12 MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT IN SCOTLAND
TWELVE STUNNING PLACES TO VISIT IN SCOTLAND FOR A SCENIC DAY OUT AMONG THE PICTURESQUE SCOTTISH LANDSCAPE
Scotland is full of some of the most iconic and natural landscapes in the world and is home to two large national parks, The Trossachs national park and the largest national park in the UK, The Cairngorms national park.
When it comes to natural landscape Scotland has the largest lake by volume Loch Ness, The largest lake by surface area, Loch Lomond, The Deepest lake, Loch Morar and the longest lake, Loch Awe, as well as the largest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis. You can spot a pattern here!!
Yes that's a lot of largest and biggest but it helps to show of the grandeur and the vast expanse of the Scottish lakes, Scottish Highlands and Scottish Islands and the stunning North Coast and West Coast of Scotland's mainland.
Having been lucky enough to visit many parts of Scotland over the years, we have listed twelve of our favourite locations to visit in Scotland, so grab your boots and pack your car and bring friends and family so see some truly inspiring scenery among the Scottish landscape.
See our guide on the best places to visit in Scotland
1 Glenfinnan, Fort William
Glenfinnan is a village in the West Highlands of Scotland and is located at the foot of Glenfinnan Viaduct, which carries the West Highland Line across the valley of Loch Shiel.
Glenfinnan Viaduct is a must visit location, being very famous from its feature in the Harry Potter films and in my opinion is one of the best locations in the UK to photograph or just sit and watch a steam train go by.
The area is also best known as the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard on 19 August 1745, and began what would become known as the Jacobite Rising, and you can see his monument further down from the Viaduct.
The area includes wonderful views of Loch Shiel which makes for some beautiful landscape views so be sure to visit this location if your passing by. See more at Visit Scotland
2 Rannoch Moor, Perthshire
Rannoch Moor is a large expanse of land in Perthshire, Scotland. It is located southwest of Kinloch Rannoch and east of Glen Coe, The moor has been an important area for sheep farming for centuries and was historically part of the ancient Kingdom of Strathclyde.
Rannoch Moor, can be a very wet place, due to its high elevation yet large area's of flat landscape, so expect, mountain peaks, lakes and peaty bogs.
You can even travel over Rannoch Moor by train with much of the track going across the peaty land.
Rannoch more really is a stunning location full of wildlife and a large herd of Deer and is very natural with large loch's and bogs framed by peaked mountains and I would highly recommend a visit especially for those looking to capture some pictures of Deer and Stags.
Ullapool is a small fishing village in the Scottish Highlands. The village has a population of around 1600 people and is located on the west coast of Scotland. It lies at the mouth of Loch Broom, some 120 miles southwest of Thurso.
Before visiting Ullapool I was always under the impression it was a large industrial port, but I was very wrong although you can see its industrial heritage.
The village was founded in 1796 by the British Fisheries Society and was designed by the engineer Thomas Telford so was build under a commercial premise. Before this, the village was a small hamlet of around 20 houses.
Ullapool is a very charming place in deed, the views across Loch Bloom are stunning and the town has everything you need for a location to visit for several days including several pubs, shops and even supermarkets.
The old harbour is very attractive, if you looking to base yourself somewhere on the West Highlands I would highly recommend Ullapool. The name Ullapool comes from the Norse "Ulla-Bolstadr" which means Ulla's Steading, where Steading is Scottish for Farm and Ulla is norse for Will or Determination.
Have a look at Booking com for Ullapool accommodation
4 Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Tobermory is a town on the Isle of Mull, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It has a population of 1,000. The town is rather famous from the BBC CBeebies Children's program Balamory.
Visiting Tobermory you can see why the program was filmed there, the village is surrounded by amazing views dotted with quaint and colourful houses and is a great place to visit.
Tobermory is situated at the head of Tobermory Bay. The bay is 1km wide and opens out to the Sound of Mull. It was formerly known as simply "The Harbour" or "The Tober".
Tobermory is well known for its distillery which produces Ledaig whisky and also for its small fishing fleet. The town also has two hotels, two restaurants, a bakery/cafe/coffee shop, three pubs and a tourist information centre.
5 Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire
Dunnottar Castle is a spectacular historic castle, located on the coast of Scotland. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Aberdeen.
The castle was built in the late 1300s by Sir William Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland. The Earl Marischal was given permission to build a castle at Dunnottar by King David II of Scotland. The construction began in 1350 and was finished by 1390.
The castle was originally designed as a defensive structure to protect against the Viking raids from Norway and Denmark. It has been besieged twice during its history, but never successfully captured although heavily damaged during Viking attacks.
If you fancy visiting a Castle with a magnificent view and learning a great deal of Scottish history I would highly recommend a visit to Dunnottar Castle or other picturesque castles such as Urquhart Castle, Stirling Castle or Edinburgh Castle.
6 Old Man of Storr
The Isle of Skye is a Scottish island in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland and is used mainly as an area for visitors to explore. It's loved because it has beautiful scenery with places like The Old Man of Storr making it popular among tourists and hikers who want to enjoy something that has been dubbed as one of the greatest natural wonders in Scotland.
The Old Man of Storr is a giant rock formation that erupts from the landscape, the formation is actually part of a land slide, and the resulting pinnacle that erupts from the land creates a wonderful and dramatic place to explore.
The views from the area are sunning view sweeping views over Raasay sound over to the mountains of the Scottish mainland
The Story goes that a when the giant Fingle was put to rest and buried on the isle of Skye there wasn't enough land to cover his whole body and the resulting pinnacle that is the Old Man of Storr is actually the giants thumb erupting up from the landscape.
You can take the opportunity to walk up and down the Storr on a 3.8km route, that takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete.
