With its rugged sandstone cliffs, windswept moors and churning ocean, Scotland’s Northern Highlands is one of the most wildly beautiful landscapes in Europe. The gateway to this remote destination is Scrabster, a fishing port where the late Queen Mother and the royal family would disembark to visit their summer residence, the Castle of Mey, which is now open to the public. A deepwater port since the time of the Vikings, the harbor was constructed in the 19th century as the departure point to the Shetland and Orkney islands, as well as the Faroe Islands. It's still one of the main ferry routes to the Orkneys. In 2013, the Old Fish Market pier was renovated and turned into the Jubilee Quay. A Viking stronghold for several centuries, the area came under Scottish rule in the Middle Ages, and there are several medieval sites still in existence. Explore the rugged coastline by hiking along the cliffside paths, where you can soak up views of the dramatic waves—some as high as 30 meters (100 feet)—and impressive birdlife. Fans of history can visit the area’s ancient castles.