Top 21 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Scotland

Lonely Planet once mentioned it as one of the must-see countries to visit, and if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you will know how much I love the place.

Yes, parts of it can be remote. Yes, a trip here needs a little planning, but I honestly think Scotland (especially the Highlands) is where you’ll find some of the best natural scenery in Europe, if not the world. From its grand historic capital to its picture-perfect lochs and from my many visits, here are my favourite beautiful places to visit in Scotland…

Gary Nunn’s (our videographer) beautiful 3-day road trip around Scotland with drone footage…

Top 3 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Scotland
1.
1 2 l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Stunning Beauty Spot
Glencoe
  • Glencoe, Scotland
2.
2 2 l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Stunning Unspoiled Landscapes
Isle of Skye
  • Skye, Scotland
3.
6 1 l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Capital City
Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
Best For Stunning Beauty Spot

Glencoe

Glencoe - one of the best places to visit in Scotland

Glencoe - a jaw-droppingly beautiful valley

If you were to pick a place that represents Scotland’s wild natural beauty at its finest, many would choose Glencoe, and so would I! It’s an ancient volcanic glen with a grim history and breathtakingly beautiful scenery – the valley is flanked by imposing velvety-green peaks so tall that their tops are often shrouded in grey, misty clouds.

It was also the site of the infamous Glencoe massacre, where, in 1692, the MacDonald clan was ruthlessly slaughtered by the government in power at the time. It’s a sixteen-mile drive from Fort William, and although it will probably be raining when you arrive, this will only add to its mysterious atmosphere.

My must-do highlights of beautiful Glencoe

  • Pay a visit to the wonderful Clachaig Inn, located in the heart of Glencoe and surrounded by truly stunning views of the mountains. It’s a legendary place offering a warm Highlands welcome, a collection of over 400 malt whiskeys, hearty dinners, and lunches.
  • Go on one of the hikes I’d recommend the 1.5-mile An Torr walk, which isn’t a very strenuous hike and has a well-marked trail. It leads up to Signal Rock, which is said to be the place where the signal was allegedly sounded to start the Glencoe Massacre.
  • On the Glen Etive Road,, you pass stunning views and lochs. You’ll also pass some locations where Braveheart and the James Bond film Skyfall are located.
  • Take a trip to the beautiful Loch Achtriochtan, Glencoe Mountain, and Three Sisters Mountain Range. 

Our beautiful h0tel choice for Glencoe – The Isles of Glencoe Hotel

Glencoe Hotel

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Facilities

Small shops and eateries

Visitor center with a coffee shop

What Is It?

Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, Glencoe Village captivates with its picturesque charm and rich history at the northwest end of Glen Coe's breathtaking landscapes.

Why Go?

Glencoe, a Scottish gem, mesmerizes with rugged peaks and haunting history. Explore Clachaig Inn, hike An Torr for tales, and drive Glen Etive for cinematic landscapes.

Best Months to Visit:

May-June, September-October

Best For Stunning Unspoiled Landscapes

Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye - stunning places to visit in Scotland

Isle of Skye beautiful scenery and a town

Once voted the fourth best island in the world (by National Geographic magazine), the tranquil and stunningly beautiful Isle of Skye – part of the Hebridean islands located off the northwest shore of Scotland – offers particularly beguiling scenery.

This is where the waves of the turbulent Atlantic sea crash against the rough and rugged shores, towering sea cliffs, and long sweeping sandy beaches.

In my opinion, the inland scenery doesn’t get any less dramatic, with formidable mountain ranges, boggy moorland, and vast expanses of barren wilderness punctuated with tiny lochs and pretty villages.

My must-see highlights of the Isle of Skye

  • Hike along and maybe swim in the beautiful Fairy Pools, an area that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. The water is so clear and luminous that it’s said that fairies have bathed in it (hence the name)!
  • Pay a visit to the very cozy The Old Inn, one of the best pubs on the island. It’s set on the shores of the beautiful Loch Harport and is popular with locals, tourists, and walkers.
  • Explore Kilt Rock. There are many jaw-dropping cliffs on this island, but it’s one of the most scenic. Here, waterfalls plummet into the sea – just be careful not to get too close to the edge!
  • One of the best natural attractions of the Isle of Skye is the famous Old Man of Storr, a great place to climb or photograph!
  • If you’re serious about walking, then hike the Quiraing trail, it isn’t the world’s most accessible trail, but the views are truly stunning.
  • Explore the island’s largest town, the picturesque Portree. Here, you’ll find pretty colorful buildings, fishing boats, and even sea glass that washes up on the beach.

