Recent article from Visit Scotland highlighting Far North of Scotland as one of Lonely Planet Places to Visit in 2024
Far North Scotland has been named as one of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel destinations for 2024.
The region, which includes Caithness and Sutherland, is one of only two UK locations to feature on the coveted annual list.
This year’s 2024 Best in Travel awards include 50 destinations worldwide split in to categories including cities, regions, countries, sustainable destinations, and ‘value’ destinations.
The Far North Scotland is recognised within the top 10 regions list alongside locations such as Tuscany in Italy, Donegal in Ireland, Montana in the USA and southern Thailand.
The area is home to some of the country’s most beautiful and special habitats including The Flow Country; the most intact and extensive blanket bog system in the world.
The travel publication highlights the increased recognition the region may enjoy as The Flow Country aims to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status. Lonely Planet describes 2024 as’ the perfect time to make trip to the far north of Scotland, exploring both its unsung boggy interior and a coastline of heartbreaking beauty’.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 draws on expert local perspectives with the aim of helping travellers to discover a destination in the way most meaningful to them.
Responding to the Far North of Scotland’s inclusion in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024, Tourism Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s rich and diverse history, heritage, archaeology and natural beauty inspire and captivate millions of visitors to our shores every year. “It’s gratifying to see the Far North Scotland come as highly recommended as other world-renowned destinations like Tuscany and Montana. “Our ambition to become a world leader in 21st century tourism is outlined in the national tourism strategy - Scotland Outlook 2030 – which highlights how we are growing our visitor economy in a sustainable and responsible way. This honour shows that what Scotland has to offer is truly unique.”
Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chair, added: “To have the Far North Scotland included as one of 50 destinations in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2024 list is a huge achievement. It shows that despite the challenges facing the industry, the world continues to recognise our distinct offering and the effort that goes into our renowned visitor experiences.
“Our scenery and landscape are among the things that makes Scotland so special. We all have a duty of care to preserve these natural assets for future generations. This why VisitScotland is encouraging responsible travel, inspiring visitors to discover more of the region, stay longer, visit during quieter periods and take time to really immerse themselves in a destination. “As a resident of the area, I can assure you that with its awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse offering, Caithness and Sutherland is an ideal location to do that. This helps support local tourism in turn creating jobs, sustaining communities and contributing to the wider visitor economy.”
Dr Steven Andrews, Flow Country World Heritage Project Coordinator, added: “The Flow Country is on the verge of being recognised by UNESCO on a global stage for the blanket bog which stretches across over 200,000 hectares of the region. Undoubtably people will want to visit to see what makes it so special. As well as the value the blanket bog holds in fighting climate change, it has created a landscape of immense beauty. Shy, in that it takes time to get to know, but that is time well spent. It really is a landscape that comes alive with colour in every season. Allied with the rugged north coast and the flagstone cliffs of the east the far north of Scotland really is an incredible destination and therefore rightly recognised in the Lonely Planet’s best travel destinations for 2024.”
Cathy Earnshaw, Destination Strategy Manager for Venture North, the destination management organisation for tourism in Caithness and Sutherland, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as one of the top 10 regions to visit in the world. It is a true testament to our passionate local communities and the incredibly stunning natural environment of Caithness and Sutherland.
“With exciting ambitions to achieve UNESCO status in the Flow Country, alongside the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark, we have evolving community led initiatives, such as the Far North Line rail partnership, walking and cycling trails and centuries of heritage, which can be enjoyed all year round with the best of local produce. “There has never been a greater focus on sustainable travel and responsible tourism for those inspired to venture to Far North Scotland.“
Frances Gunn, Chair of the Flow Country WHS Steering Group, said: “This is fantastic news for the area and the communities who live here. We are blessed to live in some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes and we believe we have a unique story to tell about one of Scotland’s most significant natural assets. Our hope now is that this coveted Best in Travel title will introduce our exciting offering to more visitors; encouraging them to embrace the growing trend towards responsible and sustainable tourism, take their time and really get to know the area and the incredible people who are lucky enough to call it home.”
For more information visit: https://www.visitscotland.org/
For the full Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2024 list visit: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel
Photo: Suilven and Loch Druim Suardalain