The Highlands is a fantastic place to visit and an even better place to live. Home to a wild variety of wildlife, castles and even ski resorts, there's always something new to see and do in this picturesque part of Scotland. Why spend your weekends indoors, when every Saturday marks the beginning of a new adventure?
If you're a fan of winter sports, you're in luck. The Highlands is home to five great ski resorts; Glencoe Mountain is the oldest of the lot and has 19 runs, enabling you to take part in a variety of snowsport activities, not just skiing and snowboarding. Although the Lecht has the most consistent snow, there's always the Snow Factor in Braehead. This indoor ski centre means that you never need to worry about a lack of snow on the slopes ever again!
Popular cultural attractions in the Highlands
Of course, not everyone's a fan of snowsports, so you may prefer to soak up some of the Highlands' cultural offerings during your days off. There are plenty of museums in the area and Aberdeen Art Gallery will suit fans of fine art down to the ground. It's one of the city's most popular attractions and houses pieces created in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.
There's always something going on in the Highlands, as it hosts a wide range of different festivals throughout the year. Blas Festival celebrates Scotland's more traditional heritage, including the Gaelic language and Highlands' music. Nairn and Ullapool both hold book festivals, which give you the opportunity to meet and listen to some well-known poets and writers. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is a must for anyone who appreciates their tipple; you'll be able to take part in tastings, special dinners and enjoy traditional live music. Speaking of which, music fans must not miss the RockNess music festival, which is hosted on the banks of Loch Ness - maybe you'll even see Nessie!
Highlands' stunning scenery
Although there's a lot going on in the Highlands, its sheer natural beauty is perhaps its biggest draw. As well as natural beauty spots, there are several castle gardens worth exploring. Cawdor Castle near Nairn has three wonderful gardens; the Walled Garden being the oldest, dating back to around 1600. However the Flower Garden and Wild Garden are just as beautiful and shouldn't be missed either.
Scotland isn't known for having the warmest of climates, so it may surprise you that some rather more exotic plants grow at Inverewe Garden at Poolewe. This is due to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream which flow along the west coast. Within the 50-acre garden you'll be able to see rhododendrons from the Himalayas, eucalyptus from Tasmania, and a whole host of stunning flora from Africa, South America and beyond. There are several trails to walk too - be sure to stop at the hide-out to see if you can spot any seals or otters.
If you're keen to go bird-watching instead, head to the Isle of Skye for an opportunity to see Britain's largest bird of prey: the sea eagle. The North Highlands is the best place to see a golden eagle and the cliff-tops of the north coast attract huge numbers of guillemots, puffins and razorbills.
The Highlands is such a beautiful area, it makes the decision to move here an easy one. The hard part is deciding exactly which part of it you want to call home.