Places to visit in Scotland

While I travel, I always set up a ton of drafts for new posts. I like to write ideas down as soon as they pop into my head. I then ignore them until inspiration strikes me, write a bit, leave it again, write a bit more and so on. You get the idea. This goes on until I finish the post. 

This one has been gathering dust in my drafts for almost a year. So, instead of writing about some of my more recent trips, I decided it was time to finally grace the world with this one: a list of my top 5 favourite places in Scotland.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect really, with winter dawning and Christmas fast approaching I can’t help but think back to my amazing month-long exploration of Scotland last year. Some people might expect Scotland to be terribly dull and dreary in winter, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Scotland in December is what Christmas dreams are made of, a true winter wonderland. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Scotland twice, but it is without a doubt one of my favourite countries in the world. The people are lovely, the nature is breathtaking, and Edinburgh might just be the most beautiful city in Europe, especially at Christmas: pure magic!

But there is so much more to see and discover outside of Edinburgh. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the Isle of Skye, but I am certain I will be back in Scotland before too long and will definitely make my way up there. Until then, this list of the places you must visit in Scotland will have to do:

1. Edinburgh

cemetary graveyard Greyfriar Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world. It is just so beautiful and charming! You can spend days walking around, looking at the amazing Medieval and Georgian architecture, enjoying the many free museums, eating at the many cafes and restaurants and party the night away. In fact, there is so much to do in Edinburgh that I dedicated not one, but two posts to it!

Where to stay: The Kickass Hostel on Grassmarket deserves its high ratings! The hostel is centrally located, big, comfortable and the bar on the top floor is the perfect place for hanging out and making new friends.

2. Cairngorms National Park

Scotland Cairngorm National Park Aviemore beautiful reindeer

Cairngorms National Park is a large mountain range perfect for hiking, skiing, mountain climbing and other outdoor activities. The nature is stunningly beautiful and its arctic climate even allows for reindeer! The reindeer feeding and petting hike is still one of the best things I have ever done, they are just so cute and cuddly. Be sure to ride the funicular all the way to the top as well for breathtaking views.

Where to stay: the Youth Hostel in Aviemore is great and conveniently located. It is a warm, dry and cozy place to recover from a frosty hike or day on the slopes. There’s a fireplace, a big communal kitchen and the showers are amazing.

3. Oban

Oban Scotland viewpoint winter harbour

Not too far from Glasgow, this adorable little coastal town will steal your heart. It’s a great place to start exploring the Highlands and islands of Scotland. The town itself is charming, the surroundings perfect for hiking and you can visit the Oban whiskey distillery for a tour.

Where to stay: I may be a bit biased because I volunteered here for a week, but there is no better place to hang out in Oban than in the cozy Skyroom of the Backpackers Plus Hostel.

4. Inverness

Inverness Scotland viewpoint sunset castle

The capital of the Highlands is the fastest growing city in Europe. It’s beautiful, lively and offers lots of tours into the surrounding countryside. It’s not as well known as Edinburgh, but very charming and there is a lot to do. Don’t miss out on the mysterious Loch Ness and the impressive Culloden Battlefield which you can easily visit on a day trip from Inverness.

Where to stay: Bazpackers Hostel offers great value for the price and is conveniently located. The hostel is small but cozy.

5. Glasgow

Glasgow Scotland Graveyard mausoleum Necropolis

Although often described as Edinburgh’s uglier sister, Glasgow has plenty of charm of its own. The industrial city looks grey and gloomy, but don’t let that fool you! There are a lot of pretty sights to see and cool things to do here. Glasgow is young, hip and also incredibly vegan-friendly.

Have you been to Scotland? What are your favourite places there? Let me know in the comments.

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favourite places to visit in Scotland

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