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The Best Scotland Itinerary includes 6 Must See Places in the Northwest Highlands

The Northwest Highlands encompass the northern third of Scotland and may be our favorite part of the country. In part because it is so remote, but also because the landscape is stunningly diverse and beautiful. There is plenty to see and do here with its mountains, lochs, coastline and and beautiful beaches. Just driving around is a treat to the eyes. Read on to discover our must see places.

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Typical view of the lochs and mountains while driving the remote Northwest Highlands of Scotland

Our itinerary includes these 6 must see places to visit in the Northwest Highlands

1. Achmelvich Beach

Are you kidding with this view? Map yourself to the Achmelvich Beach car park and then walk one of several trails to different beaches. The beaches are also connected by trails through the hills. You can't see the beaches from the car park so prepared to be WOW'd when you arrive! The water is cold so you know you're not in the Caribbean, but you could be fooled by the clear blue and green water with white sandy beaches that you're in some warm tropical locale.

Achmelvich Beach in Northwest Scottish Highlands; Bubbly Tourist; Scotland itinerary; must see places; things to do; places to see
The stunningly beautiful Achmelvich Beach

2. Drive around to explore and absorb the spectacular scenery

Explore the landscape and pull over at the numerous breathtaking vistas across the green landscape and lochs. The vistas at each turn are simply gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Note: you can't go anywhere in these parts without traveling down the one lane tracks. These roads are wide enough for one car but go both directions. No worries, there are clearly marked "passing places" where you can easily pass one another.

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Spectacular scenery throughout the Highlands

3. Descend from the north down to Altandhu

The views of the Summer Isles as you descend down to the town of Altandhu by car are spectacular. We pulled over at a passing place as we wound our way down the mountain just north of town and walked the very short trail marked with a "view" that was mind blowing. It was windy and still a bit cool in mid-June but well worth the view of the water and all the isles.

Summer Isles north of the town of Altandhu in the Scottish Highlands; Scotland itinerary; Bubbly Tourist; must see places; things to do; places to see
View of the Summer Isles from the north of the town of Altandhu

4. Hiking

The road from Ullapool to Polglass passes numerous mountains and lochs where you can hike. You'll find convenient car parks like the one at Stac Pollaidh. The scenery on the drive is so picturesque that you'll find yourself saying "wow" more than you can count. We did an easy 45 minute walk at the bay in Polglass on the Achlochan Coastal Path (see photo above) to pass a 2000 year old ruined broch while taking in sea life like seals and otters and enjoying sunset views of the Summer Isles.

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You never know what or who you might see while hiking the Highlands

5. Highland Stoneware Pottery

Highland Stoneware Pottery. In case you like pottery, then this is a terrific storefront to visit that uses local minerals to enhance the colors in their pottery. It's not usually our thing, but surprisingly we ended up buying stoneware after noticing their plates being used at our hotel. You can find the store in Lochinver.

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A flyer that came with our Highland Stoneware plates

6. Applecross Pass

We were told by a local on Isle of Skye that Applecross Pass is a must-do while in Scotland, especially if you're on a motorcycle. So, as part of our Scotland itinerary, we left Isle of Skye and headed for the Northwest Highlands via the Applecross Pass. This is desolate country where nothing seems to grow and you can actually get above the clouds with an interesting view back across the water to Isle of Skye (see photo below). But then you descend back to the green pastoral land you've become accustomed to as you approach Applecross and once again you're WOW'd by its splendor. Applecross is a cute town at the water's edge that allows you to take a break.

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A view of the landscape on the Applecross Pass back to the Isle of Skye

Directions via Applecross Pass to the Northwest Highlands

Leaving Isle of Skye towards the quaint coastal town of Applecross, there are one lane tracks through a harrowing mountain climb that awaits you in the pass. Grab a bite to eat or take a break in Applecross. Then head north out of Applecross along the coast towards Kalnakill to continue the amazing pastoral views the lie ahead. It's about 2.5 hours from Applecross to Ullapool.

Where to stay in the Northwest Highlands

Summer Isles Hotel

There are plenty of places to stay in the city of Ullapool, so those wanting more of a city environment then this is a perfect place to setup base camp. Bubbly Tourist wanted a hotel along the coast with views of the Summer Isles. So, we drove another 45 minutes from Ullapool to Polglass to stay at the beautiful Summer Isles Hotel. This hotel has comfortable / cozy rooms with views of the water including the Summer Isles, it offers a delicious breakfast and dinner, and has two bars: one where you can grab a whisky from the front room of the hotel and a second bar which is connected via an inner hallway where you can mingle with the locals. Highly recommended!

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Pastoral and coastal views from our room at the Summer Isles Hotel

Best Scotland Itinerary Continued

Bubbly Tourist's Best Scotland Itinerary details information on what to do and what places to see in Oban, Isle of Skye, the Northwest Highlands, Speyside Whisky Country and Edinburgh.


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