Durness trip planner
Create a fully customized
day-by-day itinerary for free
Durness is a village and civil parish in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. It lies on the north coast of the country in the traditional county of Sutherland around 120mi north of Inverness. The area is remote and the parish is huge and sparsely populated covering an area from east of Loch Eriboll to Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of the Scottish mainland.The population is dispersed and includes a number of townships including Kempie, Eriboll, Laid, Rispond, Sangobeg, Leirinmore, Smoo, Sangomore, Durine, Balnakeil and Keoldale.EtymologyThe name was originally Norse "Dyrnes", meaning "deer/animal headland". No one knows for sure where the name derives; it has variously been translated as from "Dorainn nis" tempest point, or "Dhu thir nis" the point of the black land; or from the Norse for deerpoint. Or even from the main village "Durine" which would translate as "Dhu Rinn" the black (or fertile) promontory, with the Norse "ness" tacked onto an existing Gaelic name.HistoryThe area has been inhabited since stone age times and there are many places of historic interest. Durness was formerly a part of the bishopric of Caithness and the old house at Balnakeil was originally the bishop's summer residence. The church at Balnakeil dates back to the Culdean monks but the existing ruined church is said to have been built by the monks from Dornoch Cathedral in the 13th century. On Faraid Head is Seannachaisteal, presumably a broch, but it is now completely enveloped in sand and no dig has ever been carried out to see what it was and from which time in history. A few years ago, the body of a young Viking boy was discovered exposed by the erosion of the sand dunes at Faraid. At Sangobeg beach, the body of a Pictish boy was discovered.Durness is in Caithness and Sutherland. Make Durness central to your United Kingdom travel plans using our United Kingdom vacation planner.
Create a full itinerary — for free!
Plan your trip to Durness
Get a personalized planA complete day-by-day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your plan. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Book itChoose from the best hotels
and activities. Up to 50% off
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Top Durness tours
5-Day Highland Explorer and Isle of Skye Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $637
Duration: 5 days
5-Day Isle of Skye, Oban, St Andrews and North West Highlands Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $331
Duration: 5 days
Popular things to do in Durness
Side trips from Durness
Kid-friendly things to do in Durness
Hidden gems in Durness
Museums in Durness
Parks in Durness
Places to visit with Durness
Recently planned trips to Durness
11 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, popular sights PREFERENCES: November ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 15 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, teens, kids, popular sights PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 40 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular sights PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 14 days in Europe BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Scottish Highlands BY A USER FROM GERMANY June, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular sights PREFERENCES: June, culture, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular sights PACE: Medium 32 days in Scotland BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, hidden gems PREFERENCES: April, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium