9 BEST Places to Visit in Scotland

Scotland is best known for its breathtaking valleys, mountain wildernesses, deep and natural lakes. The friendliness of its natives and the richness of their culture are equally impeccable. In a nutshell, the northernmost country in the United Kingdom is a haven of fun outdoor activities for both the locals and tourists. It is a small country with a population of about 6 million people but with millions of adventure opportunities.

Scotland has an important historical and artistic legacy that is manifested both in its immortal castles and interesting museumsScotland has an important historical and artistic legacy that is manifested both in its immortal castles and interesting museums.

In this post, we have explored what the country has to offer and highlighted the fun things that you cannot resist doing while in Scotland.

1. Fort William

Head to Beinn Dorain, a mountain easily recognizable and admired by all the travelers who cross the Highlands in the direction of Fort William. It is one of the most familiar summits of this area since it has a interesting pyramid shape covered with grass. From Bridge of Orchy you can easily access the hill that later leads to its summit.

People who are used to hiking regularly on the mountain or take part in sports and healthy living in general, should not have problems. For this type of routes it is essential to use trekking boots, sturdy and with ankle support.

The Jacobite is a steam train that has been playing the Scottish Atlantic Coast scenic route for the last 23 years. If you are visiting Fort William, you can board the train at around 10.15 am and enjoy a 2-hour journey to Mallaig. Within those two hours, you will be treated to the most mind-blowing railway journeys of your life.

From navigating around Loch Morar - the deepest freshwater lake in Scotland, to passing over Loch Shiel on The Glenfinnan Viaduct Bridge, to getting a glimpse of “the safe place” Arisaig village, you will enjoy every little detail of the journey. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is very popular among movie enthusiasts because it is featured in the movie Harry Potter.

Upon arrival, you will have the opportunity to interact with the locals at Mallaig, enjoy their foods, and learn more about their culture before traveling back to Fort William at around 2.25 pm.

West Highland Way stretches for about 154 kilometers from Milngavie to Ben Nevis Mountains in Fort William. The West Highland Way is one of the UK longest trails in which you can walk, ride a horse, or ride an electric bike for the entire stretch of the mountain, although horse riding and biking aren’t as convenient as walking.

The journey starts from the lowlands and gets steeper as you approach the peak, making it a 5 to 8 days hike depending on your fitness levels. You will have a chance to see friendly wildlife including red deers and feral goats.

2. Skye

The Isle of Skye, located next to the west coast of Scotland, is the largest of the islands that make up the Inner Hebrides. It is known for its extraordinary natural beauty and fascinating history steeped in Gaelic culture. Its history, its legends, its landscapes, its music and its poetry make this island, without doubt, a magical place.

Trust that you will fall in love with this stunning scenery off the Scottish Coast. From here, you will get the clearest view of the Scottish Highlands, experience breathtaking waterfall experiences firsthand, and see the country’s mind-blowing cliffs from a touching distance. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is also clearly visible from the aisle. This geographic marvel is connected to the mainland by the Skye Bridge.

Besides being geographically incredible, this isle is home to the 500 years old Eilean Donan Castle, hairy “coos” cows, the Port Righ, as well as the world’s most epic whiskey tasting events. Located southeast of Glen Brittle Forest on Sky Island, the so-called Fairy Pools are a stretch of streams and waterfalls. Known for its crystal clear, colorful waters and unique geology, don't forget to take lots of pictures as you explore the beautiful scenery. And for the brave, the water is completely safe for swimming, although it is usually quite cold.

Fairy Glen, located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, is a place of remarkable natural beauty and intrigue. Known for its distinctive landscape, it features naturally formed rock structures, conical hills dotted with ponds and waterfalls, creating a unique atmosphere within a relatively small area. It's almost like a miniature version of a large-scale geological wonder.

Although there is no definitive folklore linking Fairy Glen to the magical realm, some legends suggest that it was fairies themselves who shaped this enchanting landscape and that they still reside in its numerous crevices.

The place seems like an invitation to contemplation, with its blend of natural elements that ignite the imagination. A hike through Fairy Glen can transport you to an enchanted world, where the allure of the supernatural merges with the intrinsic beauty of nature.

3. Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides is a 130-mile island chain along the western coast of Scotland. This trip combines ferry rides and single-track driving, so you can take your eyes off the road for a spell and soak up the scenic views or enjoy motoring down the winding paths.

Beautiful beaches, historic castles and breathtaking mountains make up the backdrop for your trip, and spots for cliff diving and mountain biking make the Outer Hebrides perfect for adventure-seekers. For a more laid-back vacation, consider camping at one of the many campsites on the side of the road or spending a night in authentic thatch-roof home.

