Trying to find the best attractions in Scotland? This tourist map highlights the best places to visit to help you plan the perfect Scottish sightseeing tour.
Whether you’re searching for things to do in Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Highlands or the Hebrides – this map has you covered.
The best places to visit in Scotland
Edinburgh needs no introduction. As the capital city and the most-visited tourist destination in mainland Scotland, it’s home to many of the country’s top attractions including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, not to mention beautiful green spaces like Holyrood Park and stunning viewpoints such as Calton Hill.
The city is also home to an eclectic mix of traditional pubs and ultra-modern bars and restaurants.
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and is home to a dizzying number of tourist attractions – most of which are completely free. Kelvingrove Museum will keep families entertained for hours while children will be fascinated by the activities in the Glasgow Science Centre.
There’s also the Riverside Museum and the Tall Ship, Glasgow Botanic Gardens, the City Centre Mural Trail and The People’s Palace, to name just a few.
The Highlands is the largest area of Scotland, yet it’s also the least inhabited. Visitors to the Scottish Highlands can lose themselves in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes where dramatic mountain ranges and vast glassy lochs are waiting to be discovered around every corner.
Highlights include the North Coast 500 and the Cairngorms National Park.
Scotland’s Hebridean islands offer visitors some of the best experiences in the United Kingdom. The archipelago is split into two regions – the Inner Hebrides and the Outer Hebrides.
Highlights of the Inner Hebrides are the stunning scenery of Skye and the whisky distilleries of Islay. The Outer Hebrides, meanwhile, are famous for the ancient stone circle at Callanish on Lewis and the white sand beaches of Barra.
The regions of Central Scotland, Tayside & Fife are absolutely chock-a-block full of beautiful landscapes. From the pretty coastal villages of the East Neuk and St. Andrews in Fife to the serene waters of Loch Leven Nature Reserve in Perthshire, visitors have endless choices when it comes to finding things to do.
Strathclyde has a lot going for it. In addition to its amazing castles, coastline, forests, mountains, and lochs, this region is one of the best places in Scotland to use as a base for sightseeing tours.
The gorgeous Loch Lomond and Trossachs lie to the south, Glasgow and Clyde Valley sit near its centre, and the northern section extends into Argyll & Bute – all of which are some of the finest tourist destinations in Britain.
The Lothian region is perhaps best known as the home of Edinburgh, but that shouldn’t stop tourists from exploring beyond the city as there are a multitude of attractions waiting to be discovered. Whether it’s water sports on the Firth of Forth or castle tours in East Lothian, this is one area of Scotland that’s an absolute must-visit.
Grampian is a diverse region that includes the city of Aberdeen, part of the Cairngorm National Park, and the superb coastline between Fraserburgh and Nairn. As well as being an outdoor lover’s paradise it is highly rated by whisky enthusiasts thanks to the Speyside area which is one of Scotland’s largest producers of single malt whisky.
The Borders is a region that’s best known for its beautiful abbeys, tranquil forests, and gorgeous coastline. It can be reached within an hour from Edinburgh so it’s ideal for visitors that want to escape the city to enjoy the world-class 7Stanes mountain biking trails or walk along rolling hills on the John Muir Way.
Dumfries & Galloway is a very popular tourist destination, partly because of its attractive coastline and partly because of its vast stretches of unspoilt forest. The region plays host to a number of festivals each year including the superb Big Burns Supper, and it’s one of Scotland’s top destinations for nature lovers thanks to the stunning Solway Firth.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most beautiful part of Scotland?
There is no single ‘most beautiful’ part of Scotland, but there are a few areas that are widely regarded as being particularly beautiful. These include the Isle of Skye (especially the Quiraing), Glencoe, Loch Lomond, Glenfinnan, and the Isle of Lewis and Harris.
Other places that are considered amongst the most beautiful in Scotland are Edinburgh for its atmospheric medieval buildings, Cairngorm National Park for its dramatic mountain ranges, and Pitlochry for its unspoilt forests.
What should you not miss when visiting Scotland?
Must-do’s for anyone visiting Scotland include Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle, the Isle of Skye (especially the Quiraing, the Fairy Pools, and the Storr), Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, Loch Ness, and the Cairngorm National Park.
Visitors on an extended tour of Scotland should try to include; Glasgow city centre, Stirling Castle, Ben Nevis, the Isles of Mull and Islay, and the North Coast 500 route.
What is the best area to stay in Scotland?
The best area to stay in depends on how long you intend to spend in Scotland and where you will be travelling to.
Edinburgh is a recommended place to stay to explore the city, the Scottish Borders, and Central Scotland.
Glasgow is a recommended place to stay to explore the city, the Trossachs, Strathclyde, and Dumfries & Galloway.
Portree is a recommended place to stay to explore the Isle of Skye.
Fort William is a recommended place to stay to explore the Highlands.
Inverness is a recommended place to stay to explore the North Highlands.
What is the best time of year to visit Scotland?
The best time to visit Scotland depends on where you will be visiting, however, May is usually warm, midge-free, has low average rainfall, and is cheaper as it is out of the peak tourist season.
The two largest cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow have many attractions within a small area which can be enjoyed at all times of the year, and Edinburgh, in particular, has superb Christmas festivals in December.
The Highlands are extraordinarily beautiful in summer (June to August) but they are often plagued by midges. May and September in the Highlands see warm temperatures, fewer midges, and fewer tourists than in summer. Winter is generally best avoided for all but the most hardened hillwalkers.