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15 of the most beautiful places to visit in Scotland

Posted on August 2, 2021 by Jason Davis
View of Loch Inchard

Scotland is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit.

Don’t believe us? Keep on scrolling.

For all that Scotland has to offer, we’ve managed to whittle down our top 15 locations and views, in no particular order…

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven Aberdeenshire

1. Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven

Set upon the rocky headland on the east coast of Scotland, Dunnottar Castle offers dramatic views and stories aplenty from its past. We’ll leave that for you to find out though.

Sand dunes of Balnakeil Beach on a sunny day

2. Balnakeil Beach, near Durness

If you’re looking for a quiet stroll, head over to Balnakeil Beach in the very north of Scotland. The unspoilt coastline is known for its spectacular sunsets, so don’t forget to bring your camera.

Callanish stones at sunset

3. Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

The Callanish Stones are over 5,000 years old! Located on the Isle of Lewis, the Neolithic monument is a must-visit for history lovers looking to share the footsteps of our ancestors. More modern-day facilities include parking, a cafe, gift shop and wifi.

Portree harbour in Isle of Skye

4. Portree, Isle of Skye

The village of Portree has something for everyone: stunning walks, boat trips, restaurants and even a cinema. The Aros Centre (Portree’s flagship attraction) runs regular theatre, concerts and film screenings.

St Andrews Castle

5. St Andrews, Fife

Famously known for its golfing heritage, St Andrews boasts plenty of things to see and do even if golf isn’t your thing. The seaside town has a cathedral, aquarium and even a spy mission treasure trail – perfect for exploring the town with kids.

Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness

6. Loch Ness

No visit to Scotland is complete without searching for Nessie at Loch Ness. Book yourself onto one of the many tours and cruises to explore the world’s most famous Loch. Even if you don’t find Nessie, a visit to Urquhart Castle will make the trip worthwhile.

Waterfall in the Fair Pools

7. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye is scattered with beautiful rock pools and waterfalls cascading from the Cuillin Mountains. There’s a 2.4km trail to follow where you can take in all the amazing views along the way.

Edinburgh Castle

8. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Overlooking the heart of the capital, Edinburgh Castle sits on Castle Rock, a volcanic plug that has been occupied by humans since the iron age! The castle is open daily with plenty of exhibits and tours to take advantage of – and don’t miss out on seeing the one o’clock gun in action, which is fired (yes that’s right) at 1pm every day!

Calton Hill at sunset

9. Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Round off your visit to the capital with a trip to Calton Hill. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its collection of historic monuments including the Nelson Monument and the National Monument to name a few.

Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris

10. Luskentyre Beach, Isle of Harris

Luskentyre Beach shares all the features you’d expect from the Caribbean, apart from the tropical climate. Its turquoise waters and expansive sandy beach makes the perfect staycation getaway, and there’s no surprise it’s been named as one of the UK’s best beaches in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.

View of Lock Lomond

11. Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire

Loch Lomond is the largest lake in the UK by surface area, so you won’t be short of fantastic views along the shoreline. There are loads of ways to explore the loch, so if you’re a hiker, biker or sit back in a boat-er, there’s something to suit everyone on a day trip out.

View of Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona

12. Isle of Iona, West Scotland

If you’re looking to escape the stresses of everyday life, the Isle of Iona makes the perfect retreat. The tiny island only has around 120 residents, but there’s no shortage of things to do when you’re there. Our must-sees include a visit to Iona Abbey and wildlife spotting for otters and seals near Martyr’s Bay.

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland

13. Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct, Inverness-shire

For the Harry Potter fan or train enthusiast, Glenfinnan Viaduct should top your list of places to visit. The Jacobite steam train runs on this track to Fort William and Mallaig during the summer months. The 21-arched viaduct became known worldwide for its appearance in the Harry Potter films. Board the train at Fort William for the ride across the viaduct.

Sunset on Glen Nevis

14. Glen Nevis Valley, Scottish Highlands

Considered as one of the best examples of a glaciated valley in Scotland, Glen Nevis offers breathtaking views throughout. Walking routes will take you past enchanting waterfalls and rock pools, thanks to the River Nevis flowing through the glen.

Eager walkers can even take a trip up its neighbour, Ben Nevis!

Bow Fiddle Rock at sunrise in Portknockie

15. Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie

The iconic Bow Fiddle Rock was formed millions of years ago when two ancient continents collided with one another.

If you visit during certain weeks in May and August, you may be lucky enough to catch a picture-perfect sunrise through the arch of the rock.

Ready for your next adventure?

Before setting off on your trip to Scotland or anywhere else in the UK:

  • Check the latest local travel advice to make sure it’s safe to go
  • Check the availability and restrictions of attractions/excursions you may want to try
  • Pre-book to avoid disappointment on the day
  • Buy UK travel insurance if you have two or more nights of pre-paid accommodation to cover for cancellations
Jason Davis

by Jason Davis

Jason Davis is Staysure's Senior Content Executive. As a specialist travel insurance provider, we aim to keep up-to-date with travel trends, all while offering tips on how to make the most of your holiday.