Scotland is much more than just a place to go for the simple concept of visiting. It is a cultural mausoleum, with history written all over its buildings and a breathtaking landscape that seems to be created by Mother Nature herself.
The Earth gave Scotland as a gift to those who cherish nature and freedom.
You will fall in love with this fairytale, and the only rule here is to let the worries go and embrace the world as it truly is.
Scotland is ideal for those who love beautiful landscapes, intriguing history, and believe in legends and myths, but also for those who are searching for fun, adventure, and adrenaline.
Get ready to enter a place where locals open their arms to any stranger and animals freely enjoy their destined home.
You will gain memories from all places you will see, and they will stay with you for a lifetime. Here are 25 of the best places to visit in Scotland.
25. Whiskey Distilleries
Scotland and its people are artists in creating the most exquisite whiskey in the whole world. It is not a surprise, though, because they have been working with alcohol since the beginning, building a lasting tradition with little to no competition.
There are so many Scotch distilleries in the country! You have to find one and see for yourself the process of making the most luxurious whiskey.
Our recommendation is Talisker – a producer that has been on the market for almost 200 years. You will find the distillery on the Isle of Skye, and you will enjoy not only the taste of a good drink but also a breathtaking view.
24. Luskentyre Beach
Located in South Harris and named, by experts, one of the most beautiful beaches, Luskentyre Beach is a paradise not many visited. While it is not the perfect piece of sand you see in other places, the view is jaw-dropping, and the feeling of safety you will gain while standing in front of the clear waters cannot compare with the agitation people create on mass beaches.
Here, nature is untouched, and animals live unbothered by human interference. If you get lucky, maybe you will spot some dolphins, otters, eagles, or seals. But be careful and do not hurt the fauna or the environment, as it is one of the few places that remained intact on the Planet.
23. Melrose Abbey
In Melrose you will have the honor of visiting one of the most impressive ruins of Scotland: the mighty Melrose Abbey, a monastery with so much history behind. The romantic view offered by the building drew many visitors to the place.
A closed casket carrying King Robert the Bruce’s heart stood in Edinburgh until 1998 before being relocated to Melrose Abbey. The beautiful gravures on the walls have raised the interest of many artists.
The city of Melrose decided to adopt as a motto the words of John Morrow written on the stairways: Keep in mind, the end, your salvation (translated).
22. Fort William
At the end of the Caledonian Canal, you will bump into Fort William, a town with several points of interest for tourists. The small city took the name of the fortifications built in the area in the 17th century.
From here, you can make a trip to Glenfinnan Viaduct, the route of Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter.
However, one of the greatest things in town is the West Highland Museum that holds an impressive collection of furniture, costumes, weaponry, arts, and an exciting compilation of artefacts and records from the grand opening of the West Highland Railway.
21. The Ring of Brodgar
Orkney (detailed further down on the list) is home to The Ring of Brodgar, one of the most famous stone circles in the United Kingdom. Scientists highly research these constructions, as nobody knows the reason behind their existence or if humans created them or not.
The Ring of Brodgar dates back to 2500-2000 before Christ and today include 27 stones. The stones are not particularly big, but the mystery behind them definitely attracts tourists and experts to see them.
20. Isle of Arran
If you do not have enough time to visit all of Scotland’s magnificent places, then you should stop at the Isle of Arran. This land has everything Scotland has best to give in only one place. You can visit the island by bike, car, or bus.
Regardless of which transportation means you choose you will be able to see all that the Isle of Arran has to offer. Large fields, huge mountains, long beaches and historical buildings are waiting for you to discover them.
You can visit Brodick Castle and feast your eyes on its old furniture, then stop by at one of the restaurants located in the area. The locals are so friendly and welcoming and will treat you like an exclusive guest. There are tons of activities to do and so much nature to explore. You will not get tired of this hidden paradise.
You can take a one-day trip to the island, or you can book a room at one of its resorts and spend an extended period there. You will have no regrets either way.
19. Mull of Galloway
In the most south point of Scotland, you will find a beautiful land with plenty of secrets waiting to be revealed. The Mull of Galloway is an inexhaustible source of beauty and positive energy with its lovely beaches and countryside landscapes.
The sea is living her best life in this area, and her children are safe and happy. You might spot dolphins, porpoises and sea birds.
