1. Isle of Skye
Famous for its picturesque fishing villages, rocky sharp cliffs and medieval castles, the Isle of Skye has long been voted one of the most beautiful scenic places in Scotland. The largest of the Inner Hebrides, Isle of Skye is connected to Scotland’s north-west coast by both the Skye Bridge and the Mallaig. Every year, tourists flock from far and wide to visit this magical location to enjoy the breathtaking views and crystal-clear Fairy Pools. While it may be too cold, wet or windy to take a dip during your visit to this ethereal island, you can still admire the cascading waterfalls which glow in the sunlight or explore the mystical atmosphere of Fairy Glen.
One of the most enchanting attractions Scotland has to offer, the story goes that fairies once existed in this area, and in medieval times, these mythical creatures were considered evil! While you may not spot a fairy during your visit, it’s easy to spend the morning or afternoon gazing at this large-scale geological wonder while frolicking through the cluster of hills and long, thick grass. Be warned, the Glens are on private property, so it’s important to respect the wishes of the locals.
If you’re seeking a thrilling adventure and you’re ready to up the ante, you can even hike the winding Glen Circular trail and get lost in the rugged woodlands. Undoubtedly one of the best viewpoints in Scotland, the Isle of Skye is certainly worth the visit and hike down.
Built on an extinct volcano, Edinburgh is known as the crown jewel of Scotland. Located just four hours out of London, the history of this bustling town dates back to before Roman times. While you’re there, visit the Old Town for a taste of Scotland’s medieval past or enjoy a stroll down the Royal Mile, which stretches between Holyrood Palace and Edinburgh Castle. Wander through the New Town’s dark, cobbled alleyways and visit Calton Hill where you can admire the eclectic mix of modern and ancient architecture that makes Edinburgh so unique.
It’s also worth making the trip to Edinburgh Castle, famed for being one of the oldest fortified palaces in Europe. Constructed in the early 12th century and once a residence for ruling Scottish monarchs, this towering building now serves as a museum. It’s an extremely popular tourist attraction, with people travelling from all over the world to see this beautiful building. Granted, it’s not hard to miss! Edinburgh Castle stands 135 metres above sea level and overlooks the city from a volcanic crag known as Castle Rock. With a picture-perfect view of famed Scottish landmarks, this scenery makes for the perfect landscape photograph.
Although there are countless restaurants tucked in between Edinburgh’s famous museums and restaurants, if you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure, hike the lush green highlands and rolling hills that Arthur’s Seat has to offer. Sitting 250 metres above sea level on a dormant volcano, the hike may be strenuous, but it’s worth every step when you reach one of the best viewpoints in Scotland. After experiencing all of the wonders this unique towering castle has to offer, enjoy a Tennent’s Lager at the local pub down the road.
3. Glen Coe
Known for its high rounded peaks which slope down to the banks of River Coe, this gorgeous valley is located in the Scottish Highlands and is the perfect place to soak up the awe-inspiring Scotland landscape. Located two hours from Edinburgh, the beautiful valley glistens in the sunlight while the tops of the mountain remain immersed in soft, grey clouds.
If you’re travelling to Scotland in winter, revel in the buzzing atmosphere that Scottish pubs are known for before hitting the slopes at Glencoe Mountain Resort. One of the five ski resorts in Scotland, you can enjoy the marvellous views while skiing, snowboarding or sledging. In the summer, the resort shifts its focus to walking and mountain bike riding. There are downhill and cross country bike routes along with fun outdoor activities like tubing. Whatever time of the year you visit, you won’t regret taking the cable car up to the top of the mountain to catch views from Eagles Rest and the summit of Creag Dhubh.
4. Bow Fiddle Rock
Sitting just out of the sea on the stunning coastline between Portknockie and Cullen, Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch that resembles the tip of a fiddle bow. This Quartzite rock formation is both a popular tourist attraction and a place where sea birds nestle. To view the entire rock in all of its glory, you’ll be able to snap the best portrait and landscape pictures when you visit this Scottish landmark at low tide. If you’re an early riser and happen to catch a glimpse of the sun poking through the thick, white clouds and jagged rock formations, the photographs you’ll capture will be more beautiful than any postcard you’ll find in Scotland!
