Home to Scotland’s most historic glen, Glencoe village sits off the A82 route which is a perfect detour from the bustle that can be observed around the mountains that share the same name.
It exudes a beautiful other-worldliness that made it the perfect background to films such as James Bond’s Skyfall and several Harry Potter movies.
Sitting on top of the historic remains of a supervolcano, this region is a kaleidoscope of craggy peaks, waterfalls, and a culinary heritage that extends well beyond the popular Scottish delicacies. But if your impression is confined by crests, ridges, and a countryside landscape, you’d be wrong.
Besides being home to the most popular glen named after the River Coe, those who linger a little longer will find live-as-local experiences like hillwalking, the unique opportunity to visit Scotland’s oldest malt whisky distillery and hiking trails that range from short nature walks to 12-hour ridge traverses.
Here we highlight how to have an immersive experience in Glencoe village that makes for a perfect outing during the weekend.
Visit to the Highland Chocolatier
Operating from the same storefront in Grandtully since 2011, Iain Burnett, also known as the Highland Chocolatier is an award-winning gourmet artisan in Scotland. Iain’s journey started from his Legends of Grandtully, a now-closed cafe and gift shop morphed into a 4-star visitor attraction in the last decade, a success that can be partly credited to his decadent trademarked Velvet Truffle.
There’s a year-round exhibition that will walk you through the entire process starting from the plantations where the cocoa beans are farmed to Iain’s kitchen. From guided tours to gin and champaign pairings, this is a stop you mustn’t miss.
More info: www.highlandchocolatier.com
Explore local distilleries on a Scotch Whisky tasting
In Glencoe’s iconic whisky distilleries doesn’t just reflect the legacy of this Scottish national drink but offers a deeper insight into the culture and communities that led to the global recognition of this spirit.
Hit the trifecta with a tour of Oban, Ben Nevis, Dalwhinnie, three prominent places for the sumptuous pleasure of blended and single malt tastings. Founded in 1794, Oban Distillery is one of the oldest produces where you can hop on a tour starting with their mill room as you savour on a dram of their most popular liquor.
If you have a trip to Fort Williams in your itinerary, Ben Nevis distillery’s complimentary tasting with their home-style cooking can be the best way to start your exploration. If you’re looking for a tasting that also offers magnificent views of the Glencoe valley, Dalwhinnie is perched 1,154 ft (352 m) above sea level, the highest distillery in Scotland popular for its Speyside malt.
Spend an afternoon at the Glencoe Secret Garden
As Glencoe’s many attractions are notorious for keeping you busy, the Glencoe Secret Garden is a timeless stretch of greenery where you can pause and unwind. Take a walk on the marked pathways cradled by flower beds of Rhododendrons and Azaleas. If you’re spending time here late afternoon, a picnic brunch is the best way to catch the sunset and bask in the serene glow of this space.
Tour the Glencoe Folk Museum
The Glencoe Folk Museum is a classic collection of objects that celebrates the rich heritage connecting the people and this place. Here you can learn about the Glencoe Massacre—an infamous and tragic event that took place here in 1692. Step back in time with the 18th-century artefact showcases like the Jacobite relics and if you’re here during the annual exhibition, you’ll be grateful to catch a glimpse of the traditional highland life and much more.
More Info: www.glencoemuseum.com
Climb the Buachaille Etive Mor
The Buachaille Etive Mòr perched on the top of Glen Etive is a beloved Munro peak for the hillwalkers—but those who don’t fancy taking a photograph of this pyramidal mountain can instead climb through the steep ascents and ridges for a panoramic view of the surrounding region. Begin at the Altnafeadh layby on the A82 and take on the Coire na Tulaich route to make it to the viewpoint where you can make camp in the wilderness. If you are visiting during the winter season, the grey mountains beneath a thick snow cover can still be climbed with if you pile on some extra layers of clothing and gear. Fun fact: Buachaille Etive Mor is the mountain that James Bond and M hike towards in the movie Skyfall.
Unless you’re hiking, there’s not much at all to do in Glencoe, actually. It’s a lovely place, but I snorted at the article’s description of “many attractions are notorious for keeping you busy.” Ummm….no.