Top 20 Places In Scotland (And How to Reach)

Isle of Skye
Scotland is a land of rugged landscapes, ancient castles, and a rich cultural heritage.
From the rolling hills of the Highlands to the bustling cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, there is no shortage of breathtaking scenery and fascinating history to explore in this enchanting country.

In this blog post, we have compiled a list of the 20 best places to visit in Scotland, so you can start planning your Scottish adventure today.

Here are the 20 best places in Scotland to add to your travel bucket list.

Discover the 20 Best Places in Scotland AND How to Reach 

1. Edinburgh

edinburgh places in scotland

Edinburgh is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a city break.

As the capital of Scotland, it offers a unique blend of history, culture, and stunning natural beauty.

Take a leisurely stroll up Arthur’s Seat for breathtaking views of the city and the Firth of Forth. The sunrise and sunset views are particularly spectacular.

If hiking isn’t your thing, head over to Mary Queen’s Close on the Royal Mile. Royal Mile’s underground attraction offers a glimpse into the city’s past with preserved old houses and streets. It’s a fascinating and eerie experience that you won’t want to miss.

How to get there

By air: Edinburgh has its international airport, Edinburgh Airport (EDI), about 8 miles (12 km) west of the city centre. There are direct flights to Edinburgh from many major cities worldwide, including London.

By train: There are direct trains to Edinburgh from many cities in the UK, including London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and more.

The main train station in Edinburgh is called Edinburgh Waverley, located in the city centre. You can check the schedules and buy tickets online from the National Rail or train operator’s websites.

By car: If you are traveling from within the UK, you can reach Edinburgh by car via the motorway network. The main motorways that lead to Edinburgh are the M8 from Glasgow, the M9 from Stirling and the north, and the A1 from the south.


2. Loch Ness


Located in the picturesque Highlands of Scotland, Loch Ness is renowned as one of the top tourist attractions in the region.

Stretching over 36 kilometres and boasting a depth of approximately 240 meters, the loch is home to a diverse range of aquatic species, including brown trout, salmon, and eels. However, what truly sets Loch Ness apart is its legendary inhabitant, the Loch Ness monster, affectionately referred to as “Nessie.”

This mythical creature continues to draw visitors from far and wide, eager to catch a glimpse of this elusive beast.

How to get there

By road: Inverness is the closest city to Inverness. From Inverness, follow the A82 south towards Fort William, and you will arrive at Loch Ness. The journey by car takes around 3-4 hours, depending on traffic and weather conditions.

By train: Alternatively, if you prefer to travel by train, there are regular services from major cities in Scotland to Inverness. From Inverness, you can take a bus or hire a car to reach Loch Ness.

The train journey from Edinburgh to Inverness takes approximately 3.5 hours, and the route offers stunning views of the Scottish countryside.

3. Scottish Highland

places in scotland

The Scottish Highlands are a nature lover’s paradise, with its picturesque landscapes and endless opportunities for outdoor activities.

From hiking and mountain biking to fishing and kayaking, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And let’s not forget about the historic landmarks, such as the legendary Loch Ness and the majestic Urquhart Castle.

How to get there

By road: One of the best ways to explore this beautiful region is by car, with many winding roads leading to picturesque villages, hidden lochs, and historic castles.

By train: Alternatively, you can also reach the Highlands by train, with the famous West Highland Line running from Glasgow to Mallaig, offering spectacular views of the countryside.

4. Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye, located off the west coast of Scotland, boasts a breathtakingly beautiful landscape that draws in hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts alike.

Its rugged coastline, misty mountains, and charming villages make for a mesmerizing experience.

One must take advantage of the opportunity to trek to the Storr, considered one of Scotland’s best hikes. While it is not excessively challenging, completing the journey still takes several hours. Therefore, it is advisable to plan your trip accordingly.

Additionally, visitors can explore Dunvegan Castle, the Fairy Pool, and Armadale Castle before ferrying to Mallaig.

Finally, the awe-inspiring coastline around Neist Point is an absolute must-see!

How to get there

To reach the Isle of Skye by car, one can take the A82 from Glasgow or the A9 from Edinburgh and then take the A87 to reach the island via the Skye Bridge. It is a scenic drive with stunning Scottish Highlands and Lochs views.

I would strongly recommend hiring a car here so you can visit some of the more remote parts of Skye that are not easily accessible by public transportation.


5. Glasgow


Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, is a bustling and lively destination that boasts a wealth of cultural treasures. Glasgow offers everything from world-class museums and galleries to delectable cuisine. But what truly sets this city apart is its warm and hospitable spirit, making it a must-visit destination for any traveller.

While in Glasgow, don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, stroll through George Square, and marvel at the Hunterian Art Gallery, Scotland’s oldest museum.

