Ultimate Bucket List Guide To The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is set over miles and miles of valleys, moors, hills and pretty villages and towns in northern England. It is located in the county of Yorkshire and sits central on the Pennines in North Yorkshire and Cumbria and also includes a small part of Lancashire. Unlike some overseas National Parks the Yorkshire Dales isn’t a wilderness area, it’s full of lots of wildlife but also home to many people who farm the land and live and work in the area.

This national park has so many recreational activities to offer its visitors from hiking, walking trails, waterfalls, lakes, cave systems, ravines and limestone formations. The Dales is famous for the Three Peaks which are Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent mountains, the peaks form part of the Pennine range.

If your looking for some adventure and love the outdoors then the Yorkshire Dales are for you, they offer a good balance of stunning outdoor sights and you can stop, refresh, shop, eat and drink in its quintessential English villages and towns. You could spend weeks in the Dales and explore so much and not get bored once. We spent a long weekend up in the Dales and had 4 days to go sightseeing, however there was still plenty more we could have seen. We chose to visit some of the top sites in the area. So if your short on time here are the absolute bucket list must dos when in the Dales!

What To See & Do

Bolton Abbey

Entrance Fee: £10 per car for parking

Bolton Abbey is one of the Dales top attractions it’s an area of stunning natural beauty sitting on the River Wharfe, and just a stone’s throw from the town of Skipton. The area has plenty to do with lots of walkways and countryside to explore and ancient priory ruins from the 12th century. You could easily spend a full day venturing around this area, it’s popular with families especially in the summer who come to have picnics and BBQs. There are also several cafes and places to get food and drink from at Bolton Abbey too. We visited in the morning and parked at the Bolton Abbey car park so we could easily explore the priory church, ruins and stepping stones, we spent about an hour or so there which was just enough time, however I would love to go back and spend a full day exploring the area. So if you have the time I would recommend spending a full day at Bolton Abbey.

Bolton Abbey

Burnsall, Grassington & Linton Falls

Burnsall, Grassington and Linton Falls are all closeby to Bolton Abbey and are all situated really close to one another and are easily accessible and easy to visit all of them in one morning or afternoon. Burnsall is a tiny village but draws many visitors because of its picture postcard setting. It’s surrounded by beautiful green hills and sits on the River Wharfe. There’s an arched bridge in the centre of the village which is a perfect spot for a picnic. There are several hiking trails which lead off from Burnsall as well. It’s a nice spot to stop off at to admire the views or to just grab a drink or something to eat as there are a handful of pubs and cafes and a village shop.

Grassington is only a few miles away from Burnsall and is another picturesque Dales market town, it has a cobbled square in the centre which is surrounded with lots of independent boutiques and craft shops, cafes and pubs and has quite a lively buzz to the area. Surrounded by the Dales it’s a great place to base yourself too as there is lots to see and do in and around this area, and with plenty of amenities close by.

A mile up the road from Grassington centre are Linton Falls which are some waterfalls situated on the River Wharfe, they aren’t very tall however they are the largest falls on the river and are very dramatic and powerful. There is a bridge over the top of the falls where you can witness their full force crashing through the jagged limestone rocks. A little upstream of the Falls there is a restored hydro-electric plant which has been restored and reopened and is supplying electricity through water power once again.

BurnsallLinton Falls

Haworth

Haworth is an absolute must when in the Dales, this pretty village has a vintage feel and feels like you step back in time with its cobbled street overlooking the moorlands. This village is most known for the Brontë sisters who wrote the famous book Wuthering Heights, which draws many literacy enthusiasts. As well as the village being steeped in history and heritage it has lots of independent businesses from specialist shops selling crafts, homemade produce, homewares, gifts, art galleries, cafes, tearooms and more for such a small village there is a lot to see and do.

We booked an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom which is a 1940s tea room and is another great experience to have while in the village, it’s a unique and quirky tearoom, service and the food is excellent and it’s such good value and you won’t leave hungry! If afternoon tea isn’t your thing then pop in for lunch or drink and a slice of cake. Haworth is my absolute favourite village in the Dales, and I can’t wait to go back. If you only have time to stop at just one of the Dales villages or towns then make sure it’s Haworth!

HaworthForteas Tearoom Haworth

Ingleton Waterfalls

Entrance Fee: £7 per person

Ingleton Waterfalls is a nature lovers dream, and one of the best nature walks in the UK in my opinion. This waterfall and woodland walk takes approximately two and a half hours and is just over 4 miles in a loop. It’s a pretty easy and accessible walk, which trails through woodland and moorland and along the way you will pass Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, Baxenghyll Gorge and Snow Falls. This was one of the highlights of our trip the scenery is truly stunning. We went late morning and it was busier than we would have liked but we still enjoyed it, I would recommend getting there for when it opens as I imagine it wouldn’t be as busy at that time.

Ingleton WaterfallsIngleton Waterfalls

Lund’s Tower & Wainman’s Pinnacle

Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are located in Sutton-In-Craven set on top of a hill overlooking the Dales. The views up there are unreal! Both are stone-built towers also known as follies. Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle are also referred to as the salt and pepper pots by locals. We visited in the morning and pulled up on the side of the road as close as we could to them and walked up to them which was an easy walk up and we had the area to ourselves. The views were some of the best we saw in the Dales and we walked up the steps in Lund’s Tower for even better views across the moors. We spent less than an hour walking up to it and around so it’s the perfect place to start your day before venturing off to explore more.

Lund's TowerLund's TowerWainman's Pinnacle

Malham Cove, Gordale Scar & Janet’s Foss

Malham Cove is a huge 230ft curved limestone cliff formation, it attracts walkers and rock climbers from all over. It doesn’t feel like something you would normally see in the UK, the sheer scale of the rock makes you feel so small. While visiting Malham Cove also check out Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss as they are all within walking distance of one another.

Gordale Scar is a huge limestone ravine with overhanging cliffs and waterfalls, the landscape of Gordale Scar is just epic and looks like a scene from a film. I couldn’t believe the amounts of times I’ve visited Yorkshire and not been to the area of Malham which holds so much dramatic and stunning scenery!

Janet’s Foss is a waterfall and pool in a woodland area and feels like a scene from a fairytale as you walk through trees, ferns and pass moss-covered rocks. Along the footpath are several trees which have had lucky pennies pushed into the bark where people make wishes to the queen of the fairies, so it’s a great place to come with children as the whole place has a magical feel to it.

