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Bored of lacklustre package holidays?

Why not head to Scotland (I reduced the cost of my trip by securing a house sitting stay with TrustedHousesitters), and escape your routine for an epic adventure and go hiking the Scottish Highlands?

Shrouded in historical beauty, the magnificent Scottish Highlands have been inspiring Romantic writers and artists for centuries.

Walkers will find a picture-perfect paradise of rugged mountains, rolling mists and serene lakes, whilst intrepid explorers can delight in the fairy-tale charms presented to them at every turn.

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned trekker, haul on your hiking boots and discover mythical monsters, ancient castles and fascinating Scottish folklore on one of the many scenic walks available to travellers.



CC Flickr / Arran Moffat

Over one million people from the UK explore the Highlands on foot every year, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t either.

A rambling break in Bonnie Scotland is the perfect choice for budget-conscious families, students, and couples, and with a range of cheap flight options available you can enjoy an escape without breaking the bank.

Whatever your ability, you can find the perfect trail in the Highlands of Scotland, where hiking paths are plenty.



CC Flickr / Michel Mintaka

The area around Fort William is often considered the outdoor capital of the UK, making it the perfect pivot point for hikers of all levels.

Novice walkers can discover a range of popular beginner’s routes, including gentle hikes to fascinating landmarks including the Old Fort and Inverlochy Castle.

This region is also close to the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, making it the perfect base for mountain climbers.

Just to the South lies the sprawling volcanic valley of Glencoe, offering dramatic Highland scenery at its very best. Long distance strollers will love ambling along the peaceful Great Glen Way, a quintessentially Scottish 73 mile hike that should be on every wanderer’s bucket list.

Rookie ramblers can stick to easy flat routes found on one of the stunning coastal walks peppered with craggy old castles and plenty of caves, cliffs and sea stacks to explore.


CC Flickr / Arran Moffat

This area is also a prime location for avid bird watchers, being able to boast of some of the most diverse bird life in the UK.

Afterwards, the towns of Wick and Thurso provide great stop-off points for those looking for a cosy bed and breakfast to relax and recuperate between walks.

Those seeking spectacular sea scenes should head to Northwest Sutherland – the best location for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Pentland Firth. This area is well-known for its remarkable geology and tundra-like landscape, so be sure to pack plenty of warm waterproof clothing.

 Enclosed by unusual mountain formations, head down this spectacular region to find a haven of tiny sandy beaches to comb. There are plenty of fairy-tale forests to explore, including Borgie Wood near Bettyhill and Camore Wood near Dornoch.

To the west the ‘bone caves’ near Inchnadamph are an archaeologist’s paradise, where the remains of ice age animals and polar bears have been uncovered…



CC Flickr / Roy Lathwell

Cinemagoers will know that the unspoilt Highlands have been used to film countless box office smash hits.

Harry Potter fans should visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the iconic single track railway that connects the muggle realm to the wizarding world in several of the famous films.

There are a number of easy-going short walks in this area with superb views of the lovely Loch Shiel, a huge freshwater lake in front of a magnificent mountain backdrop.

In the centre of the lake lies the stunning St. Finian’s Isle, the site of an ancient ruined chapel. Braveheart buffs should make their way to the gorgeous Glen Nevis Valley at the foot of Ben Nevis, the setting for much of the award-winning Mel Gibson epic.



CC Flickr / Nilfanion

Experienced hikers can also follow in the footsteps of historical Scottish Independence icon William Wallace in the challenging trek along the spectacular Mamores mountain path – not for the faint of heart.

If you want to see a plethora of faunae roaming in their natural environment, head to the breath-taking mountain region of Cairngorm, home to one of Scotland’s most celebrated National Parks. Watch out for rare species of wildlife like red deer on well-marked trails surrounded by incredible mountain vistas, rolling hills, voluptuous valleys and crystal clear rivers.

Those seeking glimpses of dolphins, seals, porpoises and waterfowl should take a jaunt to the gentle Easter Ross region, where the coastline is speckled with seaside villages and well-trodden rambling routes.

What are you waiting for?

Whatever your ability, grab your backpacking essentials and get planning an unforgettable hike in the Highlands today.

Keen for more inspiration for your Scottish itinerary? Take a look at this collection of Scotland’s best bits.


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Are you dreaming of hiking in the Scottish Highlands? Share your comments with us below.

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27 Responses

  1. Katie Driscoll

    Hi! I am looking to do my first solo backpacking trip and could not ignore Scotland as an option. I would like to go sometime between May and November of 2018. My budget is very very slim, as I’d like to be there for 6-8weeks under 5,000 if possible. Do you have any tips on what I MUST see or how to budget to make it all happen?