Fingal's Cave is made of hexagon shape pillars and is situated on the uninhabited island of Staffa in Scotland. This sea cave is yet another Scottish geographical wonder. Yup, you guessed it right, this calls for a boat ride. It is located at the heart of Staffa-one of the smallest islands in Scotland. It was founded in the 18th century and has since attracted millions of tourists.

You will get to the cave’s entrance by boat, from where you will enter the cave by foot. The rocks therein are slippery but there are basalt columns on the sides to aid your navigation.

4. Oban

Scotland has the best lakes and rivers for unbeatable swimming, snorkeling, boat-riding, and canyoneering experiences. To the west coast of Oban, you will have a once in a lifetime chance of swimming with the harmless basking sharks. If you can’t stand their massive size, you can watch them bask on the shores from a distance or take a closer look at them from a boat.

The coastline also boasts of other fish species including minke whales, grey seals, and bottlenose dolphins. Along the west-coast rivers are the fantastic canyoneering sites. Some of the prominent canyoneering activities that you can try include swimming and scrambling under the powerful waterfalls, slipping and sliding, abseiling, and cliff jumping. All these activities are safe, fun, and do not overstretch your budget.

The strait between the Scottish Isles of Jura and Scarba doesn’t exactly hide its dangers - they can be heard from miles away! Those dangers come from the third largest maelstrom in the world - the Corryvreckan whirlpool. The strong tides, currents and narrow channel can drive monstrous waves, but also drive this marvel of nature.

5. Glasgow

Unlike Edinburgh (and maybe against the stereotype of Scotland) Glasgow is not a city of ancient medieval buildings but rather an industrial city, steeped in the legacy of the Victorian age; Grand and imposing! There to remind you that we are stately and learned and all that pish! But it’s not ALL Victorian if thats no yer thing! Glasgow was once famous for modernist architecture like Art Deco and Nuevo.

If older buildings are yer thing there are also lots of amazingly lovely Georgian buildings in the West and South sides of the city! And still the controversial and often considered ugly but still fascinating Brutalist buildings. There are few Medieval buildings left in Glasgow, but they are not to be ignored! Definitely worth seeing when there is the beautiful and unique Necropolis just next to the Cathedral as well as the Victorian Gothic reconstruction of the University of Glasgow building.

Glasgow Cathedral and its necropolis is the most liked of the city while visiting Scotland. As for the necropolis, it is located next to it, on a hill overlooking Glasgow. It is characterized by being a Victorian cemetery where some 3,500 funerary monuments still stand. George Square is the main square of Glasgow, where the Town Hall is located.

The Street art is becoming fashionable in many European cities and Glasgow is no exception. There is a quite impressive urban art route.

The Mackintosh lighthouse was built by a young architect as the warehouse of a printing press. One of the main characteristics of the tower is that it contained about 14,000 liters of water in case of fire and that it has a spectacular central spiral staircase. In the 1980s the building was renovated inside to house the Scottish architectural museum.

Glasgow is famous for drinking, for better or for worse. Friday and Saturday nights are pure bloody chaos, if you like that kinda thing. The clubbing part of the city is Sauchihall Street in the city centre although there are others such as the Merchant City and bits of the West End. Expect fights, tears, emotion, and drunks everywhere. It can be fun if a little intense!

There is a pretty strong hookup culture in Scotland if that is your thing. Its fairly likely you will find casual fun if you go clubbing and if you are looking hard enough for it (although mind and not be a creep). Still! There is something to be said for returning to your bed, triumphant, at 4AM with half a fried pizza in one hand, your phone in the other, and a pounding headache that states - that was fun.

There is just something about Glasgow, its rough charm, its old grand, yet slightly faded beauty. People who can be beating the hell out of each other one minute and kissing and hugging the next. Ugly, modernist buildings next to old beautiful Victorian manses. Glasgow is just a unique place. Love it or hate it, Glasgow does not care either way! They are just doing their own thing and the world be damned!

You may have heard that Glasgow is where the Tikka Masala was invented, and you can still find a good curry anywhere in the city. There's also some excellent Korean food around. As for drinks if you want to visit Scotland, and you like a beer in a pub, you'll find Glasgow a lot easier on your wallet than Edinburgh. Glasgow also has its fair share of breweries and tap rooms, along with some pubs in very nice places including one in a tunnel beside the river Kelvin!

In a pub, you will find barmen and patrons alike joining in your conversations, and giving you advice. In conclusion, Glasgow is an awesome place and you should definitely visit!

6. Glencoe

Glencoe, considered one of the most spectacular valleys of the Highlands, is an evocative place for many reasons. Impressive peaks rise into the sky in interesting geological formations fascinating the traveler with its formidable presence. Its countless mountains, whose enormous rocky walls hide mysterious valleys, will delight any hiker.