Our beautiful hotel choice for the Isle of Skye – Toravaig House Hotel

Beautiful Isle of Skye hotel

Pros

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Facilities

Cozy pubs with scenic views

Picturesque and colorful local villages

What Is It?

Discover the allure of Skye, the largest of Scotland's Inner Hebrides, renowned for its dramatic Cuillin mountains and rich historical tapestry. This enchanting island beckons with rugged beauty and a captivating past, inviting you to explore its scenic wonders and cultural heritage.

Why Go?

Isle of Skye, a mesmerizing gem in Scotland's Hebrides. Feel enchanted by fairy pools, rugged cliffs, and the mystical Old Man of Storr. Nature's poetry unfolds in every step.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Capital City

Edinburgh

Edinburgh - the best places to visit in Scotland

Edinburgh - Scotland's fine and majestic capital

Scotland’s proud and grand capital easily deserves a place on this list. One of the UK’s most visited tourist destinations (after London), this city mixes old-world charm and historic architectural grandeur with a dash of the contemporary thrown in for good measure. I’m personally a huge fan! 

Its orientation probably helps, too – Edinburgh’s skyline is dominated by the castle, which sits atop a craggy volcano, gazing down over the city.

For other city highlights, head for the labyrinthine of beautifully preserved medieval cobbled streets that make up the Old Town, Prince’s Street (Scotland’s most famous shopping street), and the spooky – and supposedly haunted – series of underground chambers otherwise known as the ‘vaults’.

If you’re planning a more extended stay, check out our post on cool and unusual hotels to stay in Edinburgh.

My must-see highlights of beautiful Edinburgh

  • Go shopping down the very elegant and famous Princes Street, packed with upscale shops and department stores.
  • Take a stroll down the excellent cobbled Royal Mile in the Old Town; it leads from Edinburgh Castle down to the Scottish Parliament and is lined with quirky shops, buzzing pubs, and restaurants.
  • Visit the famous Edinburgh Castle, which sits on top of the volcano in the city’s center.
  • Take a trip to West End Village – a pretty area of boutique shops, quirky stores, and unique gift shops.
  • Explore the city’s vaults on one of the famous (and very tongue in cheek!) Auld Reekie Tour.
  • Dine at Chaophraya, located on upmarket George Street. A sleek and modern Thai restaurant that enjoyed an enviable position on a rooftop conservatory and delectably combining divine food with religious city views.
  • I’m also always in awe of Edinburgh’s creative and unique outlook on life, so check out Frankenstein Cafe a place where you can fill up on hearty American-style diner food and gaze at retro horror movie memorabilia – random but a great example of Edinburgh’s wonderful idiosyncratic ways!
  • Head to the Scottish Poetry Library and check out the exquisite and mysterious miniature paper sculptures made from books and left by a talented anonymous gifter.
  • Go on the wonderful Pickings Gin Distillery Tour. I loved the generous enthusiasm of the distillery guide, the genuine vintage decor, the intriguing story of how it all began, and their two giant copper gins distilling barrels named after their beloved grandparents, Emily and Gertrude.

Our beautiful hotel pick for Edinburgh – Tigerlily

Tigerlily Edinburgh

Pros

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Facilities

Upscale shopping and department store

Distinctive boutique shops and gift stores

Buzzing pubs and restaurants

What Is It?

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, boasts historic landmarks like Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Home to renowned cultural institutions, the city hosts the Fringe.

Why Go?

Edinburgh, Scotland's regal gem, blends historic charm with modern vibrancy. Wander Princes Street's elegance, explore the cobbled Royal Mile, and be captivated by Edinburgh Castle's majestic perch.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Scenic Lake

Lochan na h-Achlaise

Lochan na h-Achlaise - one of the most scenic places to visit in Scotland

Lochan na h-Achlaise

A small loch, or lochan, Lochan na h-Achlaise is a much-photographed beauty spot and one of the most beautiful lakes in Scotland. Set on the wild and rural Rannoch Moor, Black Mount surrounds this lochan – an imposing snow-capped mountain range.

