The picturesque fishing town of Ullapool is nestled on the picturesque shores of Loch Broom in Northwest Highlands, Scotland. Despite its modest size, Ullapool is the largest settlement for miles and quite a popular base for visitors. Still a working fishing and ferry port, the town is surrounded by magnificent rugged mountain ranges.
Wester Ross is also known for its spectacular mountain scenery. With its more wild, isolated, and unspoiled landscapes, the area has much to offer, and is a favourite location for holidaymakers, with many visitors returning year after year.
Off the coast of the western Scottish mainland, an archipelago of islands forms the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles. The Isles of Harris, Lewis, North and South Uist, Barra, and Benbecula are the largest islands in the group containing almost a quarter of all the freshwater lochs found in Scotland.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that allow us to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Things to do in Ullapool & Wester Ross
The warm ocean currents known as the North Atlantic Drift bring particularly moderate temperatures to the area, creating a lovely microclimate giving visitors the opportunity to fully explore the region on foot, by bicycle or boat. The surrounding islands sport great sea cliffs perfect for abseiling, whilst its beautiful bays and inlets make for great exploring by boat or kayak.
See them all on this breathtaking three-day sea trip which leaves out of Ullapool.
Nature lovers will never forget this private, all-day walking tour which visits a range of stunning landscapes across the Scottish Highlands. You’ll see huge glacial “corries,” ancient ice age caves, dark ravines, and iconic mountains. Ullapool and Wester Ross are both incorporated as is one of the last true wildernesses in Europe.
Top Destinations in Ullapool & Wester Ross
Isle of Lewis – The largest island in the Outer Hebrides is flatter than its more mountainous neighbour of Harris. Golden eagles, common seals and red deer are all attracted by the diverse habitats on the island, whilst dolphins, sharks and whales are often spotted in its local waters. North Atlantic swells give the island some of the most consistent surf to be found anywhere in Europe. And a number of notable archaeological sites can be found on the island.
Stornoway – The main town on the Isle of Lewis is known for its traditional fishing and farming trades along with its handwoven Harris Tweed garment-making. The grounds of Lews Castle are home to extensive mixed woodlands, much of it planted during the 19th century by Sir James Matheson.
Isle of Harris – With its spectacular western coast beaches and more rugged, ‘lunar’ landscape to the north, Harris is a great place to find peace and tranquility. The island is divided into North and South Harris, separated by West and East Loch Tarbert. The unspoilt white sandy beaches of South Harris are a stunning contrast to the more mountainous appearance of North Harris where Clisham, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides, is located.
Isle of Skye – The largest and most northerly island in the Inner Hebrides, Skye is one of the few Scottish islands to have enjoyed an increased population in recent years. With the picturesque harbour of Portree as the largest settlement on the island, Skye is a great centre for tourism. Once accessible only by ferry, the island opened up to a wider number of visitors when it was linked to the Scottish mainland by a new road bridge in 1995. The island is particularly noted for its birdlife, including Kittiwake, Corncrake, Atlantic Puffin and Golden Sea Eagle, as well as for its opportunities for freshwater angling and sea fishing.
This popular tour takes in the region including Eilean Donan Castle, the set of movies such as “Highlander” and James Bond, and Loch Ness!
Kyle of Lochalsh – This is a noted stopping point on the way to the Isle of Skye as it’s is the most northerly place accessible by rail connecting with Inverness and beyond. The Kyle is also the terminal site for Skye ferries. The opening of the Skye Road Bridge eliminated the longer queues stretching through the town during busy holiday periods. Its marina harbour is a home for berthing yachts and leisure boats. The surrounding scenery and unique wildlife are the main tourist attraction, and salmon farming is among the most common village activities.
Isle of Mull – The second largest island of the neighbouring Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull is home to the restored grandeur of Duart Castle, the ancestral seat of the Clan Maclean, and a popular film location. The 18th century settlement of Tobermory at the northern end of the Sound of Mull is the main village with its picture-postcard row of brightly-coloured houses along the harbourline. The live-action children’s programme Balamory brought this area even more fame. Golden, sea and white-tailed eagles, otters, and corncrake are key wildlife seen here.