5. Ben Nevis
The tallest peak in the United Kingdom, Ben Nevis towers above Fort William and clocks in at 1345 metres above sea level. Once an enormous active volcano that erupted over 350 million years ago, the rocky mountain sits proudly in the Highlands and is usually veiled by thick, fluffy clouds, swirling winds and dustings of white snow in winter. If you pack your hiking shoes in your luggage, you can climb the mountain and reach the summit within four hours. If you’re an experienced mountaineer or fitness fanatic, you can even take part in the Three Peaks Challenge. Whatever time of the year you visit this magical location, pack your raincoat — the Ben Nevis summit is one of the wettest places in all of the UK. It’s usually around 8 degrees at the top of the mountain, so layer up if you’re planning to scale it. When it’s cold or icy, the descent down can be somewhat tricky, so tread carefully!
Nestled on the banks of Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan is a hamlet in the Lochaber area. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you might recognise the Glenfinnan Viaduct that overlooks the Jacobite monument. Constructed in the early 1980s, the Viaduct is a whopping 280 metres long, making it the lengthiest concrete railway bridge in all of Scotland.
Watch in awe as the real-life Hogwarts Express glides across the railway and dips in and out of the towering mountains as puffs of thick steamroll into the air. Just a few minutes walk from the car park, the Viaduct departs from Fort William Station, and the round trip has been described as one of the world’s most scenic railway journeys. When you ride the train, you’ll have a full view of the incredible architecture, stunning Scotland countryside and may even be able to spot some of Highland Scotland’s wildlife — look for red deers and eagles soaring high. After your train ride, stroll through the ancient Caledonian pines that Glenfinnan has to offer and keep your eyes peeled for darting dragonflies, tiny butterflies, otters and golden eagles. Alternatively, visit the surrounding villages that boast incredible views of Loch Shiel, which is bordered by steep, mossy mountain peaks.
7. Loch Ness
An easy drive from Edinburgh, people come from all over the world to visit Scotland’s most famous lake. Since 1933, legend has it that a mythical creature has inhabited the waters and surrounding land, with alleged sightings of this long-necked monster being reported over the decades. Learn more about this centuries-old folklore and its fanciful tales by heading to Drumnadrochit and visiting the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition — this is a dream location for history buffs. The centre even features a small hotel, so you can stay overnight before visiting Fort Augustus. Located at the south end of Loch Ness, the fortress was built in 1715 and became the official headquarters of the English General Wade in 1729.
Famed for its picturesque setting on the Caledonian Canal, you can soak up the sun and sit alongside the water at Loch Ness while watching boats fly through the lake. Then head to Spean Bridge, which is located to the south of Loch Ness and offers magnificent panoramas of the northern side of Ben Nevis. By far one of the best places to visit in Scotland, the quaint village underneath Spean Bridge is best known for its towering Commando Memorial. Immerse yourself in this historic and scenic area and take the perfect picture before you go hiking, climbing or wildlife watching.
8. The Isle of Barra
One of the most magical places to visit in the summertime, feel the salty wind in your hair and the crisp golden sand beneath your feet as you roam the Isle of Barra — dubbed by locals as “Barradise”. Voted as one of the world’s most beautiful islands, you’ll see the best viewpoints in Scotland as you gaze into the distance.
While it may not be warm enough to take a deep in the crystal clear blue waters, you can enjoy the breathtaking views by the sandy grasslands as you snap your portrait and landscape masterpieces. Whether you arrive by sea or air, bike or foot, this tiny tropical haven will bring you peace and tranquillity as you admire the dreamy coastline.
If relaxing on vacation isn’t in your nature, you can walk or bike ride at Vatersay — an idyllic little isle that’s located in the south of Outer Hebrides. But be warned and be careful; this winding trail is a challenging climb or bike ride thanks to its rollercoaster-like inclines and dips.
Experience the best viewpoints in Scotland for yourself
There are so many beautiful places in Scotland that are begging to be seen and admired. It’s bursting with green spaces, lush forests, towering mountains and rugged Scotland landscapes that you can explore for hours on end. Step outside of your comfort zone and bike ride through the cobbled streets, get lost in the country’s history museums, explore the ancient castles, enjoy long hikes up towering mountains and embrace the elements as you pause and genuinely admire the best viewpoints in Scotland. With countless sites to see, outdoor activities to partake in and things to learn, your vacation schedule will be jam-packed before you know it!
No matter whether you’re enjoying a short day trip or a week-long stay in this beautiful country, you’ll need to have your camera at the ready so you can immediately capture the many beautiful places in Scotland on film.
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