Malham CoveGordale ScarGordale ScarJanet's Foss

Ribblehead Viaduct

Ribblehead Viaduct is just over the border from Cumbria into North Yorkshire, this viaduct is a huge structure on the Settle-Carlisle Railway. It was constructed back in the 1870s. The construction cost a lot of the railway builders their lives and many died due to accidents while constructing the viaduct. This huge structure is built 32 meters above the moor and made up of 24 arches, not only is the viaduct an impressive, but it has spectacular views stretching across the moorland and the three peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This is also the starting point to where many people start their journey on the three peak challenge. You can spend time hiking around there or there is plenty of places to pull over and just admire the view.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Skipton & Ilkley

Skipton is a charming market town and is often referred to as the gateway to the Dales, the cobbled high street is popular with locals and visitors with lots of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs to visit. This market town has lots of history, one of its main heritage sites is the 900 year old castle – Skipton Castle. Bolton Abbey is also just a fewmiles up the road which is a great place to wander. I would suggest visiting Skipton for a few hours either over breakfast or lunch grab some food and wander the shops and make sure to have a browse in the beautiful shopping arcade – Craven Court. 

Either before or after visiting Skipton head into the former spa town of Ilkley as it’s only a 15 minute drive away. It’s another one of the Dales picturesque towns full of Yorkshirecharm. If you fancy a traditional afternoon tea then head to the famous Bettys Tea Room. Have a stroll along the River Wharfe and if it’s views your after head to Ilkley moor for panoramic views.

Craven Court SkiptonIlkley

Where To Stay

Catgill Farm

If you love the outdoors then why not camp or glamp in the Dales?! There are so many amazing places to stay from cottages, hotels, guesthouse and campsites the Dales isn’t short on accommodation options. We opted to glamp and came across Catgill Farm when we were searching for quirky places to stay. We booked one of their timber pods which had an en-suite, firepit, hot tub and views over the Wharfe Valley. It was honestly a perfect set up, the glamping pods aren’t the cheapest, it cost us £430 in total but between 4 adults wasn’t too bad for 2 nights. On our first night in the Dales, we stayed at the premier inn as nearer the time to our trip we all realised we had the day off so decided last minute to head up a day earlier.

Catgill Farm also has bell tents available to book as well as a campsite. We loved the timber pod as it was great for self-catering in the evenings and we cooked pizzas in the outdoor pizza oven and both nights spent the evening in the hot tub which was absolute bliss after lots of walking during the day. The glamping options are great for families too as while the kids are in bed the parents can enjoy the hot tub, firepit and views. The location is also a great place to base yourself as it’s set in Bolton abbey and a few minutes drive to the Bolton Abbey car park, and all other areas of the Dales are within easy reach.

Catgill Farm GlampingCatgill Farm Glamping

Transport & Getting Around

The best way to get around the Yorkshire Dales is to drive, by driving you have all the freedom to make quick stops at places of natural beauty and stunning viewpoints and get directly to where you want to go. It’s the easiest way I personally think to really get the most out of your trip. However if you don’t drive there are plenty of bus and train services available and taxis in Yorkshire are much cheaper than down in the south of England.

4 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving spend an afternoon strolling around Skipton and Ilkley.
  2. In the morning walk up to Lund’s Tower and Wainman’s Pinnacle for amazing views, then head to Haworth for the rest of the day and book in for an afternoon tea at Forteas Tearoom.
  3. Start your day by exploring Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet’s Foss grab a pub lunch from the Buck Inn. In the afternoon visit Linton Falls and then head into Grassington for a walk around and finish your day in Burnsall for picturesque views.
  4. Depending on where your staying I would suggest starting your day at Ingleton Waterfalls to beat the crowds, however if like us you’re going to stay at Bolton Abbey start your day by exploring some of the ruins and stepping stones in Bolton Abbey, then head to Ingleton Waterfalls. Before heading home after your long weekend make a stop at Ribblehead Viaduct for more gorgeous views over the Yorkshire landscape.

Top Tips

Pack for all types of weather and take walking boots as some of the walking trails can be especially muddy.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xxUltimate Bucket List Guide To The Yorkshire Dales - Pinterest Pin

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Sustainability holds huge importance in today’s current climate both at home and now when travelling. Companies and people are starting to consider their impact on the world and how they can reduce it. The travel industry is forever evolving and changing, and now the industry along with governments are starting to realise it must change to a more greener way of working, to ensure a long term sustainable future and to protect destinations so they don’t become ruined.

There are so many eco companies popping up and companies are becoming more environmentally alert. Just beware that some companies are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to greenwash everything, when in fact they are far from being sustainable! There is plenty of information out there on green travel, and just because you have decided to take an extra moment to consider your impact while travelling doesn’t mean you have to stay in a tent, cooking on a solar powered camp stove and singing and dancing barefoot around a camp fire!

The truth is that sustainable eco tourism is all about making simple choices in order to lessen your negative impact on a destination. I myself am not perfect when it comes to eco living and travelling, I work for an airline, I drive to work, I sometimes still buy items wrapped in plastic etc. However in the past few years I have really started to focus on the way I live my life and what I can change both in my day to day life, and while I’m travelling to amazing places around the world.

Like most people the thought of climate change, air pollution, deforestation, water shortages and mass waste production breaks my heart. I’m a huge people, animal and nature lover and the thought of the way I live my life having an affect on another area of the world, impacting a community or disturbing the lives of wildlife was enough for me to make a few simple changes.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismAgain no one will ever be perfect it is impossible in this day and age to live completely sustainably, unless you move off grid and live self sufficiently. However for us average working folk there is a lot we can do, and just making some small changes and tweaks it can have such a huge impact. As the saying goes “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I wanted to write a blog about sustainability for a while now, and want to focus this post on environmental travel, however there will be some parts of this blog that cross over into your home life too.

This blog contains lots of information on accommodation, flights, transport, wildlife, travel eco products and more. You can use these tips when travelling domestically or abroad. You don’t have to religiously stick to all of these tips and don’t put to much pressure on yourself, the fact that your even doing a little bit of research into sustainable travel is a step in the right direction. Just remember there will always be judgement with whatever you do, and all you can do is what you can and what works best for you and your lifestyle.

Accommodation

When planning your trip one of the first things you will look at is where to stay, there is whole range of things you can do to ensure you lessen your impact. Here are few main points that you can focus on when booking your accommodation and when your staying at there too.

When booking your accommodation look to see if there are any eco hotels, lodges, resorts, camping or glamping in the area. Eco accommodation isn’t always easy to track down as major booking sites don’t have an eco filter option on their search bars…yet! A good way to find eco accommodation is to google – eco accommodation followed by your destination, and see what comes up. Also Ecosia is a great search engine which plants a tree for every search, other good booking sites to use are:

However more and more pressure is being put on accommodation providers to improve their sustainability. So if you can’t find an accommodation that’s eco friendly or that fits your needs, then you have the option to book your accommodation through B’n’Tree. This site allows you to book through all major booking agents and plants a tree for every booking with just one click.

There isn’t just one governing body to certify if an accommodation provider is behaving in an eco friendly way, there is a whole range of green tourism schemes, with some being more reputable than others. If you wanted to see how environmentally friendly your sleeping arrangements are have a look to see if they are accredited by Earth Check, Green Key or Green Globe which are some of the more reliable eco tourism accreditors and labels. However take note that to gain an eco certificate the membership costs are very expensive and time consuming, and many smaller accommodation providers might be just as eco friendly but don’t have accreditation. So check their website to see if they have a sustainability section outlining the way they run.

