People often ask me what places they need to visit in Scotland. My response is everywhere! Seriously. If you ever meet someone who says they don’t love Scotland, one of two things is true. 

  1. They’ve never been there. 
  2. They’re the sort of person you never want to travel with. Like, ever

There’s such a variety of things to see and do in Scotland that if you’ll never get bored. Shopping? They’ve got it. Hiking? They’ve got it. Museums? They’ve got some of the best. Castles? Around every corner. 

With so much on offer, it might be a bit overwhelming to try and plan a trip. To make life a bit easier for you, here’s a round up of all my favorite, must-see places to visit in Scotland: 

Edinburgh

Edinburgh skyline
Edinburgh

The capital city of Scotland, this place has got it all. I have to admit, Edinburgh is one of my favorite places ever. It’s a great walking city – you can get pretty much anywhere you want to go within a 15-minute walk. 


The Royal Mile is a great place to start. The Edinburgh Castle sits at one end, and Holyrood Palace at the other. Between, there are all sorts of shops, pubs and restaurants, and whiskey-tasting venues to entertain. Fans of Princess Diana will want to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was one of her favorite ways to take a family vacation. 

Oh, and if you love books, Edinburgh is a UNESCO World City of Literature. It’s chock-full of bookshops, literary museums, and literary-themed pub crawls, and it plays host to the wonderful International Book Festival every year. 

Click here to see all of our Edinburgh posts.

Orkney

standing stone
The Ring of Brodgar

The islands off to the north of mainland Scotland are excellent locales for all lovers of history! Historically, the Orkney islands belonged to the Vikings, who established permanent homes there, from which they sallied forth to pillage and plunder. The people still celebrate their Viking heritage, in traditional Scandinavian fire festivals and in St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

Orkney’s history begins long before the Vikings, though. There are several archaeological sites on the islands which date back to the Neolithic era. The most famous of these sites is the village of Skara Brae, which is older than Stonehenge. 

Read our Orkney posts here.

The Isle of Skye

Red Cuillins
The Red Cuillins

Visitors often find it difficult to get out to Skye during their stay. It is a bit of a time commitment, I’ll admit, but it is 100% worth it. I always tell people that when I was there, it was raining, colder than snot, and muddy up to my ankles the whole time. It was still one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 

Skye is a great place for outdoorsy types. The hiking and scrambling are excellent, and the views make it worth the effort! 

If you’re more of a literary type, there’s plenty for you, too. It seemed like every place on Skye had a story about it. Be sure to ask the locals!

Depending on your situation, it might be easier to take a but tour out to the island. Several companies operate Skye tours, which run anywhere between day trips to week-long excursions. Tours depart from Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. 

Check out our Isle of Skye posts here.

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