There are six gardens in the area and one activity that many fear to do: climb the 115 steps to the Robert Stevenson-designed lighthouse that will offer you one of the most spectacular panoramic views of your life.
18. Shetland Islands
A perfect mixture of Nordic and Scottish culture and traditions, the spectacular Shetland Islands surprise us with beautiful villages and incredible views.
An untouched paradise, with wild beaches and archaeological sites, this archipelago reminds us of the glorious history of Vikings, great warriors and matchless craftsmen. The North Sea has protected these islands from human devastation.
17. Fingal’s Cave
The island of Staffa is an intact place, untouched by human extinction, home to the Fingal’s Cave, a unique natural beauty with an imposing structure.
Also featured in our article with the world’s most amazing caves, this jaw dropping cave reminds us of a lonely cathedral that many artists exploited in their work.
The wolf is a sacred and honored animal in Stirling, a city in Scotland. The legend says that a wolf announced the town about the invasion of the Vikings, saving many people and their homes. You can visit the city as a day trip, or you can spend up to one week discovering all its glorious views and places.
You can start the adventure with the Stirling Castle. Here, Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood, and the palace played a fundamental role in the conflict between England and Scotland.
You can also take a look at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre and take a short trip to the Bridge of Allan, where you can admire the Wallace Monument.
15. The Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park
These tales of stunning landscapes and raw nature have been indispensable places on each tourist visit. Loch Lomond is the largest lake in Britain, and its waters are filled with various types of fish.
It is popular amongst fishermen, but it is also the perfect destination for water sports and picnics. The Balloch Castle is waiting for your visit, too. Water Scott, a significant figure in Scottish literature, named this body of water the “Queen of Scottish Lakes.”
You can take a boat ride or enjoy the atmosphere at the Loch Lomond Shores, where there is a Sea Life Aquarium destined especially for families.
The Trossachs National Park covers an area of 1,864 square kilometres and is home to several outdoor activities.
14. Ben Nevis
Ben Nevis is the highest point in the United Kingdom and is an excellent place for hiking and other mountaineering activities. People consider climbing the top a genuine challenge even for experimented alpinists.
Therefore, you must be careful to follow the established roots and maybe take a guide with you. However, if you do manage to get on top, you will acknowledge that the view is matchless.
Barra is unique by all means, but the most impressive thing about it is the airport. Traigh Mhor is the only airport in the world located on a beach. On the island, you can go and let yourself sun-bathed on Tangasdale Beach, where you can admire one of the most crystalline waters on the Planet and breathtaking sunsets.
Although small, the island has spectacular landscapes that you can access by hiking or just walking around. The island is known for its kayaking tours with guides that will show you the most gorgeous parts of the island and sea.
12. New Lanark
New Lanark won the honour of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a magnificent village with an authentic Scottish landscape, where Robert Owen imagined, and then created a model industrial society.
Owen designed a world with fair wages and homes, free healthcare, an innovative educational system and the first workplace nursery school in the world. The system stopped in 1968 and worked for almost 200 years. Most attractions are related to that period and bring people back to those prosperous days.
11. Corryvreckan Whirlpool
Corryvreckan whirlpool is the third-largest whirlpool in the world, and it is located between the Isles of Jura and Scarba. The powerful Atlantic currents combined with the unique geography create whirlpools and other aquatic phenomena.
You can see these wonders by taking a boat ride. During the ride, you will also meet a seal colony and eagle nests.
10. Glencoe Valley
This place seems created on some editor’s computer. If you look at the pictures, you will say that it is impossible for a spot on this Earth to be this beautiful. The terrifying mountains separate, leaving room for the waterfalls that gracefully fall, occupying a large part of this valley.
Climbers and adventurers from all over the world gather in this location to explore the wonders of nature that they cannot meet in this form anywhere else.
The Orkney archipelago is situated on the north coast of Scotland. The islands keep some of the oldest Neolithic sites on the continent, registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The most popular attraction is the imposing sea stack called the Old Man of Hoy.
The natural construction is 450 feet tall and can be spotted on some of the oldest maps around. Orkney is also famous for the wildlife that it hosts: puffin and sea colonies, seabirds, and dolphins.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, and you will find it on the River Clyde, where it lingers since prehistoric times. The city loves music, entertainment and friendships and is the host of 130 musical events a week.
