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Best Places in the Highlands to visit and the best possible itinerary


I am Rajendran and I am from India.  I am planning to visit Scotland during April 2017 along with family. We will having around 4- 5 days at our disposal.  We are not part of any conducted tour and will be doing the trip ourselves. We will be having cars at our disposal.  

Photography is a serious hobby for me and Scotland is such a beautiful country that there are unlimited opportunities for photography. I cannot decide on the places to visit in the limited amount of time available. I have done some research and based on that identified some places.  We are planning to set our base in Fort William and then drive around and see the places.  The places identified  are as under:

  1. Fort William to Loch Ness - 1 Hr 30 minutes
  2. Fort William to Glencoe - 30 Minutes
  3. Fort William to Ben Nevis - 30 Minutes
  4. Fort William to Kilmartin Glen - 2 Hours
  5. Fort William to Loch Awe - 2 Hours
  6. Fort William to Loch Shiel- 1 Hour
  7. Fort William to Loch Linnhe - 1 Hour
  8. Fort William to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Part - 1 Hour
  9. Fort William to  Eilean Donan Castle - 1 Hr 30 Minutes
  10. Fort William to Urquhart Castle - 1 Hour 15 Minutes.
Time permits, we may do Isle of Skye also. 

Please let me know what will be the best itinerary to visit these places from Fort William and also if there are any other interesting or must see places around. 

Thanks in advance. 




  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @Rajendran,

    Couple of quick things, I believe you'll be driving to Fort William from Edinburgh / Glasgow. I'd highly recommend visiting a few place en route to reach Fort William namely Loch Lomond & Glencoe.

    Secondly, please do not miss Skye. If needed, split up your 4 days in 2 days each at Fort William & Skye (Portree is the largest settlement on the island). To say it's a photographer's dream is still under-selling it. It's simply gorgeous, I'll post a couple of pics from a recent trip to see if it helps persuade you.


    This community will be helpful in giving you more helpful guidance. Let me know if you have any other specific questions in mind.

    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • VisitScotlandAldonaVisitScotlandAldona Member, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Rajendran I strongly agree with @Horizons regarding the Isle of Skye - photographing on Isle of Skye is every photographer's dream. It is truly breathtaking, I mean - it's hard to comprehend the beauty and versatility of Skye landscape until you see it for yourself...

    If you're concerned about not having enough time, let me assure you that as soon as you first glimpse at the Cuillin Hills you will feel that the journey there was well worth it.

    Think you might want to reconsider your base - you would save yourself a lot of driving there and back if you were willing to stay at various locations. Having said that, it doesn't mean you can't see all of the above on day trips from Fort William - just that you will spend a bit more time in the car (window sightseeing can be very enjoyable too!)

    If you were, however, considering staying overnight at Skye, here's what you could do:
    • climb Ben Nevis (if you want to) or take the mountain gondola to 650m on the mountain of Aonach Mor for great views of Ben Nevis;
    • drive from Fort William, which lies at the head of Loch Linnhe, along the A82 north towards Inverness via the Great Glen and along Loch Oich and Loch Lochy;
    • take in Loch Ness (just south of Inverness) and Urquhart Castle which sits at the bank of Loch Ness;
    • then head west towards the Kyle of Lochalsh and en route you'll see Eilean Donan Castle;

    • continue across the Skye Bridge to Skye and, should you only want to make quick photo stops rather than take time to experience Skye, you could head straight for one of Skye's most recognisable geological features which is the Old Man of Storr (along the way you will pass the famous Kilt Rock); further along is the Quiraing, and Neist Point is also worth a stop;

    • you certainly wouldn't want to miss the Fairy Pools, too, and the Cuillin Hills in the south west part of the island;

    • take a ferry from Armadale to Mallaig (CalMac ferries), drive back to Fort William via Glenfinnan where the world famous Glenfinnan Viaduct is (made famous by the Harry Potter movies) - if you time your visit there well you can see the train crossing the viaduct! The viaduct lies at the head of Loch Shiel, so another tick there :)

    I reckon you could do the above in 3 days comfortably, but it would be stretching it if you wanted to explore each site longer.

    As @Horizons said - Glencoe and / or Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park could be done on your way to / from Fort William, and that still leaves you with a day to explore Loch Awe and the Kilmartin Glen :)

    ‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list’ - Susan Sontag

  • RajendranRajendran Member

    Thanks for the detailed responses.  
     You have managed to convince me that we should do Skye. I was not very keen initially since I liked the highland landscapes better and also due to lack of time. Okay. So Skye is in.  Those photos you have posted are great.. especially the fairy pools and the via duct. It would be good to know the approx. time of the train crossing this place so that one can time the visit accordingly. :smile:. To be frank,  I have absolutely no idea about the routes. My brother stays in UK and so we will be travelling with him. He is making the arrangements. We were planning to rent a cottage in Fort William and then move around. Now  your response has opened up other possibilities. I need to forward this to my bother so that they can plan accordingly. 

    Thanks once again for the help.. I will get back to you on this if I need any more assistance in planning.  This is all getting very exciting..


  • SilverSurferSilverSurfer Member
    edited October 2016
    I think this is a brilliant post. I'm keen to visit Scotland this winter and I'm an enthusiastic landscape photographer so this has been enormously helpful. Thanks very much.   :)
  • ShylaShyla Member
    Hi Rajendran,
    dis you make the trip? How was it?
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