Rannoch Moor is a wet and boggy landscape, so I would say you definitely need suitable footwear to explore this place. Another great way to see this part of Scotland is by train – the West Highland Railway runs between Glasgow and Fort William and was once voted the top rail journey in the world.

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Visitor Center with informational displays Guided photography tours are available

Must Do

Capture the breathtaking scenery Experience the West Highland Railway Journey

What Is It?

Nestled in the rugged beauty of Rannoch Moor, Lochan na h-Achlaise is a captivating freshwater loch in the Scottish West Highlands. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes, its tranquil waters and scenic vistas offer a serene escape into the heart of nature's beauty.

Why Go?

Lochan na h-Achlaise captivates with its serene beauty. Embrace nature's poetry with a visit to this picturesque loch and the majestic Black Mount.

Best Months to Visit:

March-June

Best For Heritage Site

Dean Village

Dean Village - great places to visit in Scotland

Dean Village Edinburgh

This charming and easy-on-the-eye former village can be found just northwest of the city center of Edinburgh, Scotland. Beautifully located right on the Water of Leith, this little oasis, seemingly a long way from all the city hassles, is only a five-minute walk from Princes Street.

It was once a thriving grain milling village, Still, now it’s an Edinburgh World Heritage Site, and I loved the pretty and colorful historic buildings to see the impressive Dean Bridge designed by Thomas Telford and, of course, its very alluring picturesque charm.

Pros

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Facilities

Charming cafes with river views Guided historical walking tours

Must Do

Admire the historic Dean Bridge Stroll along the Water of Leith

What Is It?

Dean Village, Edinburgh, a historic milling hub for 800 years along the Water of Leith. Notable for Dean Bridge and landmarks, it declined but revived since the '70s into a tranquil residential area.

Why Go?

Dean Village, nestled northwest of Edinburgh's hustle, offers a tranquil escape. Admire historic buildings, the enchanting Water of Leith, and Thomas Telford's Dean Bridge.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Romantic Atmosphere

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park - a unique and romantic place in Scotland to visit

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park views

A relatively new National Park, having been officially created in 2002, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs is a 720-square-mile wild haven with a host of mountains and lochs to explore. There are 21 mountains above 3000 feet and nearly as many above 2500 feet.

The park is located in the central Highlands. It consists of four distinct areas: the vast Loch Lomond, Bredalbane – the ‘high ground of Scotland’, Argyll Forest – a forest park perfect for hiking, and The Trossachs – a beautiful woodland glen.

This is also Rob Roy’s stomping ground, the folk hero made famous by Daniel Defoe and Sir Walter Scott. Wherever you decide to start exploring this huge National Park, I promise that you’re guaranteed some seriously spectacular Scottish scenery.

Pros

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Facilities

Information hubs for park guidance Lakeside cafés with views

Must Do

Explore scenic trails in The Trossachs woodlands Enjoy a serene boat ride on Loch Lomond

What Is It?

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, established in 2002, spans 1,865 km² of Scotland's southern highlands. Home to Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond, and diverse landscapes.

Why Go?

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is a Scottish masterpiece born in 2002. Seven hundred twenty square miles of untamed beauty, embracing mountains, lochs, and Rob Roy's legendary spirit.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Historic Attraction

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral - one of the most spectacular cathedrals in Scotland Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow is a fun, friendly, and vibrant city and I think it’s well worth a visit. One of its most beautiful attractions is its focal point, Glasgow Cathedral (also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Mungo’s Cathedral).

It was built between the 13th & 15th Centuries and is the oldest cathedral on the mainland of Scotland and is the oldest building in Glasgow.

Today, the medieval is a magnificent example of Scottish Gothic architecture; if you visit it it will instantly transport you back to a long-forgotten time

Pros

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Facilities

The facility is wheelchair accessible Gift shop with cathedral-themed souvenirs

Must Do

Explore intricate Gothic architecture Visit the tomb of St. Mungo

What Is It?

Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland's oldest, dating back to 1136, is a historic Church of Scotland parish. Dedicated to Saint Mungo, it boasts medieval architecture and is now under Historic Environment Scotland's care.

Why Go?