Even if you’re not staying at an eco hotel there are still several ways you can make a difference to your environmental impact such as:

  • Avoid using the hotel miniature toiletries and take your own.
  • Conserve water – opt for a shower and don’t leave water running unnecessarily.
  • If you do have rubbish that can be recycled ask the reception if they have a recycling scheme.
  • Reuse towels and request your bedding to not be changed. Would you have fresh towels and bedding every day at home?! By doing so it saves water and reduces harsh cleaning chemicals.
  • Turn off all appliances and lights when you’re not in the room.

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Glamping

Food

When in your destination, shop and eat local by going to local markets and restaurants, and try and avoid chain restaurants not only does it help towards the local economy but less likely produce will have been imported in. Small businesses will tend to use local food and produce that has been sourced locally. Eating locally also gives you the chance to interact with the locals providing a more authentic experience, while getting to try lots of new and different food.

Consume less meat as producing it uses far more energy and water, and creates more waste than fruit and vegetables. If you’re a meat eater I’m not saying give up meat entirely, but maybe opt for the odd plant based meal or reduce your intake of red meat, and choose a healthier meat or fish alternative for yourself and the planet. If you want to find vegetarian or vegan restaurants in your destination download the Happy Cow app for guides on vegetarian restaurants in the area.

When eating avoid throw away cutlery and single use packaging if possible, refuse straws and eat in places rather than take away, if you have the time. Take your own reusable travel cutlery and if you’re opting for take away, take your own lunch box/wax wrap and see if the restaurant can put your food in there for you. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but having your own travel cutlery is always easy to carry and pack to avoid using disposable plastic cutlery. If tight on space when packing instead of packing a lunchbox why not pack a reusable wax food wrap or some disposable paper bags. Although the paper bags are still waste it’s a much better alternative than plastic packaging.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Local Markets

Flights

There is no denying that the aviation industry is key player in the cause of global warming and releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However many airlines are slowly changing their ways, and investing in better and more fuel efficient aircraft and reducing waste onboard. When travelling overseas there isn’t always much choice but to fly, and especially when most people have limited annual leave. There are however some simple tweaks and considerations you can make to your journey to make it slightly more environmentally friendly.

When booking flights always try and opt for direct flights when and where possible, and if your budget allows for it. The take off and landing of a flight burns more fuel than when the flight is cruising at altitude. When flying direct your limiting your take offs and landings which reduces the amount of carbon going into the air.

Many airlines are now paying into carbon offsetting, it’s by no means a perfect solution, but it’s a step in the right direction and still better than doing nothing at all. Carbon offsetting helps fund projects and schemes all around the world to help balance out the effects of carbon emissions from the aviation industry. Carbon offsetting is a good way to help reduce your impact, and as a passenger when booking your flight most airlines will now give you the choice to pay into carbon offsetting. You don’t have to pay a lot in, just as much as you can afford or think is reasonable, even if it’s just a few extra quid – every little helps.

When packing try and pack as light as you can, as the heavier an aircraft is – the more fuel it burns. Lighter aircrafts produce less carbon emissions, so really have a think about what it is your packing and plan your day to day outfits to avoid over packing, and anything that isn’t necessary leave it at home.

Local Customs

Always try and support locals and their businesses as it’s better to contribute to locals and their economy rather than huge international chains. When visiting a place always respect their local customs and traditions, and read up about a place before travelling there so you’re aware of their customs. There are so many pros and cons to the tourism industry and the affects it can have on a place. In one way it’s great as local communities can make a living from the industry, but also it can have a negative impact of diluting the culture of a place. My best bit of advice is to be culturally aware and respectful and dress in an appropriate way, and be aware of where you are visiting and the people around.

When visiting developing countries sometimes low income families will send their children out to beg on the streets, as hard as it is the best thing to do is not give children any money as it encourages the families to not send them to school. Instead if you want to help take some books and pencils instead and keep them in your bag and if you come across any children then you can give them stationary or stuff to learn and create with which will help them more in the long run.

If you really want to feel like you’re making a difference in a place then why not have a look into volunteering or working along side an NGO (non-governmental organisation) there are a whole range of volunteering schemes all around the world, so do your research and see which would suit you best.A Complete Guide To Sustainable TourismNature & Wildlife

In all destinations a huge factor when visiting anywhere should be consideration for its nature and wildlife. Always respect nature and wildlife and take care when visiting somewhere of natural beauty. Ensure you take any rubbish with you and find somewhere to dispose of it, and if possible find somewhere that recycles it (if it’s a recyclable product). Some hotels recycle so take any rubbish back with you and put into their recycling. Try and avoid making waste if you can by taking your own cutlery, refusing carrier bags and straws etc.

If you spot some litter pick it up and dispose of it into a bin, whenever I visit a beach I always try and make a conscious effort to pick up at least 5 pieces of rubbish and dispose of them. In some places and especially in developing countries where there is little to no waste management, and there is so much rubbish it’s an impossible task for one individual. If that’s the case make more of a conscious effort to not add to an already huge existing problem in that place.

When visiting a beach and swimming in the sea always choose a suncream that is ocean and reef friendly and not full of harmful chemicals that will harm coral and marine life. Take all rubbish and waste with you because if it is left on the beach it can easily blow into the ocean or be dragged into it with the tide. Rubbish and plastic pollution is already causing so many issues for marine life, wildlife and seabirds and it can be fatal for them. When snorkelling or scuba diving always refrain from touching or standing on any coral reef as it can cause huge damage to their fragile ecosystem.

One of the most important sustainable tips I could give is to avoid animal tourism such as elephant riding, selfies with tigers, dolphin shows and cuddling a monkey – the list goes on…I am guilty that in the past I have contributed to negative wildlife tourism, I was naive and didn’t do my research and assumed because somewhere had added sanctuary to the end of its name that it must be a great and caring place for the animals, how wrong I was?!

Most places that are offering a hands on experience with wild animals are more than likely out for personal financial gain, rather than providing what’s best for the animals. If your visiting a destination because you want to experience wildlife then do your homework before hand.

I had always wanted to swim with dolphins, but I didn’t want to swim with them in captivity. When I visited Kaikoura in New Zealand I found a tour that offered a small number of visitors to swim with wild dolphins, and some of the profits went back into the local marine conservation. They took us on a small boat and we just got into the water and it was completely on the dolphins terms if they swam near us. It was a once in a lifetime experience and we’re so lucky that the dolphins were inquisitive and came swimming up to us, that in my opinion is a far better experience than swimming with them in a tank, where they are more than likely mistreated and forced to do tricks and swim with you.

