Scotland

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Scotland GALLERY
2019 2019 Fodor’s Go List Destination
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Scotland packs spectacular landscapes, as well as rich history and tradition, into a small country. From the Lowlands to the Highlands, its lush woodlands, windswept moors, and deep lochs may take your breath away. Impressive castles, whisky distilleries, and golf courses entice, and cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow tweak tradition with cutting-edge festivals and vibrant cultural scenes. Scotland’s iconic products and customs—from tartans to bagpipes—may travel the globe, but there’s nothing like experiencing them firsthand.

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Glasgow

Trendy stores, a booming cultural life, fascinating architecture, and stylish restaurants reinforce Glasgow's claim to being Scotland's most...

Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Old Town, which bears a great symbolic weight as the "heart of Scotland's capital," is a boon for lovers of atmosphere and history...

Aberdeen

As a gateway to Royal Deeside and the Malt Whisky Trail, Aberdeen attracts visitors, though many are eager to get out into the countryside....

Isle of Skye

The misty Isle of Skye is awash with romance and myth, lush green gardens, and steep, magnetic mountains. Its extraordinary natural beauty and...

Inverness

It's not the prettiest or the most charming Scottish city, but with a few attractions and some reliably good hotels and restaurants, Inverness...

Dundee

Dundee makes an excellent base for a cultural stay and Fife and Angus exploration at any time of year. The Dundee Contemporary Arts center gave...

St. Andrews

It may have a ruined cathedral and a grand university—the oldest in Scotland—but the modern claim to fame for St. Andrews is mainly its status...

Stirling

Stirling is one of Britain's great historic towns. An impressive proportion of the Old Town walls can be seen from Dumbarton Road, a cobbled...

Leith

Just north of the city is Edinburgh's port, a place brimming with seafaring history and undergoing a slow revival after years of postwar neglect...

Kirkwall

In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. The cathedral...

Dumfries

The River Nith meanders through Dumfries, and the pedestrian-only center of this town of 31,000 makes wandering and shopping a pleasure. Author...

Perth

For many years Perth was Scotland's capital, and central to its history. One king (James I) was killed here, and the Protestant reformer John...

Callander

A traditional Highland-edge resort, the little town of Callander bustles throughout the year, even during off-peak times, simply because it...

Peebles

Thanks to its excellent though pricey shopping, Peebles gives the impression of catering primarily to leisured country gentlefolk. Architecturally...

Pitlochry

In the late 19th century Pitlochry was an elegant Victorian spa town, famous for its mild microclimate and beautiful setting. Today it is a...

Fort William

As its name suggests, Fort William originated as a military outpost, first established by Oliver Cromwell's General Monk in 1655 and refortified...

Lerwick

Founded by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, Lerwick today is a busy town and administrative center. Handsome stone buildings—known as lodberries...

Isle of Harris

For most people, Harris is forever linked to tweed. Woven here and on nearby islands, the tweed has colors that echo the tones of the landscape...

Jedburgh

The town of Jedburgh ( burgh is always pronounced burra in Scots) was for centuries the first major Scottish target of invading English armies...

Aviemore

At the foot of the Cairngorms, once-quiet Aviemore now has all the brashness and boxiness of a year-round holiday resort. In the summer months...

Melrose

Though it's small, there is nevertheless a bustle about Melrose, the perfect example of a prosperous Scottish market town and one of the loveliest...

Oban

It's almost impossible to avoid Oban when touring the west. Its waterfront has some character, but the town's main role is as a launch point...

Ballater

The handsome holiday resort of Ballater, once noted for the curative properties of its waters, has profited from the proximity of the royals...

Isle of Lewis

The history of Lewis stretches back 5,000 years, as archaeological sites scattered across the island attest. Here, the Highland past persists...

Loch Lomond

The waters of Scotland's largest loch, which also happens to be one of its most beautiful, create a perfect reflection of the surrounding hills...

Fochabers

With its hanging baskets of fuchsia in summer and its perfectly mowed village square, Fochabers has a cared-for charm that makes you want to...

Elgin

As the center of the fertile Laigh (low-lying lands) of Moray, Elgin has been of local importance for centuries. Sheltered by great hills to...

Kelso

One of the most charming Borders burghs, Kelso is often described as having a Continental flavor—some people think its broad, paved square makes...

Stromness and the Neolithic Sites

On the southwest of the Mainland, on the shore of the old Norse anchorage Hamnavoe, is Stromness, a remarkably attractive fishing town seemingly...

Banchory

Banchory is an immaculate town filled with pinkish granite buildings. It's usually bustling with ice-cream-eating strollers, out on a day trip...

Ullapool

Ullapool is an ideal base for hiking throughout Sutherland and taking wildlife and nature cruises, especially to the Summer Isles. By the shores...

Braemar

Synonymous with the British monarchy, due to its closeness to Balmoral, and with the famous Highland Games, this village is popular year-round...

Aberfeldy

The most dramatic thing about Aberfeldy is the high humpbacked bridge into the town, built by William Adam in 1733 and commissioned by General...

Dufftown

On one of the Spey tributaries, Dufftown was planned in 1817 by the Earl of Fife. Its simple cross layout with a square and a large clock tower...

Lochinver

Lochinver is a very pretty quiet shoreside community of whitewashed cottages, with lovely beaches to the north, a harbor used by the west-coast...

Portree

Portree, the population center of the island, is a pleasant place clustered around a small and sheltered bay. Although not overburdened by historical...

Aberfoyle

This small tourist-oriented town has a somewhat faded air, but the surrounding hills (some snowcapped) and the green slopes visible from the...

Dornoch

A town of sandstone houses, tiny rose-filled gardens, and a 13th-century cathedral with stunning traditional and modern stained-glass windows...

Brodick

Arran's largest village, Brodick, has a main street that is set back from the promenade and the lovely bay. Beyond that, it is really little...

