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Things to do in Scotland

Things to do in  Scotland

Welcome to Scotland

Scotland boasts centuries of colorful history, UNESCO World Heritage–listed treasures, and a rich culture. With lively cities sprinkled among unspoiled landscapes of beaches, lochs, peaks, and valleys, Scotland has plenty to offer visitors of all ages and interests. The capital city, Edinburgh, is an ancient settlement where efficient hop-on hop-off bus tours shuttle travelers to landmarks like mighty Edinburgh Castle, the creepy Edinburgh Dungeon, and the famous Royal Mile; travelers can also witness the pomp and ceremony of the annual Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Other cities such as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness, and Stirling all offer experiences filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. Travel by road or rail into the Scottish Highlands to experience the magic of Loch Ness or Loch Lomond, or follow hiking trails through the wilderness of Glencoe. History lovers can explore Alnwick Castle and Stirling Castle—constructed to protect Scotland against attack—and Hadrian's Wall, where the country's Roman past comes to life. To experience the best of coastal Scotland, take a multi-day tour out to the Isle of Skye or the remote Orkney Islands, where dramatic skyscapes and wild pastures await. And if you're thirsting to sample some of the world's finest Scotch whiskies, make sure to visit a traditional distillery such as Bowmore or Laphroaig on an Isle of Islay tour.

Top 10 attractions in Scotland

#1
National Wallace Monument

National Wallace Monument

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Built in the mid-19th century, this Gothic-style tower commemorates William Wallace, the medieval Scottish freedom fighter whose story was fictionalized in the 1995 blockbuster, Braveheart. Exhibits chronicle key episodes from Scottish history, while the top offers views of Stirling Castle and the surrounding countryside.More
#2
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

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Edinburgh Castle—with its fortress walls, cobbled promenades, and winding stone steps—has loomed over Scotland’s capital city for more than 1,000 years. Steeped in history, the former royal residence is now a museum, featuring detailed exhibits; period artifacts, such as the Scottish Crown Jewels; and dark dungeons that illuminate the castle’s storied past.More
#3
Glenlivet Distillery

Glenlivet Distillery

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Amid the rolling glens of Scotland’s premier whisky region, Speyside in the Cairngorms National Park, The Glenlivet Distillery opened in 1824 and is considered as the granddaddy of all single malts. Distilled in unique lantern-shaped copper stills and matured in the obligatory oak casks for at least 12 years, The Glenlivet has a fruity, smooth flavor thanks to using Scottish barley and spring water from the local Josie's Well. Now owned by French company Pernod Ricard, it is one of the largest distilleries on Speyside and the biggest selling whisky in the USA, producing nearly six million liters of single malt each year while still maintaining many traditional production methods, all be it on an industrial scale. Unlike most of the smaller Speyside distilleries, bottling does not take place onsite but it has an award-winning visitor center with an exhibition showcasing the development of the brand as well as a café selling whisky-drenched cakes.One of the major highlights of the self-driven Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside, The Glenlivet Distillery is open for guided tours and tutored tastings of various drams; visitors can also bottle their own single malt to take home.More
#4
Orkney Islands

Orkney Islands

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Separated from the northern tip of mainland Scotland by the choppy waters of the Pentland Firth strait, the Orkney Islands are an archaeological wonderland. Comprised of about 20 inhabited islands and many more uninhabited ones, Orkney is littered with prehistoric ruins and Viking remnants. The islands’ interiors, a patchwork of heather-clad moors and fertile grasslands, are encircled by superb sandy beaches and sheer coastal cliffs.More
#5
Isle of Harris

Isle of Harris

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Split into North and South Harris by Loch Tarbert, the north of Harris is all about the dramatic mountains while the south is home to some of the best beaches in the country, like Luskentyre — the famous sandy bay that looks out to the blustery isle of Taransay. Though it may come as a surprise, the Isle of Harris isn’t actually an island at all. It’s actually joined with Lewis.Harris is world-famous for Harris tweed, and there’s a strong tradition of quality crafts shops and galleries. For a feel of how crofters’ life must have been in the not-so-distant past, visit the abandoned village of Molinginish and wander the stone croft blackhouses. Near the village of Rodel, the medieval kirk of St. Clement is also a popular visit. From Harris, it’s also possible to take a boat trip over to the craggy island of St Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to over a million birds. A popular place for hill walking and kayaking, many hikers come to Harris to climb Clisham, which at 2,621 feet, is the tallest mountain in the Outer Hebrides.More
#6
Scott's View

Scott's View

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Named for Scotland's greatest Romantic novelist of the late 18th century, Sir Walter Scott, Scott's View affords travelers an epic panorama that spans southern Scotland's green landscape. The writer lived nearby while completing his greatest works, includingRob Roy andIvanhoe, and his favorite spot in nature (of many) was at the top of Bemersyde Hill above a meander in the river.From here, travelers can see the three peaks of the Eildon Hills, the sparkling water of the River Tweed and the heather-clad hills, as well as the rolling Tweed Valley laid out below. In spring, the foreground is covered in jasmine-colored gorse, while in fall the view glows russet and brown. Sir Walter Scott so loved this view that his hearse pulled up here one final time on the way to his funeral.These days a simple stone plinth and plaque marks the spot, which is included on a range of cycling and walking routes, plus many day trips from Edinburgh into the Borders area. Scott's View is a favorite local spot for newly married couples to be photographed.More
#7
Loch Ness

Loch Ness

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While visitors flock to Loch Ness hoping to catch a glimpse of its elusive and eponymous monster, Loch Ness—a lake in the Scottish Highlands—is worth the trip even if you don’t believe the rumors. Vast and surrounded by magnificent Scottish scenery, Loch Ness is a popular boating and sightseeing spot.More
#8
Crathes Castle