How to get there

By road: The city is served by the M8 motorway, which connects Glasgow with Edinburgh, and the M77, which links the city to Ayrshire and the southwest of Scotland.

If you are driving from London, take the M1 north and then join the M6, which will take you to the M74, connecting you with Glasgow.

By train: Glasgow is well-connected by rail, with regular trains departing from major cities across the UK. The town has two main railway stations, Glasgow Central and Glasgow Queen Street, both located in the city centre.

6. Stirling

isle of skye

If you’re looking for a Scottish city that’s brimming with history, charm, and a myriad of things to do, then Stirling is the perfect place for you. Nestled in the heart of Scotland, this beautiful city is home to some of the country’s most iconic landmarks.

If you find yourself in Stirling, be sure to check out some of the top attractions like Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument, and the Old Town Jail.

And when it’s time to refuel, there are plenty of delicious restaurants, cosy cafes, and lively bars. Whether you’re here for a quick weekend getaway or an extended vacation, Stirling is a must-see destination in Scotland that will impress you.

How to get there 

By road: Stirling is easily accessible by car from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other surrounding areas. The M9 motorway connects Stirling to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to drive from Glasgow and 45 minutes to drive from Edinburgh.

By train: If you prefer a train, the city has its own railway station in the city centre. It offers frequent connections to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and other destinations throughout Scotland.


7. St Andrews

St Andrews_ scotland places

Nestled in the picturesque Kingdom of Fife, St Andrews is more than just a world-renowned golf course. This charming town is steeped in history and holds a special place in my heart.

While it certainly boasts an impressive golfing experience, this charming town also has a rich history waiting to be discovered.

During your visit, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the ancient ruins of St Andrews Cathedral and take a stroll around the castle. For the adventurous, even a secret tunnel built centuries ago is waiting to be explored.

Explore the picturesque University Grounds with a leisurely walk and admire the magnificent Hawthorn tree Mary Queen of Scots planted at the Quadrangle in St Mary’s.

How to get there

The closest city to St Andrews is Dundee, which is about 13 miles (20 km) to the north.

By road: St Andrews can be easily reached by road from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The journey from Edinburgh takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes, while the journey from Glasgow takes around 2 hours.

By train: The closest railway station to St Andrews is Leuchars, located approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of the town. Leuchars is well-connected to Scotland’s Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other major cities. Visitors can take a train to Leuchars and then catch a bus or taxi to St Andrews.

8. Fort William

scotland places

Located in the Scottish Highlands, Fort William is a picturesque town situated on the northern shore of Loch Linnhe.

Fort William is a popular destination for tourists, offering a glimpse of the ruins of Inverlochy Castle and easy access to scenic walks up Glen Nevis.

The towering Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, dominates the town. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy various activities, including fishing, golfing, skiing, mountain biking, and climbing. For those who prefer indoor pursuits, there are plenty of museums, galleries, and shops to discover.

With its convenient location, Fort William is the perfect starting point for exploring Scotland’s stunning Highlands and Islands.

How to get there

The closest city to Fort Williams is Inverness, about 65 miles (105 km) away. If you’re flying into Scotland, Inverness Airport is the nearest international airport to Fort Williams. From Inverness, you can take the train or drive to Fort Williams.

By road: If you’re driving and coming from the south, the easiest way to reach Fort Williams is by taking the A82, which connects Glasgow and Fort Williams. The journey takes about 2.5-3 hours, depending on traffic, and it’s a scenic drive through the Scottish countryside. If you’re coming from the north, you can take the A9 to Inverness and switch to the A82 to Fort Williams.

By train: Fort Williams has its own train station, and it’s located on the West Highland Line, which connects Glasgow and Mallaig. If you’re coming from Glasgow, you can take the train to Fort Williams, which takes about 4 hours.

9. Ben Nevis

places in scotland - Ben Nevis

Standing at a towering height of 1,345 metres (4,411 ft), Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles.

Located in the Scottish Highlands near the town of Fort William, it is a popular destination for both experienced climbers and casual hikers, attracting around 100,000 visitors annually.

With various routes to the summit, the breathtaking views from the top offer stunning panoramas of the surrounding mountains and glens.

However, if you wish to avoid hiking Ben Nevis, there are still plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding area. You could also indulge in local cuisines, such as haggis, neeps and tatties, or sample some of Scotland’s famous whisky at a distillery tour.

With so much to see and do, you’re sure to find something to suit your interests and preferences.

How to get there

The nearest city to Ben Nevis is Fort William, approximately 10 miles (16 km) away.

By road, you can take the A82 from Glasgow or Inverness, which will take you to Fort William. Depending on traffic and weather conditions, the journey takes around 2-3 hours from Glasgow or 1.5-2 hours from Inverness.

10. Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorm National Park scotland

Cairngorm National Park is one the popular places in Scotland.