Researching into wildlife tourism is always a must before visiting anywhere and always avoid purchasing any animal product souvenirs such as coral, fur, feathers, reptile skin, turtle shells and ivory etc. Some animal items are illegal and if they’re not, they should be. Morally it is wrong to harvest animals for their body parts to make decorative items out of. Sometimes endangered species are exploited in this awful trade which has a huge effect on their numbers in the wild, and can bring some species to the brink of extinction.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Wildlife

Shopping

I love shopping and I’ll admit I’m a bit of a shopaholic, however when travelling I always keep my eye out for locally produced souvenirs over mass produced ones. Not only are handmade souvenirs normally of better quality, but also have more meaning and more care gone into them. By purchasing them you are contributing back into the economy or helping a family make ends meet. Remember when travelling to always pack a light reusable shopping bag, or if you’re walking around and have a bag or backpack then refuse a carrier bag and pop the item you purchased into your bag.

Tours

When booking onto tours and activities check the sustainability of a tour or activity, and ensure it’s not having a negative impact on the destination. There are some tours that contribute a donation for every booking back to a charity or environmental scheme. A good example of this is when I visited the Cook Islands there were two tour companies offering a boat trip out on the lagoon, however I swayed towards booking the one that donated a percentage of their sales to local marine conservation. There are plenty of eco tour operators, google eco tours followed by your destination to see if there’s any available for your trip. If in doubt or not sure on where to find eco tours then go to Trip Advisors Eco Tourism Forum and ask a question.A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism

Transport

If you aren’t time constraint, then have a look at other modes of transport alternatives to reach your destination, such as Eurostar or ferry to get to mainland Europe from the UK. If your travelling around in a country or continent then there’s plenty of options for trains, boats or buses instead of an internal flight or short flights. If crossing over borders triple check visa details and read up on anything you may need to know about, like you would when flying into somewhere.

In your destination, explore as much as possible by foot or by cycling, and use public transport when and where you can such as trains, subways and buses etc.

Travel Accessories & Products

Go prepared when travelling the world and take some key items with you to help you reduce the waste you leave behind in a destination. Here are some great accessories and products to take with you on your next trip;

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula xx

A Complete Guide To Sustainable Tourism - Pinterest Pin

Cultural Things To See & Do In Bali

Bali is a paradise island situated in Indonesia, Bali is known all around the world as a tourist hotspot, and there are so many reasons why people are drawn to this beautiful tropical island. Bali is known as the island of the gods, as its a really holy place full of temples and shrines. Many locals put out daily offerings to the gods with beautiful flower petals arrangements and burn candles and incense.

The island has a rich and diverse culture and most days of the week you will witness a procession of locals heading towards one of the many temple ceremonies. Bali is covered in forested volcanic mountains, green rice paddies, beaches and has coral reefs surrounding the island. The island itself is very spiritual and draws visitors from all around the world who are seeking peace, yoga and meditation practises.

We only spent 5 nights in Bali which definitely wasn’t enough! We stayed in Ubud and did a day trip around some major sites around the island, but would definitely love to go back and spend longer exploring some different regions of Bali. Many people that visit Bali split their stay between different areas and divide their time between the beaches and the green forested areas in the centre of the island. Bali has so much to see and do, you could spend weeks exploring its sites. In this quick guide are some of the main cultural sites and attractions to see if you’re limited on time.

Sights & Activities

Balinese Dance

Entrance Fee: 100,000 IDR

There are many places all around Bali that host ancient Balinese traditional dances and theatre shows. Many of these shows are artistic and express stories through the art form of dance and specific body movements with gestures being demonstrated using fingers, hands and eye expressions. These dances are truly unique to Balinese culture and are widely connected to the Hindu religion and Bali folklore. The dances all have different meanings and Balinese names such as Barong, Legong and Baris to name a few.

There are shows held all around the island but Ubud is a very popular place to view one of these performances due to it being the cultural and historical hub of Bali. There are shows every night in Ubud at several locations. I would suggest when travelling around Bali that you aim to see one of the shows in Ubud as they are frequent.

We went to one of the shows held every night at 19:30 at Ubud Palace, there is a different show every night which all perform various Balinese dance styles. The shows at Ubud Palace are only about £6 per person so really affordable. I really recommend spending one evening going to watch one of these shows as it’s great that these traditions are being kept going, they are truly unique and like nothing you have will have ever seen before.

Balinese Dance Ubud

Goa Gajah

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Goa Gajah is a Hindu temple and archaeological site located just outside of Ubud and is also known as the Elephant Cave due to its close proximity to the Elephant River. The site is said to date back to the 11th century, but with some fragment, relics found close by dating back even earlier! Entering through the face in the rock you step into a small cave which has some small statues and offerings, once you pass through the small narrow cave you come out to two bathing pools with statues. You only need approximately one hour or so to explore this historical site, it’s gardens and surrounding area. Go with knees covered or you can hire sarongs at the entrance. I really enjoyed visiting this site and if you can try and get there early to beat the crowds. We hired a scooter and drove to the temple as it isn’t too far from Ubud centre, however a lot of set day tours stop here too if you prefer booking onto tours.

Goa Gajah BaliGoa Gajah Bali

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces are located in the centre of Bali and span over 600 hectares of rice fields following the hillside of the Batukaru Mountain Range, they are part of UNESCO world heritage sites. You could easily spend a few days exploring this area of Bali as there are beautiful mountains, small villages and lots of great local restaurants.

We stopped here on a day tour we booked and stopped to admire the views and for some lunch. It started to rain heavily while we were there, so took the views in undercover. The terraces are stunning, and I honestly have never seen a more vivid shade of green in my life! This area is the very definition of rural Bali if you’re looking to escape the crowds then look into staying in the area at one of the many mountain retreats on offer.

If your staying in Ubud and don’t fancy venturing very far for rice fields, then not to worry as all around Ubud there are plenty of rice terraces with the most famous ones being Tegalalang Terraces. Many tourists don’t leave the resorts or beaches which makes the rice fields a great place to escape and explore in peace and quiet.

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

Monkey Forest

Entrance Fee: 80,000 IDR

The famous Monkey Forest is located in Ubud and is seen as an important spiritual and economic centre for the village of Padangtegal which also own the forest. Hidden in the forest are several ancient temples to visit as well. The forest is stunning and like many areas in Bali provides the most beautiful shades of green. The forest has a mysterious feel to it when wandering around and it’s great to watch the monkeys play. There is a large variety of species of trees as well as hundreds of monkeys that call this forest home. You can also feed the monkeys with fruits that you can purchase at the entrance too, do not take any food or drink from outside into the forest to ensure the monkeys don’t become aggressive to steal the food and also to ensure they are getting the correct diet of food. This was one of my favourite areas in Bali it had a really magical feel to the area and I loved watching all the monkeys and being amongst nature. If you’re in Ubud I personally think the Monkey Forest is a must!

Monkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud BaliMonkey Forest Ubud Bali

Taman Ayun Temple

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Pura Taman Ayun is in the heartlands of Bali and situated approximately 30 minutes drive from Ubud. It is a huge royal water temple surrounded by a moat, it was the main temple of the Mengwi Kingdom which survived until 1891. The temple was built in 1634 and was renovated back in 1937. The temple is full of traditional Balinese architectural features which spread throughout the many shrines, buildings, courtyards and gardens. The name of the temple translates into a beautiful garden. The temple forms part of Bali’s UNESCO world heritage site. It’s well worth a visit, especially as it’s not too far away from Ubud if that’s where you are basing yourself for your trip.

Taman Ayun Temple BaliTaman Ayun Temple Bali

Tanah Lot & Batu Bolong Temple

Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR

Tanah Lot is a rock formation with a Hindu shrine dedicated to the Balinese sea gods, the temple forms an important aspect of Balinese mythology and spirituality. Tanah Lot is situated just offshore on the south east coast of Bali. It was created back in the 16th century by a Hindu priest. Some of the temple and rock has been restored, as they suffered badly from erosion from the large waves and high tides over the years. When it is high tide the shrine cannot be reached when it is low tide people can walk across to the rock formation and the low sea level exposes small caves and crevices.

The complex also has nearby shrines such as Batu Bolong Temple which is on the beach of Canggu, the name translates into perforated rock, as the name suggests it sits out into the ocean and the rock has a hole in the middle. This temple is popular with many Hindus who go there to pray daily.

These shrines are a must visit on any trip to Bali, I would suggest going early to avoid the crowds or try to be there for sunset, however it is much busier around that time. Unfortunately when we visited the heavens opened up and we got soaked, I would love to go back and revisit.

Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple BaliTanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple Bali

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural hub of the island, full with beautiful Balinese buildings, temples and green spaces. The area surrounding Ubud is full of jungles and rice terraces. Ubud is a very on trend place with plenty of spas, yoga retreats, fashion and homeware boutiques not to mention there are lots of traditional arts and crafts available all around Ubud from local workshops and markets.

The village of Ubud is also a foodies dream with so many cute hipster cafes and restaurants to pick from. Ubud really has it all apart from the ocean, but it is the greenest place I have ever been to and has so much nature surrounding it. I would suggest staying in Ubud for a couple of nights on your trip to Bali at least, and if your not a beach lover you could easily spend your whole trip in Ubud and get out exploring all the temples and historic sites. You can base yourself in Ubud and do plenty of day tours around the rest of the island too.

Most days we would take our scooter out and go driving around the area stopping at temples and then in the afternoon grab some lunch and hit the local markets such as the Art Market (Pasar Seni), Street Market and the Traditional Market which are a few we visited! There are so many markets and also night markets to explore if your a shopaholic then leave plenty of room in your suitcase.

Ubud BaliUbud BaliUbud Bali

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of Bali’s most famous temples and is placed on Lake Beratan which is Bali’s second largest lake. It is in the highlands of the mountainous region of Bedugul, and the temple is dedicated to several Hindu gods. There are signs that the temple dates back as early as 1556, but was rebuilt in 1633. The gardens of the temple are stunning with gorgeous views over the lake, temples and mountains in the distance. It’s a really calm place to visit and much cooler with its mountain air. This was our first stop on our day tour around the island if your planning on visiting Ulun Danu Beratan Temple I would suggest booking a private driver or book onto a tour that stops there, as it’s high in the mountains it might not be the easiest drive for someone not familiar with the roads.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali

Transport & Getting Around

Getting around Bali is pretty easy and most locals and tourists tend to opt for scooters, as they’re quick and easy to get from a to b and cheap to run and hiring them doesn’t cost much at all. When hiring a scooter make sure to wear a helmet as there have been so many horrendous stories of tourists having accidents not just in Bali but all around South East Asia.

You can also hire bicycles around the villages but Bali roads aren’t for the faint hearted especially on a bike! Some are in quite a poor condition too, so speak to you accommodation provider who will be able to recommend good places to hire bicycles and some hotels even have them to hire out as well as scooters. There is public transport in the form of a van crammed with seats like a bus called bemos, these aren’t a popular choice with either locals or tourists as they run on a set route, and are few and far between as most people tend to opt for scooters or private drivers.

Bali is easily accessible by many flights that land into Ngurah Rai International Airport with flights from all over the world and Asia. You can also get boats to Bali from both Lombok and the Gili Islands with plenty of different options available.

As we were limited on time we booked a full day island tour through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value and are an Indonesian based tour operator. The tour we booked took us to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Munduk Waterfall Valley, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, Taman Ayun Temple, Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong Temple. They have a variety of tours available if you’re tight on time then booking day tours are a great way to get out and see everything you want to see and with the knowledge of a local.

Top Tips

Bali is an incredible place to visit and it is an extremely popular tourist destination so do go with an open mind and expect crowds. Don’t always go expecting you’re going to be the only one at a popular tourist spot, don’t let Instagram fool you! Many of these travel influencers that get these amazing photos will get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and a do a lot of photoshopping, so don’t be shocked if you go somewhere and it is heaving with people.

Bali is full of many religious sites and temples so dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered. A lot of the religious sites will allow you to hire sarongs to cover yourself too. Also note that many high end bars and restaurants have a dress code too, and beachwear in some places may not be allowed, check prior to going to certain places to avoid any disappointment.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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A Day Trip To The Gili Islands From Lombok

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another. All of the Gilis do not have roads and do not permit any motorised vehicles on them, so the main way to get around each island is by foot, bicycle or by cidomo (horsedrawn carts). Just be careful with hiring a horse and cart as I have heard many stories of the horses not being cared for properly.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok and regular daily fast boats depart Bali directly to Gili T. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. Gili T was once known as a hippie party island, but today is popular with both backpackers and families.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller. The island is ringed by pristine beaches and coral reefs. Most accommodation is on the east side of the island with the most beautiful beach on offer, although there is some development going on in the west of the island. Inland on Gili Meno are homesteads, coconut plantations and there is a salty lake.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing. The snorkelling is really good right off from the main beach too. The beaches on Gili Air are said to be the best out of the three islands.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands, and we stopped at Gili T where we had a wander around and had lunch and got to spend some time on the beach.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

After lunch, we got back on the boat for some more snorkelling around the islands. The Gili islands also have lots of scuba diving trips and courses available too, and the scuba diving is meant to be amazing! Snorkelling is really great around all of the islands and we were lucky enough to swim alongside a beautiful turtle.

Gili Islands Indonesia

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, and you could easily spend your whole holiday there or add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. Personally, I would love to go back and revisit the Gilis and next time I would like to spend a few nights there. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

The quickest and easiest way to get to the Gili Islands is from Lombok, as they are much closer in proximity than Bali. From Lombok, there are several transfers that can be booked as well as cheap public boats. Each of the Gilis has public boats in their harbour areas that leave when at full capacity.

