We already know that this year, our summer holiday will most certain be domestic. And what more perfect place to explore than Scotland? There are so many fantastic places to visit in Scotland, where you can not only socially distance, but also experience without too many tourists around. This Scotland bucket list is meant to show you the most stunning known and less known places to see in the Kingdom of the Gaels.
In this inspirational guide I want to show you which are the most beautiful attractions in Scotland, the best things to do in the highlands and hidden gems where you can just relax taking in the beauty of nature. And oh, what stunning nature Scotland has!
By Katja from Globetrotting
Any trip to Scotland must include some time in the capital. The city of Edinburgh is charming and compact bordered by green hills, two extinct volcanoes and the blue waters of the Firth of Forth in the distance. But there’s more to here than simply good looks, there are lots of things to do in Edinburgh too.
The heart of the city, and the one of most interest to visitors, can be found in the Old Town. Still today this corner of the city is all cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways, called ‘closes’ by Scots. It’s also where you’ll find the city’s star attraction, Edinburgh Castle. The castle is home to the oldest crown jewels in Britain which were worn by Mary, Queen of Scots for her coronation.
From here wander along the Royal Mile, which runs through the heart of the old town, to the Palace of Hollyrood. This is where the Queen stays when she comes to town but parts are open to the public to visit.
Other places that you must see in the old part of town include the curved Victoria Street lined with pretty coloured buildings, and the Grassmarket said to be the inspiration behind Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley. You’ll also see a number of cafes around here claiming to be the place where J.K. Rowling wrote part of her books about the boy wizard.
One of the best things about Edinburgh is how quickly you can be in the countryside. On the outskirts of the city is Arthur’s Seat, one of the extinct volcanoes. Near here is Dynamic Earth, which tells the story of planet earth.
Edinburgh is easily reached by car and by train. If arriving by rail, the train station is in the heart of the city.
By Elina from Empnefsys & Travel
Every visit to Scotland should include at least a short visit to Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. Glasgow is full of unique street art and historical places. At the same time, you will find a large variety of cafes and restaurants from around the world.
It is very easy to reach Glasgow by public transport, as it is well connected to both Edinburgh (about 1 hour away) and London (about 5 hours away) as well as other Scottish cities and towns. Glasgow also has an airport, with connections to other UK and European cities.
When visiting Glasgow, you shouldn’t miss visiting the highlights of the city centre and the West End. In the city centre, you can climb the photogenic staircase of The Lighthouse (Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture) and enjoy views of Glasgow from the top. Then, you can head to the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis, a Victorian cemetery built on a hill. In terms of museums, you should consider visiting the Gallery of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.
However, if you are short on time, you can just spend some time walking around and trying to spot Glasgow’s murals. There are more than 25 murals around the city, and the council has created a trail that you can follow to see them all.
Lastly, before leaving Glasgow you should try to have breakfast or afternoon tea at the historical Willow Tea Rooms. They are mostly known for the style of their chairs and the design of the place. Remember to make a booking to avoid waiting, especially on weekends.
By Lucy from Lucy Lives Here
If you’re thinking of visiting Scotland then Dundee may not be the city that springs to mind first. But while it has lived in the shadow of its more well-known counterparts in recent years, Dundee has now got its game face on as an exciting tourist destination.
The biggest game changer has been the opening of the V&A Dundee museum, which is the jewel in the crown of the glittering waterfront redevelopment. The museum itself is stunning; all sloping concrete panels that are a nod to wild Scottish seascapes. Inside, it’s just as impressive, with the most recent exhibition celebrating fashion designer Mary Quant.
Nearby, make sure you take a walk along the river and soak up the gorgeous views of the River Tay. And what else should you do? You can climb the Law, explore the underground vaults, visit port town Broughty Ferry nearby… there’s so much to choose from. If you’re feeling particularly energetic you could even do some wakeboarding at Foxlake Dundee!