Glasgow Cathedral, Scotland's oldest on the mainland, beckons with its medieval grandeur. A timeless journey through the 13th-15th centuries, it's a must-visit, echoing Scottish Gothic charm.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Incredible Mountain

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis Scotland

Ben Nevis - best places to go in Scotland

Standing at 1,344 meters, Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the United Kingdom and is the mountain all visiting climbers want to conquer. Many base themselves at the nearby town of Fort William to give them a few days to explore the imposing peak and its tranquil neighbor, Glen Nevis.

Both places offer scenery of outstanding beauty – Glen Nevis is one of the best examples of a glaciated valley in Scotland with cascading waterfalls, a dramatic gorge, and bracken-covered slopes, and Ben Nevis, once climbed, offers some of the best views in the country.

If you are considering tackling the climb, I would just say make sure you go fully prepared, check the weather conditions before you go, and allow for a full day’s climbing.

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Accommodations in nearby Fort William Visitor center with climbing information

Must Do

Explore Glen Nevis's glaciated beauty.

What Is It?

Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland and the British Isles at 1,345 meters, attracts 130,000 ascents annually. Renowned for its challenging north face, it features historic ruins and a summit observatory.

Why Go?

Conquer the UK's pinnacle at Ben Nevis, Scotland. Towering at 1,344 meters, it promises breathtaking landscapes, including Glen Nevis's cascading waterfalls and unrivaled views post-climb.

Best Months to Visit:

August-September

Best For Historic Railway Bridge

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct - great places to visit in Scotland

 

Glenfinnan Viaduct

The Glenfinnan Viaduct is now one of the most popular places to visit in Scotland thanks to its appearance in many a Harry Potter film. Attracting thousands from all over the globe, it’s a beautiful railway viaduct built in 1901 with a curving, 21-arch span on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Inverness-shire.

A Jacobite steam train also runs from here to Fort William and Mallaig in the summer months, with regular trains available the rest of the year.

As well as being visually striking with truly stunning surroundings (the railway overlooks beautiful Loch Shiel), in my opinion, it’s also a special place with a unique atmosphere!

Pros

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Facilities

Gift shop with movie memorabilia Guided historical tours are available.

Must Do

Capture iconic train crossing Enjoy scenic Loch Shiel view

What Is It?

In Scotland's West Highlands, the Glenfinnan Viaduct is a marvel of Victorian engineering, completed in 1901. This 416-yard-long concrete railway bridge boasts 21 arches and spans the River Finnan at 100 feet.

Why Go?

Standing atop Glenfinnan Viaduct is a mesmerizing experience. Immersed in Harry Potter magic, the 1901 marvel offers breathtaking views of Loch Shiel.

Best Months to Visit:

September

Best For Instagrammable

Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan - one of the most photogenic castles in Scotland

Eilean Donan

This tiny tidal island in Loch Duich is adorned with the most photographed castle in Scotland. It’s arguably Scotland’s most famous view, appearing on everything from calendars, shortbread tins, and even films and television adverts.

If you visit, you’ll see why – it’s a truly picturesque spot looking out to the Isle of Skye, surrounded by the forested mountains of Kintail with regular sightings of dolphins, otters, and birdlife. So I would recommend wildlife spotting here.

The first castle dates from the 13th century, and over the centuries, Eilean Donan castle has been expanded many times and finally restored in the 20th century.   

Pros

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Facilities

Nearby cafeteria offering local delicacies Gift shop with souvenirs

Must Do

Capture the castle’s reflections in Loch Duich Explore the historic 13th-century castle

What Is It?

Eilean Donan, a tidal island in the Scottish Highlands, boasts a 13th-century castle connected by a footbridge. Rich in history, it served as a medieval fortification, witnessed clan feuds, and was reconstructed in the 20th century.

Why Go?

Eilean Donan, Scotland's iconic castle in Loch Duich, captivates with its timeless beauty. It is nestled amid Kintail's forested mountains and is a historic gem offering stunning views and wildlife encounters.

Best Months to Visit:

July-September

Best For Natural Beauty

Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms - beautiful places to visit in Scotland

Cairngorms National Park Scotland beautiful scenery

Established in 2003, a year after Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the Cairngorms is the largest National Park in the UK and is a vast area of natural beauty, wildlife, and significant towns covering 1700 square miles.