Nestled in the breathtaking Scottish Highlands and covering over 1,000 square miles, it boasts diverse landscapes, including mountains, valleys, forests, and lochs.

The park offers many attractions, such as the Cairngorm Mountain Railway, Loch Morlich, and the Highland Wildlife Park, catering to various interests and ensuring an enjoyable experience for all who visit.

How to get there

The closest city to the park is Inverness. The park can be accessed by road via the A9, which runs north of Perth and south of Inverness.

If you travel from Inverness, the easiest way to reach the park is by driving south on the A9 for about 30 miles (20 km). Alternatively, if you are coming from the south, you can take the A9 north from Perth, which will take you through the park’s southern edge before reaching Aviemore.

The road to Cairngorms National Park is well-maintained and offers scenic views of the surrounding countryside. However, it is essential to note that some roads within the park itself can be narrow and winding, so caution should be exercised when driving.


11. Loch Lomond


Located in the southern region of Scotland, Loch Lomond, a picturesque freshwater lake, is a must-visit place in Scotland for nature enthusiasts.

For outdoor enthusiasts, hiking, cycling, and camping are popular activities, with several trails and campsites available around the lake. Water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are also popular on the lake.

Additionally, visitors can take boat tours to explore the lake and surrounding areas, including visiting the nearby islands. For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, there are several picturesque villages and towns around the lake to explore, with quaint shops and cafes to enjoy.

Overall, Loch Lomond offers something for everyone, whether seeking adventure or relaxation in the Scottish countryside.

How to get there

Glasgow is the closest city to Loch Lomond, about 30 miles (48 km) to the south.

By Road: If you’re driving from Glasgow, the A82 road northbound towards Balloch is the easiest route. This will take you to the southern end of the lake. If you’re driving from Edinburgh, take the M8 westbound towards Glasgow, then follow the A82 northbound towards Balloch.

By Train: From Glasgow, you can take a train from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Balloch, a small town on the lake’s southern end. The journey takes around 50 minutes.

12. St Kilda 

St Kilda Scotland

St Kilda is a remote archipelago located off the west coast of Scotland.

It is a unique and remote island that offers visitors a chance to explore thousands of years of history.

Today, St Kilda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national preserve, renowned for its dramatic and rugged landscapes, home to a variety of seabirds, including the largest colony of gannets in the world.

How to get there

While it may be a challenging place to reach, the best way to visit this place is to book a tour with Go to Kilda. The tour can be booked from the Isle of Skye.

13. Glencoe

Glencoe Scotland

Glencoe is a breathtakingly beautiful valley located in the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque lochs, this region offers all nature enthusiasts a wide range of outdoor activities.

One of the most popular things to do in Glencoe is hiking, as it is home to some of the most stunning and challenging trails in Scotland. The West Highland Way, Buachaille Etive Mor, and the Aonach Eagach Ridge are just a few of the many hikes that can be found in this area.

For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, a scenic drive along the A82 offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The Glencoe Visitor Centre is also a great place to learn about the area’s history and geology.

How to get there

The closest city is Glasgow, approximately 59 miles (95 kilometres) south of Glencoe.

By car: If you are travelling from Glasgow, take the M8 westbound towards Greenock from Glasgow and exit at junction 30 onto the A898 towards Erskine Bridge. Cross the Erskine Bridge and follow signs for A82 towards Crianlarich. Stay on A82 and follow the signs for Glencoe.The journey by car takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

If you are travelling from Edinburgh, the most direct route to Glencoe in Scotland by road is to take the A82. The journey is approximately 100 miles (160 km) and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes without any stops.

14. The Shetland

Shetland places in scotland

The Shetland Islands are a breathtakingly beautiful destination located off the northeast coast of Scotland. The islands offer picturesque landscapes, rugged coastlines, and pristine beaches, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

The best way to explore the Shetlands is by taking long walks and hikes, enjoying the panoramic views and spotting the local wildlife. You can also take boat trips to see the stunning cliffs and seabird colonies.

How to get there

To reach the Shetlands, take a ferry from Aberdeen, the closest city to the islands. Alternatively, you can drive up to the ferry port in Scrabster and take a ferry from there.

Whichever route you choose, be sure to pack your camera and plenty of warm clothing, as the Shetlands can be chilly even in the summer months.

15. The Isle of Arran

Isle Of Array_

The 7th largest in Scotland and known as “Scotland in Miniature,” the Isle of Arran is a stunningly beautiful island off Scotland’s west coast. Its landscapes range from rugged mountains to sandy beaches, and its charming villages are full of history and culture.

Once on the island, explore the rugged terrain of Goat Fell, visit historical sites such as Brodick Castle, indulge in whisky tasting (at the Arran Distillery), or relax on the tranquil beaches.

With its natural beauty and array of activities, the Isle of Arran is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Scotland.

How to get there

Located just 50 miles (80 km) from Glasgow, the Isle of Arran is accessible by ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick.