Feeling hungry? Dundee is known for its indie restaurants. The Giddy Goose is a great spot for lunch and if you can walk past upmarket fish and chip restaurant The Tailend without being drawn in then, you’re a strong-willed person.
If you’re looking to have a few drinks there are also a number of places to try. Mix with the art crowd at DCA, enjoy a cocktail at Bird & Bear, and see if you can discover one of the incredible secret bars hidden away in the city. Draffens is a local favorite!
Dundee is easy to get to with great transport links. You can catch the train here all the way from London, and it’s just as well connected to all the other Scottish cities.
By Sheree from Winging the World
The city of Stirling might be overlooked in favour of more well-known Scottish cities but it still well worth adding to your Scotland bucket list. This former capital of Scotland is long steeped in history and those who love delving into the past will find a huge variety of attractions to captivate them.
Located in central Scotland, Stirling is easy to reach and sits between the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the capital. Trains service the routes out of both cities and the journey is around 40 minutes from Edinburgh and just over a half-hour from Glasgow. Alternatively, it’s easy to drive to Stirling but parking can be expensive.
Perhaps the most famous of Stirling’s landmarks is the imposing castle which overlooks the city. This can be visited as a part of a Stirling walking tour which will take you around the city’s main sites. If you do the route independently instead of via an organised tour then you can tailor your time better to suit your interests.
Also in the Old Town, it is possible to visit Cowane’s Hospital, the Old Town Jail and the Church of the Holy Rude, where in 1567, King James VI was crowned King of the Scots. Situated a short drive out of the city centre is the National Wallace Monument, built in homage to Sir William Wallace. Inside the tower, the sword believed to have belonged to Braveheart hero Wallace is on display.
For traditional grub, head to Brea Scottish Restaurant for a taste of the country’s signature dish: haggis, neeps and tatties.
By Cazzy from Dream Big, Travel Far
Loch Lomond & the Trossachs national park is one of the most popular places to visit in Scotland. This is due to a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s within easy access to the popular cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. It’s only 45 minutes from Glasgow, and around 1 hour and 30 minutes from Edinburgh. And secondly, because of its stunning scenery. The national park offers lochs, mountains, forests, and glens to explore, and it’s even home to Ben Lomond, one of the most popular mountains to hike in the area. This is a moderate hike that offers two different trails depending on your fitness level.
There’s a great restaurant near the parking for the hike called The Clansman Bar Restaurant which is a great place to grab a bite to eat after you’ve successfully climbed Ben Lomond!
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to visiting this part of Scotland. You can take a tranquil boat ride on the loch, or even take a mini road trip to the beautiful “Three Lochs Drive” which offers amazing wild camping spots if you’re visiting in a tent, campervan, or motorhome! This drive is only 7 miles long but takes you past three stunning lochs including, Loch Drunkie, Lochan Reòidhte, and Loch Achray.
By Claire from Tales of a Backpacker
Loch Ness is one of the most famous lakes in the world, thanks to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The loch is the largest lake in the British Isles by volume, and at its deepest point is 230 metres below the surface.
Inverness is the largest city near the lake, about 15 minutes’ drive away, and you can arrange tours around or on the lake from there. There are also various villages around the lake where you can stay, such as Fort Augustus which is right on the edge of the Loch.
A boat tour on the lake is a must, Cruise Loch Ness run tours from Fort Augustus which are great fun and educational too. The guide explains the legend of Nessie, and why she has never been found – or proved to not exist, as well as plenty of Loch Ness facts and fictions. Along the edges of the lake are beautiful forests and woodland, and you may spot deer and other wildlife from the boat if you’re lucky.
There is a Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Drumnadrochit which has more information about Loch Ness, although unless you are a huge Nessie fan you might find the entrance fee a bit steep. Urquhart Castle ruins are perched on the edge of the Loch – you will pass these if you take a boat cruise from Drumnadrochit, or you can stop off and visit the castle if you drive past.