With around 1.4 million visitors a year, the scenic Cairngorms has something to offer everyone. Five of the six highest mountains in Scotland are here, and the diversity of the habitats, vegetation, and geology is unrivaled in the UK.

From climbing to mountain biking, and from skiing to bungee jumping, the Cairngorms has so much to offer and it’s one of my favourite spots too.

Why not head to the Glenlivet or Dalwhinnie distilleries for a taste of authentic Scottish whiskey or join an organized tour of Balmoral Castle (when the Royal Family isn’t at home, of course!)?

Pros

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Facilities

Adventure tour operators for outdoor activities Preserved Heritage Railway

Must Do

Explore Glenlivet Distillery for Scotch whiskey Summit Cairngorm Mountain for views

What Is It?

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, est. 2003, spans 4,528 sq km. Home to Cairngorms range, offering diverse landscapes and outdoor activities.

Why Go?

Cairngorms National Park beckons with awe-inspiring landscapes. Explore diverse terrains, conquer Scotland's peaks, and savor the essence of Scottish heritage at iconic distilleries and Balmoral Castle.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Beautiful Lake

Loch Shiel

Loch Shiel - a beautiful lake in Scotland

Loch Shiel

This is another loch of natural and historical importance within easy reach of Fort William. Picturesque Loch Shiel has recently gained fame by doubling as Black Lake in the Harry Potter film franchise.

One of Scotland’s largest freshwater lochs, in my opinion, its best explored by boat – take a guided cruise on the water to spot a vast array of wildlife, including red deer and golden eagle.

Much like Loch Ness, Shiel has its monster inhabitant legend – at 70 feet long, the three-humped ‘Seilag’ apparently patrols the loch’s depths, and has been seen multiple times, dating back to the late 1800s.

Pros

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Facilities

Guided boat cruises are available Accessible from Fort William

Must Do

Cruise Loch Shiel's scenic waters Seek wildlife

like golden eagles

What Is It?

Loch Shiel, Scotland's fourth-longest loch at 28 kilometers, boasts natural beauty and historical significance. Surrounded by picturesque highlands, it hosts diverse wildlife, including black-throated divers and golden eagles.

Why Go?

Nestled in Scotland's Highlands, Loch Shiel enchants with natural beauty and history. Cruise its tranquil waters, spot wildlife, and perhaps glimpse the legendary three-humped 'Seilag.'

Best Months to Visit:

August-September

Best For Gorgeous Beaches

Isle of Harris

A beautiful beach in the Isle of Harris Scotland

Isle of Harris rugged landscapes

This beautiful Scottish Hebridean island is home to some genuinely extraordinary scenery. It’s mostly known for its stunning Caribbean-esque beaches, such as Luskentyre and Scarista, which can be found on the west coast of the island, but it is also home to other beautiful scenery.

For example, the rugged mountains are in the north, and on the east side is a unique area filled with miniature fjords. Venture inland, and you’ll see rolling hills, pristine lochs, and peaty moorland lined with brilliant yellow heather.

That, coupled with a slower pace of life and quite an extensive collection of fine Highland Cows makes this one of my favourite spots.

Pros

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Facilities

Harris Distillery in Tarbert Shops offering authentic Harris Tweed

Must Do

Walk along the pristine Luskentyre Beach Discover the beauty of Harris's mountains

What Is It?

Explore Harris in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, known for its mountainous terrain and Grand Canyon-like landscapes sculpted by the Colorado River. Immerse yourself in nature's dramatic masterpiece.

Why Go?

The Isle of Harris, a Hebridean gem, unveils nature's artistry. It's Scotland's tranquil masterpiece, from Caribbean-like beaches to rugged mountains.

Best Months to Visit:

August-September

Best For Unique Lake

Loch Maree

Loch Maree - great places to visit in Scotland

Loch Maree

I’m a big fan of this 12-mile-long expanse of water in the Northwest Highlands otherwise known as Loch Maree. 

Its unique feature is the series of small islands at its center – around forty wooded islands and islets – one of which (Isle Maree) still has the remains of an ancient chapel and graveyard dating back to the 8th century.

The pure waters of the loch were once thought to cure lunacy, and the area’s spiritual history is evident – exploring Isle Maree will reveal a druid circle and an ancient Money Tree, where if the coin you offer stays embedded in the tree, your wish will be granted.

