Eilean Donan Castle dates back to the 13th Century and is undeniably the most photographed castle in Scotland. It has featured in numerous Hollywood blockbusters, and is instantly recognisable the world over. However, this hasn’t always been the case. 2019 marks 300 years since the fateful, “Battle of Eilean Donan Castle”, which left the castle in ruins. It took 200 years for the re-building to commence, with its completion in 1932 securing its future for many centuries to come.
So, everyone recognises it, but many visitors don’t know much about where it is, how to get to it or what to do in the area. As a local Highland company we thought it’d be useful to answer a few of your questions, so here goes;
Where is Eilean Donan Castle?
It is on the West Coast of Scotland, on the road to the Isle of Skye, and is situated between the sea lochs of Loch Duich, Loch Alsh and Loch Long. This is approximately 4 ½ hours north of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and 90 minutes west of Inverness. See it on a map here
How can we get to Eilean Donan Castle?
You can drive there but, as it’s a long drive from any of Scotland’s cities, we’d recommend that you incorporate a visit into a multi-day trip, rather than doing a round trip in a day. For example, if you would like to visit the Isle of Skye from Inverness, Edinburgh or Glasgow it’s a beautiful place to stop enroute, and there’s a lovely cafe and visitor centre too.
If you want to take public transport there are Citylink busses to Dornie from Inverness (2 hours), Glasgow (5 – 6 hours) and Edinburgh (7 – 8 hours). The nearest train station is in Kyle of Lochalsh, which is a 15 minute drive.
For a more relaxing journey there are also many tours which stop at Eilean Donan Castle, either as part of a multi-day trip from Edinburgh or Glasgow, or as a one day tour from Inverness.
How long do we need to visit Eilean Donan Castle?
The inside of the castle is interesting and it’s definitely nice to visit if you have time. If you do plan to go inside we’d recommend leaving at least one hour (probably two by the time you take a look in the gift shop and cafe, and take some photos outside). However, if you are pushed for time and just want to enjoy the exterior of the building, and take in its stunning location, then there are a number of vantage points nearby where you can admire it.
What is there to see near Eilean Donan Castle?
The area around the castle is beautiful, with typical West Coast scenery, and some great hiking opportunities. However, the main attraction in this area is the Isle of Skye, which is a 20 minute drive away.
Should we stay near Eilean Donan Castle?
The castle have their own apartments and there are B&B options in and around Dornie, which is the nearest village. If you are incorporating the castle into a longer trip we would suggest driving further north to Skye, where there are varied accommodation options (but make sure you book well in advance as they sell out early!). Alternatively, Inverness has a plethora of accommodation options, and is a great base for seeing the whole of the Highlands.
If you are planning a trip to the Scottish Highlands, we’d highly recommend a visit to this iconic castle. If you do decide to take a tour there take a look at our Isle of Skye Tour from Inverness – we’d be delighted to welcome you, tell you much more about this historic castle, and show you the best spots for getting that iconic shot!