These are the main attractions around and on the lake, other popular things to do in Loch Ness are nearby – such as Inverness, Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns (a filming location for Outlander). The main draw of Loch Ness is of course the legend of the lake, and the chance to spot Nessie herself!
By Maja from Away with Maja
Loch Coruisk is a beautiful fresh-water loch on the Isle of Skye, sitting under the shadow of the Cuillin hills. This is one of the most unique places to visit on Skye and a must-see for outdoor lovers. The loch is 38 meters deep, and it’s thought that it was formed by glacial activity. It’s a very isolated destination—the most popular way to reach Loch Coruisk is on a boat trip from Elgol, which takes about 45 minutes. There are two companies that run trips, Bella Jane and Misty Isle, and their prices are fairly similar—visiting by boat will hopefully allow you to spot seals on the boat ride to the loch.
Your other option is to walk to the loch, which is approximately 8 miles from Sligachan. You can also hike from Elgol, however extreme care should be taken as you have to cross the “Bad Step,” a tricky and exposed section of rock. There is a hiking trail that runs all around Loch Coruisk, which should take about 3 hours in total. There are no facilities at the loch itself, but if you’re visiting by boat you can find accommodation options and some refreshments in Elgol. The best way to get around Skye is to have your own car—just take care as there are lots of single-track roads on the island. This is one of the most stunning places to visit on the Isle of Skye, and certainly one of the most remote in the area.
By Angela from Where Angie Wanders
Inveraray in Argyll overlooks the mesmerising waters of Loch Fyne, the longest sea loch in Scotland. The town is small but there are still plenty of things to see and do in Inveraray to attract the tourists. From its gothic castle and formal gardens to its traditional high street and independent shops all nestled beside the most beautiful loch side setting.
It is a great place to visit on a tour from either Glasgow (2hours) or Edinburgh (3 hours) or as part of a Scottish road trip.
On arrival the first stop should be to visit Inveraray Castle and Gardens, home to the current Duke and Duchess of Argyll. The castle complete with fairy-tale turrets is open to the public and offers a look at the treasures inside an 18th-century Scottish castle. Fans of Downton Abbey may recognise the castle as the film setting of the Christmas 2012 episode.
After a stroll around the castle’s manicured gardens, complete with palm-trees, a hill hike will take you up to Dun Na Cuaiche. At the summit the reward is the outstanding views across Inveraray town and Loch Fyne.
Back in town, traditional Scottish shops selling food, crafts and of course, whisky will delight all visitors with several outlets offering whisky tasting for a true taste of Scotland. Also check out Inveraray Jail Museum and discover what life was like 200 years ago for the prisoners of Inveraray – men, women and children – some as young as 5 years old.
After wandering around the town, head to Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Deli and enjoy some freshly caught oysters, a glass of chilled Chardonnay and uninterrupted views to the loch and mountains. Perfect!
By Maggie from The world was here first
If you’re looking for one of the most incredible, beautiful and unique places to visit in Scotland, then you have to make sure to visit Orkney. This archipelago located just off of the north coast of mainland Britain is absolutely beautiful and filled with incredible history and interesting places to visit. There are countless great things to do in Orkney that you’ll never regret visiting these inimitable islands.
Orkney is easily reached by ferry from Scrabster in the north of Scotland. The ferries arrive in either the towns of Stromness or Kirkwall on mainland Orkney – the biggest island. They are car ferries and this is a good thing seeing as it is almost essential to have your own vehicle in Orkney if you wish to travel independently.
Once you’ve arrived in Orkney, there are countless things to do. Take the time to explore the charming town of Kirkwall and maybe visit the Highland Park Distillery — one of the few whisky distilleries operating that still malts its own barley. If locally produced booze is your thing, make sure to head to the Orkney Brewery to the north of Stromness to sample some island-made craft beer.
