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Central locations for day trips I to the Highlands

My family will he visiting the Highlands in May. We'd like to stay in 1or 2 towns to use as a home base for day trips into the countryside. We want smaller towns but large enough to walk out for meals before and after our adventures. Suggestions? 


  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Jan_crable and welcome to the community!
    It really depends where you want to visit. You could be based in  Aviemore to explore the Cairngorms, Speyside, Inverness and Loch Ness. You could also stay in Fort William or Oban to explore the west coast. You will find these to be big enough for restaurants but not too large. Many places are worth exploring and it really depends what your plans are.
    If you would like ideas on itineraries, please have a look at our website which is full of ideas.
    Have a fantastic holiday in Scotland!!  :D

  • VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @Jan_crable, i would personally recommend Aviemore.  I found it absolutely stunning!

    Lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist for The Bright SkiesSpotify, Twitter, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube.
  • spootsspoots Member ✭✭
    Hello @Jan_crable :)

    Aviemore is a good choice.  Here is a breakdown by area:

    THE CAIRNGORMS:  Aviemore is a good pick, as it's got a good location and good transport links.  Grantown-on-Spey is perhaps the more authentic town, and is a bit nicer than Aviemore - but Aviemore does better in terms of amenities.  Aviemore also serves the Cairn Gorm area a bit better than Grantown, which is positioned downstream so is nearer to Boat of Garten, Tomintoul, Craigellachie, etc.

    In short, Aviemore may be more useful for you, but both are good options.

    LOCH NESS/THE GREAT GLEN:  Fort William is a rather dreich place compared with the rest of the Highlands towns, but it does well for amenities and places to stay.  Inverness is maybe a bit larger than you'd want at the other end, and the places in-between the two are too small.

    NAIRNSHIRE:  Nairn is the only choice here.

    EASTER ROSS:  Tain would be my preference.  Dingwall is also a solid option.

    WESTER ROSS:  Ullapool by far - as well as being the only mainland town between Kyle and Thurso, it's a nice place.  

    EAST COAST:  Probably Dornoch, with its cathedral, museum and sandy bay.

    CAITHNESS:  Thurso?  To be fair, I probably wouldn't be up this far north if I were visiting the Highlands...

    LOCHALSH:  Kyle of Lochalsh?  Ditto, except it's too far southwest.

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