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There are so many excellent hikes on the European mainland that sometimes the delights of the Scottish Highlands are overlooked.
However, travelers who are lucky enough to walk in this part of the world will discover majestic mountains, alluring lochs, rushing waterfalls and verdant valleys, magical scenery which provides an unbeatable backdrop for some of the best hiking trails in the world.
The upper part of Scotland also boasts one of the globe’s most spectacular coastal driving routes, the North Coast 500.
But if a holiday on the road does not sound like your thing, another unique and beautiful way to discover the Scottish Highlands is to take a cruise from Southampton which sails all the way around the UK and pulls in at Scotland’s major northern ports long enough for you to venture forth on foot.
Explore three of the most sensational hikes in the Scottish Highlands, from tackling towering Ben Nevis to wandering the valleys around Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Best Hikes in the Scottish Highlands
1) Ben Nevis
There is a good reason why Ben Nevis draws an array of hikers and climbers from all over the world. The Cairngorms in the east and the mountains of Skye in the northwest are visible from the summit of the United Kingdom’s highest peak on a clear day.
It is highly advised that you undertake your first ascent of Ben Nevis in the summer months: the longer days guarantee more light which is undoubtedly advantageous for this long climb, and the chances of nicer weather during this season are far higher than they are during the rest of the year.
Be aware that Ben Nevis sometimes receives severe winds, heavy rain, snow, and fog, all of which can cause poor visibility and slippery surfaces. This can happen at any time of the year so check the weather before beginning your journey.
2) Beinn a’Chrulaiste
When traveling north on the A82 towards Glencoe, Beinn a’Chrùlaiste is clearly visible – and it provides some of the most breathtaking views in the Highlands for those who are prepared to summit it.
It is a short hill hike largely on heathery terrain, with most paths being irregular and patchy. It can be boggy in several spots, especially the Kings House descent route, although this can be avoided by returning the way you came.
Although not long in length, this hike may take longer than you think due to the unpredictable terrain underfoot. Help to combat this by wearing appropriate clothing and footwear.
3) Glenfinnan Viaduct
This fantastic little trail is one of the easier walks in the Highlands – but nevertheless is still one of the most magnificent. The route passes by the well-known Glenfinnan Viaduct, one of the most iconic filming locations of the Harry Potter movie franchise.
As you rise to the height of the viaduct, you will witness sensational views of shimmering Loch Shiel. The path for this trail can be steep in spots, but it is a relatively straightforward hike best attempted in autumn when the weather is cooler.
There are many hikes in the Scottish Highlands but these three are some of the best. Round out your visit to the Highlands by visiting cute villages and historical sights.