As we all know, in Scotland, the summer can be fleeting. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of it while you can — and there are very few places in the UK that have as many incredible natural, outdoor attractions than the Highlands. Boasting the kind of scenery that has inspired countless films and novels, and a rising culinary profile, the Scottish Highlands are packed with excellent weekend break ideas.
To make matters even better, they’re all easily accessible from Glasgow, so make the most out of the last of the summer. Get your friends and family together, hire a minibus in Glasgow and head up north for a Highlands adventure.
Hire a Minibus and Make the Iconic Drive Through Glen Coe
via KENNETH BARKER / Flickr
If you head due north from Glasgow, you’ll reach Glen Coe, one of the most iconic sites in Great Britain. Located within the awe-inspiring Lochaber Geopark, the starkly beautiful valley and stately mountains of Glen Coe were carved out centuries ago by icy glaciers and volcanic explosions. Glen Coe may have been recently made famous by the James Bond film Skyfall, but the site’s heritage goes back much further.
Glencoe village is stunningly snuggled between the awe-inspiring Loch Leven and Glen Coe itself, making it the perfect base for exploring the area of Lochaber, known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK. The valley itself offers incredible hiking, as well as skiing in the winter months. Hiring a minibus is perfect for visiting Glen Coe, as you can take a short detour and visit the Glen Coe Folk Museum to learn more about the history of the area, and what life in the Highlands was like before the 21st century.
Go Whisky Tasting On The Isle Of Skye
via NOLA Focal / Flickr
The Isle of Skye is world-famous for whisky distillation. Despite measuring only 640 square miles, Skye is home to eighteen fully-functioning whisky distilleries, each creating a whisky with a distinctive and masterfully developed taste. The oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye, set on the shores of Loch Harport with dramatic views of the Cuillins, is Talisker. As your hired minibus heads over the stunning mountains to get there, you’ll be treated to a beautiful vista of the tiny white distillery, perched on the shores of the Atlantic.
Talisker offers excellent tours of the distillery, enabling its visitors to witness the distillation process and get an insight into what working in a distillery is like. There’s also an incredible gift shop where you can pick up exclusive releases of the single-malt. Once you’re done visiting Talisker, you can jump back in the minibus and head to the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle or Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the Clan MacLeod, before heading back to the charming town of Portree for the night. End if you’re not convinced yet, the drive from Glasgow to Skye has continuously been voted one of the most beautiful in the world. So hire a minibus in Glasgow and start planning your trip.
Hunt for The Loch Ness Monster in Inverness
via mendhak / Flickr
Inverness: The Capital Of The Highlands. It’s home to much more than just Nessie, our resident Loch Ness Monster (who may or may not recently have confirmed her existence).
One of the many joys of Inverness is the incredible selection of sites to visit and things to do both in and around the city. Inverness has plenty to offer in the way of history, featuring a stunning Old Town which houses a Victorian Market and St Andrew’s Cathedral, which sits dramatically by the River Ness. You can also park your minibus by the river and try a spot of salmon fishing.
Loch Ness itself is just a short drive from the city centre. Although the entire loch is beautiful, one the best places to stop and explore is Urquhart Castle, once home to the powerful Urquhart clan. Rising from beside the Loch, the castle is a brilliant place to explore the Loch from — not least because it has excellent parking for your minibus!
No matter what you’re looking for, the Highlands truly offers something for everyone. Whether it’s whisky tasting in Skye, hiking in Glen Coe, or exploring Urquhart Castle, hire a minibus and get exploring.