Crathes Castle

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Set among the wooded countryside of Aberdeenshire, the 16th-century Crathes Castle is known for its ties to Robert the Bruce. The tower house’s interior features original painted ceilings, portraits, and antique furniture, while the 593-acre (240-hectare) estate encompasses walled gardens and parkland threaded by marked trails.More
#9
Glencoe (Glen Coe)

Glencoe (Glen Coe)

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Bordered by steep, waterfall-threaded mountains, dramatic Glencoe (Glen Coe) is the stuff of Scottish postcards. Though it has historical significance—it was the site of the 1692 Glencoe Massacre of the MacDonald Clan—and its very own ski resort, Glencoe Mountain Resort, the valley’s main draw is its spectacular scenery.More
#10
Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

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One of the most photographed sites in Scotland, the Eilean Donan Castle dates back to the 13th century. Built as a defense against the Vikings and used during the Jacobite rebellions in the 18th century, this loch-side castle was restored in the 20th century and is now a popular destination for weddings and tours.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Scotland

The World Famous Underground Ghost Tour
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Ghost Bus Tour of Edinburgh

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Recent reviews from experiences in Scotland

star-5
Fun and beautiful
Danielle_G, Jul 2021
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
You have to see it in person.
star-5
Get out into nature
Ahuv_d, Jul 2021
Loch Ness, Glencoe, and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow
Having seen the highlights made me fall in love with Scotland!
star-5
Magnificent
Karol_J, Jun 2021
Glenfinnan Viaduct, Mallaig & Glencoe tour from Glasgow
Great drive through Scottish Highlands, Glencoe was magnificent, then a stop at the wonderful beaches near Mallaig which I never expected to see anything like that in Scotland, a lunch break in Mallaig where we could enjoy the coastline and the famous Hogwarts Express and the final stop was at the Glengfinnan Viaduct where we could enjoy the magnificent view and we could experience the Hogwarts Express crossing the viaduct as it can be seen in Harry Potter movie.
star-5
Wonderful tour
David, Aug 2020
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
When you like to see more of Scotland besides Edinburgh, I would highly recommend to book this tour.
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Roslyn Chapel/Hadrian’s wall
thomas_s, Mar 2020
Rosslyn Chapel and Hadrian's Wall Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
We stopped at Melrose for lunch was just right as it gave us time to visit the Abby.
star-5
Had a blast!
mdierker824, Jan 2020
Private Central Highlands Driving Tour
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the Highlands, castles and history of Scotland in your own private van.
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Nice drive around the city
jluv65, Jan 2020
City Sightseeing Glasgow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Given Jan 2nd is a banking holiday in Scotland which I did not know when booking this tour, all the attractions were closed but it was nice to see where everything was and listen to the commentary on Glasgow's significant locations, I was even able to use the bus as a transfer between my hotel and the train station :)
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Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
Karenanne3280, Nov 2019
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was a great way to see Scotland when I had limited time.
star-5
Excellent day, wonderful guide
294JulieL, Oct 2019
Stirling Castle and Whisky Small Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was a perfect way to see many things and learn a little about Scotland.
star-4
Nice experience
Discover52045564938, Oct 2019
Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles from Glasgow
We had the chance to see the beautiful landscapes of Scotland and learn a few things about it's history.
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St Andrews & Fife
akrtks, Sep 2019
St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
Enjoyed the entire tour and would recommend it for anyone wanting to see Scotland outside of Edinburgh.
star-5
Great tour!
Passport761861, Sep 2019
Oban, Glencoe, Highlands Lochs & Castles Small Group Day Tour from Glasgow
I was only in Scotland for a couple of days, so I took this tour to see some of the sights outside of Glasgow.
star-5
Desmond was a good tour guide
JemGakuya, Aug 2019
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Private Day Tour from Edinburgh
This trip is good for those who want to see the highlands and the lake without overdoing it.
star-5
Great trip
dpicard2018, Aug 2019
Rosslyn Chapel, Dunfermline Abbey and Stirling Castle Day Tour from Edinburgh
It was very interesting to see the battle place and learn about Robert the Bruce.
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Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle
BryanF673, Jul 2019
Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle and the Kelpies from Edinburgh
Stirling Castle could have used a little more time for touring, but still great to visit.
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Amazing castles
rodrigotafuri, Jul 2019
Scottish castles tour - private tour of four ancient castles
Totally worth it, we would love to visit again!
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Taste of Scotland in one action-filled day
gailkleink, Jul 2019
Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, Glencoe and Ben Nevis from Edinburgh
We were able to see the beauty of Scotland's Highlands, enjoy a cruise across the gorgeous Loch Ness, feed carrots to hairy coos, and stop for both much-needed bathroom breaks and photo spots!
star-4
Awesome Scotland Intro
Samone M, Jul 2019
Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness
Appreciated all of the lush lamdscapes and time taken off the bus by our guide to see areas.
star-5
Perfect trip
Curiosity01009733710, Jun 2019
5-Day Highland Explorer and Isle of Skye Small-Group Tour from Edinburgh
The agenda was packed with exactly what I wanted - great scenery, castles, local attractions, great food and and wonderful stories and tales about Scotland provided by Aaron from Rabbies - the best, most knowledgeable, funniest guide/driver ever!!!
star-5
Beautiful tour through the highlands
Wander20113578982, Jun 2019
West Highland Lochs, Mountains & Castles from Edinburgh
If you want to see Scotland as people live it,, then this is a terrific tour for you.
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