20 x the BEST places to visit in Scotland during a road trip

I went to Scotland two times now, and in the meantime I'm sure of one thing: if you're looking for the best places to visit in Scotland, then you should organize a road trip! The most beautiful highlights of this country are found in the vast nature and with a car it's way easier to get to.
From the Scottish Highlands to the fantastic Isle of Skye. But also a few special places in Edinburgh and Glasgow... Read on and get to know the best places to visit in Scotland!

scotland things to do

1. Neist Point

One of the absolute highlights in Scotland was the fantastic Neist Point. The Isle of Skye has a lot of beautiful natural landscapes (in this list I mention a few!), but this is certainly my favorite.
Even when you’re driving to this location, it’s impossible not to be enchanted by the beautiful landscapes! Along the way you’ll pass beautiful green valleys with lots of sheep, lakes and hills. The few houses that you see (which fit perfectly in the landscape, by the way) only make the surroundings even more beautiful.

Neist Point is actually the last stretch of the Isle of Skye before you hear and see the wild sea roar slosh against the dramatic rock formations. On this elongated spit there is a big lighthouse, but it’s almost completely swallowed by the greatness of nature.
Walk down the hundreds of steps and then climb the actual Neist Point. The views from here are sublime, wherever you look.

things to do in Scotland Neist Point

When you visit Neist Point you always get the company of dozens of sheep!

scotland road trip

The other side of Neist Point. You can easily spend a couple of hours here!

2. Fairy Pools

Yet another of the most best places to visit in Scotland must be the Fairy Pools. These slow flowing waterfalls are also found on the Isle of Skye and in total they stretch out over a few kilometers. Don’t expect them to be too loud, because these waterfalls only fall down very gradually. The water drops all the way from the beautiful mountain in the background and in some places fairytale like ponds arise (which you can also swim in!). The higher you go, the rougher the waterfalls become and the more magical this environment becomes.

best things to do in Scotland fairy pools

A hefty hike, but it’s worth all that effort!

3. Loch Morlich

Scotland is known for its many lochs (lakes), and Loch Morlich is certainly one of the most beautiful. The lake is not far from Inverness (the capital of the Scottish Highlands) and reminded me of an idyllic spot in Canada or Norway. This freshwater lake is surrounded by beautiful green trees and in the distance you see gorgeous hilly landscapes looming.
If you’re looking for a perfect place to set up your tent, don’t search any longer! The soft lapping water is also wonderful to swim in. And with this view, I’m sure you want to wake up here every single day!

loch morlich highlights scotland

This photo doesn’t actually do credit to Loch Morlich. It really is a heavenly place!

4. The magical steam train of Harry Potter!

Have you always wanted to see the Hogwarts Express (the train from Harry Potter) with your own eyes? Then you have to stop at the Glenfinnan Monument. Every day this magical tchoo-tchoo passes here a few times over the equally magical bridge.
You don’t actually get to see the train for more than two minutes, but that’s more than enough to get all excited! The green valley will be completely occupied by hundreds of curious tourists with their camera ready to shoot. When suddenly a gigantic plume of smoke appears from under the trees, everyone is obviously going crazy! What a magical feeling to see this locomotive with your own eyes.

steam train harry potter scotland

Trust me: if you see this train passing by, the magic of Harry Potter will come back to life right away!

5. Climb the Old Man or Storr

On the Isle of Skye you can also do one of the most beautiful walks in Scotland. Already from quite far away, you can see the typical rock peaks of this mountain, but they only become really impressive when viewed from a height. At first sight the walk to the top doesn’t seem very hard, but believe me… Your calves will definitely get a work out that they’ll remember!
Take plenty of water and perhaps even a snack with you, because you don’t want to miss the view from the very top. Besides the peaks, you also get an unobstructed view over the green valley a little further down.

places to go in scotland old man of storr

The Old Man of Storr. From up here, you get amazing views!