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Facilities

Abundant camping facilities Multiple hiking trails of varying difficulties

Must Do

Explore Isle Maree's ancient chapel Take a boat tour to discover hidden islets

What Is It?

Loch Maree, extending 21.7 km, unfolds a tapestry of history and biodiversity. Delight in diverse wildlife, the allure of Eilean Sùbhainn's wooded islands, and the ancient hermitage on Isle Maree from the 8th century.

Why Go?

Loch Maree unfolds breathtaking vistas across its 12-mile stretch. Adorned with historic isles, ancient chapels, and a mystical Money Tree.

Best Months to Visit:

July-September

Best For Historic Castle Ruins

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle - a romantic and evocative ruin on Loch Awe

Kilchurn Castle

Although this castle isn’t perfectly intact, I personally think Kilchurn Castle still packs a very photogenic punch! The ancient ruined building sits majestically on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern tip of Loch Awe in the Argyll and Bute region.

It was built in the mid-1400s as the base of the Campbells of Glenorchy and wasn’t abandoned until the 1700s. Today, it sits perfectly framed by its truly stunning surroundings at the foot and is well worth a visit if you’re touring around the beautiful Highlands.

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Guided tours available for visitor

Must Do

Explore the medieval castle's remnants. Capture sunset views over Loch Awe.

What Is It?

Kilchurn Castle, a 15th-century ruin on Loch Awe's rocky peninsula, showcases Scottish history. Built by the Campbells, it witnessed clan dominance, military use, and eventual abandonment.

Why Go?

Though weathered by time, nestled on Loch Awe's shores, Kilchurn Castle exudes photogenic allure.

Best Months to Visit:

April

Best For Famous Loch

Loch Ness

Loch Ness - Scotland's most famous lake surrounded by myth and legend

Loch Ness

The most famous Scottish loch in the world is also one of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Scotland; it’s also intense and is the largest body of freshwater in Britain – maybe that’s why the famous ‘Nessie’ monster chose this for their home!

There have been thousands of sightings of the mythical creature over the decades and several theories, too. Located 37 kilometres southwest of Inverness, whether you believe in the Loch Ness Monster or not, there’s no denying this is a lovely spot in Scotland. I highly recommend seeking out the most photogenic place of the 23-mile-long loch, which is where the ruins of the medieval fortress Urquhart Castle sit.

Pros

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Facilities

Loch Ness Centre with exhibits Gift shops with Loch Ness memorabilia

Must Do

Capture photos at Urquhart Castle ruins Learn about the myths of the famous Loch Ness monster

What Is It?

Loch Ness, a 37-kilometer Scottish loch renowned for the elusive Loch Ness Monster, offers murky depths and geological wonders.

Why Go?

Loch Ness, shrouded in myth, captivates with its breathtaking beauty. Explore the largest Scottish loch and marvel at Urquhart Castle's ruins.

Best Months to Visit:

June-August

Best For Scenic Bay

Gruinard Bay

Gruinard Bay - a world-renowned beauty spot in the Scottish Highlands

Gruinard Bay

Scotland is home to some wonderful and unspoiled beaches that I think are well worth exploring. Gruinard Bay, located 12 miles north of Poolewe on the west coast of Scotland, is home to some of the best.

As well as spectacular and sweeping views, the bay is home to rocky coves and vast pink sand beaches; from here, it’s possible to see stunning views of An Teallach and the northern Highlands. You can also see beautiful views across island-studded waters to the Coigach Hills. This is Scotland’s coastline at its most stunning and unspoiled best!

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Picnic areas with benches Parking with easy access

Must Do

Admire the views of An Teallach Explore rocky coves and pink sand

What Is It?

Gruinard Bay, a remote coastal embayment in northwest Ross and Cromarty, Scotland, features picturesque settlements like Little Gruinard and Laide.

Why Go?

Gruinard Bay captivates with untamed beauty. Marvel at pink sand beaches, rocky coves, and panoramic views, revealing Scotland's unspoiled coastal magnificence.

Best Months to Visit:

May-August

Best For Romantic Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle - a dramatic and romantic castle

In the mid-1600s, Scottish fortresses needed to be tough, and this particular one was thought to be the most impenetrable in Scotland.

