The scenic capital of the Highlands is the perfect base from which to explore the northern wilderness, but there’s no reason to limit yourself to the mainland — many of Scotland’s islands are also reachable from Inverness.
Head to John O’Groats, the northernmost point of mainland UK, from where ferries set sail across the Pentland Firth for the Orkney Islands, as well as to the remote Shetland Islands. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for their remarkable collection of Neolithic monuments, stone circles and tombs, there’s plenty to take in on the Orkney islands, but don’t miss the striking 12th century St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, the Standing Stones of Stenness or a drive across the famous ‘Churchill Barriers’ causeways, which connect the islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay to the main island. The islands’ highlights can be seen on a day trip, but to really experience the region, opt for a 3-day tour and stay overnight in one of the traditional villages.
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