Of course, the main highlight of any visit to Orkney are its Neolithic sites. Filled with ancient history, there are structures here that are older than the Pyramids of Giza. Make sure not to miss Skara Brae, an excellently preserved Neolithic Village, or the Tomb of the Eagles, a Bronze-age burial site. There is also the incredible Maeshowe Chambered Cairn which is only a stone’s throw away from the imposing Standing Stones of Stenness and the majestic Ring of Brodgar.
All in all, there is so much to see and do in Orkney that this gorgeous archipelago really deserves to be on your next Scotland itinerary.
By Caroline from Pack the Suitcase
North Berwick is a pretty little Scottish seaside town in East Lothian. It’s only half an hour on the train from Edinburgh, which makes it ideal for a day trip when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city into some fresh sea air. For a small town, it’s packed with interest and charm, making it one of the best places to visit in Scotland.
There are plenty of things to do in North Berwick, but you should start your visit with a walk along the beach to take in the beautiful scenery. From the shore, you’ll notice North Berwick’s two iconic landmarks: Bass Rock and The Law.
Bass Rock is a volcanic rock just off the coast, home to 150,000 gannets during their breeding season! Sir David Attenborough described it as ‘one of the 12 wildlife wonders of the world’. You can watch what the gannets are up to through the cameras in North Berwick’s incredible Scottish Seabird Centre, which is a must-visit interactive museum for anyone interested in nature and wildlife.
The Law is North Berwick’s answer to Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat. It’s another volcanic rock, towering inland over the town. You can walk up it to get some spectacular panoramic views across the coastline, all the way to Edinburgh and the Forth Road Bridge.
Once you’ve explored the beautiful landscape, head to the famous Lobster Shack for lunch. This is a little shed in the harbour that serves fresh seafood and the frequent queues speak for themselves. Alternatively, get some fish and chips from North Berwick Fry.
You should also check out North Berwick’s great selection of lovely independent shops that line its high-street. Whether you’re after beautiful homewares or foodie treats, you’ll struggle to leave empty-handed.
By Sonja from Migrating Miss
When looking at where to visit in Scotland, Shetland may not be at the top of the list, but this group of islands located between the Scottish mainland and Norway really should be! To reach the islands you’ll need to either fly or take an overnight ferry from Aberdeen (with or without a car). When you get there it’s like stepping into another world!
Thanks to its remote location, Shetland has a rugged landscape with few trees, dramatic cliffs, beautiful sandy (and empty!) beaches, lots of peat fields, and small winding roads criss-crossing its 100 islands, 16 of which are inhabited.
Historically Shetland was inhabited by several different groups of people including the Picts and the Vikings, and there’s lots of evidence of the past strewn about.
Top places to visit include Jarlshof, a prehistoric settlement at the bottom tip of the mainland, where you can see the remains of centuries of inhabitation all in one place. Nearby is the Sumburgh lighthouse where you’ll spot Puffins when it’s the right season (around May to July).
Take a detour to the beautiful tombolo beach at St Ninian’s Isle as you drive back to the capital of Lerwick, and be sure to stop in at the Shetland Museum & Archives to learn more about the islands.
The Fort Charlotte Guest House is a great place to stay while exploring Lerwick and the mainland, with comfy rooms and delicious breakfast. The owners also run the local fish n chip shop you should definitely try!
No trip to Shetland is complete without heading to the northernmost island of Unst, where you can visit the northernmost tea rooms, brewery, and distillery in the British Isles, as well as Hermaness Nature Reserve for some dramatic scenery and another place to spot puffins at the right time of year.
There are so many other things to do in Shetland that you could spend several weeks exploring and still not see it all!
Isle of Skye
By Jamie from Travel Addict
The Isle of Skye is the shining gem of stunning landscapes in Scotland and fantastic views. This island is located off the west coast of Scotland and is accessible via a bridge. There are various tour operators who take buses across to Skye but there are no local trains or easily accessed bus routes. From the island, you can reach nearby neighboring islands of Raasay and Lewis using the ferry services.
