10 Scenic Towns to Visit and Explore in Scotland

by Planet Hopper Girl

Scotland is a dream destination for many, with breathtaking scenery, historic castles and wildlife to discover throughout your journey. During my two week road trip in Scotland exploring the NC500 route and nearby islands, I noted down a few scenic villages that I would definitely love to come back for a stay-cation. Here are the top 10 scenic towns to visit and explore in Scotland, that are close to some epic scenery and diverse experiences.

Planning a Trip to Scotland ?

You can find the itinerary I followed for a two week road trip that covered all the places below in my blogpost two week road trip in Scotland exploring the NC500 route and nearby islands

Let us see the top ten scenic towns to visit and explore in Scotland

1- Portree, Isle of Skye

Portree Town, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Portree Town, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Portree, the capital of Isle of Skye is a pretty romantic little town filled with cute houses and shops. The charming theme of this town catches your attention as soon as you enter. The colorful harbour is filled with boats including some old boats giving it an old setting look at the same time. The town has some really cute shops making the shopping opportunity here very unique and it is a hub for other entertainment like music, theatre, movies etc.

On the way to Old Man of Storr from Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: On the way to Old Man of Storr from Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Staying at Portree offers many outdoor options to discover nearby. Skye is a heaven for mountaineers as with a wide range of mountains and trails to explore- Treshnish to the North which has the Old Man of Storr and the Cuillins in the Center and the South. 

2- Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Tobermory Town, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Tobermory Town, Isle of Mull, Scotland

Tobermory, one of the busiest towns on the Isle of Mull, is another picturesque village that has the Arctic ambience as you see similar coloured houses as you see in the bays of Sweden and Norway. Tobermory harbour is bigger and has so many types of coloured houses that looks like a lego themed island.

Isle of Mull island, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Isle of Mull island, Scotland

From Tobermory, you can catch boats and ferries to a series of islands in the sea formed by volcano lava and hunt for some sea wildlife. Whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, puffins; the list goes on depending on the time you visit. We saw some seals and birds during our journey but were not lucky to see whales or dolphins, which we saw earlier during the trip in Inverness. If you love animals like me, you can read this blog on wildlife spotted in scotland and where to see them.

3- Oban, Scotland

Oban view from Isle of Kerrera, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: View of Oban from Isle of Kerrera, Scotland

Oban is a pretty and relatively large town in the south west of Scotland, but in my opinion one of the top places to visit and stay at. It is an amazing busy town with lots of nice architecture and is known as seafood capital for food lovers out there. What makes it a best spot to stay at is it being a ferry hub to catch a ride to most of the islands around here. It is a 45 minutes ferry ride from Oban to Mull and a 5 minutes ride to the Isle of Kerrera. If you don’t know about Scottish islands, here is a good start. 

A ferry ride from Oban, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: A ferry ride from Oban, Scotland

During my two week road trip to Scotland, I only took two island trips due to time limitations and covid restrictions, which made finding tickets more difficult. I have become an island fan from this experience and have marked Oban as a place to go back and explore further in future. 

4- Torridon, Scotland

Shieldaig, Torridon, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Shieldaig, Torridon, Scotland

I would call Torridon one of the most scenic towns in the NC500 route with amazing landscape and scenery. The picture says it all 😉

Torridon, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Torridon, Scotland

If you do not have the budget or time to do the entire NC500 route just going to Torridon and around Applecross will give you a good taste of the scenery Scottish highlands has to offer. I also spotted many native wildlife driving around here which you can see in my exclusive Scotland wildlife blog

5- Plockton, Lochalsh

Plockton, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Plockton, Scotland

Plockton is my favourite village in Scotland that I could even see myself retiring here. It is frequently referred to as the “Jewel of the Highlands”. With scenic Loch Carron view, some tiny islands and stunning houses or cottages, it is a perfect setting for a staycation. Many many movies are shot here and I can see why. I would love to go back and stay there for a week reading some of my favourite books or maybe write one 😉 

Plockton, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Plockton, Scotland

The seafood here is the most amazing I have ever had in my life, don’t miss the crab and the linguistines. Further more,  the restaurant I ate at, Plockton Hotel,  had one of the best services I have ever experienced. If you are looking for authentic Scottish experience and a tranquil village to stay for a holiday, go to Plockton!  Kyle of Lochalsh, another amazing location and the Eilean Doan Castle,  is very nearby and all the places around Loch Carron will provide you with amazing views of islands including Skye. 

6- Kinlochleven, Glencoe, Scotland

Kinlochleven Village, Glencoe, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Kinlochleven Village, Glencoe, Scotland

Glencoe near Fort Williams is a popular outdoor destination with a mountain resort and has many famous walking trails. It is located in the banks of Loch Leven and a famous Glen, the road is actually passing through an old volcano. The drive via this region is definitely one of the scenic most for a reason. Kinlochleven is a small village at the end of Loch Leven at the foot of stunning mountains with epic scenery along the route.