Cullen

Look for some wonderfully painted homes at Cullen, in the old fishing town below the railway viaduct. The real attractions of this charming...

Tobermory

With its rainbow crescent of brightly painted harborside houses, Tobermory is the most photogenic village in the Isles and among the prettiest...

Unst

Unst is the northernmost inhabited island in Scotland, a remote and special place, especially for nature lovers and those who want to experience...

Selkirk

Selkirk is a hilly outpost with a smattering of antiques shops and an assortment of bakers selling Selkirk bannock (fruited sweet bread) and...

Tarbert

The main port of Harris, Tarbert has some good shops and a few worthwhile sights. Traigh Luskentyre, roughly 5 miles southwest of Tarbert...

Inveraray

Inveraray's star attraction is the grandiose seat of the Campbell Dukes of Argyll, for centuries the most powerful magnates of the Highlands...

Nairn

This once-prosperous fishing village is now more likely to lure golfers than sailors. Nearby is Cawdor Castle, loaded with history. East of...

Trotternish Peninsula

Travel north from Portree on the A855 and you'll see cliffs rising to the left. These are the closest edge of an ancient lava flow, set back...

Castle Douglas

A quaint town that sits beside Carlingwark Loch, Castle Douglas is a popular base for exploring the surrounding countryside. The loch sets off...

Durness

The sudden patches of green surrounding the village of Durness, on the north coast, are caused by the richer limestone outcrops among the acid...

Arbroath

You can find traditional boatbuilding in the fishing town of Arbroath. It has several small curers and processors as well, and shops sell the...

Bowmore

Bowmore, Islay's capital, is a good base for touring because it's central to Islay's main routes. A tidy town, its grid pattern was laid out...

Killin

...

Aberlour

Aberlour, often listed as Charlestown of Aberlour on maps, is a handsome little burgh, essentially Victorian in style, though actually founded...

Dunblane

The small, quiet town of Dunblane has long been an important religious center; it is dominated by its cathedral, which dates mainly from the...

Boat of Garten

In the peaceful village of Boat of Garten, the scent of pine trees mingles with an equally evocative smell—that of steam trains. You can take...

Stornoway

The port capital for the Outer Hebrides is Stornoway, the only major town on Lewis. As the island's cultural center, it has a few interesting...

Kintyre Peninsula

Rivers and streams crisscross this long, narrow strip of green pasturelands and hills stretching south from Lochgilphead. ...

Loch Awe

Measuring more than 25 miles long, Loch Awe is Scotland's longest stretch of freshwater. Its northwest shore is quiet; forest walks crisscross...

Leverburgh

Named after Lord Leverhulme, who bought Lewis and Harris in 1917 with an eye to developing its local industries, Leverburgh is now the departure...

South Queensferry

This pleasant little waterside community, a former ferry port, is completely dominated by the Forth Bridges, three dramatic structures of contrasting...

Kirkcudbright

Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir -coo -bray) is an 18th-century town of Georgian and Victorian houses, some of them washed in pastel shades and...

North Berwick

The pleasant little seaside resort of North Berwick manages to retain a small-town personality even when it's thronged with city visitors on...

Craigellachie

Renowned as an angling resort, Craigellachie, like so many settlements on the River Spey, is sometimes enveloped in the malty reek of the local...

Thurso

The town of Thurso is quite substantial for a community so far north. In town are the Thurso Heritage Museum and Old St. Peter's Kirk, which...

Drumnadrochit

A tourist hub at the curve of the road, Drumnadrochit is not known for its style or culture, but it attracts plenty of people interested in...

Forres

The burgh of Forres is everything a Scottish medieval town should be, with a handsome tolbooth (the former courthouse and prison) and impressive...

Port Ellen

Islay's sturdy community of Port Ellen was founded in the 1820s, and much of its architecture dates from the following decades. It has a harbor...

Dunkeld

The historic town of Dunkeld remains intact and beautifully preserved with its rows of white houses around the town square. The original village...

Newton Stewart

The bustling town of Newton Stewart is the place to stop when touring the western region of Galloway. It is the gateway to the Galloway Forest...

Broadford

One of the larger of Skye's settlements, Broadford lies along the shore of Broadford Bay, which has been known to welcome whales to its sheltered...

Stonehaven

Stonehaven's golden sands made this historic town near spectacular Dunnottar Castle a popular holiday destination, until Scots began vacationing...

Pittenweem

These neighboring harbors are places to wander among lobster creels, fishing nets, and rocks, discovering quirky local artworks and architectural...

Montrose

An unpretentious and attractive town with some charming museums and a selection of shops, Montrose sits beside a wide estuary known as the Montrose...

Anstruther

Anstruther, locally called Ainster, has a lovely waterfront with a few shops brightly festooned with children's pails and shovels, a gesture...

South Uist

Carpets of wildflowers in spring and early summer, superb deserted beaches, and historical connections to Flora Macdonald and Bonnie Prince...

Cupar

Cupar is a busy market town with several interesting sites, including a museum about Fife. ...

Crinan

Crinan is synonymous with its canal, the reason for this tiny community's existence and its mainstay. The narrow road beside the Crinan Hotel...

Armadale

Rolling moorlands, scattered with rivers and lochans, give way to enchanting hidden coves and scattered waterside communities. Welcome to Sleat...

Coldstream

...

Fort Augustus

The best place to see the locks of the Caledonian Canal is Fort Augustus, at the southern tip of Loch Ness. This bustling small town is a great...

Crieff

Crieff retains the prosperous air of its Victorian heyday as a place to take the waters. Its central square, where local farmers may once have...

Brae

A thriving community, Brae is where you can see the spoils of Shetland's oil money. The rugged moorland and tranquil voes (inlets) of Brae...

Kingussie

Set in a wide glen, Kingussie is a pretty town east of the Monadhliath Mountains. With great distant views of the Cairngorms, it's perfect for...