The island is extremely scenic, with incredible hiking opportunities for those wanting a stroll or a difficult hike. The charming town of Portree offers a great hub for visitors, the incredible Dunvegan Castle and Gardens has wonderful exhibits, and the famous Talisker Distillery even offers tours.
There are several incredible views and sites to visit. The Fairy Pools are a set of waterfalls and pools with stunningly clear water. The Quairang has great hiking opportunities and breathtaking views of the stunning landslip. Another opportunity for incredible hikes overlooking the Sound of Raasay can be found at the Old Man of Storr. Or you could visit the unusual bumpy and cone rock formations in the charming Fairy Glen. Or enjoy a coastal hike with stunning sea views while reaching Neist Point Lighthouse.
For the even more adventurous there are opportunities to head out on the water, either kayaking or by boat, to see some of the local wildlife and explore the coastal region of the island.
The Granary, located in Portree, is one of the best restaurants on the island and has amazing local specials that change each evening.
Tip: Summer is the height of the season on the Isle of Skye and the crowds can take away the joy of visiting. Pack a good waterproof jacket and head over in autumn or late spring instead to avoid the crowds.
Old Man of Storr
By Rachel from Average Lives
The Old Man of Storr is on the magical Isle of Skye and is easily one of the best places to visit in Scotland It is a must-stop on any West of Scotland road trip. It is an iconic sight because of the pointed pinnacles of rock with the rural backdrop of the rolling Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye’s stunning coastline. It was formed thousands of years ago because of a landslide and takes its shape because of the weather.
The Old Man of Storr is only a 10-minutes drive from the Isle of Skye’s capital Portree, which is where you will find all amenities and a range of accommodation. Arguably it is most accessible by car, but there is the option to catch a bus (number 57), which leaves four times a day from Portree.
To reach the geographical wonder, you will have to follow the steep path to the top of the hill, and you should allow 2 hours to return if you want to see the rocks up close. The best time to visit the landmark would be in October, due to fewer crowds and fewer midges, as it is a popular spot for both in the peak season.
Some top tips to remember are to visit at sunrise or sunset and if you see the clouds looming over the rocks or you cannot see them from the road, you should come back at another time to get the most out of your experience. If you love being outdoors in nature, then you will not be disappointed and you will soon learn why it is one of the best places to visit in Scotland.
Isle of Mull
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Located in the western coast, Isle of Mull is the fourth largest island in Britain, and second largest island in the Inner Hebrides. For such a small island, surprisingly enough, there are so many interesting things to do on the Isle of Mull.
Relax on one of the secluded beaches or grab your binoculars and have a go at spotting the incredible wildlife. Put on your hiking boots and climb Ben More, the highest mountain and the only Munro (Scottish mountains that are 3000 feet high) on the island. Or enjoy the buzzing capital town Tobermory. There are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied for weeks.
Cycling is a popular way of exploring Isle of Mull, so is road tripping. Visit the 13th century Duart Castle that is home to clan McLean. You can also take a short 10 minute ferry from Fionnphort to Iona Island, one of the smallest island popular for its spiritual retreat.
Explore the colourful shops along Tobermory promenade, or take a 3 mile hike to Tobermory Lighthouse. Alternatively, book a wildlife tour, and spot golden eagles, red deer, otters, porpoises, seals, puffins and even dolphins!
There are three different ferry routes that take you to Isle of Mull, and the most popular one is taking the ferry from Oban to Craignure, operated by Caledonian MacBrayne. The ferry takes approximately 45 minutes and you can cross both as a pedestrian or with a car.
Isle of Harris
By Kristin from Adventures with Ensuite
The Isle of Harris is in the Outer Hebrides, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. To get here from the mainland requires either a ferry ride from Ullapool or the Isle of Skye or a short domestic flight from Glasgow or Inverness. Whichever way you decide to travel here it takes time but that is probably why there are so many fewer tourists than anywhere else in Scotland.
