The charm and beauty of the people, the majesty of its natural beauty and the overwhelmingly intricacies of the culture make Scotland one of the most exciting tourist destinations. Ancient castles and modern architecture live together throughout all of Scotland’s major cities. A vast history and an ever-evolving culture allow for our Top Ten Scotland Attractions list to cover a vast variety of interesting and spectacular destinations.
10. Loch Ness
Deep beneath the second largest loch in Scotland possibly lurks the legendary Loch Ness Monster. The freshwater body rests 16 meters above sea level in the Scottish Highlands just southwest of Inverness. Visit Drumnadrochit’s Loch Ness exhibition to learn about the legendary loch and try to catch a glimpse of Nessy herself.
9. Isle of Skye
A large island off the northern Scottish mainland, the Isle of Skye is a breathtaking spot of land that is characterized by numerous peninsulas jutting into the sea. Millions of years of erosion has created jagged ridges rising from the ocean, truly a stunning geographical wonder. Visit a number of small communities and historic landmarks on your tour of Scotland’s second largest island.
8. Ben Nevis
Situated deep in the Scottish highlands, Ben Nevis is the British Isle’s highest mountain. Offering spectacular views and historical malice, Ben Nevis attracts viewers, hikers and climbers alike to enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding nature. Hiking up the mountain is readily accessible via a man-made path which zig zags up its south westerly face, while the rock face on the north west of the mountain is strictly for experienced mountaineers only.
7. Urquhart Castle
Overlooking Loch Ness, the ruins of the 13th to 16th century fortification played a pivotal role in the fight for Scottish independence and was able to withstand frequent raids from the MacDonald Lords of the Isles. Today visitors can tour what is left of this fortress that has witnessed a considerable amount of violence and bloodshed.
6. Arthur’s Seat
flickr/Antonio M. Mora García
Visible from essentially anywhere in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat stands tall in the city’s Holyrood Park. Put on a good pair of shoes and climb the steep pathway that leads to the very top. Stop into St. Anthony’s Cathedral for a quick rest before you reach the pinnacle of Arthur’s Seat, 251 meters in the sky.
5. National Museum of Scotland
This impressive museum houses collections highlighting Scottish history, the natural world, cultures from around the globe, art of various periods and the wonders of technology. Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland has a broad range of antiques and exhibits, a one stop educational shop sure to keep you busy for a while.
4. Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle is a stronghold that served as a residence for royalty and was a military fortress during times of war; the castle is complete with a Royal Palace, gardens and a number of grand halls. Surrounded by three cliff sides, the palace is structurally supported by a number of lower vaults. Originally used as storage, today the vaults are home to the artisans that help create the delightful interior of the royal home.
3. Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan is a small island in the western Highlands of Scotland. Connected to the mainland by a footbridge, the island is dominated by a picturesque medieval castle. The original castle was built in the early 13th century as a defense against the Vikings. Today, the castle is one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland, and regularly features in television and films.
2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
22 galleries filled with over 8000 objects, a stop into Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must. Natural history, art from a variety of periods, and a collection of arms and armor throughout time are all interesting stops to this extensive collection. Exhibits are made fun and interactive making this a perfect place to take the little ones.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Set upon a large rock above the Scottish capital, Edinburgh Castle was the primary structure that helped forge Scotland’s rich history. Originally a small fort dominated by Iron Aged hill warriors, the castle was constructed in the 12th century to keep hold of the budding Scottish civilization. The castle served the people of Edinburgh by fighting off numerous English attacks during their ongoing fight for independence.
Map of the top ten tourist attractions in Scotland