Reaching Ardrossan takes around 45 minutes by car from Glasgow and just over two hours from the English-Scottish border.


Isle of Raasey_

A tiny island just off the Isle of Skye’s eastern coast is about to steal your heart. Raasey is on everyone’s wish list with its recent award from Conde Nast Traveller as one of the ‘Best Islands to Visit’.

The Isle of Raasay is a hidden gem in Scotland’s North West Highlands. This stunning island is easily accessible via self-drive, with a ferry service running regularly from Sconser on the Isle of Skye. The closest city to Raasay is Inverness, a two-hour drive away.

Admire Skye’s Cuillin mountain range and beyond to the Outer Hebrides on clear days.

How to get there

Isle of Raasey is accessible by car and ferry, or by train and ferry.

By car and ferry:

  1. From Inverness, take the A9 north to the A835 junction and then follow the A835 to Garve.
  2. At Garve, take the A832 towards Achnasheen and then follow the signs for Kyle of Lochalsh.
  3. Once you reach Kyle of Lochalsh, take the ferry to the Isle of Skye.
  4. From Skye, take the A87 towards Sconser and then follow the signs for the ferry to Raasay.

By Train and ferry:

Take a train to Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland, which is the nearest train station to Raasay. From there, you can take a local bus or taxi to Sconser and then take the ferry to Raasay.

17. Dundee


Dundee, the fourth largest city in Scotland, is a hidden gem with a lot to offer. With its museums, art galleries, urban beaches, and open-top tour buses, there’s something for everyone.

Dundee is a UNESCO City of Design, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in architecture and creativity.

How to get there

The closest city to Dundee is Edinburgh, approximately 60 miles (96 km) away.

By road (from Edinburgh): Take the A90 highway. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. From Glasgow, the journey takes 1 hour and 45 minutes via the M80 and M9.

By Train: The journey from Edinburgh to Dundee takes approximately 1 hour, and trains run regularly throughout the day. If you are travelling from Glasgow, you can take a direct train to Dundee for about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

18. Orkney Islands

Orkney Island_

Nestled on the northern coast of Scotland, the Orkney Islands are a group of over 70 islands with a unique culture and history.

Visitors can explore ancient archaeological sites and take in stunning scenery, including the Ring of Brodgar, a prehistoric site with 27 massive standing stones over 4,000 years old.

Orkney is also home to well-preserved Neolithic village sites. It is home to Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old settlement with well-preserved houses offering a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric life.

How to get there

By road and ferry: You can take the A9 from Inverness to Scrabster, the closest city to the ferry terminal. Alternatively, you can take the A96 from Aberdeen to Scrabster.

Once you reach Scrabster, you can take the ferry to Stromness, the main town on Orkney’s mainland. The ferry journey takes around 90 minutes.

Alternatively, if you are not on a tight budget, fly into Kirkwall Airport from major Scottish cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, or Inverness. Kirkwall, the largest island town, is the closest city to the Orkneys and is an ideal base for exploring the archipelago.

19. Oban


Oban is a small beautiful town situated on the west coast of Scotland.

It is a popular tourist destination that offers stunning views of the sea, rugged coastline, and mountainous landscapes.

Oban is also home to the iconic McCaig’s Tower, a Colosseum-like structure that offers breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding area.

The town is famous for its seafood! You can sample some of the freshest seafood dishes at the local restaurants.

Excursions: You can also take a ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull or Iona, two beautiful islands worth visiting.

On Mull, you can explore the historic town of Tobermory, go wildlife spotting or take a scenic walk.

Iona is a tiny island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is situated off the southwestern coast of Mull and has a population of just over 100 people. You can explore its many beaches, sea cliffs, and bird colonies. For history buffs, there are several ancient standing stones and burial cairns on the island.

How to get to Oban

The closest city to Oban is Glasgow, approximately 96 miles (154 km) away. Edinburgh is about 116 miles (186 km) away. 

20. Drive the NC500 Trail


Driving the North Coast 500 (NC500) trail in Scotland is a popular route! This route takes you along with a breathtaking experience. 

This 500-mile (805 km) circular route starts and ends in Inverness.

The route offers the Scottish Highlands’ rugged coastline, towering mountains, and picturesque villages.

Along the way, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks such as the Bealach na Bà mountain pass and the stunning beaches of the North West coast.

The route typically takes around 5-7 days to complete, with plenty of opportunities to stop and explore along the way.


In Conclusion

Scotland is a country that offers a diverse range of experiences for travellers, from stunning natural landscapes to rich cultural heritage and historical landmarks.

The 20 best places to visit in Scotland highlighted in this post are just a glimpse of what this beautiful country offers. So, pack your bags and explore the best that Scotland has to offer!


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Also read, Top Safaris In India, You Guide To Indian Wildlife 


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