What to see and do in&
The Capital of the Highlands, Inverness, is famous for its legendary Loch Ness Monster and also offers a whole assortment of fascinating sights castles, lochs and rugged scenery abound.
The family of dolphins living under the Kessock Bridge on the edge of town can be seen most days feeding on the fish-filled incoming tide. The Clava Cairns, by contrast, are testament to five thousand years of local life and tradition and virtually as old is the Dark Forest of Glen Affric, overshadowed by snow-capped mountains.
What's more, after a hard day's Monster hunting at the nearby Loch, Inverness is a town to enjoy: the people are genuinely friendly and there is a lively nightlife
Inverness Student Hotel, situated on the escarpment above the River Ness, provides a warm and friendly centre from which you can explore the town and surrounding countryside.
Isle of Skye
One of Europe's wildest and most scenic lands, the Isle of Skye is THE place to admire nature's awesome imagination as the ever-changing mists and seasons roll in from the Atlantic.
Touring is easy and Kyleakin is an ideal base for public transport and a variety of minibus and boat tours, car, bicycle and moped hire. These offer you easy access to the Cuillins of Skye with their fascinating hillwalks and rock climbing. The village itself provides shops, pubs, restaurants and a cafe.
Skye Backpackers, in the middle of the village, offers friendly surroundings and is an excellent base for trips to view the local wildlife and fabulous scenery
Fort William, perched between the jagged west coast and lofty mountain peaks offers scenic beauty all year long, so why not take some time to explore this dramatic mountain area.
Nearby Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain, can be climbed by amateurs, at least part way, all year round and overlooks beautiful Glen Nevis, setting for both Braveheart and Rob Roy. Hill walkers of all ages and experience can enjoy walking the West Highland Way a magnificent 95 mile (130km) walking route. In winter Scotland's best skiing is found 6 miles north at Nevis Range ride the gondola to the Lodge and ski any of 32 runs or walk the hills in summer.
On the way back from the piste, stop at the Ben Nevis Distillery for a free tour and drink of fine whisky. While recovering from the outdoors, visit the West Highland Museum, or enjoy a spa and massage at the Lochaber Leisure Centre, in Fort William.
Wind down at one of Fort William's many pubs, several with live music at the weekends, and all within easy reach of comfortable and well-equipped Fort William Backpackers, close to the centre of town.
This Hebridean island gateway, situated on the shores and slopes of a beautiful bay and sheltered by islands, combines much of the dignity of the 19th century with the lively atmosphere of a busy harbour town.
Ferries and cruises are what really count here, with an emphasis on the sea. The waterfront, with seals and ferries vying for the visitors' attention, is packed with pubs, cafes and souvenir shops. From Oban an assortment of islands - including popular Mull, the religious centre of Iona and the geological spectacle of Fingal's Cave on Staffa - are all just a ferry ride away.
As well as being the busiest port on the west coast, Oban offers its own distillery or McCaig's Tower for spectacular views over the town. Dunollie and Dunstaffnage Castles are only a short distance away.
Oban Backpackers, a stone's throw from the waterfront, offers every comfort including a real log fire, and is the perfect base for exploring the islands and castles in the surrounding area.
Glasgow (summer route only)
Scotland's biggest city, Glasgow is very different to its eastern neighbour, Edinburgh. There's no castle, yet Glasgow is home to some of Scotland's most outstanding architecture, thanks to wealthy Victorian tobacco lords out to impress, and talented designers such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Glasgow's favourite son.
Vibrant and cosmopolitan, Glasgow is much more of a working city than a tourist trap. Even at its busiest, you can feel less like a tourist and more like a person, and as Glaswegians are among the friendliest folk alive, you stand a great chance of meeting the locals and not just other travellers!
Glasgow has its fair share of culture too museums, galleries and theatres abound and, whatever your taste, there is sure to be something in the city's live music scene that appeals.
Glasgow Backpackers Hostel is set in an impressive Georgian terrace amidst some of Glasgow's most admired architecture. Nearby lie all the landmarks and places of interest in this great city. The Hostel is large, roomy and exceedingly comfortable the sort of place you never want to leave!
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