Kinlochleven, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Kinlochleven, Scotland

7- Fort Augustus, Loch Ness

Fort Augustus,Loch Ness, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Fort Augustus,Loch Ness, Scotland

Fort Augustus is in the south of Loch Ness, one of the scenic Lochs in Scotland. This is a famous town with a Lock (read boat staircase) that lets boats in the canal  travel upstream. The shops here are very cute too and it is a romantic place to stop by or stay at. This town is very popular among cyclists and walkers. 

Invermoriston Bridge, Lochness, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Invermoriston Bridge, Lochness, Scotland

Invermoriston in a scenic little village near Fort Augustus that hosts Invermoriston falls and this very old bridge supporting the main road. On one side of the road there is a short walk to another old bridge where this picture was shot from, and the other has has a trail to a little summer house, as seen under the bridge in the picture above, which has a great view of the two bridges. Don’t miss this walk if you visit.

8- Inverarary, Loch Lomond

Inveraray, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Inveraray, Scotland

Inveraray is a pretty town overlooking Loch Fyne with a lot of character making it so special and unique. I actually went there to see the famous Inveraray castle not knowing how splendid a town it was. With an epic black and white theme, this town is designed with careful planning and all the shops have a theme to them. The scenic loch view is breathtaking with a stunning bridge. This town also has a lot of history attached to it including a 19th century prison called the Inveraray Jail.

Planet Hopper Girl: Inveraray Town, Scotland

9- Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland

Blair Athol Distillery, Pitlochry Town, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Blair Athol Distillery, Pitlochry Town, Scotland

Pitlochry is another pretty village which actually has the charm of Europe to it. The cafes here reminded me of Italy and California. The village hosts multiple distilleries nearby including Blair Athol and Edradour and is very picturesque. There is also Pitlochry Dam which is well known for its Salmon ladder, specifically designed to allow Salmon to make their way past the dam, but it was closed to due to Covid restrictions during our visit, however we were lucky to still spot salmons jumping to escape during the trip at Rogie waterfalls.

Pitlochry Dam, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Pitlochry Dam, Scotland

10- Luss, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland

Luss Village, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Luss Village, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Scotland

Luss is my most favorite village in Loch Lomond for its charming houses. The ambience of the shops and houses here is magical and you would love a walk through the village down to its pier here. 

Luss, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs,Scotland

Planet Hopper Girl: Luss, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs,Scotland

The drive from Luss to Balloch is pretty scenic and the mountains here are great for a hike. I have been to Luss twice and I totally recommend it if you visit this area. Unfortunately I have lost some of my pictures taken in Luss, so you can find some better pictures here.

I hope you found the top ten towns to visit and explore in Scotland interesting. I would certainly recommend these places to be added onto your Scotland Bucket List. If you have already been there, let me know your ranking and do suggest places I missed out.

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Planning a Trip to Scotland ?

If you want to plan a getaway to Scotland including these places, here is the itinerary I followed pinned on a downloadable map. You can easily find all the highlights around a location in the map. Don’t forget to pin for future reference!

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Leave a Comment


Nicole September 17, 2020 - 11:08 am

Great suggestions, the Isle of Skye looks amazing and is slowly creeping up to the top of of my list

Planet Hopper Girl September 17, 2020 - 9:49 pm

Thanks Nicole. Put it on top, you will thank me later hehe.

Jayati | Between Longitudes September 17, 2020 - 2:13 pm

Scotland looks breathtaking! This is a fantastic guide who would be thinking about planning a trip to Scotland.! I am bookmarking this, Scotland is in my Bucket list for long!

Planet Hopper Girl September 17, 2020 - 8:42 pm

Thanks Jayati. I am glad the guide is useful and wish you enjoy Scotland. You will make it soon, keep aiming and it will happen soon.

Kelly September 17, 2020 - 4:07 pm

I love them all! They are so quaint and colourful, they remind me of the east coast of Canada. I could really see myself wanting to visit Portee and Glencoe for the mountains and the hiking trails. More places to add to the list lol.

Planet Hopper Girl September 17, 2020 - 8:41 pm

Glad to hear you loved it and makes me happy at the proximity of experiencing east coast Canada when I make it. You will love Portree and Glencoe.

emma September 17, 2020 - 4:46 pm

Wow Scotland is so breath taking! The isle of skye has been on my bucket list for ever! I cant wait to visit one day

Planet Hopper Girl September 17, 2020 - 8:40 pm

Thank you for reading. My instagram is filled with Isle of Skye pictures too since I am back. It is amazing as you already know. Hope you go soon, let me know how you find it.

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