Marvel at the highlights by travelling to one of these destinations, highly-rated for nature by global travellers.*
The village of Staffin is the starting point for the circular hiking trail that takes you through Skye's most stupendous scenery
On the eastern end of the island of Skye, a cluster of white houses (a few of which are charmingly painted with black spots) forms the village of Staffin. Part of the Trotternish peninsula, the landscape here is best known for the Quiraing, an escarpment of ethereal rock formations dating back to the Jurassic period. And Staffin is the starting point for the circular hiking trail that takes you through its most stupendous scenery. On a bright day, walkers can see the Outer Hebrides and Scottish mainland on the horizon, framed by royal blue ocean and menacing pinnacles, cliffs and buttresses. But even on a wet and windy day, the rolling, tussock-covered hills and spiky silhouettes of formations such as The Needle, The Table and The Prison are a sight to behold. And the best thing of all is that the wild and remote nature of the landscape means it always feels like you’re the only people on the route. Enjoy sea views from the highly-rated Achtalean b&b.
Spean Bridge, Highlands
Climbing the misty, rocky slopes of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest peak
The village of Spean Bridge is marked by the Commando Memorial, a bronze statue to commemorate the fallen in WWII that poignantly gazes out over loch and glen. But it’s the surrounding natural beauty that really draws in the punters. Spean Bridge is a stop along two famous Scottish walks – the Great Glen Way and West Highland Way – but offers other outdoors activities, too, like watersports and rock climbing. In fact, you can even see the northern face of Ben Nevis (Britain’s highest peak) from the village, as well as Leanachan Forest and the moody outline of the Grey Corries mountain range. Cosy up after a day outdoors by the fireplace of Tirindrish House B&B.
The still, silvery surface of Loch Maree in Wester Ross
For soaring peaks, misty glens, ancient Caledonian forest and wide beaches lapped by dark, mirror-like lochs, head to Wester Ross. This atmospheric and captivatingly-beautiful region of Scotland is set on the west coast of the Highlands, and Gairloch is a great place to base yourself to explore its 3000 square miles of wilderness. Hike across the hilly landscape around natural wonders like the silvery ribbon of water that is Loch Maree or the fabled An Teallach mountain. Stay right beside the sea in an old white stone house backed by forest, at Charleston House Guest house.
Wild swim in the crystal-clear waters of Loch Ard
Only 5km from the blissfully peaceful body of water that is Loch Ard, and not far from Loch Lomond, Aberfoyle is surrounded by astoundingly beautiful nature. Wild swim in the crystal-clear waters of either loch, zipline through the oak forest canopy in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, or hike across a carpet of bluebells in Loch Ard forest. Exploring the area on foot is the best way to go; Argyll Forest Park feels enchanted, with trails weaving around moss-covered rocks and dense pine and fir trees casting delicate shards of light through their branches. There are also 16 miles of trails covering a variety of terrain around Loch Ard, and the mystical Doon Hill and Fairy Knowe walk, a path surrounded by stories of fairies and magic. Stay in a waterside, 19th-century mansion at The Lake Of Menteith Hotel.
Hike through Glen Coe, a volcanic valley with black and craggy mountains and navy blue lochs
On the eastern shores of Loch Leven, this quiet village is another stop on the West Highland Way and a place of pilgrimage for nature-lovers. It boasts Glen Coe, a volcanic valley with black and craggy munros (mountains) and navy blue lochs, and Buachaille Etive Mor, a pyramid-shaped peak that stands at the entrance to the glen. Further south lies the mountain-lined Glen Etive, while just a short walk from the village, you’ll discover the Steall Waterfall and the slender Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall. Check into Allengrange B&B and enjoy easy access to Glen Coe and a multitude of hiking trails.
**The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to uncover the top destinations for 'nature' in Scotland, according to global travellers.