Best Places to Visit in Scotland
Scotland knows better than anyone how to resist mass tourism and has been helped by nature and history. There are so many places to discover in Scotland: cities, villages, lakes, monuments, nature reserves, castles and incredible events. Thanks to this diversity, travellers are spread out at the four corners of the country.
Discover the best Scottish destinations and let your heart choose. Do you want a unique trip to Scotland? Make your trip a la carte, your own wish list by selecting the places you want to see among the best beaches in Scotland, best castles in Scotland, best hidden gems in Scotland, best things to do in Scotland... find inspiration and book your flights, tours and activities and your accommodation at the best price.
Inverness - Highlands
Come and immerse yourself in one of Scotland's most incredible legends: the Loch Ness Monster! (40 minutes from Inverness Airport). The loch is one of the largest lakes in Scotland, after Loch Lomond. Some people think the legend is recent: it was invented by a local to bring tourists to the lake and region; he was supposed to have built a small submarine (the monster) that he used to bring to the surface of the lake on foggy day. In fact, the legend goes back to the 6th century when tourism did not exist yet. So, is all this a legend, an imposture?
The incredible beauty of the lake is not a legend. There are otters in Loch Ness and there can be seals too. Loch Ness is particularly deep (the deepest in Scotland); atmospheric refraction causes mirages, (an enlargement of what you see); this is not a legend but a geological and scientific truth; any small otter, any tree trunk may look like sea monsters, and are enlarged 5 to 10 times if watched from a distance. The Loch Ness faces the castle of Urquhart ranked among the most beautiful and visited castles of Scotland.
How to get there: Book your flights to Inverness, Loch Ness is 30 minutes away by car.
Where to stay: "The Highland Club". This property features a sauna to warm you up after your expedition into the Loch Ness mist.
There is a good chance that your nearest airport has direct connections to Edinburgh. This may be less the case for the airports of Glasgow, Inverness, Dundee, Stirling or Aberdeen.
You can decide to take a domestic flight on your arrival for another region of Scotland but it would be a shame to miss the Scottish capital.
Visit Edinburgh Castle, walk down the Royal Mile, visit the Scottish Parliament, go shopping on Princes Street, discover Camera Obscura, Scotland's most vibrant tourist attraction, marvel at the Scottish National Gallery, or treat yourself to a Harry Potter magical guided tour and discover the city where the world of Harry Potter was created.
How to get there: Book your flights to Edinburgh and take the tram or bus or taxi to the city center (20 min).
Where to stay: "The Edinburgh Grand" located 3 minutes’ walk from Princes Street.
It may not be the capital of Scotland but it is most probably its cultural capital with many institutions such as the Scottish Ballet, the National Theatre, the Scottish Opera and an incredible music scene.
Book your flights to Glasgow, your accommodation and tours and activities. Are you more interested in nightlife than museums? No problem, Glasgow offers dozens of trendy clubs like the "Sub Club" and the "Barrowland Ballroom".
How to get there: Book your flights to Glasgow. The airport is located 10 minutes by car or taxi from the city center - 30 minutes by public transport - Bus 500 Express.
Where to stay: "Motel One Glasgow" to stay in the heart of Glasgow.
Eilean Donan Castle
Dornie - Western Highlands
Eilean Donan is one of Scotland's most famous castles. You can book flights to Edinburgh and stay for a few days in the Scottish capital or fly directly to Inverness, a two-hour drive from Eilean Donan Castle.
This place is particularly romantic and has been awarded as being one of the best places for a marriage proposal. Eilean Donan Castle is also considered to be the most romantic castle in Europe and the most photographed with Urquhart Castle (Loch Ness Castle).
Opening hours: The castle is open every day from 10.00 to 16.00 (last admission at 15.00 - the castle is closed in January).
How to get there: Book your flights to Inverness (2h drive from Eilean Donan Castle).
Where to stay: "Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant". Stay near Eilean Donan Castle.
Isle of Skye
Come and experience an unforgettable holiday in a land of legends. The Isle of Skye offers a compendium of the most interesting things to see and do in Scotland.
Located in the North West of Scotland, this incredibly wild island is dotted with fishing villages classified among the best hidden gems of Scotland such as Portree or Plockton. During your stay be sure to visit the magnificent Eilean Donan Castle, listed as one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland.
Where to stay: "Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant" is a family-run hotel.
Aberdeen "The Granite city " or "Grey city" is really not that grey and it has been voted many times the most flowery city in the UK. It is also one of the richest and most cosmopolitan cities in Scotland thanks to its many offshore oil wells. For this reason, Aberdeen has the most expensive houses in Scotland.
We love Aberdeen for its old historic centre but also its University (one of the oldest ones in Europe). We love Aberdeen for nature: dolphins, whales and beaches, even though the temperature rarely rises above 20 degrees in summer.
Aberdeen is also a very open-minded city with many art galleries, independent cultural venues like the Belmont Filmhouse, cafes and trendy bars. Aberdeen is also one of the least religious cities in Scotland with less than half the population declaring themselves religious.
For all these reasons, Aberdeen is a unique city in Scotland, a destination to visit if you really want to know and understand Scotland, its past, present and future.