North Uist

Stunning coastal scenery and ancient ruins are the main draws on North Uist. You’ll find art everywhere on the island, from the ends of roads...

Gairloch

Aside from its restaurants and lodgings, peaceful Gairloch has one further advantage: lying just a short way from the mountains of the interior...

Hawick

Hawick (pronounced hoyk ) is a busy town at the center of the region's textile industry, commemorated in the interesting Borders Textile Towerhouse...

Shieldaig

Just west of the southern coast of Upper Loch Torridon is Shieldaig, a village that sits in an attractive crescent overlooking a loch of its...

Banff

Midway along the northeast coast, overlooking Moray Firth and the estuary of the River Deveron, Banff is a dour fishing town, huddled around...

Portpatrick

The holiday town of Portpatrick lies across the Rhinns of Galloway from Stranraer. Once an Irish ferry port, Portpatrick's harbor eventually...

Gatehouse of Fleet

A peaceful, pleasant, backwoods sort of place, Gatehouse of Fleet has a castle guarding its southern approach. ...

Ellon

Formerly a market center on what was then the lowest bridging point of the River Ythan, Ellon, a bedroom suburb of Aberdeen, is a small town...

Kyle of Lochalsh

The little town of Kyle of Lochalsh is the mainland gateway to Skye. Opened in 1995, the bridge transformed not only travel to Skye but the...

Falkirk

Falkirk has a fascinating history and some striking attractions. It was here, at the impressive Antonine Wall, that the Roman occupiers drove...

Port of Ness

The stark, windswept community of Port of Ness cradles a small harbor squeezed in among the rocks. ...

Glendale

Glendale is a region rich in flora and fauna: otters, seals, and dolphins can be spotted off its rocky coast, while white-tailed sea eagles...

Scalloway

On the west coast of Mainland Island is Scalloway, which preceded Lerwick as the capital of the region. During World War II Scalloway was the...

Iona

The ruined abbey on Iona gives little hint that this was once one of the most important Christian religious centers in the land. The priceless...

Arisaig

Considering its small size, Arisaig, gateway to the Small Isles, offers a surprising choice of high-quality options for dining and lodging...

Tongue

A popular pit stop between Thurso and Durness, Tongue has some worthwhile sights and good accommodations options. ...

Alford

A plain and sturdy settlement in the Howe (Hollow) of Alford, this town gives those who have grown somewhat weary of castle-hopping a break...

Grantown-on-Spey

The sturdy settlement of Grantown-on-Spey, set amid tall pines that flank the River Spey, is a classic Scottish planned town. The community...

Port Charlotte

Planned by a benevolent 19th-century laird (and named after his mom), Port Charlotte is an unusually (for Scotland) pretty village, with wild...

Wick

Wick is a substantial town that was built on its fishing industry. The town itself is not very appealing, but it does have the gaunt, bleak...

Appin

The little peninsula of Appin, a 20-minute drive from Oban, is a charming, well-kept secret. Just 2 miles along a narrow road from the main...

Ochil Hills

The scarp face of the Ochil Hills looms unmistakably. It's an old fault line that yields up hard volcanic rocks and contrasts with the quantities...

Lochranza

Lochranza shows Arran's wilder northern side, with rocky seashores and sweeping slopes leading to the stark granite peaks of Goatfell and Caisteal...

Scourie

Scourie is a small settlement catering to visitors—fisherfolk especially—with a range of accommodations. The bay-side town makes a good base...

John o'Groats

The windswept little outpost of John O'Groats is usually taken to be the northernmost community on the Scottish mainland, though that is not...

Isle of Bute

The Isle of Bute, a Victorian holiday favorite convenient for Glaswegians, affords a host of relaxing walks and scenic vistas. Mount Stuart...

Wigtown

...

Auchterarder

Famous for the Gleneagles Hotel (including its restaurant by Andrew Fairlie) and nearby golf courses, Auchterarder also has a flock of tiny...

Whithorn

Known for its early-Christian settlement, Whithorn is full of history. The main street is notably wide, with pretty pastel buildings nestled...

Innerleithen

Innerleithen is one of the larger Borders towns; you'll feel that you've entered a hub of activity when you arrive. It's also dramatically beautiful...

Ruthwell

...

Jura

The rugged, mountainous landscape of the island of Jura—home to only about 200 people—looms immediately east of Port Askaig, across the Sound...

Machrie

The area surrounding Machrie, home to a popular beach, is littered with prehistoric sites: chambered cairns, hut circles, and standing stones...

Dunbar

In the days before tour companies started offering package deals to the Mediterranean, Dunbar was a popular holiday beach resort. Now a bit...

Dunfermline

Oft-overlooked Dunfermline was once the world center for the production of damask linen, but the town is better known today as the birthplace...

Birsay

Birsay itself is a small collection of houses, but some interesting historic and natural sites are nearby. ...

Elie

To give it its full name, the Royal Burgh of Elie and Earlsferry is an old trading port with a handsome harbor that loops around one of the...

Kirriemuir

Kirriemuir stands at the heart of Angus's red-sandstone countryside and was the birthplace of the writer J. M. Barrie (1860–1937), best known...

Glencoe

Glencoe is both a small town and a region of stunning grandeur, with high peaks and secluded glens. Dramatic scenery is the main attraction...

Mallaig

After the approach along the coast, the workaday fishing port of Mallaig itself is somewhat anticlimactic. It has a few shops, and there's some...

Craignure

...

Brechin

The small market town of Brechin has a cathedral that was founded around 1200 and contains an interesting selection of antiquities, including...

Kildrummy Castle

The ancient ruins of Kildrummy Castle still show its history of expansion and reveal a variety of styles. ...

Gullane

Follow the coastline on either side of Gullane and you're faced with golf course after golf course. Fairways are laid out wherever there is...

Crail

The oldest and most aristocratic of East Neuk burghs, pretty Crail is where many fish merchants retired and built cottages. The town landmark...

