Neil Forbes

Discovering the Scottish Highlands

Can You Experience Them in a Day Trip from Edinburgh?

Scotland’s breathtaking landscapes, ancient castles, and rugged mountains make it a dream destination for travellers. The Scottish Highlands have captivated the hearts of many with their majestic beauty. If you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to catch a glimpse of the Highlands in just one day. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the options available to you and explore whether a day trip from Edinburgh can provide a fulfilling taste of the Scottish Highlands.

The Distance and Time Constraints

Edinburgh, the vibrant capital of Scotland, offers an excellent base for exploring the country. However, it’s essential to consider the distance and time constraints when attempting to visit the Highlands in a day. The Highlands are vast, and their beauty lies in their expansive landscapes, which are best experienced over multiple days. Nonetheless, if you have limited time, it is still possible to see certain highlights within a day’s trip.

Exploring Loch Ness and the Great Glen

One popular option for a day trip from Edinburgh is heading north to Loch Ness and the Great Glen. A scenic drive will take you through the stunning Cairngorms National Park, past picturesque lochs, and charming Highland villages. The highlight, of course, is Loch Ness, famous for its elusive resident,  Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. You can take a boat cruise on the loch, visit the historic Urquhart Castle, and soak in the mystical ambience of the area.

Aerial shot of Loch Ness lake in Scotland captured by a drone
Aerial shot of Loch Ness lake in Scotland captured by a drone

Discovering Stirling and the Trossachs

Another option for a day trip is heading west to the town of Stirling and the Trossachs National Park. Stirling, with its rich history, is home to the magnificent Stirling Castle and the imposing Wallace Monument. After exploring the town, you can venture into the Trossachs, known as the “Highlands in Miniature.” This picturesque region offers breathtaking views of mountains, lochs, and forests, reminiscent of the larger Highlands.

Consider a Tour

To maximise your experience and ensure a smooth journey, consider joining a  tour specifically designed for day trips to the Highlands from Edinburgh. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you to the most iconic locations, share historical insights, and handle all the logistics, allowing you to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Setting Realistic Expectations

While a day trip can provide a taste of the Scottish Highlands, it’s important to set realistic expectations. You won’t be able to explore the vastness of the region or venture deep into remote areas. However, you will still be able to witness the dramatic landscapes, capture stunning photos, and get a sense of the unique charm that the Highlands offer.


While experiencing the Scottish Highlands in their entirety may require more time, it is indeed possible to catch a glimpse of their beauty in a day trip from Edinburgh. Whether you choose to visit Loch Ness and the Great Glen or explore Stirling and the Trossachs, you can immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural wonders and rich history. Remember to plan ahead, choose the right itinerary, and make the most of your limited time to create lasting memories of this captivating region. If you require help in planning your itinerary or day trip, we would be more than happy to offer you our expert assistance. Please give us a call or fill in the contact form.

Neil Forbes

Neil is the founder of Saltire Executive Travel, offering the finest in Holidays and day tours throughout Scotland, including Golf, whisky and castles with History.