The area is best known for its natural beauty with fantastic sandy beaches which look like they could be in the Caribbean. Many of the best Outer Hebrides beaches such as Luskentyre, Seilebost and Scarista are located on Harris. A stroll along these beaches is a must whilst visiting. Also consider climbing Beinn Dhubh or Ceapabhal for panoramic views of the white sands, turquoise waters and the Atlantic Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.
After an invigorating walk, stop for an amazing chocolate brownie at Temple Café in Northton village.
On the eastern side of the island the landscape is rocky with craggy bays, a completely opposite to the beaches in the west. Seals like to laze on the rocks and puffins fly offshore. The best way to see sea birds and seals is on a boat trip to the islands of the Shiants.
Public transport is limited so the easiest way to get around is by renting a car. This is also the only viable way to get to the secluded white sandy beaches or the starting points for the many scenic walks.
By Claire from Claire Pins Travel
The island of Iona is known to many as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland, as St. Columba founded a monastery on the island in AD536. Today, visitors can enjoy the tranquil and historic atmosphere and relaxed pace of life on this tiny island in the Inner Hebrides.
The highlight of any visit is the Iona Abbey, which has been heavily restored and dates to the medieval period. Don’t miss the Celtic-style stone crosses in the churchyard.
There are nine white sand beaches around the island and visitors can try to spot wildlife like sea birds, puffins, otters and whales.
The island is inhabited by around 130 people, and the available accommodation includes several bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, a campsite and a hostel. There are also restaurants and tea rooms along with shops and galleries selling local crafts like jewellery and pottery. Iona even has a golf course with ocean views.
Reaching the island of Iona from the mainland requires two ferry rides and a short drive or bus transfer between the ferry ports. The nearest major town on the Scottish mainland is Oban, and there are regular ferries from Oban to the port of Craignure on the neighbouring island of Mull. Visitors can transfer to a bus or drive the 60 km (40 miles) between Craignure and the port of Fionnphort. From Fionnphort, it is a short ten minute ferry ride to arrive on Iona. You cannot bring a car across to Iona without special permission, so expect to explore the island on foot or by bicycle, and taxi service is available.
Many visitors choose a day tour package from Oban which includes visits to both Iona and the nearby island of Staffa to see the basalt column rock formations.
By Ela & Beata from Stunning Outdoors
Glen Coe (often referred to as Glencoe) is one of the most beautiful and dramatic glens in Scotland. The valley stretches along the river Coe (since its name) and some of the most iconic mountains are rising up on both sides of the glen, just to mention two: Aonach Eagach and Buachaille Etive Mor – two of the best hikes on Glencoe (and whole of Scotland!)
The drive through the valley is considered as one of the most beautiful road trips in Scotland. However, to truly appreciate this stunning place, one needs to go for a hike. There is no shortage of trails in the area, contrary, Glen Coe is considered a mecca for hikers and mountaineers.
The best and easiest way to get to Glen Coe is by car (about 3h drive from Edinburgh, 2.5h from Glasgow). Alternatively, one can take a train to Fort William and then bus to Glen Coe village/ Ballachulish.
During your visit, consider a visit to Glencoe Visitor Centre where you can learn about the tragic history of this magnificent place, its wildlife and geology and also find out what you can do in the area.
Glencoe village located at the shores of Loch Leven, provides opportunities to go kayaking for all water sports enthusiasts.
The area is also plentiful of mountain bike and road bike trails.
For those visiting in wintertime, skiing is possible in Glencoe Mountain Resort, at the far end of the glen.
Iconic Clachaig Inn is a great place to stop for an evening meal or in fact to stay for the night or two.
By Bea from Bea Adventurous
Made famous by the Hogwarts Express, the Glenfinnan Viaduct is a must for Harry Potter fans and mere muggles alike. It attracts thousands of visitors every year who gather to wait for the daily passage of the Jacobite Steam train. However, Glenfinnan is worthy of a visit in its own right and looks magnificent with Loch Shiel as its backdrop any time of year.