The city is a cultural centre of Europe, with museums, art galleries, cathedrals and historical buildings. It maintains the standards of big European cities with a variety of stories, restaurants and distractions.
You can start your adventure in Glasgow in the city centre, then walk around the town to find the Riverside Museum, Glasgow Cathedral and School of Art.
Catch your breath at a theatre or opera show, or go find a live concert of your liking for even more fun.
Other things to visit are the Glasgow Style Gallery (you will have the privilege to look at works of art signed by Salvador Dali and Van Gogh), the Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
7. St. Andrews
St. Andrews is a town that holds everything: fun, education, recreation, inner peace. Many students all over the world choose to study at the prestigious University of St. Andrews. Young people enjoy learning about history and often visit the Castle standing on a high cliff that offers an outstanding view.
People come to this small city to relax, as they will find plenty of resorts destined to help them regain their power. They can also unplug from the social life by visiting one of the largest cathedrals in Scotland (now a ruin).
However, the most famous thing about St. Andrews is golfing. The city is one of the top destinations for this sport, and people passionate about it come from everywhere to play. Here, beginners can take one of the courses and learn from the best.
Fans of golfing will be thrilled to see the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754. However, if you want to get the full experience, you should call several months in advance. There is also a Golf Museum where you can learn about players and the history of the sport.
Inverness is Britain’s most northern city and is a sensational place to visit. You can walk along the Caledonian Canal and visit the churches along the river. The Old Town will surprise you with its historical buildings.
Take the opportunity to shop at the Victorian market, where you can find vintage furniture and crafts. You can also admire the exterior of the Inverness Castle or say a prayer at the Inverness Cathedral.
The Hebrides Islands are famous for their abundance of culture, including literature and music. If you are a fan of George Orwell’s novel “1984”, then you will be thrilled to find out that this is the place where he created the masterpiece.
If you prefer taking a bath, visit one of the many beaches the islands offer, where you will probably meet a few seals. Hiking should not miss from your Hebrides trip.
4. Loch Ness
If you heard of Scotland, you must have heard of Loch Ness, too. If you have been living under a rock, let us open your eyes. Loch Ness is the home of a famous monster, Nessie. This lady is supposedly hiding from our eyes, and there is no actual evidence that she exists, but taking a look over the lake will not hurt anybody.
However, if you came all the way to see the monster and she did not want to show up, there are still plenty of things to do in Loch Ness. You can hike around the lake and visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Do not hesitate to climb the Grant Tower and visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition where you will learn more about the mystery behind several sea creatures.
3. Cairngorms National Park
It’s pretty hard to find the right words to describe this magical place. The Cairngorms National Park is home to five of Scotland’s highest peaks and that’s just a small part of its unique appeal,
It also shelters beautiful rivers, farmland, moorland and native forests that could redefine the word “breathtaking”. Prepare yourself for a meeting with wildcats, pine martens, reindeer, golden eagles, badgers.
2. Finnich Glen
Easily one of the most picturesque places in Scotland, if not the entire world, Finnich Glen is a natural gorge that’s also nicknamed “Devil’s Pulpit”. The place has an interesting history and an unusual, fascinating aspect.
It is believed that some people used it for Druid rituals and confidential gatherings held by clandestine Covenanters. The show “Outlander” used this spot for their series.
Of course, the number one attraction on our list is the capital of Scotland. If you can only visit one place in Scotland, Edinburgh should be it. The city is an excellent fusion of old and modern buildings.
It feels like you are advancing through time while you walk around this spectacular place. In the medieval part of the city, you will get the chance to explore Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The newest part of the town is recognisable in the Grassmarket, a public square with various shops, beautiful galleries and unique cafés.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo are one of the most important events held during the year, and they attract thousands of tourists.
Visit the Royal Yacht Britannia that belonged to the Queen and conclude the experience with a tea at the Royal Deck Tea Room.
Scotland is a place of wonders, an escape from the busy and industrialized world. If you decide to visit this paradise of nature, then you should strictly follow the most important rule: do not ruin it!
You should leave no traces behind, and when you leave, Mother Nature should be as happy as when you arrived.