Nestled majestically on a rocky headland on the northeastern coast of Scotland today, it cuts a striking and romantic (if sadly ruined) structure and I think it’s a highly photogenic spot worth visiting! 

Pros

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Facilities

Picnic seating with refreshments Ample parking space is available

Must Do

Learn about the history of the castle

What Is It?

Perched on a rocky headland south of Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle, a medieval fortress, boasts a rich history. Strategic in Scottish conflicts, it safeguarded the Honours of Scotland during Cromwell's invasion.

Why Go?

Perched on a rugged Scottish cliff, Dunnottar Castle whispers tales of resilience in its ancient stones.

Best Months to Visit:

July-August

Best For Cultural Heritage

Kintyre Peninsula

Kintyre Peninsula - a famously beautiful long, tranquil and romantic Scottish Peninsula

Kintyre Peninsula - a famously beautiful place in Scotland

You may have heard of the famous Paul McCartney song “Mull of Kintyre.” Well, the song was inspired by this beautiful and tranquil part of Scotland, and this was the place he retreated to after the break up of the Beatles.

Once visited, it’s accessible to see why – I think this place is seriously stunning with gorgeous beaches, beautiful coastline, and plenty of ancient history and opportunities to sup on wee drams of whiskey merrily.

It stretches 30 miles from the Mull of Kintyre in the south to East Loch Tarbert in the north and can be found in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll and Bute. Don’t miss Carradale Bay, the bustling harbor town of Tarbert, the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse, and the  Tuirc Distillery, where they produce the acclaimed Kintyre gin.

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Enjoy bus services for easy travel Local distillery offering Kintyre gin

Must Do

Explore Carradale Bay's serene beauty Visit Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse

What Is It?

Kintyre, a scenic Scottish peninsula in Argyll and Bute, boasts a rich history dating back to the Stone Age. Known for its captivating landscapes, including Campbeltown and renowned whisky production.

Why Go?

Escape to the romantic Kintyre Peninsula, immortalized by Paul McCartney. Discover stunning beaches, rich history, and the magic of Mull of Kintyre.

Best Months to Visit:

Autumn-November

Best For Stunning Beach

Balnakeil Bay

Balnakeil Bay - one of the most beautiful beaches in the Highlands

Balnakeil Bay

This is another of the most beautiful beaches to visit in Scotland, which could easily rival the shores of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean (but without the crowds); this gorgeous gem of a place can be found in a tiny hamlet in the parish of Durness on the North Coast of Scotland.

It’s a long, pristine stretch of pale sand backed by massive dunes, and I would highly recommend walking out to Faraid Head (but keep safety in mind!), a small and pretty peninsula that is home to nesting seabirds.

Also, make time to visit the nearby historic watermill, Balnakeil House, which was built in 1744, the ruined church of Balnakeil, which dates from 1619, and the Balnakeil Craft Village.

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Gift shops with local crafts Parking is available near the beach

Must Do

Stroll Faraid Head's scenic peninsula Explore the historic Balnakeil House and Craft Village

What Is It?

Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, Balnakeil Bay captivates with its pristine, expansive beach, rivaling Mediterranean and Caribbean gems.

Why Go?

Balnakeil Bay is a Highland treasure rivaling Mediterranean charm. Pristine sands, colossal dunes, and Faraid Head's seabird sanctuary await.

Best Months to Visit:

March-May

Best For Whiskey

Isle of Jura

The Isle of Jura ferry

Isle of Jura - the beautiful gems of Scotland

Famous for its whiskey (produced in Jura Whisky Distillery) and its wild, rugged lands, this place is one the last untamed gems of Scotland.

It can be reached by passenger ferry from the mainland, and its remote location makes this place so special. It even attracted one of the most famous writers of the 20th century – George Orwell once traveled here to find the tranquillity he needed to complete his most famous novel, 1984.

Located off the peaceful and unspoiled west of Scotland, the small number of human residents (200) is easily outnumbered by the wild deer population (which is said to be over 5,000).

I would recommend visiting for its soaring mountains, famous whirlpool (the Corryvreckan Whirlpool), divine whiskey, and astounding raw, rugged beauty. I hope you enjoy Scotland as much as I do! 

Pros

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Cons

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Facilities

Ferry service from the mainland is available Tour the Jura Whisky Distillery

Must Do

Explore Corryvreckan Whirlpool Distillery Visitor Center with guided tours

What Is It?

