Lochs, Glens and Braveheart: Scotland's history-rich Highlands cannot be overlooked (in any sense of the word)
I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't higher on my 'must-go' hitlist.
Between the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and Sagrada Familia, the larger-than-life landscapes of the Scottish Highlands were (somewhat ironically) lost in oversight.
Thankfully, I came to my senses when I spotted an incredible (and inexpensive #winning) opportunity to lap up the iconic lochs, glens and mountains with the kilt-donning, folktale-telling team at Haggis Adventure Tours.
Steeped in history as rich as the green of the landscape itself, the patriotic setting is enough to stir wanderlust in even the most travel-averse.
If you're looking to escape the city and get some fresh air with a punch of perspective but only have a long weekend to do it - the land of Braveheart is calling.
Just three days in this awe-inspiring environment on the Skye High Adventure delivered a renewed and retreat-equivalent sense of purpose. Here are three picture-perfect pitstops you can expect to make as you wind through the highlands on that little yellow bus...
Known as the capital of the highlands, Inverness lies in the North East of the highlands region. Driving directly from Edinburgh will only set you back 3.5 hours, but we'd recommend allowing a couple more to enjoy the scenic route through Cairngorms National Park (and stops to restock the shortbread supply, of course). While here, you must make sure you see the infamous Loch Ness. During the sumner, you can take a boat cruise over the mysteriously murky waters to try and spot the monster itself. Look out. Literally.
2. ISLE OF SKYE
A few hours from Inverness on the West Coast of the Inner Hebrides is the Isle of Skye. With 50 miles (over 800 kilometres) of mountain ranges surrounded by clear blue water, the longest island in the region is every bit as beautiful as it looks in its infamous pictures. There are walking trails to suit all fitness-levels and if you decide to embark on one, be sure to keep an eye out and the camera ready for seals, whales and dolphins that are commonly seen around the Isle of Skye.
Home to Hagrid's hut, Harry's Quidditch pitch and of course, James Bond's home - Skyfall; the grandeur Glencoe has recently been voted the most romantic Glen in Scot. Walking through the breathtakingly scenic valleys it is impossible not to be inspired, if not by the history held in the mountains then simply the sheer scale of them. Whether you stay here over night or are just driving through, make sure you highlight, circle and underline Glencoe on your map. If you're coming from the Isle of Skye, be sure to stop off for a picture and a wander through Eilean Donan Castle on the way.
This article appeared first on Two Birds Travel.