Hiking in Scotland involves towering mountains to conquer and hundreds of trails on the coast, forests and the city to explore. This remote hanging valley, nestled between the impressive peaks of Glencoe, is famous for having served as a hiding place for cattle thieves and their stolen cattle during the time when this place was dominated by the MacDonald clan of Glencoe.

Explore Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom. Climb the so-called tourist route to the Lochan Meall An t-Suidhe lagoon. In the Kintail mountains is the dramatic Glen Shiel valley, surrounded by majestic peaks. In the southern part of this valley explore one of its most beautiful mountain ranges, with seven peaks joined by the mountain known as The Saddle, one of the most beautiful ascents of Scotland and whose conquest offers fantastic views of this wonderful region.

7. Cuillin Hills

Loch Coruisk, located in the very heart of the Cuillin Hills, is without a doubt the most spectacular and remote of all the Scottish lakes. Accessible only by boat or on foot, this lake is surrounded by some of the most impressive mountains in the country. This magical corner is wrapped in ancient legends according to one of which a Kelpie - or water horse in Scottish mythology - inhabits its waters.

Explore the northern part of the island known as Quiraing, one of the most spectacular geological areas of Skye. This enchanted landscape with its incredible views, its atmospheric corners and its strange rock formations, has the appearance of a natural surrealist Gothic cathedral.

8. Loch Lomond

In addition to the panoramic views, Loch Lomond is suitable for boat trips, walking tours and walks to better admire the beauty of the surrounding nature. Trekking enthusiasts will find it especially suggestive to walk the West Highland Way, the longest itinerary in Scotland that, passing through here, reaches Fort William.

It is easy, well equipped and follows ancient cattle gullies through magnificent landscapes that as you advance along the tour become more and more spectacular. This stretch runs along the wooded shores of Loch Lomond. For all kinds of information about walks in Loch Lomond area you can go to the National Park Center in Balmaha.

Luss is a charming and picturesque little town with sandstone houses framed by climbing rose plants and with small beaches on the lake where you can spend a sunny and windless afternoon. Another town is Balloch, ideally situated as a bridge between Glasgow and the Highlands. Most of the lake cruises depart from here and it has its own attractions such as the park and the pretty Balloch Castle.

8. Loch Ness

To the north of Scotland is the region called Highlands, the Highlands of the Celts, where many of the legends and mysteries of Scotland, such as Loch Ness.

Get up early to go to Loch Ness with the intention of photographing the first lights of dawn. Visit the Urquhart Castle, located right on the edge of the lake. Return again to Inverness to take the route to Mount Cairngorm. Stop for breakfast next to Loch Morlich, a place destined for water sports in the mountains.

Pass through Glenmore National Park. In the heart of the Glenmore Forest Park is the winter resort of Cairgorm, one of the most important centers of winter sports. Climb up to the facilities, just as the first snowflakes of the day begin to fall.

Look for the so-called Whiskey Trail and Castle Trail. In this area find farms dedicated to the breeding of the typical hairy cow and wide cereal growing areas populating the Scottish countryside in Advie. Go north and in Banffshire, stop at the entrance to Ballindalloch Castle. In the middle of the afternoon arrive at Lossiemouth. East Beach is located at the entrance to the village.

9. Inverness

The Edinburgh to Inverness railway line is scenic. Much of the best scenery is along the northern section of the line between Perth and Inverness. The line crosses two summits - Drumochter and Slochd - both affording fine mountain views. At 452 metres above sea level, Drumochter pass is the highest in the UK. On the approach to Inverness, be sure to look out for the magnificent Culloden Viaduct, which spans the River Nairn.

Trains depart from Edinburgh either hourly or every two hours for Inverness. Typical journey times are 3 hours 35 mins.

By looking at Achmelvich, you will tell yourself that this should be somewhere on a small Indonesian island. But you will be disappointed because it is not. Rather it is situated at the top of the UK. Ever heard of Hermit’s Castle, well, it is located here only which happens to be Europe's tiniest castle.

Smoo Cave is a freshwater cave engulfed by spectacular sea and packs a 20 m waterfall. You can go for hitchhiking on a boat ride to visit the inner chambers. Doesn't this sound exciting?

There are many fun activities in Scotland, too many to fit in a single post. The five activities that we have highlighted are good for a start as you familiarize with the Western Europe country. We cannot, however, conclude this post without recommending the Three Peaks Challenge for you. This is an incredible opportunity for you to climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland, and Wales and see how high you can make within 24 hours.
Kalyan Panja