Far north of Scotland named on Lonely Planet’s ‘must visit’ list

The far north of Scotland has been named as one of Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel” destinations for 2024.
The Flow Country is renowned for its peatlands  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)The Flow Country is renowned for its peatlands  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Flow Country is renowned for its peatlands (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The region, which includes Caithness and Sutherland, is one of only two UK locations to feature on the coveted annual list from the travel guide.

The Best in Travel awards include 50 destinations worldwide split into categories including cities, regions, countries, sustainable destinations, and “value”.

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The far north of Scotland is recognised within the top 10 regions list, alongside locations such as Tuscany in Italy, Donegal in Ireland, Montana in the US and southern Thailand.

In the sustainable category, “Wales’s trails” is highlighted for efforts to boost rail travel in the country.

The far north of Scotland is home to some of Scotland’s most special habitats including the Flow Country – the most intact and extensive blanket bog system in the world.

Lonely Planet highlights the increased recognition the region may enjoy as the Flow Country aims to achieve Unesco World Heritage status.

The travel publication describes 2024 as “the perfect time to make trip to the far north of Scotland, exploring both its unsung boggy interior and a coastline of heartbreaking beauty”.

Scottish tourism minister Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s rich and diverse history, heritage, archaeology and natural beauty inspire and captivate millions of visitors to our shores every year.

“It’s gratifying to see the far north Scotland come as highly recommended as other world-renowned destinations like Tuscany and Montana.

“Our ambition to become a world leader in 21st century tourism is outlined in the national tourism strategy Scotland Outlook 2030, which highlights how we are growing our visitor economy in a sustainable and responsible way. This honour shows that what Scotland has to offer is truly unique.”

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Lord Thurso, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “To have the far north of Scotland included as one of 50 destinations in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 list is a huge achievement.

“It shows that despite the challenges facing the industry, the world continues to recognise our distinct offering and the effort that goes into our renowned visitor experiences.

“Our scenery and landscape are among the things that makes Scotland so special. We all have a duty of care to preserve these natural assets for future generations. This why VisitScotland is encouraging responsible travel, inspiring visitors to discover more of the region, stay longer, visit during quieter periods and take time to really immerse themselves in a destination.

“As a resident of the area, I can assure you that with its awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse offering, Caithness and Sutherland is an ideal location to do that. This helps support local tourism in turn creating jobs, sustaining communities and contributing to the wider visitor economy.”

Steven Andrews, Flow Country World Heritage project co-ordinator, said: “The Flow Country is on the verge of being recognised by Unesco on a global stage for the blanket bog which stretches across over 200,000 hectares of the region.

“Undoubtedly people will want to visit to see what makes it so special. As well as the value the blanket bog holds in fighting climate change, it has created a landscape of immense beauty.

“It really is a landscape that comes alive with colour in every season.”



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