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  • Writer's pictureIne Vandenwyngaert

Scotland Travel Guide: 10 Amazing Places To Visit in Scotland

Updated: Mar 1

Scotland is the most northerly part of the four areas that make up the United Kingdom. It’s known for rugged landscapes defined by mysterious lochs, magical mountains, and gothic castles. Scotland also has a strong culture featuring Celtic music, traditional kilts, and sophisticated whiskies. It’s a true land of extremes, where the rainy and windy weather conditions pose challenges to live and explore, but the beautiful landscapes and friendly people make it a rewarding travel destination. In this Scotland travel guide, we highlight the 10 best places to visit, including things to do, places to stay, and places to eat for each destination. We also share some road trip itinerary suggestions at the end.


Check out our video about Scotland to see the best places to visit through our camera!

Table of Contents

Important Things To Know

Best time to travel to Scotland

Scotland’s high season runs from July to mid-September. This is when you will find the best weather but also most crowds. Days are longer, the weather is warmer, and hotel and car rental prices are at their highest. That said, it can still rain any given day and time! So you should always be prepared and carry a rain jacket.

The shoulder season is from May-June and mid-September-October. We traveled to Scotland during November and wouldn't recommend that time of the year as it rained most of our time.

Getting To & Around Scotland

Most international flights arrive at the Edinburgh Airport (EDI), though many European cities also connect to Aberdeen International Airport, Glasgow International Airport, and Glasgow Prestwick International Airport.

The best way to get around Scotland is by rental car, though keep in mind that they drive on the left side here, with the steering wheel on the right. There are also many roundabouts and with multiple lanes they can sometimes be very confusing! We found it particularly challenging driving around the busier cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Alternatively, you can take buses and trains between major cities and towns. However, it's difficult to get around the national parks and islands by public transportation. You can browse train routes and schedules at the official ScotRail website.

isle of skye waterfall
Isle Of Skye - A difficult place to navigate without your own car

Cost and currency

Scotland is part of the UK, and uses the Pound Sterling (£). We used our credit card all the time and never carried any cash. Credit cards seem to be accepted anywhere!

The cost of traveling around Scotland is high. Expect to pay between $80 and 250$ USD per person per day. The cost of food, transportation, accommodation, and activities is high, but you can easily reduce costs by spending some nights camping or cooking your own meals.

Safety in Scotland

Scotland is an incredibly safe place to visit. People are generally friendly and ready to help. As with most major cities, be careful at night as petty crime and pickpockets can be a problem.


Scotland uses the same plugs as the rest of the UK, which is the plug type G (three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern). This is different from the standard plugs in Europe or the US. We recommend purchasing a travel adaptor before traveling to Scotland.

Best Places To Visit in Scotland (+ places to stay & eat)

If you're traveling to Scotland and want to save time searching for directions to all of the places we mention in this article, then look no further than our custom map. Simply click on a point in the map below to get directions there for yourself!

10. Edinburgh

Edinburgh is located in the south-east and it’s Scotland’s most beautiful and interesting city. This is the place to take in the unique Scottish culture, with a vibrant pub scene and intriguing historic sites. Visit Edinburgh Castle to learn about its turbulent past, hike Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat to take in the beautiful scenery, or catch a live show at one of the many pubs along the Royal Mile. One thing is for sure: you won’t get bored here!

Where to eat & drink

  • Albanach: good pub food, try the "haggis" there.

  • BrewDog: go for live music

  • Jolly Judge: small but local pub (drinks only)

  • The Advocate: during the week they have great deals such as 2 meals for the price of 1

  • Scotsman's Lounge: pub with live music

  • Dishroom: the best Indian food in our opinion (though very expensive)

  • Union of Genius: if you're a soup lover just like us, you have to try this place

  • The Outsider Restaurant: great food, made from fresh local products

Where to stay

  • Straven Guesthouse: If you want to visit Edinburgh but don't want to stay in the city centre, this beautiful guesthouse is perfect for you. It is in Portobello, 50 meters from the beach and it is only a 15-minute drive by car or bike and 20 minutes by bus.

  • Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile: With its perfect location in the old town, this hotel is a gem.

  • Kick Ass Grassmarket (18+): Excellent location in the old town, but more affordable double rooms and hostel rooms with bunk beds for solo travellers!

Edinburgh at sunset

9. Stirling

Located about 40 miles or 64 kilometers to the west of Edinburgh, Stirling is known for its medieval castle. Stirling Castle is one of Scotland's most important castles thanks to its strategic position guarding a crossing point on the River Forth. Two of the major battles in Scotland's struggle for Independence were fought nearby. It's also worth strolling around the city itself and exploring other attractions, such as the National Wallace Monument, the Stirling Smith Art Gallery, the Old Town Jail, and Cambuskenneth Abbey.

Where to eat & drink

  • Brea - Scottish Restaurant: Scottish cuisine, burgers and vegan options.

  • Dempsey's Diner: great place for breakfast

  • Molly Malones: live music and beers

Where to stay

stirling castle scotland place to visit
Stirling castle

8. Loch Lomond & the Trassachs National Park

Situated approximately 60 miles or 96 kilometers to the west of Edinburgh, Loch Lomond & the Trassachs National Park is the oldest national park in Scotland. It’s one of the most popular places to visit thanks to its proximity to urban areas as well as a wide variety of activities. From taking a boat tour on Loch Lomond to hiking or biking one of the many trails, there’s a lot to do here. The West Highland Trail is a popular long-distance hike that crosses the entire park. Other beautiful but shorter hikes include Ben A’an in the Trossachs and Conic Hill on the east bank of Loch Lomond. We spotted many highland cows on the Conic Hill hike, making the trek extra rewarding!

Where to eat & drink

  • Clachan Inn