Dalbeattie

...

Waternish Peninsula

The northwest corner of Skye has scattered crofting communities and magnificent coastal views. In the Hallin area look westward for a sea loch...

Golspie

The little coastal town of Golspie is worth a stop if you're heading for Dunrobin Castle. It has a number of shops and accommodations. ...

Dingwall

This pretty market town and royal burgh (a Scottish town granted a royal charter) makes for a very pleasant stop if you're heading north from...

Kylesku

This tiny settlement once served as a ferry crossing, before being usurped by the (incredibly photogenic) Kylesku Bridge. Today it's a lovely...

Glen Brittle and the Cuillin Mountains

The gentle slopes of this valley are a gateway to the dramatic peaks and ridges of the Cuillin Mountains. Glen Brittle's lower slopes are fine...

Lochcarron

Strung along the shore, the village of Lochcarron has some attractive croft buildings, a couple of churches (one an 18th-century ruin set in...

Balquhidder Glen

...

Achiltibuie

Off the beaten track, Achiltibuie is a small coastal community set at the foot of magnificent mountains. It looks out over the Summer Isles...

Glenfinnan

Perhaps the most visitor-oriented stop on the route between Fort William and Mallaig, Glenfinnan has much to offer if you're interested in Scottish...

Culloden Moor

Culloden Moor was the scene of the last battle fought on British soil—and to this day its name is enough to invoke raw and tragic feelings in...

Scapa Flow Visitor Centre

On the beautiful island of Hoy, Scapa Flow Visitor Centre explores the strategic and dramatic role that this sheltered anchorage played in two...

Weisdale

This tiny place is less a village than a group of houses, but it does have a worthwhile gallery. ...

Galashiels

A busy gray-stone Borders town, Galashiels is still active with textile mills and knitwear factories. ...

Blair Atholl

Located where the Tilt and Garry rivers flow together, this small town sits in the middle of the Grampian Mountains. Here you'll find Blair...

Roslin

It may be best known for its extraordinary chapel, but Roslin itself is a pleasant place to while away some time. There are some lovely walks...

Tiree

...

Stranraer

Stranraer was for more than a century the main ferry port between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Its closure, and the transfer of ferry traffic...

Glamis

Set in rolling countryside is the little village of Glamis (pronounced glahms ), the highlight of which is nearby famous Glamis Castle. ...

Forfar

Forfar goes about its business of being the center of a farming hinterland without being preoccupied with (or even that interested in) tourism. ...

Dunbeath

...

Port Askaig

Serving as the ferry port for Jura and receiving ferries from Kennacraig, Port Askaig is a mere cluster of cottages. Uphill, just outside the...

Crichton Castle

Sitting on a terrace overlooking a beautiful river valley, this 14th-century structure with diamond-faceted facade was home to the Crichtons...

Colonsay

...

St. Kilda

The most distant corner of the British Isles, this archipelago of five islands has double World Heritage status, recognized for both its natural...

Gretna Green

The first town across the English–Scottish border, Gretna Green (not to be confused with nearby Gretna) was historically where runaway couples...

Lamlash

...

Isle of Raasay

This beautiful and rugged isle lies a few miles off Skye's east coast and offers a pleasant escape from its tourist hordes. Although only 10...

Alyth

Dating back to the Dark Ages, this market town was completely transformed by the Industrial Revolution, which lined its streets with mills and...

Falkland

One of the loveliest communities in Scotland, Falkland is a royal burgh of twisting streets and crooked stone houses. ...

Corgarff Castle

This castle has a striking setting on the moors and some rebuilt military features that recall its strategic importance. ...

Meigle

The historic village of Meigle, nestled in the rich agricultural land of the Strathmore Valley, is well known to those with an interest in Pictish...

Jupiter Artland

For anyone drawn to interesting art and beautiful open spaces, a visit to this open-air collection of sculptures by world-renowned artists is a must. ...

Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow is best known for its lochside palace, the impressive remnants of what was once the seat of the Stewart kings, but there are other...

National Mining Museum Scotland

The museum provides visitors with a sobering look into the lives of coal miners and the difficult conditions they endured down Scotland’s mines. ...

Helmsdale

Helmsdale is a fascinating fishing village with a checkered past. It was a busy Viking settlement and then the scene of an aristocratic poisoning...

Loch Leven

Scotland's largest Lowland loch, Loch Leven is famed for its fighting trout. The area is also noted for abundant birdlife, particularly its...

Culross

With its mercat cross, cobbled streets, tolbooth, and narrow wynds (alleys), seaside Culross is a picturesque little town. It's also a living...

Calanais Standing Stones

The mysterious arrangement of stones at this ancient site is Lewis's top attraction. ...

Summerlee–Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

A former ironworks is now a museum with a re-created mine and exhibits on both industry and the lives of workers. ...

Newhailes

With sumptuous interiors and relaxing grounds, this neo-Palladian villa a few miles east of Edinburgh hosted many luminaries of the Scottish...

National Museum of Rural Life

The effect of farming on the land and on people's lives is the focus of this museum near Glasgow. ...

Lochgilphead

...

Yell

A desolate-looking blanket bog cloaks two-thirds of the island of Yell, creating an atmospheric landscape to pass through on the way to Unst...

Haddington

One of the best-preserved medieval street plans in the country can be explored in Haddington. Among the many buildings of architectural and...

Fyvie Castle

This castle mixes ancient construction with Edwardian splendor and includes excellent art. The grounds are also worth exploring. ...

Coll

...

Dervaig

...

Finlaggan

...

Lower Largo

...

Drymen

...

Blackwaterfoot

...

Glen Trool

...

Gifford

...

Borthwick Castle

...

Glasgow

Trendy stores, a booming cultural life, fascinating architecture, and stylish restaurants reinforce Glasgow's claim to being Scotland's most...

Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Old Town, which bears a great symbolic weight as the "heart of Scotland's capital," is a boon for lovers of atmosphere and history...

Aberdeen

As a gateway to Royal Deeside and the Malt Whisky Trail, Aberdeen attracts visitors, though many are eager to get out into the countryside....

Inverness

It's not the prettiest or the most charming Scottish city, but with a few attractions and some reliably good hotels and restaurants, Inverness...

Dundee

Dundee makes an excellent base for a cultural stay and Fife and Angus exploration at any time of year. The Dundee Contemporary Arts center gave...

St. Andrews

It may have a ruined cathedral and a grand university—the oldest in Scotland—but the modern claim to fame for St. Andrews is mainly its status...

Stirling

Stirling is one of Britain's great historic towns. An impressive proportion of the Old Town walls can be seen from Dumbarton Road, a cobbled...

Leith

Just north of the city is Edinburgh's port, a place brimming with seafaring history and undergoing a slow revival after years of postwar neglect...

Kirkwall

In bustling Kirkwall, the main town on Orkney, there's plenty to see in the narrow, winding streets extending from the harbor. The cathedral...

Dumfries

The River Nith meanders through Dumfries, and the pedestrian-only center of this town of 31,000 makes wandering and shopping a pleasure. Author...

Perth

For many years Perth was Scotland's capital, and central to its history. One king (James I) was killed here, and the Protestant reformer John...

Callander

A traditional Highland-edge resort, the little town of Callander bustles throughout the year, even during off-peak times, simply because it...

Pitlochry

In the late 19th century Pitlochry was an elegant Victorian spa town, famous for its mild microclimate and beautiful setting. Today it is a...

Peebles

Thanks to its excellent though pricey shopping, Peebles gives the impression of catering primarily to leisured country gentlefolk. Architecturally...

Fort William

As its name suggests, Fort William originated as a military outpost, first established by Oliver Cromwell's General Monk in 1655 and refortified...

Jedburgh

The town of Jedburgh ( burgh is always pronounced burra in Scots) was for centuries the first major Scottish target of invading English armies...

Aviemore

At the foot of the Cairngorms, once-quiet Aviemore now has all the brashness and boxiness of a year-round holiday resort. In the summer months...

Lerwick

Founded by Dutch fishermen in the 17th century, Lerwick today is a busy town and administrative center. Handsome stone buildings—known as lodberries...

Melrose

Though it's small, there is nevertheless a bustle about Melrose, the perfect example of a prosperous Scottish market town and one of the loveliest...

Ballater

The handsome holiday resort of Ballater, once noted for the curative properties of its waters, has profited from the proximity of the royals...

Oban

It's almost impossible to avoid Oban when touring the west. Its waterfront has some character, but the town's main role is as a launch point...

Loch Lomond

The waters of Scotland's largest loch, which also happens to be one of its most beautiful, create a perfect reflection of the surrounding hills...

Braemar

Synonymous with the British monarchy, due to its closeness to Balmoral, and with the famous Highland Games, this village is popular year-round...

Stromness and the Neolithic Sites

On the southwest of the Mainland, on the shore of the old Norse anchorage Hamnavoe, is Stromness, a remarkably attractive fishing town seemingly...

Elgin

As the center of the fertile Laigh (low-lying lands) of Moray, Elgin has been of local importance for centuries. Sheltered by great hills to...

Fochabers

With its hanging baskets of fuchsia in summer and its perfectly mowed village square, Fochabers has a cared-for charm that makes you want to...

Kelso

One of the most charming Borders burghs, Kelso is often described as having a Continental flavor—some people think its broad, paved square makes...

Banchory

Banchory is an immaculate town filled with pinkish granite buildings. It's usually bustling with ice-cream-eating strollers, out on a day trip...

Ullapool

Ullapool is an ideal base for hiking throughout Sutherland and taking wildlife and nature cruises, especially to the Summer Isles. By the shores...

Portree

Portree, the population center of the island, is a pleasant place clustered around a small and sheltered bay. Although not overburdened by historical...

Dufftown

On one of the Spey tributaries, Dufftown was planned in 1817 by the Earl of Fife. Its simple cross layout with a square and a large clock tower...

Brodick

Arran's largest village, Brodick, has a main street that is set back from the promenade and the lovely bay. Beyond that, it is really little...

Lochinver

Lochinver is a very pretty quiet shoreside community of whitewashed cottages, with lovely beaches to the north, a harbor used by the west-coast...

Aberfoyle

This small tourist-oriented town has a somewhat faded air, but the surrounding hills (some snowcapped) and the green slopes visible from the...

Aberfeldy

The most dramatic thing about Aberfeldy is the high humpbacked bridge into the town, built by William Adam in 1733 and commissioned by General...

Dornoch

A town of sandstone houses, tiny rose-filled gardens, and a 13th-century cathedral with stunning traditional and modern stained-glass windows...

Tobermory

With its rainbow crescent of brightly painted harborside houses, Tobermory is the most photogenic village in the Isles and among the prettiest...

Tarbert

The main port of Harris, Tarbert has some good shops and a few worthwhile sights. Traigh Luskentyre, roughly 5 miles southwest of Tarbert...

Inveraray

Inveraray's star attraction is the grandiose seat of the Campbell Dukes of Argyll, for centuries the most powerful magnates of the Highlands...

Durness

The sudden patches of green surrounding the village of Durness, on the north coast, are caused by the richer limestone outcrops among the acid...

Nairn

This once-prosperous fishing village is now more likely to lure golfers than sailors. Nearby is Cawdor Castle, loaded with history. East of...

Selkirk

Selkirk is a hilly outpost with a smattering of antiques shops and an assortment of bakers selling Selkirk bannock (fruited sweet bread) and...

Trotternish Peninsula

Travel north from Portree on the A855 and you'll see cliffs rising to the left. These are the closest edge of an ancient lava flow, set back...

