With a wide range of activities and attractions to suit both thrill-seekers and tranquil beings, it’s no wonder Scotland is a bucket-list destination. With a unique blend of culture, history, natural beauty, and more, there’s something new to uncover at every turn, regardless of whether you’re in the city or highlands. Ranging from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye, here are the best places to visit in Scotland.
Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh offers a great selection of things to see and do. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or anything in-between, this medieval city offers experiences to suit any type of traveller.
Those eager to delve into the fascinating history of Edinburgh will not be disappointed, with even the smallest streets holding a fascinating narrative waiting to be told. Edinburgh Castle is a must-see attraction, located at the top of the Royal Mile and perched on castle rock. The fortress offers visitors the opportunity to wander through the maze-like complex while admiring sweeping views of the city.
For those looking for more things to do in Edinburgh, other attractions worth your time include the Real Mary Kings Close, Arthur’s Seat, Princes Street, Calton Hill, and the Scotch Whisky Experience, just to name a few.
Located only 1 hour from Edinburgh, Glasgow is the cultural hub of Scotland. The city is perfect for travellers eager to delve deeper into the country’s art scene, enjoy a Scottish Ballet or Scottish Opera, see the National Theatre of Scotland, or visit one of the museums within the city. For those eager to take a step back and relax, vibrant parklands are of abundance, including Kelvingrove Park, Pollok Country Park, and the Glasgow Botanical Gardens.
3. Loch Ness
Travellers from all walks of life can’t help but be intrigued by the mystery that lies beneath the Loch Ness. This makes it one of the most iconic attractions in Scotland. Tourists often flock to the area to admire the ever stretching body of water and to hopefully catch a glimpse of the mysterious Nessie.
Aside from the famous tales, Loch Ness is a beautiful area of Scotland, with Urquhart Castle being a popular destination to admire this beauty. The decimated fortress sits on the edge of the loch and dates back to the 13th century.
4. Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye houses some of Scotlands most impressive natural and ancient landscapes. Including the Fairy Pools, Quiraing, and of course, the Storr – an enormous cluster of rugged rocks, gradually arching and reaching into the sky. Otherwise, the quieter fishing towns throughout the region are always worth visiting. These deliver a new perspective of the country for you to enjoy.
Inverness lies toward the northern tip of Loch Ness, making it the perfect place to rest your head while exploring the region. That being said, the area is much more than simply a stop-over, with the city hiding plenty of treasures worth exploring. Inverness is the largest city in the highlands, home to castles, lush landscapes, cathedrals, museums, and art galleries. Open from Monday to Saturday is the Victorian Market – an indoor marketplace with shops, cafes, food, and heaps more.
6. Fort William & Ben Nevis
For adventurers chasing views of the Scottish Highlands, Ben Nevis should be on your itinerary. The mountain stands at 1,345 metres above sea level, making it the tallest in the UK. Walking times are between 3 to 5 hours on the way up.
At the top, guests can admire the well-earned views of tumbling green mountains rolling into the horizon, with lochs nestled between. Also, note it’s best to climb the mountain during the warmer months of the year.
Fort William is the perfect place to visit when planning to hike Ben Nevis, with walks and tours available from the town. If you’re staying in Fort William for longer, the Ben Nevis Distillery and Neptune’s Staircase may be worth adding to your to-do list.
7. Loch Lomond
With no shortage of outdoor activities on offer, Loch Lomond is yet another region explorers will find worth their time. Visitors of the area can look forward to plenty of activities, including hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking, climbing, golf, and more. Otherwise, those looking to relax can book a calm cruise on Loch Lomond, offering a unique perspective of the area and surrounding woodlands.
8. Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is the only other national park in Scotland, aside from Loch Lomond and The Trossachs. The area boasts an impressive selection of things to do, including distilleries, art galleries, museums, and plenty more.
One of the most impressive points of interest is the Balmoral Castle, completed in 1856. The castle served as a home for the Royal Family since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the highlands the first time and then were determined to return.
Unlike Edinburgh and Glasgow, the city of Stirling lies towards the centre of Scotland, with a surprising line-up of activities and attractions. The most well-known is the Stirling Castle, sitting at the heart of the city, lying on top of volcanic rock, and providing some of the most beautiful views over Stirling and the surrounding landscapes.
If you’re eager for more medieval attractions, Stirling has no shortage. You’ll find the Wallace Monument, the Church of the Holy Rude, and the Stirling Old Town Jail being popular sites in the city.
10. Isle of Jura
Though the Isle of Jura may not be as well-known as the Isle of Skye, the region is packed with distilleries and landscapes to explore. The Jura Distillery, located along the coast of the island, offers a collection of guided tours ranging from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Otherwise, if you’re chasing spectacular views, the Gulf of Corryvreckan can deliver, with tours available by boat or by air.
Scotland is home to an abundance of experiences to suit any type of traveller. Whether you’re on the hunt for a natural escape, medieval architecture, stunning landscapes, modern city escapes, or anything in-between, the country can provide what you’re seeking. Stroll along the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile, soaking in the deep history of these historic lanes, or venture up to the highlands and climb the gigantic Ben Nevis for extraordinary views of the surrounding landscape. No matter what you’re looking for, Scotland has a little something for everyone.
Noticed a mistake? Let us know.
We recommend the below options to book your hotels, activities, flights and other transport:
- Hotels - booking.com - Save 20%+ from Jan 5th - March
- Activities and Tours - getyourguide.com (Multi-day) - TourRadar
- Flights - easyJet | Google Flights
- Transport Around Europe - Flixbus (buses) - Omio (Trains) - RentalCars (Car Rental)
Please note that we get a small commission if you purchase via our referral links. We use this to invest in new content and improving this website.