Scottish Highlands Travel Guide

Scotland  
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Best Times to Visit Scottish Highlands

The best time to visit the Scottish Highlands is from June to August. Summer temperatures are best for exploring the Highlands, however, with Scotland's location so far up north on the globe, don't expect a traditionally hot summer. During the country's warmest month (August), highs rarely surpass the 70-degree mark. The good news is that you can hike the Highlands without ever having to worry about the heat. The bad news is that no matter what time of year you visit, you will always have to bring layers. If you don't mind the cold, visiting during the cooler fall and spring can be beneficial, especially to your wallet. Winters here are pretty brutal and are only made cooler with the rain, which reaches its peak during the colder months. As for crowds, you can expect a good amount of tourists during the summer in gateway towns (think Aviemore in Cairngorms National Park) and photo op spots (along the roads of Glencoe).

Weather in Scottish Highlands

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Average Temperature (°F)
44
34
45
34
49
36
53
39
59
44
62
49
66
53
66
53
61
48
55
43
49
38
45
34
Jan
Feb
Mar
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Sep
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Average Precipitation (in)
0.12
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.08
0.12
0.12
0.12
0.12
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

June-August

The summer is the best time to visit the Highlands simply for the pleasant temperatures. With the exception of September, this is the only time of year the region see temps in the 60-degree range. June experiences highs in the low 60s while July and August see daytime temperatures in the high 60s. At night and in the early morning, it can feel bitter, with lows ranging from the high 40s to low 50s. Along with a comfortable climate, you'll also be treated to long-held local festivities (including the Highland Games) if you visit during this time.

Key Events:

September-October 

Fall brings out incredible seasonal foliage as well as decent temperatures, depending on when you visit. During September, you'll see daytime highs in the low 60s but once October hits, temperatures drop to the low 50s during the day. Both September and October experience lows in the 40s come nighttime, so make sure your suitcase is filled with warmer layers. Note: Attractions, accommodations and some tourist offices in the Highlands are known to close in mid-October or offer reduced hours. It's also important to know that October sees the most rainfall out of any other time during the year, so pack an umbrella.

Key Events:

November-February

In Scotland, winter starts early. By November, temperatures are pretty low, with the highs hanging in the high 40s and lows in the 30s. In December, January and February, temperatures stay the same, ranging in the mid-40s during the day and mid-30s at night. Because of this climate, businesses, including hotels, may be closed for the season. Ski resorts, on the other hand, will be up and running.

Key Events:

March-May

Much like fall, spring is a great time to visit the Highlands depending on which month you choose to visit. In March, you may still run into businesses that are closed or have reduced hours, with temperatures dipping into the 30s at night and high 40s during the day. But once Easter weekend rolls around, things start to perk up. In April, you can expect daytime highs in the low 50s and nighttime temps to just barely reach the 40-degree mark, while in May temperatures rise to the high 50s during the day and low 40s at night. You'll beat the summer crowds if you adventure to the Highlands this time and encounter fewer filled up hotels before the Highland Games get into full swing.

Key Events:

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