Inverness is often coined as the capital of the Highlands and it’s a great place to yourself for any exploration of this fantastically beautiful part of Scotland. The city itself always feels like it has a very fresh and crisp atmosphere but that’s partly because of the rocky bedded River Ness which flows through the city rather rapidly, and the clean mountain air which surrounds the place.
We’re staying for 2 nights at the Best Western Palace Hotel which has some really nice leisure facilities with a pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and treatment rooms with a reasonably priced treatment menu (mostly cosmetic treatments but there are some massage options too). The staff are super friendly and helpful and I don’t think I’ve had as warm and personal welcome at any hotel for a long time… it makes a refreshing break from the busy and rather impersonal city based properties.
Even the single bedded rooms are spacious and very comfortable, and nicely decorated, mostly with views of either the city across the river or the hills of the highlands. They serve Starbucks coffee downstairs, and there is free wi-fi all around the hotel. The dinner last night was excellent, as was the huge selection available at breakfast this morning (fresh fruit, croissants, toast, tea/coffee, and all the works of a hot breakfast including haggis!).
I took my current group for a short walk when we arrived yesterday and we walked for about 45 mins along the river from the hotel past the red sand stone Cathedral to a series of very pretty islands in the middle of the river which are accessible by a series of foot bridges. You can use them to get across the river to the city side from where you can walk towards the castle (dating from the C11th but the present structure is Victorian and used as the Sherriff’s Court so not open to the general public) or into the shopping area. We continued along the river a little way to another footbridge which spans the breadth of the river from where you can often spot seals in the water or lying on a nearby beach – sadly there were none around last night but there were still some amazing views as the sun was beginning to set!
I’d definitely recommend a visit to Inverness just for the city itself – there’s not a huge amount to do in the way of museums, galleries etc but it’s just a nice, peaceful town to chill out in and use as a base to tour the area and visit Loch Ness which we’ll be doing tomorrow!