One of our Photographic Prints of the Old Man of Storr
7 Luskentyre Beach
Luskentyre Beach is a on the Isle of Harris, Western Isles, Scotland. Is one of the most popular beaches in the area and is a popular destination for tourists for its stunning white sands and sweeping coastline framed by magnificent mountainous headlands.
Harris has an extensive coastline with many different beaches and coves. Luskentyre Beach is one of the most popular and accessible beaches on the island. The beach has a small car park and there are toilets available for public use.
The shoreline at Luskentyre Beach consists of coarse sand with some pebbles, which makes it perfect for rock pooling. Lustkentyre beach is very picturesque in face it was once famously used for an advert to a Caribbean destination with resulted in a false advertising claim to the company.
One of our Photographic Prints of Luskentyre Beach for sale
8 Traigh Hornais Clachan Sands, North Uist
Traigh Hornais Clachan Sands is a long stretch of pristine white sand perfect for sunbathing and swimming, The deep bay offers many great swimming activities and also supports an array of marine life that's worth inspecting!
This place makes for an excellent location for sunset-watching and in order to get the most out of it, we suggest you visit at dusk so you can better observe the gorgeous sunset that awaits you.
Some of the finest beaches in the World can be found in Scotland so make sure you take a visit to one of the many bays when in the area, We would recommend the North West coast and the West Isles for the best selection of white sand beach's.
The village of Glencoe in western Scotland lies in the Scottish Highlands at the steep-sided Glencoe valley surround by dramatic mountains. The location we are looking at here is the area it's self which is known for waterfalls, trails that ascend peaks such as Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean nam Bian, and Glencoe Folk Museum where visitors learn about local heritage including when 38 members of the McDonald clan were killed in cold blood during the Glencoe massacre of 1692.
On a nicer note the Wildlife in the area includes red deer and golden eagles among many others, be sure to head down towards Loch Etive for the best chance of seeing Scottish Deer and Stags, and check out the many rivers and streams that dot the landscape.
Glencoe is a place I have visited many times over the years and somewhere I always look forward to getting back to, there really is so much to explore in this gigantic open expanse of meadows, river bed and mountains. Be sure to check out many of the walking trails to see the area.
Learn more about Glencoe from Visit Scotland
One of our Wall Art Prints of The Glencoe Valley
10 Achmelvich Bay, Lairg
Achmelvich Bay is a beautiful and idyllic white powered sand beach on North West Scotland. The sand at Achmelvich bay will rival that of any beach in the World. The sand here is so fine its almost powder, in fact its almost like walking on a road as the powered sand remains very stable under foot.
The area is a stunning location with mountainous headlands to the side and dramatic peaks right behind you, with teal and green waters to swim among. We can't guarantee you a warm swim in Scotland but Achmelvich Bay can guarantee you breath-taking views.
Achmelvich Bay has a campsite right next to it and the most amazing fish and chip shop so grab your friends and family, park up and camp in the serene Scottish countryside.
Camping at Achmelvich Bay in our T5 Campervan Sylvie
11 Loch Ken, Galloway Forest Park
Located in Galloway, Loch Ken is a 9 mile long freshwater loch located in the picturesque Glenkens. National Trust for Scotland (NTS) owns and manages a large portion of the Loch Ken area, so expect well managed and maintained landscapes with lots to do.
It is one of the most popular spots for water skiing, fishing, and water sports activities and these sports plus others can be served by the Galloway Activity Centre located on the edge of Loch Ken. This region is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, so we can guarantee you stunning views all around. There are also a large range of Scottish walking opportunities in the are.
12 Eoligarry Beach, Isle of Barra
Eoligarry Beach is a beautiful place with awe inspiring scenery and it's one of the most remote in the Outer Hebrides. It's situated at the narrow north-end of the Isle of Barra - that's on the island named after this area. The 2½ mile long island itself is located towards the end of Bute Sound, which forms part of the Firth of Clyde. This tiny gem was used for D-day training during World War II but has since returned to its farmland solitude.
The best and most fantastic way to go for a walk on the beach and experience its various splendours is by going from Barra Airport across a field leading to the dunes! Even before you see the sand, you will be able to hear the pounding water! make sure to explore the various rock pools in the area whilst your enjoying the picturesque views.
This is of course our favourite places to visit in Scotland, but there are many more beautiful locations to see from the Highlands and Islands to the East Coast.
We would also recommend visiting the following great Scottish locations for a fantastic outdoor adventure.
- Edinburgh Castle - to find out about a great array of Scottish history, hear the firing of the canon, see the Scots guard and spend a few days seeing the gothic capital city center of Edinburgh, its Victorian market and the Royal Mile.
- The Trossachs National Park - to see the beautiful loch Lomond (why not take a boat cruise) and stunning surrounding meadows and mountain range.
- Loch Ness - To see Nessie the Loch Ness Monster obviously.
- Fort William to stand below Ben Nevis, and for Harry Potter Fans, catch the Jacobite Express Steam Train to Mallaig (Yes the Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Train!)
- Visit the National Parks like Loch Lomond and the Cairngorms National Park - which is one of the last if not only wildernesses left in the UK, see the Osprey and breath in the fresh air from the Scots Pine Forests.
- The Scottish Castles of Urquhart Castle and Stirling Castle to indulge in your medieval interesting history.
What's your favorite place to Visit in Scotland? Let us know in the Comments box below!
You might find our Scotland Walkers Guide - Top 8 Best Scottish Walks in 2022 useful
Meet the Author:
I am a Devon based photographer, who enjoys travel, hiking, rugby and photographing the beautiful world in which we live in, I see photography as a creative expression upon visiting beautiful places. Each picture often tells a story.
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Sebastien Coell Photography