What are the best spots for photography in the Scottish Highlands during autumn?

11 June 2024

As the days shorten and the leaves begin to hint at their grand autumnal display, many of you are likely starting to plan your fall photography adventures. There is no better place for this delightful activity than the Scottish Highlands. This world-renowned location is a treasure trove of stunning scenery that provides an excellent backdrop for your photographs. From the rugged beauty of Skye to the serene tranquility of the many lochs, Scotland will serve as a vibrant canvas for your creative pursuits. In this article, we will explore some of the best photography locations in the Highlands for your autumn trip.

Capture the Essence of Autumn at Loch Ness

Loch Ness, one of the best-known bodies of water in Scotland, is not just famous for its mythical monster. In the autumn, the loch's surroundings transform into an enchanting landscape of vibrant hues. The sight of the loch, with its calm waters reflecting the fiery colors of fall, is something you won't want to miss.

It's an excellent location for capturing the serene, tranquil beauty of Scotland. The atmospheric mist that often hovers over the water surface, the ancient Urquhart Castle at its shores, and the woodland area's autumnal colors offer a great depth and variety to your photographs.

Embrace the Rugged Majesty of the Isle of Skye

Next on your itinerary should be the Isle of Skye, another gem located on Scotland's rugged west coast. Known for its dramatic landscapes, the island shines in the autumn, when moody weather sets off the vivid colors of the season.

The Quiraing, a distinctive area of landslip on Skye's northernmost summit, provides awe-inspiring views, especially at sunrise and sunset. The Old Man of Storr, a large pinnacle of rock that can be seen for miles around, is another iconic location that will add a touch of magic to your portfolio.

Revel in the Autumnal Splendor of Glen Coe

Glen Coe, another must-visit location for any photography enthusiast, is located in the heart of the Highlands. It's a place of both appalling beauty and haunting history – the site of the infamous Massacre of Glencoe which took place in winter 1692.

The River Coe, which runs through the glen, is lined with a wide variety of trees that provide a riot of color in the fall, creating an atmospheric scene for your photographs. The Three Sisters, a trio of spectacular peaks at the glen's southern edge, are a classic subject for landscape photography.

Enjoy a Day Trip to Eilean Donan Castle

One of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle is a sight to behold, especially in autumn when the surrounding landscape is ablaze with color. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, it’s one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands.

The castle, which dates back to the 13th century, is perfectly framed by the spectacular Highland scenery. It's an excellent location for capturing the grandeur of Scotland's architectural history, contrasted against the fiery hues of an autumnal backdrop.

Discover the Breathtaking Panorama of Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, is a must-visit spot for the shutterbugs amongst you, promising panoramic views that will take your breath away. The slopes of the Ben offer a variety of perspectives, with the changing colors of autumn adding to the mountain's majesty.

The mountain's base is a great spot to photograph the Nevis Range with its changing hues, while a hike up the mountain will reward you with sweeping views of the surrounding Highlands. No matter where you choose to set up your tripod, Ben Nevis will leave you with shots that encapsulate the robust magnificence of Scotland.

The Scottish Highlands in autumn are a photographer's dream. Each of these locations is unique and breathtaking, and the fall colors add a special touch to the majestic landscape. So pack your camera and prepare for a photography adventure of a lifetime.

Experience the Magic of The Glenfinnan Viaduct

You might recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct as the iconic Harry Potter bridge, featured in the world-famous film franchise. However, in person, this location is even more magical, especially during the autumn months.

Situated near the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands, the Glenfinnan Viaduct overlooks the beautiful Glenfinnan monument and the surrounding mountains. As the leaves change colour, the scene becomes a picturesque blend of red, orange, and gold, contrasting with the dark stone of the viaduct.

The best vantage point to capture the viaduct is from a nearby hill, accessible from the Glenfinnan Viaduct visitor centre car park. This spot gives photographers an unobstructed view of the curving bridge set against the majestic Scottish Highlands. If your timing is right, you might even catch the Jacobite Steam Train crossing the viaduct, adding an element of timeless charm to your shots.

Explore the Rich Colours of Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park, the largest national park in the British Isles, is another outstanding location for landscape photography, particularly in the autumn. The park is home to five of the six highest peaks in Scotland, providing a stunning backdrop for your photos.

As you wander through the park, you'll find an array of autumn colours in the forests, moors, lochs, and rivers. The park also plays host to a variety of wildlife, including red squirrels, ospreys, and red deer, which you might be lucky enough to capture on camera.

A particular highlight is Loch Lomond. The largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, its tranquil surface reflects the fiery hues of the surrounding trees, creating a mirror-like effect that's perfect for photography.

Whether you're capturing a sunrise over the lochs, the russet tones of the ancient Caledonian Forest, or the stunning views from the mountain tops, Cairngorms National Park is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities.


The Scottish Highlands is a paradise for photographers, providing an array of diverse landscapes and stunning views. From the enchanting aura of Loch Ness and the rugged charm of the Isle of Skye, to the haunting beauty of Glen Coe and the historic magnificence of Eilean Donan Castle, there is no shortage of captivating scenes to capture on your photography trip.

Moreover, the magical Harry Potter bridge at Glenfinnan Viaduct and the rich colours of Cairngorms National Park further enhance the plethora of photography locations Scotland has to offer. The autumn colours, in particular, add a whole new dimension to the landscape, making autumn the best time to visit these locations.

So, whether you're an experienced photographer or a budding enthusiast, a lover of history or nature, one thing is for sure: a visit to the Scottish Highlands in autumn will leave you with a wealth of unforgettable memories and, of course, some truly exceptional photographs.

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