on the beauty and majesty of the Scottish Highlands.