6. Quiraing

It seems like I can only talk with superlatives about the Isle of Skye! Quiraing is another natural wonder of Scotland. To get here, you first have to drive along a winding road that takes you past green hills and valleys until you finally arrive at this wonderful place in Scotland. From the parking lot that is next to Quiraing you already get a fantastic view, but it only gets better the further you walk. The green, yellow and earthy colors are irresistibly beautiful and the oddly shaped hilltops and rock peaks only make the landscape even more magical. It can’t get much more beautiful than this… Wow!

quirrang best places to visit in scotland

This really is one of the best places to visit in Scotland. Don’t you think so too?

7. Scottish beaches

If you’ve gotten enough of all that walking, you can also take a rest at the beach.
Say what? Beaches in Scotland?! Yes of course! And they are very beautiful too! Some even looked so heavenly that I thought for a moment that I had ended up in the Caribbean. Well … The Scottish weather makes it clear that this is not the case…
During a road trip through Scotland you’ll undoubtedly encounter dozens of beautiful beaches. Some of the most beautifil are among others Sound of Sleat Beach, Achnahaird Bay, West Beach, Oldshoremore Beach and Vatersay Bay.
The most beautiful beaches are unfortunately far away from the civilized world. Therefore I don’t think it’s a bad idea to rent a car to get there (and so many other of the best places in Scotland)!

elgol-scotland-beach

Trust me… There are more than enough beautiful (sandy) beaches in Scotland!

beaches scotland

But the rocky beaches are beautiful too!

8. Eilean Donan Castle

There is no shortage in castles in Scotland. Most fortresses are not located too far from the cities, but Eilean Donan Castle is an exception. And that’s also what makes it one of the best places to visit in Scotland! The gray castle is planted on a small peninsula in the middle of a lake. Where the water is not yet so deep, you can see a lot of dark stones with algae. Together with the fjord-like landscapes, they ensure that this is a favorite place for many photographers. So don’t forget your camera and start snapping pics!
If you would like to take a look inside, that is of course also possible. For £7.50 you can take a look at the noble interior.

eilean donan castle things to see in scotland

Eilean Donan Castle is also one of the highlights of Scotland for me. There are many castles, but they are rarely located in such a beautiful environment!

9. Loch Coruisk

The Scottish lakes are almost all very beautiful, but Loch Coruisk shouldn’t be missing on this list. From Elgol several boats depart daily to this remote lake. While sailing, you’ll almost always see dolphins or seals. The area around the lake is beautiful, but I recommend climbing a little higher up. The wonderful views you get on Loch Coruisk are truly breathtaking.
Before you drive to Elgol to visit this attraction, I recommend to first call the tour operators of the boats. In bad weather (and that happens sometimes in Scotland…) the ships don’t sail out. (Misty Isle boat trips: 0147 186 6288, Bella Jane: 0800 731 3089)

loch coruisk scotland things to do

Only seldom did I see such a beautiful nature as here!

10. Loch Lomond

The largest lake in Scotland isn’t Loch Ness, but Loch Lomond. This gigantic body of water is not so far from Edinburgh and Glasgow and is therefore the perfect location to start or end your trip through Scotland. There are many beautiful places around this lake, but I definitely recommend to plan one or more walks or hikes in this area.
Especially if you get a view of the National Park from a higher area you’ll be amazed.

loch lomond places to visit in scotland

The hikes are sometimes a bit heavy, but the views that you get are definitely worth the climb!

11. Loch Ness

When visiting Scotland, you can’t skip Loch Ness. Right? The environment around this lake is very beautiful, but (depending on where you are) it can also become very touristy. The Monster of Loch Ness still speaks to the imagination today, and some villages that surround this large lake have therefore fully adapted to Nessie.
Whether you’ll see it, I’m not so sure… But the surroundings and the villages around Loch Ness are worth exploring anyway.

scotland best places to visit loch ness

Loch Ness. Perhaps the most famous landmark in Scotland!

12. Sligachan Old Bridge

Maybe an old bridge is a bit of a weird sight to mention in this list, but if you’re in the area I really recommend to take a photo stop. This beautiful bridge is quite amazing in itself, but the environment in which it stands makes it really gorgeous.
Moreover, it’s the perfect place to have a bite, because nearby you’ll find a cozy restaurant with super delicious food! Be sure to try the sticky toffee pudding as a dessert here. Heaven!

sligachan old bridge scotland sights

This bridge is located in an idyllic setting and is therefore a popular photo stop!

