Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ

The 13 Most Magical Places to Visit in Scotland

The 13 Most Magical Places to Visit in Scotland

Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, in Scotland.

There are endless reasons to hop on a flight to Scotland. The country is home to thousands of magical places like national parks, cosmopolitan cities, and small villages filled with history.

If you want to take in the breathtaking scenery of countryside Scotland, a trip to the verdant Scottish Highlands is worth it. Located on the northwest side of the country, this mountainous region also has a dazzling array of mythical castles and legendary sites like Loch Ness.

Urban explorers will love visiting culture-filled cities like Edinburgh, famous for being home to one of the most treasured Scottish castles, world-class museums, and a UNESCO-listed Old Town.

There are also charming and atmospheric cities like Inverness and Fort William, which may be small but are home to huge attractions.

With so many glorious destinations, deciding where to go in Scotland might be challenging. So we’ve created a list of the country’s top 13 places that will take your breath away. Keep reading to know more!

The 13 Best Places to Visit in Scotland

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

View of the Tigh Mor castle, and Loch Achray, in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a natural wonderland known for its outstanding natural beauty. Centered on Loch Lomond (aka the “The Queen of Scottish Lakes”), and the glens and hills of the Trossachs, the park encompasses over 700 square miles of gorgeous landscapes.

While exploring this national park through scenic hiking trails, you’ll see a spectacular medley of wooded hills, glens, forests, lochs, and towering mountains above 3,000ft.

These scenic environments are home to over 200 species of birds and animals like reed deer, wildcats, and golden eagles, making it a prime place for wildlife watching.

Adventure seekers can also go biking, camping, climbing, and kayaking at the park.


The Edinburgh Castle, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Edinburgh is the ultimate destination for a city break. Rich in history and culture, Scotland’s capital city has stellar museums, lush parks, bustling shopping streets, and a rich collection of amazing hotels.

The UNESCO-listed Old Town is the oldest part of the city and boasts various historical sights like the Scottish Parliament and the Scott Monument. You’ll also find the Royal Mile, a bustling thoroughfare filled with vibrant pubs and cafes.

One of the top things to do in Edinburgh is to visit the legendary Edinburgh Castle, once home to prestigious kings and queens, such as Mary Queen of Scots. Read our ultimate guide to Edinburgh Castle before you visit this world-famous icon of Scotland.

Other must-visit places include the National Museum of Scotland (home to stellar international collections of science and technology, natural history, and world cultures) and Arthur’s Seat, a top place for sunset watching.

Find Places To Stay In Edinburgh, Scotland

Recommended Read: Fun Things to do in Edinburgh With Kids

Cairngorms National Park

Tourist walking down from Cairn Lick to Loch Lee, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland.

Cairngorms National Park is the largest national park in the United Kingdom. Located in the Scottish Highlands, this park has a diverse landscape of sky-high mountains, heather moorlands and peatlands, emerald-green forests, and glittering rivers.

There are several ways of experiencing the natural wonders of the Cairngorms National Park. Throughout the park, adventure seekers will find lush walking trails, gorgeous lochside locations ideal for water sports, and even ski resorts and golf courses!


The University of Glasgow, in Scotland.

A port city on the River Clyde on Scotland’s west coast, Glasgow is a cultural hub famous for its architecture, culture, and historical heritage.

In Scotland’s largest city, you’ll love visiting the Riverside Museum, which harbors over 3,000 objects, focusing on historic vehicles, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, home to  “The Christ of Saint John of the Cross” painting by Salvador Dalí.

Visit the Glasgow Botanic Gardens to see over 9000 plants, and go to Glasgow Cathedral to see the building’s world-famous stained glass windows.

Find Places To Stay in Glasgow, Scotland

Recommended Read: Amazing Things to do in Glasgow, Scotland


View of Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom from above featuring St. Andrew's Cathedral and the River Ness.

Positioned at the mouth of the River Ness, Inverness pleases nature lovers and history buffs alike. The city is the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands, meaning it flaunts a rich combination of ancient landmarks and gorgeous landscapes.

There’s a stellar collection of Scottish castles and ancient sites that culture addicts will love visiting in Inverness. These include the 19th-century Inverness Castle, which offers stunning 360-degree views over the city, and Culloden Moor, which marks the exact spot of the Battle of Culloden — the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising.

Are you short on time? Then, go on a walking tour of Inverness. While snooping around the city, you’ll see historical gems like the Abertarff House, the oldest house in Inverness, the Gothic-style St Andrew’s Cathedral, and the Victorian Market, which is a great place for a quick bite.

Intertwine your touristic outings with visits to the 77-acre Inverness Nature Park, filled with nature trails, rolling hills, and picnic areas. One of the best places to escape the urban frenzy and soak in natural beauty!

Find Places To Stay In Inverness, Scotland

Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness in the evening, Scotland.

Seeking to uncover the United Kingdom’s scenic countryside? Then add a trip to the Scottish Highlands to your bucket list. This mountainous area is a popular tourist destination to its breathtaking landscapes and show-stopping natural features. Plus, it’s home to the UK’s tallest mountain: Ben Nevis.

