Most Romantic Towns in the Scottish Highlands to Day Trip To
Whether you’re planning a honeymoon in Scotland or just want a weekend away with your partner, the Highlands provide a jaw-dropping backdrop for a romantic getaway. To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a bit of a guide to four different destinations in the Highlands, from small, charming villages to the hustle and bustle of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands and the ideal base for exploring this wildly romantic part of Scotland from.
Fortrose & Rosemarkie
The town of Fortrose and its neighbouring village, Rosemarkie, make for a picturesque day trip to the coast just north of Inverness. Fortrose is a former royal borough with pretty Victorian buildings all around. The ruins of its 13th-century cathedral provide a dramatic backdrop for a romantic stroll or picnic. Chanonry Point with its bottlenose dolphins and famous Chanonry Point lighthouse are another excellent destination for a peaceful walk, as are the town’s pretty, tranquil beach and harbour.
Just up the road from Fortrose, you’ll find Rosemarkie, known for its beautiful sandy beach and the Pictish stone sculptures that were found here. The carvings can be viewed in the Groam House Museum on the village’s High Street. The village has a charmingly traditional pub for refreshments as well as a beachside cafe for sunny days by the sea.
If you’re after a short hike, Rosemarkie is the perfect destination for you with its mystical nature trail through the wooded, peaceful Fairy Glen. Here, you’ll find an awe-inspiring double waterfall that once played host to magical rites. The area is also an RSPB reserve known for its sightings of buzzards, dippers, grey heron, grey wagtail and song thrushes. The waterfalls make for the ideal backdrop for a loved-up selfie and who knows – you might just catch a glimpse of the fairies that gave the glen its name!
The historic port town of Cromarty is located at the mouth of Cromarty Firth, just a 40-minute drive from Inverness and slightly north of Fortrose and Rosemarkie. The narrow streets lined with whitewashed fisherman’s cottages of Cromarty lead to down to a peaceful harbour perfect for walking hand in hand as you take in the refreshing sea air. You could even spot some bottlenose dolphins as you take a stroll to the Cromarty Lighthouse.
Cromarty Courthouse houses a small community-run museum and history buffs will also enjoy visiting the thatched cottage of geologist and folklorist Hugh Miller. It’s operated by the National Trust for Scotland and has his fossils and tools on display in the attached Georgian museum building.
If you’re travelling from Inverness, stop at the Black Isle Brewery on the way. Here, you can sample some of the brewery’s world-class organic beers on one of their daily tours. Bigger fan of whisky? The Glen Ord Distillery is also located nearby, with guided tours for every taste. The distillery exports all of its tipples, so the distillery itself is the only place in Europe you can actually purchase Glen Ord whisky!
Beauly, Muir of Ord to Strathpeffer
This cluster of 3 highland villages are easily reachable by car and offer a scenic drive away from the coast. Starting with Beauly it is located on the shore of the River Beauly, the name of the village comes from “beau lieu”, French for a beautiful place, described as such by Mary Queen of Scots herself. In the village is Beauly Priory founded in 1230, for monks of the Valliscaulian order from near Dijon in France, the church whose ruins still stand plus the Abbey itself and now as then offers a wonderful location to reflect on the monks devotion to their strict rules. The river Beauly is also highly rated for salmon fishing and offers up a lovely walk beside the river.
Muir of Ord is just two miles up the road, with a host of pretty red sandstone buildings and the Glen Ord Distillery, offering tours and tipples for whisky lovers. Once you have taken a walk around make sure you stop off for some lunch or simply a delicious cake at Bad Girl Bakery. A local business offering simply amazing cakes and a unique selection of savoury options too.
Finally, drive through the beautiful glens to reach the village of Strathpeffer, it is a leafy Victorian village/ town that has been known as a spa resort for over a century. It was once a strategic location for battles the past and then in the Victorian era become known as a Spa town due to the discovery of a sulphurous spring. The spa hospital was destroyed in 1942 but the Strathpeffer Pavilion the heart of many music event, dating back to 1880, still hosts many a local and international musicians. You can also visit the Highland Museum of Childhood which offers a collection dolls and toys by a former town resident, it is located at the old Railway station with a Museum Coffee shop and local gift shop – perfect for another Scottish cup of tea and a scone. You can also take a stroll from the west end of the village on a forest track to the hill of Cnoc Mor, a diversion on route takes in the Pictish hill Fort of Knock farril offers fantastic views over the surrounding landscape comprising of mountains and the Cromarty Firth.
With its beautiful architecture, intriguing attractions and atmospheric restaurants, Inverness is a great destination for a romantic break.
Take in the magnificent views off the Inverness Castle Viewing Platform over the mountains and hills that surround the city before a peaceful stroll through Inverness’ historic city centre or along River Ness. In the evening, you can catch a dinner and a show or enjoy some live music and cocktails to discover why so many people who call the wider Highlands area home flock to this vibrant wee city for romance and unforgettable experiences.
Looking for a romantic hotel in Inverness? With beautiful river view rooms, delicious food and a freshly soon to open newly renovated leisure club and spa, Palace Hotel is the ideal city centre hotel for relaxing holidays with your partner.
After a full day of exploring Inverness and the picturesque towns and villages in the surrounding area, pamper yourselves with some massages at the Sleeping Beauty Spa before enjoying a romantic dinner at our Eight on the River restaurant. After some drinks in our cocktail bar, retire to your stylish and comfortable room for a great night’s sleep.