Unst

Unst is the northernmost inhabited island in Scotland, a remote and special place, especially for nature lovers and those who want to experience...

Cullen

Look for some wonderfully painted homes at Cullen, in the old fishing town below the railway viaduct. The real attractions of this charming...

Killin

...

Aberlour

Aberlour, often listed as Charlestown of Aberlour on maps, is a handsome little burgh, essentially Victorian in style, though actually founded...

Bowmore

Bowmore, Islay's capital, is a good base for touring because it's central to Islay's main routes. A tidy town, its grid pattern was laid out...

Dunblane

The small, quiet town of Dunblane has long been an important religious center; it is dominated by its cathedral, which dates mainly from the...

Arbroath

You can find traditional boatbuilding in the fishing town of Arbroath. It has several small curers and processors as well, and shops sell the...

South Queensferry

This pleasant little waterside community, a former ferry port, is completely dominated by the Forth Bridges, three dramatic structures of contrasting...

Kirkcudbright

Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir -coo -bray) is an 18th-century town of Georgian and Victorian houses, some of them washed in pastel shades and...

Port Ellen

Islay's sturdy community of Port Ellen was founded in the 1820s, and much of its architecture dates from the following decades. It has a harbor...

Stornoway

The port capital for the Outer Hebrides is Stornoway, the only major town on Lewis. As the island's cultural center, it has a few interesting...

Boat of Garten

In the peaceful village of Boat of Garten, the scent of pine trees mingles with an equally evocative smell—that of steam trains. You can take...

Craigellachie

Renowned as an angling resort, Craigellachie, like so many settlements on the River Spey, is sometimes enveloped in the malty reek of the local...

Broadford

One of the larger of Skye's settlements, Broadford lies along the shore of Broadford Bay, which has been known to welcome whales to its sheltered...

Thurso

The town of Thurso is quite substantial for a community so far north. In town are the Thurso Heritage Museum and Old St. Peter's Kirk, which...

Leverburgh

Named after Lord Leverhulme, who bought Lewis and Harris in 1917 with an eye to developing its local industries, Leverburgh is now the departure...

Stonehaven

Stonehaven's golden sands made this historic town near spectacular Dunnottar Castle a popular holiday destination, until Scots began vacationing...

North Berwick

The pleasant little seaside resort of North Berwick manages to retain a small-town personality even when it's thronged with city visitors on...

Loch Awe

Measuring more than 25 miles long, Loch Awe is Scotland's longest stretch of freshwater. Its northwest shore is quiet; forest walks crisscross...

Dunkeld

The historic town of Dunkeld remains intact and beautifully preserved with its rows of white houses around the town square. The original village...

Forres

The burgh of Forres is everything a Scottish medieval town should be, with a handsome tolbooth (the former courthouse and prison) and impressive...

Drumnadrochit

A tourist hub at the curve of the road, Drumnadrochit is not known for its style or culture, but it attracts plenty of people interested in...

Newton Stewart

The bustling town of Newton Stewart is the place to stop when touring the western region of Galloway. It is the gateway to the Galloway Forest...

Kintyre Peninsula

Rivers and streams crisscross this long, narrow strip of green pasturelands and hills stretching south from Lochgilphead. ...

Anstruther

Anstruther, locally called Ainster, has a lovely waterfront with a few shops brightly festooned with children's pails and shovels, a gesture...

Montrose

An unpretentious and attractive town with some charming museums and a selection of shops, Montrose sits beside a wide estuary known as the Montrose...

Crieff

Crieff retains the prosperous air of its Victorian heyday as a place to take the waters. Its central square, where local farmers may once have...

South Uist

Carpets of wildflowers in spring and early summer, superb deserted beaches, and historical connections to Flora Macdonald and Bonnie Prince...

Cupar

Cupar is a busy market town with several interesting sites, including a museum about Fife. ...

Armadale

Rolling moorlands, scattered with rivers and lochans, give way to enchanting hidden coves and scattered waterside communities. Welcome to Sleat...

Pittenweem

These neighboring harbors are places to wander among lobster creels, fishing nets, and rocks, discovering quirky local artworks and architectural...

Kingussie

Set in a wide glen, Kingussie is a pretty town east of the Monadhliath Mountains. With great distant views of the Cairngorms, it's perfect for...

Brae

A thriving community, Brae is where you can see the spoils of Shetland's oil money. The rugged moorland and tranquil voes (inlets) of Brae...

Fort Augustus

The best place to see the locks of the Caledonian Canal is Fort Augustus, at the southern tip of Loch Ness. This bustling small town is a great...

Coldstream

...

Crinan

Crinan is synonymous with its canal, the reason for this tiny community's existence and its mainstay. The narrow road beside the Crinan Hotel...

Gairloch

Aside from its restaurants and lodgings, peaceful Gairloch has one further advantage: lying just a short way from the mountains of the interior...

Ellon

Formerly a market center on what was then the lowest bridging point of the River Ythan, Ellon, a bedroom suburb of Aberdeen, is a small town...

Port of Ness

The stark, windswept community of Port of Ness cradles a small harbor squeezed in among the rocks. ...

Banff

Midway along the northeast coast, overlooking Moray Firth and the estuary of the River Deveron, Banff is a dour fishing town, huddled around...

Hawick

Hawick (pronounced hoyk ) is a busy town at the center of the region's textile industry, commemorated in the interesting Borders Textile Towerhouse...

Portpatrick

The holiday town of Portpatrick lies across the Rhinns of Galloway from Stranraer. Once an Irish ferry port, Portpatrick's harbor eventually...

Kyle of Lochalsh

The little town of Kyle of Lochalsh is the mainland gateway to Skye. Opened in 1995, the bridge transformed not only travel to Skye but the...

North Uist

Stunning coastal scenery and ancient ruins are the main draws on North Uist. You’ll find art everywhere on the island, from the ends of roads...

