Inverness and nearby Skye offer ruggedly beautiful landscapes. Rolling country roads and verdant fields replace sandy beaches as you move inland towards the distilleries of the Speyside region. The many picturesque lakes include famous Loch Ness—the second largest freshwater lake in Scotland. For accommodations, we love the lavish Inverlochy Castle Hotel and more modest Glencoe House as well as the private 15-room Aldourie Castle. On the Isle of Skye Kinloch Lodge is a great base for exploring the Black Cuillin Mountains and sea-kayaking along the coast to spot the resident seals and bird colonies.
Perthshire and the nearby Kingdom of Fife—just north of Edinburgh—offer up over 300 miles of dedicated bike routes, dramatic coastal scenery, harbour villages, and outstanding golf. Kinross House is a very newly refurbished and restored private estate-for-hire situated on the shores of Loch Leven. (Gleneagles offers an alternative to the private castle route.) There is never a shortage of places to sip a dram of whisky at the end of an active day.