The Scottish Highlands is a region full of Viking stories and warriors’ legends; and decorated by rugged mountains, massive cliffs, and lochs. During the medieval period, the name is used to refer to the sections in the north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault.
The Highlands seems more populated by mountain ranges than actual inhabitants. It is teeming with natural attractions, unspoiled landscapes and wildlife, which all continuously bewitch adventure-seeking travelers from all over. Here, you can enjoy golfing, riding gondolas, mountain biking, hiking and bathing in secluded beaches. However, it is the region’s castles, shrouded with history and gifted with magnificent architecture that will remind you of the Highland’s medieval glory and magic-like charms. Visiting these castles is definitely an activity that will make your visit to the Scottish Highlands truly memorable and fascinating.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is a Scottish Highland castle that has gained world-wide fame, mostly due to the fact that it has been featured in major Hollywood films like ” The World is Not Enough” (James Bond film), and Highlander. Because of its fame and obvious splendor, the castle has also become an iconic landmark of Scotland. Specifically set on a little island, where three sea-lochs collide, and surrounded by the Kintail Forest Mountains, it is so easy to be mesmerized by Eilean Donan’s beauty.
The very first version of the castle was made under the command of Alexander II in the 13th century, as a defense fortification against Viking threats. Eilean Donan’s visitor center provides tours that will allow you to explore the castle interior and grounds. Helpful guides will feed your interest with amazing historical castle stories. Most rooms display precious artifacts, weapons and art pieces. Eilean Donan has a restaurant and a gift shop; and you can even organize wedding inside its stunning Banquet Hall.
When you drop by the dramatic Urquhart Castle, you will catch a glimpse of the castle’s 1000 year past. Built in the early 13th century, Urquhart has remained one of the biggest castles in the country. There are many gorgeous sections in the castle worth seeing, but the well-preserved Grant tower, which was built in the 16th century, is definitely one of the highlights of your visit. Another compelling feature of the castle is its geographical setting, as it provide gorgeous views of the famed Loch Ness Lake. Urquhart Castle has a visitor center complete with a tearoom, audio-visual facility and a souvenir and gifts section.
Dunvegan Castle is Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle, being the home of the MacLeod family for 800 years. It’s most famous feature is the Fairy Flag; a mystical family banner that is said to have brought the family good luck for years. Highlights of your tour around the castle include precious oil paintings and family treasures like the Dunvegan Cup.
A visit to Dunvegan Castle not only allows you to explore its grand interior but you also get the chance to see its wonderful 18th century gardens, which include the Water Garden, Round Garden and Walled Garden. These gardens offer their visitors fantastic landscapes filled with elegant pools, waterfalls and a wide range of colorful plants.
Your visit to the castles of the Scottish Highlands will not only be a visual treat but a wonderful way to step back into some wonderful history of Scotland. Contact us today to start planning your trip!