They throng with visitors in peak tourist season, but are by no stretch of the imagination monster-sized settlements.
Yet two picturesque Loch Ness-side villages feature high on a prestigious list of the UK’s “most welcoming cities” in a global online travel firm’s 2021 Traveller Review Awards.
Fort Augustus was deemed the second friendliest and most accommodating in the UK, while nearby Drumnadrochit was named fifth.
In fairness, some of the literature by Booking.com described the top 10 of hundreds of competing destinations as the UK’s most welcoming “places” rather than cities.
Nine of the top 10 locations highlighted were towns, villages or other destinations.
The winner was Enniskillen town in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, while Fort Augustus was runner-up and earned a special mention.
The judges wrote: “Situated on the most southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way, this historic and scenic hamlet offers jaw-dropping views and is a much-visited destination.
“Seen as a paradise for avid walkers and cyclists due to its many stunning routes and how it overlooks Loch Ness, Fort Augustus is not short on beauty or heritage.
“The wonderful countryside can be viewed in all its glory whilst cruising down Loch Ness (and trying to spot the famous monster of course!).”
As a “where to stay” entry, the judges mention Lock Chambers describing the accommodation as modern and comfortable and “an ideal central location that even welcomes your four legged friends”.
The 2020 list saw cities, with the exception of Stirling, miss out on top 10 status.
The full top, rated from millions of customer reviews, was:
Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
Fort Augustus, Highlands
Douglas, Isle of Man
Stirling, Central Scotland
Ballycastle, County Antrim