When you hear the word “Scotland,” what images come to mind?
Rugged green coastlines and mysterious lochs? Medieval fortresses? Or maybe the hauntingly beautiful sound of bagpipes?
Scotland offers all this and much, much more.
A relatively small country, Scotland is roughly the same size as South Carolina and twice the size of the Netherlands.
But don’t let its small area fool you. What Scotland lacks in size, it more than makes up for in beautiful and intriguing sites.
In this post, we’ll reveal the top ten places to see in Scotland. Let’s get started!
1. Loch Ness
The first item on our list of the top ten places to see in Scotland is also one of the most famous.
No matter where you’re from, you’ve undoubtedly heard the legends surrounding the Loch Ness monster. For nearly 1,500 years, people have reported sightings of the elusive “Nessie.”
Is Nessie real? You’ll have to visit and decide for yourself. While you’re at it, you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery and the dramatic 12th-century Urquhart Castle.
2. Edinburgh Castle
Speaking of castles, a visit to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the 13th-century Edinburgh Castle.
Dominating the city skyline, this imposing fortress is the country’s most well-known and recognizable monument. From the top, you can enjoy magnificent views of famous landmarks like the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
History buffs will especially love hearing tales of the castle’s dark, turbulent past. Don’t miss the bronze statues of William Wallace (Braveheart) and Robert the Bruce.
3. St. Andrews
Are you a golf aficionado? If so, move St. Andrews to the #1 position in your top ten places to see in Scotland.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is the birthplace of modern golf. Since 1750, it’s acted as the international ruling body for the game of golf.
Here you’ll find a majestic clubhouse, the British Golf Museum, and plenty of fairways to test your skills. If you visit at the right time of year, you may even catch a round of the British Open!
4. Loch Lomond
If Loch Ness is Scotland’s most famous lake, then Lock Lomond is its most scenic. Located northwest of Glasgow, Loch Lomond is the largest lake in the British Isles.
Fishermen will enjoy the opportunity to catch salmon, whitefish, and trout. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can journey to the top of Ben Lomond, located almost 4,000 feet above sea level.
Don’t miss Cameron House at the southern tip of the loch, one of Scotland’s most beautiful and romantic castes.
History buffs will love exploring the ruins and monuments in Stirling.
For nearly 1,000 years, Stirling saw battles between the Scots and the English. The Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) and the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) are two of the most famous.
Wallace Monument offers beautiful views and boasts artifacts supposedly owned by William Wallace. And you can’t miss the 12th-century Stirling Castle, perched atop a tall volcanic crag.
6. The Isle of Skye
Nature lovers flock to the Isle of Skye, the largest of the country’s inner islands.
Also known as “Cloud Island,” this scenic isle wild mountains, emerald valleys, stunning waterfalls, and sandy beaches. You’ll also find an abundance of native wildlife, including seals, otters, and over 200 species of birds.
There’s a bridge connecting the island to the mainland, although it’s a lot more fun to catch a local ferry.
7. Northern Highlands
Scotland’s Northern Highlands boasts some of the most rugged and spectacular scenery on earth.
An ancient fault line runs through the region, stretching from Inverness in the south to Thurso in the north. Much of the area is uninhabited, making it ideal for hiking, biking, and camping.
The few small villages that are in the highlands are idyllic and lovely. Don’t miss Dornoch, John o’Groats, or the Pentland Firth.
8. Shetland Islands
Everything about the Shetland Islands is cute, from the chocolate-box villages to the island’s small but hardy ponies.
With a unique blend of Scottish and Nordic cultures, the Shetland Islands have earned their place in the top ten places to see in Scotland.
Located just south of the Arctic Circle, at a latitude of 60.5 degrees N, these islands are about as wild and unspoiled as it gets. If you’re there in January, you can get a taste of Viking culture with the annual fire festival, Up Helly Aa.
Still haven’t seen enough gorgeous scenery? Head to Glencoe, Scotland’s most serene and scenic valley.
Hiking through Glencoe is like stepping right into Photoshop. You’ll be awed by the sight of Loch Leven and the peaks of the Three Sisters mountain range.
At the lower end of the glen, you’ll find the cone-shaped Pap of Glencoe. This mountain makes for some great photographs, especially in the winter when it’s blanketed in snow.
10. Skara Brae
The last of our top ten places to see in Scotland is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Skara Brae.
This prehistoric village on the island of Orkney was inhabited between about 3100 and 2500 BC. Its remoteness means that it’s exceptionally well-preserved.
Visitors can see stone houses, furniture, and tombs that date back over 5,000 years. It’s also in a spectacular setting, right on the edge of the North Atlantic.
Visit the Top Ten Places to See in Scotland
Are you ready to experience the vacation of a lifetime?
If so, you need to visit the top ten places to see in Scotland.
Whether you love historical castles, rolling green fairways, or rugged coastlines, Scotland has something that’s perfect for you.
Click here to learn more about the exceptional experiences that await you in this beautiful country!