Depending on which Gili Island you are visiting there are several departures from Lombok to the Gilis throughout the day, there is Teluk Nare Harbour which is where the ferries and speedboats come in, and Bangsal Harbour which offers public boats across to the Gilis. From both these ports, Gili Air is only a 10 minute boat ride, to Gili Meno it is 15 minutes and to Gili Trawangan its around 20 – 30 minutes.

Once on the Gilis you can easily get between each island by hopping on one of the boats which runs between them all regularly, and they are all between 5 – 10 minute boat ride apart from one another.

There are also plenty of options to reach the Gilis from Bali, which are longer boat journeys but easily doable and can take anything between 1 to 5 hours depending on which option you choose and where you depart from. There are fast boats and also ferries which run between Bali, the Gili Islands and Lombok. The ferry option is a cheap option, but I would only recommend to people on a tight budget and travelling for an extended amount of time. I would suggest anyone who is on holiday for a few weeks to go with the quicker options. You can also charter private boats to take you across from both Bali and Lombok.

We booked through Perama Tours to go from Lombok to the Gili Islands as they have daily tours but you can also book boat transfers through them as well.

Top Tips

The Gili Islands although set up for tourists, they are a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards as ATMs are only in a few hotels in Gili T, and cards are accepted but monly in modern establishments.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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5 Things To See & Do In North Lombok

The island of Lombok is placed between the popular tourist island of Bali and the remote Sumbawa Island of West Nusa Tenggara. The residents of Lombok are predominantly Muslim, which makes it very different from Bali which is mostly Hindu. Before the independence of Indonesia, Lombok was mainly ruled by the chiefs of the indigenous Sasak tribe, which still dominates most of the population today.

Lombok has something for everyone from stunning sandy beaches, jungles and waterfalls, with plenty of surfing and trekking on offer for adventurers. Lombok itself doesn’t have a very big nightlife scene, however if you’re looking for something a little more lively then head to the island of Gili Trawangan for a few nights. The island is also home to Indonesia’s second largest active volcano – Mount Rinjani which is popular with hikers. Lombok is definitely more suited to travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle and looking for a quieter destination with plenty of off the beaten track natural wonders.

We only had 3 nights in Lombok and had a day trip out to the Gili Islands. I really would love to go back to Lombok and spend some more time there in the future. I really recommend that if your travelling to Bali and the Gili Islands then make some extra time and visit Lombok for a few nights at least, as it’s a complete contrast to Bali and the Gilis.

Sights & Activities

Malimbu Hill

Malimbu Hill is a gorgeous coastal viewpoint and is located 10 minutes drive from Senggigi. There are two viewpoint options one which is Malimbu Hill which is a grassy hilltop covered in palm trees, which is a perfect spot for watching the sunset, or there is Malimbu Cliff which is a higher viewpoint. We didn’t really get chance to stop here as we were on a Lombok day tour, but did get a quick glance over the view, and could even see the Gili Islands in the far distance. I would recommend visiting for sunset to take full advantage of the ocean views.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest is a stunning jungle viewpoint set along a winding mountain road about a 35 minute drive from Senggigi. There’s a small lay-by to pull over in, which has lots of wild macaque monkeys roaming around because many tourists feed them. This is a great place to stop off and admire the forest views and of course see the monkeys climbing the trees and waiting to be fed.

Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest LombokBaun Pusuk Monkey Forest Lombok

Senaru Village

Senaru Village is a traditional Sasak village which is located next to the Mount Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins, it’s approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Senggigi. The Sasak inhabitants are the cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and its surrounding forest. Visiting the village is a great insight into local life and getting to see the authentic thatched houses. It’s a great place to stop off at before visiting Sendang Gile Waterfall or if your heading to Mount Rinjani.

Senaru Village Lombok

Sendang Gile Waterfall

Entrance Fee: 10,000 IDR

Sendang Gile Waterfall is located close to Senaru Village and close to the base of Mount Rinjani. Lombok has many waterfalls to go and visit, but this one is a popular one due to its location and ease, as its an easy 15 minute walk from the entrance to view the waterfall. It’s a gorgeous waterfall surrounded by greenery and nature, on a hot day it’s really refreshing to take a dip in the pool or to fully submerge yourself underneath the falls. We booked a day tour so all prices were included in the tour price. I would really recommend visiting Sendang Gile waterfall or at least one of of the many waterfalls Lombok has to offer such as Benang Stokel, Benang Kelambu, Tiu Tedja and various other waterfalls dotted around the island.

Sendang Gile Waterfall Lombok

The Gili Islands

The Gili Islands are a group of three tiny islands clustered close to one another. The islands are Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are situated near the coast of northwest Lombok. The islands are a popular spot for tourists for their white sandy beaches fringed with palm trees and coral reefs just offshore. Each island although similar in appearance all have quite a different vibe from one another.

Gili Trawangan (Gili T) is the largest of the islands and attracts the majority of visitors, it takes approximately 30 minutes by boat from the northwest of Lombok. Gili T is popular with tourists as it has the most going on in comparison to the other Gili Islands – restaurants, bars, cafes and shops.

Gili Meno is the smallest Gili Island and by far the most peaceful and underdeveloped, and is popular with honeymooners and the more mature traveller.

Gili Air is the island closest to Lombok and is a good island to visit if you want the best of both worlds – less busy than Gili T, but with still a little bit of nightlife, and chilled out enough so you can do plenty of relaxing.

We visited the Gilis on a day trip from Lombok and booked a boat trip through Perama Tours which picked us up from the hotel in the morning and took us to the harbour where we then had a private boat that took us snorkelling around all three of the islands.

The Gili Islands are an absolute must when planning a trip to Indonesia, add it on to a Bali or Lombok itinerary. I would recommend that if you have time to spend a couple of nights on the islands. However if you are limited on time like we were, a day trip is a good idea so that you can get a taste of the islands.

Read more about The Gili Islands: A Day Trip To The Gili Islands From Lombok

Gili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands IndonesiaGili Islands Indonesia

Transport & Getting Around

Getting to Lombok is pretty easy to reach from Bali, there are plenty of flights to Lombok airport which is what we opted for. We booked a flight with Lion Air which is a 20 minute flight and cost us about £30 per person return, however this can vary depending on when you travel. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Kuta from the airport and it’s an hour drive to Senggigi.

You can also head to Lombok by public ferry from Padang Bai Port in Bali which is really cheap and easy to do, however the ferry does take between 4 – 5 hours to reach Lembar Port in Lombok, which is approximately an hour away from both Kuta and Senggigi.

Lombok isn’t the easiest island to get around with regards to public transport as mostly it only operates in bigger towns on the island. Renting a car, motorbike or scooter is the best option or booking onto day tours if you want to explore more of the island if your short on time.

As we were limited on time we just booked all our tours through Perama Tours who are reliable and great value, and are an Indonesian based tour operator. We booked Perama for a Gili Islands day tour on our second day in Lombok, and on our last day, we booked a full day tour of Lombok where they took us to Malimbu Hill, Baun Pusuk Monkey Forest, Senaru Village and Sendang Gile Waterfall.

