Leisure and Tourism (Photo: The Cuillin from Ord by Alan Gordon)

The Highlands of Scotland is one of the UK’s top places to visit - a beautiful and inspiring region of dramatic landscapes with a fascinating history and culture. Explore the many mountains and glens, the stunning islands and coastline or witness the amazing wildlife and take part in some thrilling outdoor pursuits. It’s also a great place to live and work – known for its safe communities and excellent quality of life.

Inverness “the city in the Highlands” is one of the fastest growing, vibrant cities in the UK while nearby are the seaside town of Nairn and Loch Ness - a magnet for visitors eager to see the famous monster. To the south of Inverness lies the Cairngorms National Park - the largest in the UK and Lochaber - hailed as the Outdoor Capital of the UK and home to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis.

To the west lies the Isle of Skye described by National Geographic Magazine as one of the top four islands in the world, while to the north of Inverness the wide open spaces of the Northern Highlands account for almost a fifth of Scotland’s land area and include some of the most sparsely populated areas of Europe. Stretching from Wester Ross in the south west to Caithness in the north east it is however a hugely varied area – from the dramatic mountains of Sutherland to the more pastoral landscapes of the Black Isle and Easter Ross.

| Visiting The Highlands | Transport in The Highlands | Webcams around the Highlands |

The range of leisure opportunities provided by the Council includes:

Year of Natural Scotland 2013The aim of Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is to promote Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote ways in which visitors can enjoy our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly. Eight key themes have been developed to cover Scotland’s vast wealth of natural product: Natural Landscapes, Natural Built Hertiage, Natural Larder, Sustainable Tourism, Natural Playground, Flora & Fauna, Art in Nature, and Nature in Cities. Information about the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is available on VisitScotland website and the Scottish Natural Heritage website.