13. The Kelpies

If you travel to Scotland, it is mainly to see the beautiful nature. But that doesn’t mean that there is no beautiful architecture! The Kelpies are a very modern sight compared to the rest of the things to visit on this list, but this clever piece of craftsmanship is really worth seeing with your own eyes.
Two gigantic steel horse heads are staring at you from quite high. If you come early enough you can even climb them!

the kelpies scotland

It mustn’t always be nature that is impressive in Scotland!

14. Hug a Scottish highlander!

Once you leave the Scottish cities, you’ll undoubtedly see a lot of sheep. But did you know that there are also beautiful cows grazing on the soft Scottish grass? The Scottish highlander is the pride of Scotland! These long-haired cows (with gigantic horns!!!) can be found pretty much everywhere in the beautiful natural landscapes and their fluffiness makes it impossible not to stop. Most cows are used to people and so you can pet them or feed them.

scottish highlander cow scotland

I think these are the most cuddly cows I ever saw!

15. Queensferry

Not too far from Edinburgh you’ll find Queensferry. A typical Scottish town, which became very atypical due to the huge bridges that connect this city with the surrounding area. I especially liked the red steel bridge because it looks like it constantly is in motion. The steel tubes and cables wriggle and twist and thus form a high-quality piece of architecture. It’s nice to see how city, architecture and nature can go hand in hand so beautifully!

queensferry scotland

Queensferry. A stone’s throw away from Edinburgh.

16. Edinburgh Castle

If you visit the Scottish capital, then you also have to pay a visit to Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh is magical, but the castle that towers above the city really is the icing on the cake.
You see this great fortress from almost everywhere in the city, but it’s only when you visit the castle that you realize how gigantic this building is. During the summer, the world-famous Military Tattoo is also held here. A beautiful spectacle with hundreds of dancers, actors and soldiers in typical Scottish costume (kilts and bagpipes!!!) and lots of fireworks!

scottish highlights edinburgh castle

The most famous of all Scottish sights: Edinburgh Castle!

17. Arthur’s Seat

If you miss the wonderful nature of Scotland while you’re in Edinburgh, I recommend climbing Arthur’s Seat. This substantial city park is located just outside the city center and from the steep cliffs you get an undisturbed view of the Scottish capital.
In a park you would expect a lot of benches and trees, but Arthur’s Seat is different. The odd green landscapes are perfect for anyone who like challenging hikes.

things to do in scotland arthur's seat

One of my favorite places in Edinburgh: Arthur’s Seat.

18. Calton Hill

Calton Hill is slightly less adventurous than Arthur’s Seat, yet it’s also one of Edinburgh’s busiest attractions. In this small city park you’ll find, besides the most beautiful view of Edinburgh, some monuments that seem a bit out of place. A Greek temple and a Roman pagoda. Strange? I think it’s beautiful!

calton hill edinburgh things to see

Calton Hill! From here you’ll undoubtedly get the best view of the Scottish capital.

19. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

You have to be in Glasgow for museums and culture. The most beautiful museum there I found the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum because there was a huge variety of things to see. The outside alone is already beautiful to watch!
Inside, you have a beautiful natural history museum with dozens of stuffed animals or skeletons. These statues are exhibited in a fantastic decor and you can certainly spend a few hours here.
On the other side of the museum you’ll find an art gallery. There you’ll find a lot of classical art, but I especially liked the modern art. The floating heads of Sophie Cave, for example. I think they’re fantastic!

kelvingrove art gallery and museum glasgow floating heads

The floating heads in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

20. The Glasgow Cathedral

Scotland was once a very Catholic country. A remnant of this is Glasgow’s magnificent cathedral. This dark-colored mastodon is surrounded by a hill that serves as a graveyard. The hundreds of tombs are all worth a look and from that height you also have a nice view of the cathedral.
The inside is very dark, but at the same time very nicely illuminated by the beautiful stained glass windows.

things to do in glasgow cathedral

The grandeur of the Glasgow Cathedral is impressive!

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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