Top Tips

Lombok although set up for tourists, it is a little more behind with facilities to that of its popular island neighbour Bali. Make sure to carry cash as well as cards, as ATMs are only in the major towns and cards are accepted only in modern establishments.

As Lombok is mostly Muslim – make sure to cover up and dress modestly in the towns. Beachwear is fine when on the beaches and in the resorts, but covering shoulders is advised when in the towns and villages.

Helpful Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx5 Things To See And Do In North Lombok - Pintetest Pin

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What To See & Do In The Scottish Highlands In 5 Days

The Highlands of Scotland are located in the north west of the country and spreads out to the many islands off the coast. The Highlands offers the ultimate wilderness break, and if solitude is what your after, then look no further! These areas are sparsely populated and full of so much natural beauty it’s the perfect relaxation getaway and great for a digital detox too.

Scotland’s natural playground really does have something to offer everyone from vast empty coastlines, mountains, lochs, historical castles and monuments and so much more, the landscapes are truly breathtaking!

My husband, myself and our two friends managed to get some cheap flights up to Inverness, hired a car and booked a glamping geodome for all four of us to stay in. We did so much in 5 days however there is so much more to see, and if you go in the summer months then there are lots of wildlife tours you can book onto too. We visited the first weekend of October so unfortunately many of the wildlife boat tours had stopped running.

We honestly had such an amazing trip and were so surprised that a domestic trip could be so good. Normally I am the worst for jetting off to exotic far flung countries, but after our break in the Highlands I definitely want to make a more conscious effort to explore more of the UK!

Sights & Activities

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK, situated in the north west Highlands and part of the Grampian mountain range. It is close by to the town of Fort William, and attracts many tourists and hikers from all over. We checked the weather before going and worked out which was the best day for us to hike up it, we only made it half way up as the weather conditions changed. It became very windy, so we made it to a lake which is about half way up the mountain and stopped there for a bit and started to head back down.

The walk up is amazing and you get the most incredible views of the mountains and the natural beauty that the Highlands have to offer. To hike to the very top of Ben Nevis would on average take between 4-5 hours, however this is fitness and weather dependent. Make sure when you visit you wear walking/hiking gear, and take plenty of water and snacks with you as once you start the hike there isn’t anywhere to stop and buy anything. However the water from the streams is so clean you can drink straight from them. If you plan on hiking up to the top be sure to allow for a full day to get up and get back down again.

Ben Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis ScotlandBen Nevis Scotland

Bridge Of Oich

The River Oich is part of the Great Glen and has a suspension bridge designed by a brewer turned engineer. The 46 metre Bridge of Oich was built in 1854, a few years after floods swept through the Great Glen and destroyed the original stone bridge.

Bridge Of Oich Scotland

Cairngorms

The Cairngorms is the UKs largest national park and has so much to see and do from mountains, forests, lochs, waterfalls, villages, distilleries and plenty of wildlife. The Cairngorms is also the most popular ski resort in the UK, and attracts many visitors who are interested in snow sports, rock climbing and mountain biking.

We visited the Cairngorms and started off our day in Aviemore which is like the gateway to the national park and is popular with visitors. We had lunch there and a wander around many of its shops before heading off on a road trip driving around the Cairngorms and stopping off to admire the views. You could easily spend your whole holiday in the Cairngorms as there is so much to see and lots of hikes and trails to follow. As we were short on time we just spent a full day there, but I would love to go back and explore some more!

Cairngorms ScotlandCairngorms ScotlandCairngorms Scotland

Commando Memorial

The Commando Memorial is close to Spean Bridge and was created in 1952 to commemorate the British Commando Forces which were put together in World War 2. The monument is a large bronze statue of 3 commando soldiers which overlooks the training grounds of the Commando Training Depot which was established in 1942. It provides amazing views over Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr too.

Eilean Donan Castle

As we reached the mainland after being on the Isle of Skye we made a quick stop at Eilean Donan Castle to see it lit up at dusk, the 13th century castle is perched on top of a small tidal island where 3 sea lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh. It’s about half a mile from the village of Dornie. The castle is open to visitors too, and has been featured on several films and tv series and is one of the most photographed castles in all of Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle Scotland

Fort William

Fort William is a town in the western Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Loch Linnhe. Fort William is great base to explore Ben Nevis. The town has a cute little high street filled with pubs, cafes, restaurants and lots of souvenir shops. We came into town after visiting Ben Nevis for some lunch and a look around the shops.

Isle Of Skye

The Isle of Skye is one of Scotlands top destinations to visit and after visiting I can clearly see why! Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s northwest coast by a bridge, and is 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides archipelago. This island has so much to offer its visitors from its rugged landscapes, quaint fishing villages, medieval castles and lots of wildlife such as eagles, seals, otters, dolphins, whales and deer to name a few!

We visited the Isle of Skye in just one day, however you could spend days and days roaming this island especially if you are into hiking trails. If you come in the summer there are lots of whale watching tours and wildlife kayaking tours available to book. We started off our day early as it took approximately 2 hours to drive to the Isle of Skye from where we were staying by Loch Ness. Some of the main places to visit on the Isle of Skye are;

We started to head back to the mainland before it got dark, there is so much to see and do on the Isle of a Skye I really wish we had more time there. Even if your short on time on your Highlands trip be sure to keep one day spare for a visit to the Isle of Skye.

Read more about the Isle Of Skye: A Day Trip To The Isle Of Skye From Loch Ness

Isle Of SkyeIsle Of SkyeIsle Of SkyeIsle Of Skye

Loch Ness & Fort Augustus

Loch Ness is the most famous loch in Scotland and is surrounded by mystery with tales of sightings of a Loch Ness monster living deep beneath this freshwater lake. Loch Ness contains more water than all the lakes in England and Wales put together. Loch Ness is about 23 miles in length and offers plenty of natural beauty, with lots of hikes and trails all around the legendary loch. Just behind our Geodome was a gorgeous trail with stunning views over the Loch, my husband and I were even lucky enough to see 2 deer dash out in front of us and into the trees.

There are plenty of cruises and boat tours available on Loch Ness, however we opted to walk along it, and visited Fort Augustus to admire its views over Loch Ness. Fort Augustus is nestled on the most southern tip of Loch Ness and lying on the 60 mile long Caledonian Canal. Fort Augustus is a tourist hotspot and there you can watch boats steering through the large locks. There are lots of shops, restaurants, cafes, tours and cruises of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus too.

Loch NessFort AugustusLoch Ness

Mallaig, Morar & Arisaig

Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig are all seaside villages/towns located on the west cost of the highlands. We came to these on our last day and drove along the coast and stopped at their harbours and beaches. Mallaig is a fishing port town and is also extremely popular with Harry Potter fans as the Jacobite steam train which runs from Fort William to Mallaig and was featured in the Harry Potter films.