  2. Steve Waldorf

    Looking for a backpacking trip in Scotland in the summer of 2018 to celebrate our 25th anniversary

    • Charli Moore

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your comment! Without knowing a little more about your travel style and the time of year you’ll be travelling it’s difficult to recommend a particluar itinerary. A great resource to start looking through is They have a tonne of great info and inspirational content that will help you determine what kind of experience you’d prefer to book.

      Best of luck with your research.

  3. Alesha Nomadasaurus

    Wow how beautiful. Thank you for the great guide. We have never travelled to Scotland but would love to one day. I always find myself looking up things about Scotland so I hope sooner than later. All of the hikes look spectacular and will definitely be on our list. We have never tried house sitting either. Will look in to it.

  4. Kendyl

    I’m going to be on Isle of Skye at the end of February and really want to get a hike in. I was looking at Bruach na Frithe but it looks like it may be too icy. My husband and I are avid hikers but aren’t used to ice axes. We would love to summit one of the Munros on Isle of Skye (something 7 hours max-we always go quicker than estimated times), but are open to something not so rigorous if there anything highly recommended at that time of year with great views. It’s hard to find much info about the trails online, especially weather conditions (I’m sure because it changes so much!). We’ll also be spending a couple of days around Inverness, a couple in Edinburgh and stopping at Glencoe on our way so any great trails around there are also welcome. Thank you for any advice!

  5. Forrest Mallard

    I loved hiking the West Highland Way last summer. For a backpacker’s budget, ‘a cheap hotel’ in the UK doesn’t exist. Just a bunk-bed in many hostels through Scotland is £16 to £20. However, in Scotland, it is legal to wild camp just about anywhere you can pitch your tent… even on private property. If you are willing to put up with the rain, and often a damp tent.. Scotland can still be cheap. Regardless of price, Scotland is still one of my favorite places.

  6. [email protected]

    Thanks for the post. The Scottish Highlands are a beautiful hiking destination wether you’re looking for day trips or multi-day hikes. What I really like about Scotland is that you can go hiking almost every time of the year as long as you’re dressed accordingly.

    The best way to get to know the country may well be the West Highland Way. If you’re more into wilderness trekking, have a look at Knoydart.

    • Charli Moore

      Great advice, thanks Rouven! We’ve yet to traverse the West Highland Way. It’s firmly at the top of our bucket list, with about a million other rural escapes!!!

  7. Maaike

    The Scottish Highlands are on top of my list. When all goes well and I graduate on time, I might be able to go this summer. Fingers crossed!

    • Charli Moore

      What a great way to celebrate! Summer is a great time to explore Scotland; blue skies and white fluffy clouds make the landscapes even more dream-like!

  8. travelFREAK

    A fantastic way to experience the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands! Thank you for sharing these useful advices, Charli!

  9. Corinne

    Charli, We’re actually planning some time in Scotland this summer. I hope we can see most of the places you mention!

  10. Gemma Two Scots Abroad

    I highly recommend the West Highland Way hike – 96 miles from Milngavie to Fort William taking you through farmlands, along lochs and over The Devil’s Staircase! See our site for more info. Great post!

    • Charli Moore

      We’re lusting after a Scottish road trip, and some cold water diving there too! Why is it that we seldom explore our own backyards?!! Thanks for the heads up, we’ll definitely check out your site for more info.

  11. Hitch-Hikers Handbook

    Stunning photos as always! Even though Jon (my other half) is British, neither of us has been to Scotland yet! But it’s high on our list and with these landscapes I really want to go there now!

    • Charli Moore

      It’s funny how we find ourselves lusting after foreign landscapes. It isn’t until you see those close by highlighted in all their glory does the urge to return home overwhelm us! We’re all the same, wanderlust is such a strong force!

  12. Jessi

    Stunning images. The Scottish highlands are high on my bucket list of places to visit, and I would love to spend an extended time exploring. Something about it is absolutely magical. Wonderful post!

  13. Neil

    Spot on! Love that more and more people are appreciating the Scottish outdoors and all of these spots are amazing. Can’t wait to explore more of Cairngorms later this month – this helps whet the appetite nicely 🙂

  14. TammyOnTheMove

    I love Scotland, but the problem is that the weather is always so bad. The scenery is so stunning though and even if you do get cold and wet you can always reward yourself with a warming glass of whiskey afterwards. 🙂

  15. Renuka

    Beautiful! Scotland is one of my dream destinations and hiking in the midst of Scottish Highlands would be an awesome experience!