Gatehouse of Fleet

A peaceful, pleasant, backwoods sort of place, Gatehouse of Fleet has a castle guarding its southern approach. ...

Shieldaig

Just west of the southern coast of Upper Loch Torridon is Shieldaig, a village that sits in an attractive crescent overlooking a loch of its...

Falkirk

Falkirk has a fascinating history and some striking attractions. It was here, at the impressive Antonine Wall, that the Roman occupiers drove...

Lochranza

Lochranza shows Arran's wilder northern side, with rocky seashores and sweeping slopes leading to the stark granite peaks of Goatfell and Caisteal...

Alford

A plain and sturdy settlement in the Howe (Hollow) of Alford, this town gives those who have grown somewhat weary of castle-hopping a break...

Wick

Wick is a substantial town that was built on its fishing industry. The town itself is not very appealing, but it does have the gaunt, bleak...

Innerleithen

Innerleithen is one of the larger Borders towns; you'll feel that you've entered a hub of activity when you arrive. It's also dramatically beautiful...

Tongue

A popular pit stop between Thurso and Durness, Tongue has some worthwhile sights and good accommodations options. ...

Ochil Hills

The scarp face of the Ochil Hills looms unmistakably. It's an old fault line that yields up hard volcanic rocks and contrasts with the quantities...

Glendale

Glendale is a region rich in flora and fauna: otters, seals, and dolphins can be spotted off its rocky coast, while white-tailed sea eagles...

Scalloway

On the west coast of Mainland Island is Scalloway, which preceded Lerwick as the capital of the region. During World War II Scalloway was the...

Arisaig

Considering its small size, Arisaig, gateway to the Small Isles, offers a surprising choice of high-quality options for dining and lodging...

Grantown-on-Spey

The sturdy settlement of Grantown-on-Spey, set amid tall pines that flank the River Spey, is a classic Scottish planned town. The community...

Port Charlotte

Planned by a benevolent 19th-century laird (and named after his mom), Port Charlotte is an unusually (for Scotland) pretty village, with wild...

Scourie

Scourie is a small settlement catering to visitors—fisherfolk especially—with a range of accommodations. The bay-side town makes a good base...

John o'Groats

The windswept little outpost of John O'Groats is usually taken to be the northernmost community on the Scottish mainland, though that is not...

Iona

The ruined abbey on Iona gives little hint that this was once one of the most important Christian religious centers in the land. The priceless...

Wigtown

...

Auchterarder

Famous for the Gleneagles Hotel (including its restaurant by Andrew Fairlie) and nearby golf courses, Auchterarder also has a flock of tiny...

Whithorn

Known for its early-Christian settlement, Whithorn is full of history. The main street is notably wide, with pretty pastel buildings nestled...

Appin

The little peninsula of Appin, a 20-minute drive from Oban, is a charming, well-kept secret. Just 2 miles along a narrow road from the main...

Balquhidder Glen

...

Brechin

The small market town of Brechin has a cathedral that was founded around 1200 and contains an interesting selection of antiquities, including...

Crail

The oldest and most aristocratic of East Neuk burghs, pretty Crail is where many fish merchants retired and built cottages. The town landmark...

Dunbar

In the days before tour companies started offering package deals to the Mediterranean, Dunbar was a popular holiday beach resort. Now a bit...

Kirriemuir

Kirriemuir stands at the heart of Angus's red-sandstone countryside and was the birthplace of the writer J. M. Barrie (1860–1937), best known...

Ruthwell

...

Jura

The rugged, mountainous landscape of the island of Jura—home to only about 200 people—looms immediately east of Port Askaig, across the Sound...

Glencoe

Glencoe is both a small town and a region of stunning grandeur, with high peaks and secluded glens. Dramatic scenery is the main attraction...

Glenfinnan

Perhaps the most visitor-oriented stop on the route between Fort William and Mallaig, Glenfinnan has much to offer if you're interested in Scottish...

Birsay

Birsay itself is a small collection of houses, but some interesting historic and natural sites are nearby. ...

Dalbeattie

...

Gullane

Follow the coastline on either side of Gullane and you're faced with golf course after golf course. Fairways are laid out wherever there is...

Dunfermline

Oft-overlooked Dunfermline was once the world center for the production of damask linen, but the town is better known today as the birthplace...

Elie

To give it its full name, the Royal Burgh of Elie and Earlsferry is an old trading port with a handsome harbor that loops around one of the...

Machrie

The area surrounding Machrie, home to a popular beach, is littered with prehistoric sites: chambered cairns, hut circles, and standing stones...

Craignure

...

Waternish Peninsula

The northwest corner of Skye has scattered crofting communities and magnificent coastal views. In the Hallin area look westward for a sea loch...

Achiltibuie

Off the beaten track, Achiltibuie is a small coastal community set at the foot of magnificent mountains. It looks out over the Summer Isles...

Kylesku

This tiny settlement once served as a ferry crossing, before being usurped by the (incredibly photogenic) Kylesku Bridge. Today it's a lovely...

Dingwall

This pretty market town and royal burgh (a Scottish town granted a royal charter) makes for a very pleasant stop if you're heading north from...

Glen Brittle and the Cuillin Mountains

The gentle slopes of this valley are a gateway to the dramatic peaks and ridges of the Cuillin Mountains. Glen Brittle's lower slopes are fine...

Lochcarron

Strung along the shore, the village of Lochcarron has some attractive croft buildings, a couple of churches (one an 18th-century ruin set in...

Golspie

The little coastal town of Golspie is worth a stop if you're heading for Dunrobin Castle. It has a number of shops and accommodations. ...

Mallaig

After the approach along the coast, the workaday fishing port of Mallaig itself is somewhat anticlimactic. It has a few shops, and there's some...

Culloden Moor

Culloden Moor was the scene of the last battle fought on British soil—and to this day its name is enough to invoke raw and tragic feelings in...

Dunbeath

...

