The Scottish Highlands boast sweeping mountainous regions with vast and deep lochs. The beauty of this natural landscape creates a magnificent cinematic backdrop. Names from Scottish lore like Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Culloden, echo through the castles and fields as the bagpipers play “Scotland the Brave.” The area is also home to a pop culture icon, the Loch Ness Monster. Many believe the Highlands is the most scenic and romantic part of Scotland. Inverness is the heartbeat, and serves as the perfect entry point for exploring this part of Scotland.

Where to Stay

Black Isle Bar & Rooms – Centrally located in Inverness, the dorm style rooms are above the bar and restaurant. Each room has its own ensuite, linens, and a comfortable bed. It is a well insulated building because you will not hear noise from the bar areas. For those who want a simple and affordable option, we highly recommend it.

AC Hotel Inverness – The hotel has beautiful views of the River Ness and Friars Bridge. Tastefully decorated rooms and quality food is what you expect from a Marriott brand.

What to See

Loch Ness – Spanning almost 23 miles and at depths up to almost 800 feet, Loch Ness is spectacular. Travelers pull off the road to get out and take in the cobalt colored water, and green covered mountains. Who knows, you may even spot the elusive Loch Ness Monster, known as “Nessie” to locals.

Urquhart Castle With ruins dating back to the 13th century, this castle was a medieval fortification on Loch Ness. It takes about 30 minutes to walk through the remaining pieces of the castle and imagine what it looked like hundreds of years ago.

Culloden Battlefield – The Jacobite Rebellion ended on this hallowed ground in April 1746, as the clans supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie were routed by the Duke of Cumberland. The visitor center explores the Jacobite Rebellion in depth. Summon up your inner Jamie Fraser from Outlander, or your MacLean like us, as you walk onto the battlefield. Several stone markers illustrate the clans who fought and died on this pitch. Near the visitor center, be sure to check out the thatched roof home, which served as a British hospital during the fighting.

Clava Cairns  This area is a site for ancient burials. A few stone structures remain, while the area around the burial chamber is littered with standing stones. For fans of the Outlander television series, many will become Claire Fraser and place both hands on the standing stones to see if they are transported through time or feel the energy from those that came before you. 

Glen Ord Distillery –  This whisky distillery is the last remaining single malt distillery on the Black Isle. The location produces the Singleton brand. Reserve a tour in advance, or walk in, take a seat, and let the bartender pour you a flight of single malts. We highly recommend tasting the Singleton of Glen Ord, for outside the distillery, it is only available in Southeast Asia. 

Where to Eat, Drink, or See Live Music

Comfort Foods is aptly named, for the place supplies healthy amounts of traditional Scottish foods.  We stopped in for breakfast and chose Traditional Scotch Porridge. This is not an item we would typically order, but it was so good, we went back again the next day. 

Black Isle Bar & Rooms – This bar has a big selection of craft beer to please every palate. Their pizzas are incredible, thin crust, with a nice crunch to each slice. We recommend the Lamb Sausage or Venison Salami pizzas.

MacGregor’s – A typical pub, with not so typical food. The menu is filled with Scottish mainstays, but whether it is the fish and chips or cullen skink, it just tastes better here. The bar has a great selection of beers, so give your taste buds something new to try. When it comes to live music, even the owner joins in, as he is a member of the iconic Scottish band, Blazin Fiddles. The bar has an ample outdoor space for people to sit and enjoy the music with their friends.

Gellions Bar  – The bar is often named as one of the top bars in Scotland. On most evenings, the room is packed with patrons belting singing along with the band, with pints in hand. The only downside to this pub is much of the space is standing room only. The tight confines means people will be bumping into you, not on purpose, but as there is little room to move about the place. Great live music venue, but often cramped.

Hootanany – A spacious bar, with plenty of seats and standing areas for people to enjoy musicians honing their craft. For a good night of listening to traditional music or maybe a nightcap before bed, Hootanany a bit more mellow than other music spots in the city. 

Best Day Trip Recommendations

Highlander Loch Ness & Culloden Battlefield 8 Seater Tour from Inverness  – Immerse yourself in Scotland’s spectacular natural landscapes on a day tour of the Scottish Highlands from Inverness. Discover the highlights of the Scottish Highlands Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, Scottish Farm, and Glen Ord Whisky Distillery. Keep and eye out for the Loch Ness Monster at Loch Ness. Marvel at the stunning natural landscapes of the highlands.

Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle from Inverness – Take a break from the city on a full-day trip through the Isle of Skye with convenient round-trip transport from central Inverness. In addition to navigating, your guide offers commentary about the area’s top landmarks, including Eilean Donan Castle, Portree, and the Old Man of Storr.

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