One of Scotland’s most stunning castles, this icon has been featured in movies ranging from Highlander to The World is Not Enough.
Eilean Donan Castle is among the most photographed monuments in the country. This comes as no surprise considering its dramatic setting on an offshore islet, overlooking the confluence of three sea lochs and surrounded by the mountains of Kintail. Wander through the castle’s interior to see its impressive collection of historic weapons, Jacobean artifacts and period furniture.
The original castle on this site was built in the early 13th century to defend the lands of Kintail from the Vikings. Damaged and rebuilt several times over the centuries, the castle you see today was restored by Colonel MacRae in 1932. The current incarnation incorporates the ruins remaining from the castle’s last destruction in 1719. Begin your exploration at the visitor center on the mainland across from the castle, which also includes the ticket office.
Cross over the narrow stone bridge leading to the castle’s islet. The bridge is one of the most famous aspects of the castle, although it’s actually a recent addition, constructed during the 1930s restorations.
Visits start with the introductory exhibit in the castle’s southwest wing. Learn about the history of the castle and see models detailing its various designs over the centuries. Next, head to the sea gate in the castle’s courtyard for wonderful views of Loch Alsh.
Continue into the castle’s main keep, where three floors are open to the public. Look inside bedrooms, troop quarters and a grand banqueting hall.
As you explore, notice photos of scenes filmed at the castle from the movie Highlander as well as a sword used at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Look inside kitchens, which have been laid out to resemble how they might have looked during a grand banquet. Follow side passages leading to the battlements for beautiful aerial views over the surrounding area.
Eilean Donan Castle is 9 miles (14 kilometers) east of Lochalsh. A number of tour companies offer daytrips. The castle has an admission fee and is open daily, with regular closures for holidays. Don’t miss one of Scotland’s most picturesque castles.