If you don't have time to make it all the way to the highlands of Scotland, Oban is closer to Edinburgh and it provides stunning views! Glencoe represents the beginning of the famous highlands in Scotland!
We spent 4 nights in Oban in July and it was awesome! This little city has a lot to offer and you can definitely get an idea of the highlands of Scotland. We rented a car from Edinburgh, so we could drive a bit further than Oban as well. We drove all the way to Glencoe and Loch Eleven, where the highlands of Scotland begin.
Oban has a really beautiful view point called Pulpit Hill (you can easily find it on Google Maps). It takes about 10 - 15 minutes to reach the hill if you take the shortcut, which has a lot of stairs. It's the best place to go to view an awesome sunset in Oban!
If you cannot make it there to see the sunset, don't worry! It looks gorgeous also during the day time!
For an even nicer view of the hills and a bit of hiking, you can take a path that is less known (at least I haven't seen anyone except us when we went there). From Pulpit Hill, you walk a little bit more and then you end up next to a path that looks locked. There is a door that can be easily open and you can get to the path. This leads to a beautiful gravel road on top of the hills, where you can admire Oban city and Oban landscape. I marked below the path I am talking about in yellow! It's definitely worth a couple of hours of your time!
Here are some lovely pictures of Oban and its landscapes!
We reserved one day to drive from Oban to Glencoe and admire the views, take some pictures and do some hiking. I was not disappointed! The whole drive is less than one hour, but there is a lot to see! We made a few stops on the way and the views were just magical!
This little castle's name comes from the Gaelic word "Stalcaire", which means "hunter" or "falconer" and it was first built around 1320. It is believed to have been extended in the 1440s to its current form. Castle Stalker is set on a small isle on Loch Laich and it has actually appeared in a movie called "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", which made it famous. We parked in a small parking lot close to the castle and we got to enjoy the views without tourists.
After a short drive, there is a cafe called "Castle Stalker View", which has a great view from a hill to the castle! Here there were a bit more tourists, but there was still room in the cafeteria for us. They had really good coffee and some sweets, but what I enjoyed the most was a gallery of photographs of the area. All the photos looked stunning!
I still think the castle is more enjoyable from the first point we went to.
I haven't heard or seen much about Castle Stalker before one of my friends told me about the place. Most likely we would have passed by this castle otherwise! Castle Stalker definitely deserves a stop!
2. Loch Leven view, just after Ballachulish Bridge
Couple of meters after the Ballachulish Bridge there is a beautiful way to a valley that has really beautiful views towards Loch Leven. We parked the car next to the road and then we just walked to the end of the road and back. It's a short walk with a stunning view to the mountains!
3. Beautiful view next to Glencoe Boat Club
Few kilometers after the Ballachulish Bridge there is another beautiful view point next to Glencoe Boat Club Ltd. This one was my favorite place from the whole trip! I think I spent half an hour just sitting and admiring the awesome view towards Loch Leven.
4. Loch Achtriochtan, Glencoe
Beautiful valley between mountains, with a small bridge, a small house and some sheep!
5. A small hike next to "Starting Point 5 Mile Walk"
We parked the car in the "Starting Point 5 Mile Walk" Parking Lot and we tried to go hiking a bit. Unfortunately the weather wasn't too pleasant. It was raining, there were lots of clouds, so after 1 km or so we turned back. It was still beautiful, even with rain.
5. Three Sisters
On our way back we stopped at "Three Sisters" in the car park and walked a bit around. The mountains were really impressive! Unfortunately the mountain peaks were covered by clouds. Just 5 minute drive before this place, in the valley, it was sunshine and really nice weather! I guess it's true what they say about the Scottish weather, it's really unpredictable!
Back to Oban
This was a really exciting and beautiful drive through the beginning of the highlands of Scotland! I am hoping that I will return to Scotland and travel to the northern part. If you are facing some issues with time, this is the best way to get to enjoy some parts of the Scottish magical landscapes!
If you like seafood there is a really great and inexpensive food stand called "Oban Seafood Hut", which is located in the harbour. They have really fresh seafood and their sandwiches were awesome!
While we were in Oban we booked a full day tour to Staffa and Lunga Island, which took us to some really amazing places. I will write about that soon!