Here, visit Loch Ness, a  large freshwater loch known for supposedly being home to the famous Loch Ness Monster. You’ll find the ruins of the mysterious Urquhart Castle beside the loch. With a rich history spanning over 1,000 years, Urquhart witnessed some of the most intense events in Scotland history in our nation’s history. 

Another great way of exploring the emerald-green landscapes of the Scottish Highlands is by hopping on the Jacobite Steam Train, aka The Hogwarts Express.  During this 84-mile round trip, which starts in Fort William and ends at Mallaig, Harry Potter fans will catch a glimpse of spectacular Scottish destinations and locations made famous in the movies, such as the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct.


Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

The third-largest city in Scotland, Aberdeen is a gem spiked at the crossroads of rivers Dee and Don and the North Sea.

Also known as the “Granite City,” thanks to its many enduring grey-stone buildings, Aberdeen has plenty going for it. One of the top attractions in this atmospheric city is King’s College (University of Aberdeen), a landmark university that dates back to 1495. While exploring the University grounds, you’ll be enchanted with features like the 15th-century King’s College Chapel, home to five rare canvas and wooden scaffolding decorations.

Make sure to also check out the Aberdeen Art Gallery, home to masterpieces by French Impressionist artists like Renoir, Monet, and Cezanne, and Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress that was the home to one of the most affluent families in Scotland.

Hungry yet? Then, head to Hass’s Fish and Chips, often considered the best “chipper” in Aberdeen!

Find Places To Stay In Aberdeen, Scotland

Fort William

Aerial View of Neptune's Staircase in Fort William, Scotland, UK.

Known as “the outdoor capital of the UK,” Fort William is a mecca for adventurers. The town is located on the northeastern shore of Loch Linnhe and provides easy access to Ben Nevis, which offers the most amazing views of Scotland’s ever-endearing landscape.

If you’re in the mood for a long walk, hit the Great Glen Way, a 77-mile trail that begins at the ruins of the Old Fort, Fort William, and runs Scotland’s longest glen, following the Caledonian Canal.

Another great idea is to go on a day trip to Glencoe. This village in western Scotland is well known for its scenic landscapes, waterfalls, and mighty peaks such as Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean Nam Bian. It is a prime destination for hillwalking and mountaineering.

Find Places To Stay in Fort William, Scotland

New Lanark

Aerial view of New Lanark, in Scotland, UK.

New Lanark is a hidden gem located alongside the picturesque River Clyde. One of Scotland’s 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this 18th-century village is home to a medley of residential buildings set within beautiful woodlands.

No television aerials or satellite dishes are allowed in New Lanark, and services such as telephone, television, and electricity are delivered through buried cables. They produce our own hydroelectricity, spin their wool, and make a famous ice cream based on a traditional recipe.

The village has an award-winning Visitor Centre offering a range of experiences. You’ll get the chance to mill manager Robert Owen’s House – the only one in New Lanark to have more rooms than people –and see how the villagers of New Lanark lived by exploring a reconstructed 1820s Millworkers’ House and more.

The Isle of Skye

The town of Portree, on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

The Isle of Skye, the second-largest of Scotland’s islands, will leave you mesmerized. Part of the Inner Hebrides archipelago, this luscious destination combines natural charms (rugged landscapes, mountain peaks, deep lochs, and dramatic sea cliffs) and various historical treasures.

Occupied since the Mesolithic period, the Isle of Sky is home to the Armadale Castle, the former home of the powerful Clan McDonald, and Portree, a fishing village founded around 200 years ago. Also, watch for the Trumpan Church, the setting for a terrible clan massacre in 1578 when the men of Clan MacLeod killed a party of MacDonalds.

Head to the Fairy Glen (the hills above the village of Uig) to see an otherworldly landscape known for its folk tales about fairies, and visit Rubha Hunish, a headland that offers spectacular opportunities for seabird and marine mammal watching.

Don’t leave the island without visiting the Skye Fairy Pools, small waterfalls that pool into small ponds with transparent water.


Dramatic drone aerial view of the Stirling Castle during the sunset, Scottland.

Stirling is a great day trip destination from Glasgow and Edinburgh. Located in central Scotland, this charming city is the youngest in the country but encompasses incredible scenery and rich history.

To make the most of a trip to Stirling, spend as much time as you can exploring the city’s medieval Old Town. Also, visit the emblematic Stirling Castle, a majestic royal residence where notable Scottish and British people, including Mary Queen of Scots and James VI and I, spent their childhood.

You’ll also love seeing the Church Of The Holy Rude, where infant King James VI was crowned, and the Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, home to a stunning collection of Scottish pottery.

Find Places To Stay in Stirling, Scotland


Which is the most beautiful part of Scotland?

The Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye are often considered the most beautiful places in Scotland.

What should you not miss in Scotland?

The top places to visit in Scotland are:

  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park;
  • Edinburgh;
  • Cairngorms National Park;
  • Glasgow;
  • Inverness;
  • Loch Ness & Scottish Highlands;
  • Aberdeen;
  • Fort William;
  • New Lanark;
  • The Isle of Skye;
  • Stirling.

What are the top three tourist attractions in Scotland?

The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, and the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh are the most visited attractions in Scotland.

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