Jura, an Inner Hebrides island in Scotland, boasts rugged beauty with mountainous terrain, including the iconic Paps of Jura.

Why Go?

Embark on the Isle of Jura ferry to discover Scotland's untamed jewel. Marvel at rugged landscapes and savor renowned whiskey.

Best Months to Visit:

March-May, September-November

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0 thoughts on “Top 22 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Oregon”

  1. Great Post, The pictures are awesome. i have visited Kilchurn Castle in the past and definitely a site to see in the summer.

    Would love to stay at The Isles of Glencoe Hotel maybe have to plan for my next trip in July 2024

    Reply
  2. What a fabulous collection of spots! Grew up in Scotland and childhood holidays were always spent around the Scottish coast. We spend most our holidays around the West Coast now but planning to explore much more so this is really useful. In the meantime, Arisaig is great base for exploring Skye, the Small Isles and the Knoydart Peninsula. Planning a trip to Canna this week!

    Reply
  3. Love this post! I’ve lived in Scotland for more than six years and travel a lot but there are still places which I haven’t seen yet and which I discovered in this post. Added to my list of places to visit 🙂

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  4. Hi guys, great post that hits most of the top spots for sure. It’s an great time to visit, so much going on. Would say the Isle of Harris needs a mention too, out of this world!

    Reply
  5. As an exiled Scot it did my heart proud to see the photographs in this blog. I’m not sure I agree with your choices though as certainly not all of your selection would be readily accessible to a 70 year old, Ben Nevis for example. My favourite view of all is on my infrequent trips to Edinburgh is to stand of the Castle Esplanade and look down on Edinburgh and equally to stand on Princes Street and look up at the castle.
    Thanks for a great article

    Reply
  6. Scotland is one of my absolute favorite places. Edinburgh, right after London, is my favorite city. Such history, great shopping and easy to get around!

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  7. I love lakes at the foot of spiraling mountains so Loch Maree would definitely be my first choice, Becky! Then quickly followed by Glencoe. The photos you’ve chosen are terrific.

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  8. Great post! Beautiful pictures of a beautiful place. I have been to Edinburgh only, but now I am thinking of exploring other destinations too.

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  9. That’s a great selection of places totally worth visiting in Scotland. I never made it there, but I feel like I would enjoy myself there a lot. Edinburgh seems to be the most interesting place for me. Fingers crossed I can make it there next year.

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  10. We tried to make it to Eilean Donan Castle a few years ago after we rented a car to do a big drive up from the Midlands, but just as we were about to make the last stretch drive from Glasgow it started to snow for the first time in the year. A major let down.

    Maybe next time, eh?

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  11. Edinburgh has been high on my list for awhile but I’ll definitely be adding these others! I think I should just spend at least a month in Scotland. Sounds good to me!

    Happy travels 🙂

    Reply
  12. As a Brit, I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only been to Edinburgh in Scotland, which I love. Inverness and Aberdeen look interesting, and I’d love to visit the islands. The Uist islands look fascinating to me, as does The Isle of Lewis, if only to go to a town named Stornoway. All sounds very Game Of Thrones-esque to me. The Isle Of Skye looks fabulous, too, ditto all the lochs you’ve featured here.

    Reply
    • Thanks Tom, still got to visit the Isle of Lewis but it’s a good excuse for another trip. I think a lot of Scotland is very Game of Thrones-esque which might be why I love it so much 🙂

      Reply
  13. Driving through Glen Coe was a fantastic journey. I’d also add Glasgow to this list. There is a lot of culture there, and architectural significance with Mackintosh.

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  14. I absolutely looove Scotland. Driving through Glen Coe was unreal! I went for a little hike down from there and the views were incredible! Driving from Inverness to Isle of Skye was unforgettable! Probably the most fun a drive of my life. Little narrow lanes and no one around, or just sheep and a few bulls. Edinburgh is such a great city and has amazing hiking, but I would prefer Isle of Skye any day! Loch Lomond was unreal and the forest was just magical! I really hope to go back. Great list!!

    Reply
  15. We will definatly have to make an other visit to Scotland , as we have seen most of these places but not all of them,. The pictures are just as it. Is , very beautiful.

    Reply

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