Isle of Mull is featured on a guided, small group, multi-day bus tour which shares this stunning area with visitors.
Ardnamurchan Point – A familiar name to listeners of the BBC UK Shipping Forecast, Ardnamurchan Point is an unspoilt and undisturbed headland, and one of the most westerly points on the British mainland, much of it accessible only by a single-track road. The peninsula is home to both pine martin and wildcat. And a newly-discovered Viking ship burial was recently discovered in the area.
Gairloch – This village is a popular summer tourist destination, with exceptionally fine scenery along with wonderful beaches and impressive mountains. The area also includes a settlement with a small heritage museum, a golf course, and a range of other local amenities.
Where to Stay in Ullapool & Wester Ross
Looking for holiday cottages to rent in Wester Ross? From holiday cottages in Ullapool to Strathconon, Muir of Ord, Gorstan to Isle of Skye and beyond, we’ve rounded up some of the highest-rated holiday accommodations in the area below.
Glacour Studio Cottage (Strathconon/Muir of Ord)
Glacour Studio Cottage is a converted croft house that's the perfect base for walking, fish and touring the North West Highlands. This is a true getaway—there is no mobile phone service. Rest and relax in quiet solitude.
Righ na Mara (Ullapool)
Tigh na Mara ("House by the Sea") was constructed in 2019 and is a modern interpretation of a Sheiling, a small dwelling once used by shepherds in Scotland. Stunning views overlooking Ardmair Bay towards Isle Martin and the Summer Isles.
Rosemount Bothy Cottage (Gorstan/Garve)
This cozy one-bedroom Highland Cottage dates back to 1850 and has unique period features. It was renovated in 2018. Located on the banks of the Black Water River, this cottage has easy access to walks and is only 200 meters from the world famous North Coast 500 route. Rental below available as well.
Black Water River Cottage (Gorstan/Garve)
This cozy two-bedroom Highland Cottage dates back to 1850 and has unique period features. Located on the banks of the Black Water River, this cottage has easy access to walks and is only 200 meters from the world famous North Coast 500 route.
Black Water River Cottage (Gorstan/Garve)
Smithy Cottage is a traditional stone-built holiday home in the Kinlochewe settlement in Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands. Located nearby Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, with a shop and pub within walking distance.
Black Water River Cottage (Gorstan/Garve)
This traditional croft house has beautiful views that can be enjoyed from the garden or terrace. Its elevated position on the shores of Upper Loch Torridon has views of the loch and mountains beyond from the front or the towering Ben Alligin and Torridon range to the rear.
Quaint Cottage (Glenelg)
This quaint cottage is in the heart of Glenelg village. All on one level, you'll have a fully-equipped kitchen and a large table for the family to gather around. Glenelg has a local ferry (April-October) that will take you to Skye. Plockton, Applecross and Eilean Donan Castle are all easily accessible as well.
Gorstan Cottage (Gorstan)
This detached single story cottage is in an elevated position overlooking the countryside and village of Gorstan. It's located just 1 mile from Garve. Ideal base to explore Ullapool, Inverewe Gardens, Beinn Eighe, Isle of Skye and more.
Ullapool Harbour Home (Gorstan)
This home has outstanding views of Ullapool Harbour and Lochbroom. Within five minutes, you can walk to coffee shops, pubs and restaurants. Graded high 4 star rating by Visit Scotland.
Cozy Glen Cottage (Strathconon, Muir of Ord)
This cozy cottage is nestled in a highland glen that was the setting for "A Glen for All Seasons." On secluded riverside grounds, this traditional cottage has natural water from a spring and an open fire. An old Church of Scotland Manse, it's detached in a 0.25 acre of fenced, secluded gardens within 3-acre riverside grounds with wonderful views over the valley and surrounding mountains.