Weisdale

This tiny place is less a village than a group of houses, but it does have a worthwhile gallery. ...

Galashiels

A busy gray-stone Borders town, Galashiels is still active with textile mills and knitwear factories. ...

Gretna Green

The first town across the English–Scottish border, Gretna Green (not to be confused with nearby Gretna) was historically where runaway couples...

Stranraer

Stranraer was for more than a century the main ferry port between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Its closure, and the transfer of ferry traffic...

Forfar

Forfar goes about its business of being the center of a farming hinterland without being preoccupied with (or even that interested in) tourism. ...

Alyth

Dating back to the Dark Ages, this market town was completely transformed by the Industrial Revolution, which lined its streets with mills and...

Port Askaig

Serving as the ferry port for Jura and receiving ferries from Kennacraig, Port Askaig is a mere cluster of cottages. Uphill, just outside the...

Lamlash

...

Tiree

...

Roslin

It may be best known for its extraordinary chapel, but Roslin itself is a pleasant place to while away some time. There are some lovely walks...

Colonsay

...

Falkland

One of the loveliest communities in Scotland, Falkland is a royal burgh of twisting streets and crooked stone houses. ...

Blair Atholl

Located where the Tilt and Garry rivers flow together, this small town sits in the middle of the Grampian Mountains. Here you'll find Blair...

Glamis

Set in rolling countryside is the little village of Glamis (pronounced glahms ), the highlight of which is nearby famous Glamis Castle. ...

Culross

With its mercat cross, cobbled streets, tolbooth, and narrow wynds (alleys), seaside Culross is a picturesque little town. It's also a living...

Calanais Standing Stones

The mysterious arrangement of stones at this ancient site is Lewis's top attraction. ...

Haddington

One of the best-preserved medieval street plans in the country can be explored in Haddington. Among the many buildings of architectural and...

Newhailes

With sumptuous interiors and relaxing grounds, this neo-Palladian villa a few miles east of Edinburgh hosted many luminaries of the Scottish...

Lochgilphead

...

Loch Leven

Scotland's largest Lowland loch, Loch Leven is famed for its fighting trout. The area is also noted for abundant birdlife, particularly its...

Yell

A desolate-looking blanket bog cloaks two-thirds of the island of Yell, creating an atmospheric landscape to pass through on the way to Unst...

Meigle

The historic village of Meigle, nestled in the rich agricultural land of the Strathmore Valley, is well known to those with an interest in Pictish...

Helmsdale

Helmsdale is a fascinating fishing village with a checkered past. It was a busy Viking settlement and then the scene of an aristocratic poisoning...

Coll

...

Dervaig

...

Finlaggan

...

Drymen

...

Blackwaterfoot

...

Gifford

...

Glen Trool

...

Lower Largo

...

Edinburgh and the Lothians

Edinburgh is "a city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again," as Alexander McCall Smith once wrote. One of the world's stateliest...

Aberdeen and the Northeast

Here in this granite shoulder of Grampian, are some of Scotland's most enduring travel icons: Royal Deeside, the countryside that Queen Victoria...

The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles

Wild and remote, the Northern Highlands and the Western Isles of Scotland have a timeless grandeur. Dramatic cliffs, long beaches, and craggy...

The Borders and the Southwest

In the Borders region, south of Edinburgh, are more stately homes, fortified castles, and medieval abbeys than in any other part of Scotland...

The Central Highlands

The Central Highlands are home to superb castles, moody mountains, and gorgeous glens that are best explored at a leisurely pace. The waters...

Inverness and Around the Great Glen

Defined by its striking topography, the Great Glen brings together mountains and myths, history and wild nature—then lets you wash it all down...

Fife and Angus

Breezy cliff-top walkways, fishing villages, and open beaches characterize Fife and Angus. They sandwich Scotland's fourth-largest city, the...

Argyll and the Isles

Argyll's rocky seaboard looks out onto islands that were once part of a single prehistoric landmass. Its narrow roads slow travel but give time...

Orkney and Shetland Islands

A Scandinavian heritage gives the 170 islets that make up Orkney and Shetland a history and an atmosphere different from that of any other region...

The South Mainland

The narrow 3- or 4-mile-wide stretch of land that reaches south from Lerwick to Sumburgh Head has a number of fascinating ancient sites (and...

The Trossachs

The Trossachs has been a popular touring region since the late 18th century, at the dawn of the age of the Romantic poets. Influenced by the...

Solway Firth

Mostly undiscovered by travelers, the Solway Firth is a must for walkers, cyclists, and bird-watchers. This lovely and protected inlet, guarded...

North of Dumfries

Travel north along the A70 from Dumfries for a short trip through time at some very different attractions. Drumlanrig Castle is one of Scotland...

The Pentlands

These unmistakable hills begin almost in the suburbs of Edinburgh, and they make for a very welcome escape from the city crowds. There are access...

The Angus Glens

You can rejoin the hurly-burly of the A90 for the return journey south from Montrose or Brechin; the more pleasant route, however, leads...

Easdale and the Slate Islands

...

Isle of Skye

The misty Isle of Skye is awash with romance and myth, lush green gardens, and steep, magnetic mountains. Its extraordinary natural beauty and...

Isle of Harris

For most people, Harris is forever linked to tweed. Woven here and on nearby islands, the tweed has colors that echo the tones of the landscape...

Isle of Lewis

The history of Lewis stretches back 5,000 years, as archaeological sites scattered across the island attest. Here, the Highland past persists...

Isle of Bute

The Isle of Bute, a Victorian holiday favorite convenient for Glaswegians, affords a host of relaxing walks and scenic vistas. Mount Stuart...

St. Kilda

The most distant corner of the British Isles, this archipelago of five islands has double World Heritage status, recognized for both its natural...

Isle of Raasay

This beautiful and rugged isle lies a few miles off Skye's east coast and offers a pleasant escape from its tourist hordes. Although only 10...

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