We came to Mallaig first and stopped there for lunch and a saunter around the shops and port, after that we then drove along the series of beaches known as the Silver Sands which dot the coastline from Morar to Arisaig. We stopped at lots of these beautiful beaches and coves and had them all to ourselves, they were so peaceful and rural.

Our last stop before having to head back to Inverness to catch our flight home was Arisaig which is a small village which leads on from Morar and is situated on an inlet in the Morar peninsula surrounded by the blue sea, rocky coves and powdery white sand. I absolutely fell in love with the west coast of Scotland the beaches were absolutely gorgeous and so clean they were hard to believe they were in the UK.

Mallaig ScotlandMallaig ScotlandMallaig ScotlandMorar ScotlandMorar ScotlandMorar ScotlandArisaig ScotlandArisaig Scotland

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle is situated on Loch Ness and is one of the Highlands most famous castles. With a 1000 years of history the castle ruins gives visitors a taste into medieval times. As we were driving back to our Geodome from the Cairngorms we saw the castle so quickly pulled over to view it, the castle was stunning and we caught sunset just in time.

Urquhart Castle

Food & Drink

Chlachain Inn

Chlachain Inn is located in Mallaig, there isn’t a huge choice of places to choose from in this little port, but this looked nice from the outside and had a warm fire going inside, we stopped in here lunch and the food was great. I opted for the halloumi burger and it came with the most delicious relish!

Chlachain Inn Scotland

The Bothy

The Bothy is a traditional pub and restaurant next to the Caledonian canal in Fort Augustus. It has lots of traditional Scottish food on offer and the portions are huge! So make sure to go hungry, I had the mushroom pie which was was so delicious and just what I needed on a cold day. The Bothy is also a great place to visit for a drink too, as it’s set in a gorgeous 200 year old cottage and it has a friendly atmosphere.

The Bothy Scotland

The Cluanie Inn

On the way back from Isle of Skye we stopped off in Glenmoriston at the The Cluanie Inn. The great thing about Scotland is that it is full of cosy pubs and inns. We all weren’t massively hungry so stopped in there for a drink and a small dinner. The place was really popular with tourists and had a good range of food and drinks on offer.

The Cluanie Inn Scotland

The Grog & Gruel

The Grog and Gruel is on Fort Williams high street, and is a small alehouse and restaurant. There is a variety of dishes available and lots of American and Mexican food available to order. I decided on the vegetarian haggis which was really tasty. They pride themselves on offering a big choice of local and regional brewed ales and craft lagers and hearty comfort food.

The Grog & Gruel Scotland

The Wildcat

The Wildcat on Fort William high street is a vegan and zero waste cafe, which also has a refill shop at the back of the cafe and sells organic and ethical every day products. We stopped in here for a slice of cake and a chai latte, which was honestly one of the best chais I’ve ever had. The cafe has a very hipster look and feel to it and is a really great place to stop for a pick me up.

The Wildcat Scotland

The Winking Owl

The Winking Owl is a chalet restaurant in the town of Aviemore in the Cairngorms. It cooks up Scottish and international dishes with amazing views over the mountains. We came in here for lunch before exploring the rest of the Cairngorms. There is also a lunch menu available and we ordered the brie wedges to share to start with and they were amazing!

The Winking Owl ScotlandThe Winking Owl ScotlandThe Winking Owl Scotland

Accommodation

Inver Coille Camping & Glamping

When we were originally looking into where we wanted to stay, we knew we wanted something quirky and cosy. We came across Inver Coillie Camping and Glamping which offers several glamping options such as Geodomes, bell tents and pods. As there was 4 of us we opted to book one of their geodomes, and we were definitely not disappointed!

The campsite is nestled in a beautiful wooded area along Loch Ness, and only a 10 minute drive into Fort Augustus, it’s a great location for exploring the Highlands. Everything has been well thought out at the campsite, all the glamping pods are all well spaced out, bathrooms are immaculately clean and heated! When you book a Geodome you are provided with your own allocated bathroom which is code locked, which is great as you can leave all your toiletries in there. There is also a picnic area with fire pit and recycling bins. Just by the bathrooms there is also a communal area of sinks for washing up etc.

The dome we were allocated was gorgeous and we had the woods directly behind and a beautiful stream running just outside the dome. Inside the dome there is a double bed and a day bed which converts into a double. There’s a table and chairs and small kitchen unit which has a hob, and all the kitchen utensils and crockery you need along with a kettle. The dome comes with a starter pack of tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits. They also supply you with a bag of logs on arrival for the log burner, after that you can then buy extra at the reception. The log burner was amazing and made the Geodome so warm and toasty.

There was no WiFi or signal at Inver Coille but actually it was really nice to be able to fully switch off from the world. There was some solar run lights in the Geodome and some battery operated fairy lights but no electricity, however they supply you with a battery pack so you can charge your electricals, and you can leave gadgets charging in their reception.

If your looking for something a little bit different from your average guest house or hotel, and want a truely unique experience then I would definitely recommend glamping in the Highlands and get the chance to experience the outdoors a little more.

Inver Coille Camping & Glamping ScotlandInver Coille Camping & Glamping Scotland

Transport & Getting Around

As the Highlands covers a huge area I would recommend hiring a car, we picked up a car as soon as we landed at Inverness airport and dropped it off before we flew home. Having the flexibility of a car is great and means you can pull over at beautiful spots and find places you didn’t know existed along the way.

With Scotland’s rapid weather changes it’s also good to have a car to escape the rain. The roads are pretty quiet in the Highlands, just be prepared to drive along a lot of country roads, and the weather can take a turn for the worse at any moment.

Hiring a car was pretty inexpensive, just make sure to book in advance to get a good deal. Make sure to check out driving laws in Scotland as well, as there are a few variations compared to other areas in the UK.

5 Day Itinerary

  1. After arriving into the Highlands spend some time exploring Loch Ness and Fort Augustus and grab some pub grub at The Bothy.
  2. Get up early and start the climb up Ben Nevis, if you have any energy left after grab some food and have a wander in Fort William, and make some quick pit stops at the Commando Memorial and Bridge Of Oich.
  3. Set off early and have a full day exploring the Isle of Skye, and when coming back to the mainland at the end of the day stop at Eilean Donan Castle to see it lit up at dusk.
  4. Spend a full day exploring Aviemore and the Cairngorms.
  5. Drive to Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig and spend the day exploring each of these small villages that are all close together.

Top Tips

My top tips for visiting the Highlands is to pack for the weather make sure you pack plenty of warm and waterproof clothes and hiking boots with you. As much as I hate hiking boots as I think they are the ugliest invention known to mankind, they are highly functional in the Highlands.

One other tip is to research before you go and maybe download maps.me and pin out where you want to visit, as when we went to the Isle of Skye we went without a plan and ended up driving back on ourselves as we realised we had missed one of the major sights. If your time constraint then planning out an itinerary will mean you make the very most of your trip too.

Important Information

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this blog helpful, if so give it a share or pin it for later. Tula ♡ xx

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