[:en]Nestled in the misty Highlands of Northern Scotland is Loch Ness. The lake is famous for its crystalline waters…and for the monster that is rumored to live in its depths. The mysterious Loch Ness Monster was first spotted in the 1870s. Since then, many dedicated cryptozoologists — that’s a technical term for monster-hunters — have tried to prove Nessie’s existence. The wily monster has outwitted them all.

But has Nessie finally met her match…in the form of a Facebook event? In what’s set to be the biggest monster-hunt of the 21st-century, 22,000 people inspired by the “Storm Area 51” event in the US have clicked “Going” on the invitation to “Storm Loch Ness, Nessie can’t hide from us all.” 

Do your own cryptozoological instincts start to stir at the thought of proving Nessie’s existence? Or are you simply looking for a convenient excuse to jet to the Scottish Highlands for a fix of whisky, castles, and — yes — lake monsters? Whichever it is, make sure your trip to the Highlands is packed with highlights. We’ve got a few ideas…

Head to the Scottish capital for a magical, castle-packed experience.

1. Discover the magic of Edinburgh

Don’t rush to the banks of Loch Ness without taking a few days in Edinburgh. The Scottish capital is brimming with charm and packed with sights, from its history-soaked castle to its ghostly underground vaults. Harry Potter fans will already know this is the city that inspired J.K. Rowling’s magical series. You might not be able to buy any gillyweed to help you on your monster hunt but on a guided Harry Potter tour you’ll be able to visit the real grave of Tom Riddle in Greyfriars kirkyard along with many more magical locations. 

A trip to Inverness’ fairy pools may be pretty, but the water isn’t warm. You’ve been warned.

2. Water, water everywhere…

While everyone else is crowding the shores of Loch Ness, you’ll have the rest of Scotland’s stunning lakes to yourself. Why not take a cruise across the waters of Loch Lomond? There’s no monster in this Loch, but there is an extremely insta-worthy island castle. Or, if you insist on a side-helping of supernatural creatures, take a dip in the stunning fairy pools of Inverness — the fairies rumored to live here are much less scaly than Nessie.

Discover Scotland’s past on a guided tour of Glencoe.

3. Learn your Highland history

Trust us: this is the kind of history you rarely get in high school textbooks. From William Wallace and Rob Roy to kilt-wearing clans, the history of the Scottish Highlands is one wild ride. Soak up the atmosphere and feel the past come alive when you visit the sites of the Battle of Culloden or Glencoe. Epic heroes and hard-fought battles, stately castles, and ghostly ruins: the Highlands have them all!

Join a tour for the whisky lovers in the heart of Speyside and experience whiskey at its best.

4. Have a wee dram o’ whisky

You might find Nessie on your Scottish adventure; then again, you might not. But, with a whisky tour or two under your belt, you’re all but guaranteed to come home with a taste for the finest Scottish single malt. Whether you’re a whisky snob or a total newbie, you’ll love traveling through the stunning landscapes of Scotland’s whisky regions…and sampling their wares, of course!

Plan your trip to the Highlands