MOST READ TRAVEL
Into the Wild at a British Columbia Resort
Tucked away in Canada's Great Bear Rainforest, Nimmo Bay offers both adventure and...
San Diego’s Essential Surf-Inspired Dining
Jennifer Latham, a beloved baker and cookbook author, shares her favorite stops...
The Scottish Highlands are known for their rugged terrain, winding trails up mountains, unspoiled beauty, and home to some of the best whiskey in the world. If you ask anyone when you should visit, they'll say the summer as the winters can be a bit rough. But that’s precisely the time you should go.
The winter months are the best time to take advantage of country for stargazing—the country is home to the largest expanse of dark skies in Europe. With the longest night sky duration of any time of year, the colder, darker season is the perfect time for travelers to cozy up with a dram of whiskey and direct their attention upwards to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Yes, Scotland actually lies at the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Nunivak Island in Alaska. So, it's just as likely to see the Northern Lights here as it is in other more popular Aurora Borealis viewing destination. Other astronomical sights like the Orion Nebula (over 1,500 light-years away), the Milky Way Galaxy, and one of the Milky Way's companion galaxies the Great Andromeda Galaxy are all visible too.
And Scotland makes a considerable effort to make the area as dark as possible for prime viewing. The country's Dark Sky Town, Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, has special "dark sky friendly" street lighting, making the visible stars breathtaking. Plus, The Isle of Coll is located almost 20 miles from the nearest lamp post and is one of only two Dark Sky Islands. Of course, there is a Scottish Dark Sky Observatory and Dark Sky Rangers at the visitor centers who are willing to give you all the info you want about the peaceful place.
As far as where to stay, book a room at Brockloch Treehouse. The award-winning eco-retreat hidden in the bluebell forest at Castle Douglas in Dumfries & Galloway and has roof skylights that allow you to fall asleep looking at the stars.