The steam train does however add a significant amount of magic and therefore is worth tying in with the visit. For an up-to-date timetable visit the West Coast Railway website. The Jacobite is best witnessed as it travels West, since it pulls on the way to Mallaig but often pushes on the return leg, which makes for a less satisfactory photograph. The steam train usually crosses the viaduct 30 minutes after its departure from Fort William.
For those driving, getting to Glenfinnan is easy and only a mere 20 minute drive from Fort William. Parking however is limited so do arrive early. There is free parking by St Mary’s and St Finnan’s Catholic Church or alternatively there is a pay and display car park at the visitor centre. An alternative would be to use the standard train service to travel from Fort William to Glenfinnan, and then walk the short distance from the station to the viaduct viewpoint. More exciting however could be a ride on the Jacobite Steam train itself. It is thought of as one of the greatest train rides on the British Isles.
If driving it is worth stopping off at Corpach where an old shipwreck sits with the majestic north face of Ben Nevis looming high in the background.
By Josh and Sarah from Veggie Vagabonds
Scotland is truly bubbling with epic destinations to visit and experiences to have, however, for outdoor lovers and nature fanatics, Fort William should be at the top of that list.
Fort William is to the northeast of Scotland, relatively close to the coastline, on the shores of Loch Linnhe and is right in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Though the town is awesome in its own right, it’s been made famous for being the gateway to Ben Nevis: the tallest peak in the UK. Because of this, the area is bustling with an outdoor atmosphere and adventurous types.
You can easily make your way here by train or bus and base yourself in the town’s hotels and B&Bs, with lots of traditional pubs and restaurants to try. Or you could head into the glens to a local campsite and sleep under the stars, with nature around you.
Once you head towards the hills, your outdoor options are aplenty. For hikers and climbers, head towards Ben Nevis and you’ll be astounded by the variety of routes and trails. To hike Ben Nevis to the summit, allow for a whole day and expect to be achy afterwards.
For a more tranquil experience, you could visit the Ben Nevis Whisky Distillery and take boat tours across the lochs. If you visit during winter, you could even come with your snow gear and stay at one of the UK’s few ski resorts.
My advice is to book ahead, particularly if you come during the summer months. With so many natural wonders in and around Fort William, adventure lovers flock here from near and far. Get planning soon to avoid disappointment!
By Ucman from Brown Boy Travels
Scotland has a new perspective on luxury holidays with the Torridon Resort set within the vast valley and its accompanying Loch Torridon.
Think about it for a second, a stunning Scottish lake with wilderness for miles on end in complete seclusion. There is nothing but the chirping of birds and the whoosh of wind passing by you. A beautiful vast valley with a lake in the middle with its icy fresh water with complete freedom to take a plunge is the waters, going for a hike or curling up next to the fireplace in the company of the mountains from the window.
Torridon is located in the Scottish Highlands and requires some careful planning and a car to get to.
There is a dedicated website with more details which you can follow for exact planning here.
If you take the A835 from Inverness heading to A896, it will bring you to Upper Torridon. The drive is very scenic and it is a leisurely activity on its own. Go slow to really take in the changing scenery.
You can stay here for a lunch or tea before moving on but that would be unfair to both you and The Valley.
There are two campsites here, you can find details in the link above but if you want to splurge a bit try the world renowned Torridon Resort.
The hotel offers a lot of activities to connect you to nature such as kayaking, cycling, hiking and best of all taking a plunge in the icy waters of loch Torridon knowing that a hot bath is waiting for you right after.
It is also a great place for self discovery be it through a nice calm walk, reading a book or meditation. In the evenings, try a nice dinner with a glass of whiskey (they have an extensive collection of whiskies)
Whether you’re going for a day, a weekend or just passing by Torridon will leave you with a sense of wonder and a satisfied smile that you only get from Scotland and it’s hospitality.