How to get there: Book your flights to Aberdeen and join the city centre by car or taxi (20 min) or public transport (30 min).
Where to stay: "Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel" is one of our top picks in Aberdeen.
Crovie is a small village in the North of Scotland in the Aberbeenshire region. There is only one road and 50 houses facing the sea. The road is so narrow that the inhabitants have to park their car outside the village.
Why are they all gathered on this narrow strip of land facing the sea? The reason is hard to imagine: the wealthy landowner of Crovie had once decided to drive all the inhabitants out of his property because he loved to see his sheep graze on his meadows! The inhabitants had had to take refuge on this small strip of land facing the sea. Some inhabitants still live there although a certain number of houses are now holiday homes.
How to get there: Book your flights to Aberdeen (1h by car, 3h by train).
Where to stay: "49 Crovie Village". Stay in the heart of the village.
Just 40 minutes' drive from Glasgow, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is one of the most beautiful green spaces in Scotland.
Located just a few minutes drive from Glasgow, it is very much appreciaed at weekends by local familes who want to recharge their batteries in the midst of nature. You can go kayaking or canoeing or just have beautiful long walks in the woods.
The easiest way to discover Loch Lomond is to book your accommodation in Glasgow and book your tours and activities in Glasgow such as a "From Glasgow: Oban and Loch Lomond Tour" or a Loch Lomond Evening Cruise.
How to get there: Book your flights to Glagow (40 min drive) as well as your tours and activities in Glasgow.
Where to stay: “Motel One Glasgow” boasting an excellent location in Glasgow.
Appin - Argyll and Bute
Located near the Isle of Mull and 3 hours from the Scottish capital, Stalker Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland.
The castle's origin dates back to the 14th century although its current appearance probably dates back to the 15th century. If you are over 40 or you are a film buff you may have seen it in the Monty Python movie or more recently in the Highlander movie.
The castle is isolated on a small island accessible only at low tide.
Opening hours: The castle is not open to the public every day, you must go to its website to book a guided tour (between April and September).
How to get there: Book your flights to Inverness (2.5 hours by car - 4 hours by train) or Edinburgh (3 hours by car - 5 hours by train).
Do not miss visiting Stirling Castle. Stirling is also a perfect destination for gourmets or golfers. Historians will want to visit the Wallace Monument, which is one of the best things to do in Scotland.
How to get there: Book your flights to Edinburgh (30 minutes by car - 50 minutes by public transport).
Where to stay: "Hotel Colessio". Couples particularly like the location.
Inverness will be your gateway to the Highlands. Inverness is a land of gastronomy and legend. A perfect destination for lovers of good food and history and amazing scenery.
Only 1 hour from Inverness, in Fort William, you can board one of Scotland's most legendary train, the Jacobite Steam Train, which you may have already seen in the movie "Harry Potter". The Jacobite steam train runs from the first week of May until the end of September.
How to get there: Book your flights to Inverness. The airport is 20 minutes from the city center.
Where to stay: "Pentahotel Inverness" is just 100m from the city's train and bus stations.
Argyll and Butte
This small town of 8000 inhabitants is a must-see destination in Scotland. Accustomed to welcoming travellers from all over the world, Oban triples its number of inhabitants in summer.
Ranked among the best hidden gems of Scotland, Oban whose name means "little bay" is a perfect destination for nature lovers. Oban is also known for its many restaurants on the pier, a nice way to end the day after a visit to the Hebrides such as the Isle of Mull, Staffa, Kerrera, ... most ferries leave from Oban.
How to get there: Book your flights to Glasgow (2h) or Edinburgh (2h30).
Where to stay: "Katie's flat" is rated for the best value in Oban.
It is the perfect destination to understand the history of Scotland and rejuvenate in a human-sized city, facing the sea. Situated between Edinburgh and Dundee, St Andrews is a charming little town of less than 20,000 inhabitants.
Known for its famous golf course, one of the symbols of this beautiful city is of course the Cathedral of St Andrews which for centuries was the tallest building in Scotland.
This is a place to visit if you want to understand the history of Scotland and the important moments that have marked this nation such as the Protestant Reformation. History buffs will want to visit St Andrews Castle and the University of St Andrews, one of Scotland's oldest university.
If you love nature and great spaces, take a stroll on West Sands Beach or St Andrews Botanic Garden. If you are travelling with family, treat yourself to a pleasant afternoon at Graigtoun Country Park, a lovely park with many games for kids.
How to get there: Book your flights to Dundee (30 minutes by car - 1 hour by train) or Edinburgh (1 hour by car - 2 hours by train).
Where to stay: "Kinnettles Hotel" just 10 minutes' walk from West Sands Beach.
Isle of Skye
On the beautiful Isle of Skye come visit Portree, one of the best hidden gems of Scotland.
As a small fairytale village, Portree is actually the largest city on the Isle of Skye. For the postcard photo, take a stroll on Portree Harbor and photograph its pretty colorful houses. Portree is also known all over the world for the Isle of Skye Highland Games every August.
If you are travelling to Portree at this time of year the accommodations will be a bit more expensive and the public transport a little more crowded.
How to get there: Book your flights to Inverness (3h by car - 5h by train).
Where to stay: "Harbor House" is one of our top picks in Portree.
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