Home to some of the UK’s most magnificent lochs, glens, and castles, the Scottish Highlands is the ideal place for a long weekend break filled with adventure and scenic views. Ranked among Europe’s last wild places and being sparsely populated, the Scottish Highlands provide a variety of activities for all types of travellers.
If you only have 3 days to spare and you’re wanting to spend your precious time off as actively as possible, here’s a complete itinerary to tempt you to take a trip to the Highlands.
Our guide below starts in Glasgow, but feel free to begin your road trip wherever is easiest for you.
Before you hit the road, a strong coffee might be necessary and also a great way to start the day, especially if you are a coffee connoisseur. Glasgow is home to some of the best cafes in Great Britain, and we highly recommend the Good Coffee Cartel in Glasgow’s South Side.
Heading towards Loch Lomond, Luss makes for a perfect spot to take in the surrounding beauty. On a clear day, it is easy to spot Ben Lomond towering over the glistening Loch and even if conditions aren’t so great, watching the water float calmly beneath a misty mountain is like something out of a fairy-tale.
Next, stop off at The Coffee House at Loch Lomond for a hot drink or a light lunch to give yourself an energy boost before an active afternoon out on the water. Whether you prefer to take a cruise, rent a boat, or even some equipment. Whatever you opt to do, Loch Lomond Leisure, located at Luss Pier, has plenty of active choices.
One of our favourite ways to see Loch Lomond is by paddleboards – set off from the pier and head towards one of the nearby islands, Inchconnachan, to see the famous wallabies. Brought over by Lady Colquhoun in the 1940s, Inchconnachan is one of the very few places outside of Australia to be home to a population of wallabies, with over 60 wallabies currently roaming wild on the island.
After a full day on the water, you’ll be ready to enjoy your evening by the fire with a tumbler of whisky and a sumptuous King-size bed with a view. We highly recommend Cameron House, a 5-star luxury spa hotel resort in Loch Lomond, with 136 guest bedrooms, an award-winning spa, and a championship-level golf course.
Start your morning with a warm and hearty breakfast at The Boat House owned by Cameron House and then it’s time to hit the road again and Glencoe is the next stop for a very good reason.
With mountains standing tall over the single country road leading North, you’ll feel like you’re entering into a place where time pauses to allow you to take in the magnificent views.
Following the road will lead you to a small white-washed cottage, nestled in between snow-capped mountains. Movie fans will quickly realise that the cottage and landscape were used as one of the filming locations for the popular James Bond movie, Skyfall.
The single road carries on further until you reach Fort William, which makes for a great spot for a lunch break. Wild Cat Café on Fort Williams High Street is the ideal place to recharge with a rustic, mountainous feel. Their broad menu caters to all types of foodies, especially having many healthy options provided on their freshly baked sourdough. And their coffee is pretty good too!
Continuing on from the café, the next stop is Glenfinnan Viaduct. This large railway bridge is a must-see spot, especially if you are a Harry Potter fan. Its huge arches soar high above, as you make your way to the picture-perfect spot following a narrow footpath that overlooks the bridge below.
We recommend staying at the Hollytree Hotel, a loch-side lodge overlooking Loch Lihne. You’ll wake up feeling like you’re a part of the rugged Scottish surroundings and completely one with nature.
Repacking the car for the last day of the trip, continue with a route towards Loch Ness. However, a stop for brunch at Cameron’s tearoom and farm shop has to be at the top of the to-do list for the day. Homemade scones and coffee and an extensive choice of delicious cakes will become the highlight of your day.
Urquhart Castle is the first stop when reaching Loch Ness. With stunning loch vistas stretching for miles on end, Loch Ness is one of the most beautiful lakes in the Scottish Highlands, complete with a medieval castle adding to the natural beauty of the loch – a sight worth remembering.
If you have a few more hours to spare, we recommend a visit to the Culloden Battlefield, a little East of Inverness. If you enjoy history or you’re a fan of Outlander, this historical sight will teach you everything you need to know about how the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to a tragic end.
You’ll want to end your day at one of Inverness’s numerous pubs, restaurants, and cafes lined along the main street. Scotch and Rye is a great little restaurant serving many different kinds of burgers and ones that caters to all tastes. And if you have a few minutes to spare, then a visit to Leakey’s Second-hand Bookshop is a must. Piles of old books cover the store like a literary blanket and welcome readers of all ages to enjoy their vast book collections.
Complete your unforgettable 3-day road trip by taking the scenic route through the Cairngorms National Park for one last taste of nature before heading home.