By Kat from Wandering Bird
If you’re lucky enough to be up in the very North West of Scotland, then you need to add a visit to Smoo Cave into your plans.
Smoo Cave is one of the largest sea and freshwater caves in the UK and is located near Sango Bay, Durness. It’s accessible 365 days a year, although high tides can cause it to be closed. You don’t need to pay to visit.
The cave is 130ft wide, 200ft long and 50ft high. There’s a hole in the ceiling (where the waterfall pours in) and boardwalks have been created to make it easier to walk around.
Access is down a slope via a manmade walkway with a rail and is a relatively easy 15 minute walk. It can be a little slippery after rain. Inside the cave, you may be lucky to see a waterfall- this dries up in summer, but between Autumn and Spring creates a wonderful ambience inside the cave.
If you’d like to see more, you can book onto a guided tour and be taken deeper into the cave network. Smoo Cave is also accessible via a boat tour. This trip takes about 20 minutes and is first-come, first-served. It costs around £5pp.
There’s plenty of parking nearby for all types of vehicles, useful if you’re doing a North Coast 500 motorhome tour. Whilst in the area, be sure to visit Sango Bay- one of the prettiest beaches in North West Scotland.
By Michelle from That Texas Couple
Founded in 1136 by David I, Melrose Abbey is not only one of the most famous abbeys in Scotland, but it is also one of the most famous ruins in Scotland.
Located south of Edinburgh, visitors have several options to get to Melrose Abbey from Edinburgh. You can hire a car and drive yourself, take a guided tour, or take public transportation.
The remains of the church date back to the early 15th-century and displays the beautiful artisanship used throughout Scotland on its churches. The remains of Melrose Abbey that you see today have survived attacks from several kings and the War of the Rough Wooing.
Said to be the resting place of Robert the Bruce’s heart, Alexander II, the abbey is a historical jewel to the people of the Scottish Borders region.
Walking around the abbey, take note of the beautiful and unique carvings, including the bagpipe playing pigs, the gorgeous corbels, and a cook with a soup ladle. It is easy to see why Melrose Abbey is referred to as the ‘high point of 15th-century Scottish decorated architecture.’
While here, don’t miss the museum that is located in the Commendator’s House at the north end of the property. The house itself dates back to the 1400s and was converted to a dwelling in 1590. Inside you will find the largest collection of medieval artifacts on display in Scotland!
Located south of Edinburgh, visitors have several options to get to Melrose Abbey from Edinburgh. Of course, you can hire a car and drive yourself, or you can take a guided tour. These options will take you about 1 hour to make the trip. If you would rather try public transportation, then you will be delighted to know that you can take a train or bus as well. The train takes approximately 1.5 hours, and the bus 2.5 hours.
By Bridget from The Flashpacker
Lovely Oban is the ideal weekend break and a fabulous base from which to explore the western coast of Scotland and its islands.
The gateway to the romance of the far-flung Hebridean islands, it has much to offer: a majestic setting, a graceful Victorian town setting, sublime seafood. But it is also home to one of Scotland’s oldest and smallest distilleries, churning out over a million bottles of Oban single malt whisky each year.
If you want to know how to distinguish a 14-year-old single malt from a blended whisky, join the excellent one-hour tour of the Oban Distillery. This tour is both educational and entertaining. Best of all, you get to sample two shots of Oban single malt whisky and keep the tasting glass!
The Oban Distillery Visitor Centre is located on Stafford Street in the centre of town and has seasonal opening hours.
Oban is also one of the best places in Scotland to eat seafood, from seafood stalls alongside the harbour to old-fashioned fish and chip shops.
Finally, the three-hour train journey to Oban, the West Highland Line from Glasgow Queen Street, is one of the most scenic in the UK. If you are driving, the most direct route will take you around 2.5 hours from Glasgow.
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