1. Cities
  2. Edinburgh
  3. Glasgow
  4. St Andrews
  5. Scottish Landscape
  6. Quiraing
  7. Glencoe
  8. Fingal’s Cave
  9. Old Man of Storr
  10. Loch Ness
  11. Loch Lomond
  12. Scottish Castles
  13. Dunnottar Castle
  14. Eilean Donan Castle
  15. Urquhart Castle
  16. Stirling Castle
  17. Melrose Abbey
  18. Scottish Monuments
  19. The National Wallace Monument
  20. The Standing Stones at Callanish
  21. Skara Brae
  22. The Kelpies
  23. Forth Rail Bridge

Scotland is one of most beautiful places on earth which is attracting millions of tourists every year. People are drawn in by the multicultural, vibrant cities, lovely views, remains of turbulent past and hundreds of breathtaking castles.

Below is our ultimate, must see Scottish Bucket List divided into four categories: cities,  landscapes, castles and monuments.

Cities

Edinburgh

Calton Hill
Stormy Calton Hill by Andy Smith (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

More than fifty golf courses, hundred green spaces and neoclassical architecture in amounts so great to justify its name “Athens of the North” with majestic Edinburgh Castle like a jewel in the crown.

All that makes Edinburgh to be classified as one of the world’s most beautiful cities in the world.

The Capital city of Scotland is divided into two parts, antique Old Town with long and narrow streets and New Town build with glamorous Georgian architecture. The city is well known for it’s distinctive, world famous festivals like The Fringe or Edinburgh International Festival.

Glasgow

Glasgow
Clyde arch, Glasgow, Scotland by Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0)

Some claim that Edinburgh is prettier than Glasgow but the latter is surely more dynamic, this unique city has risen from its turbulent past to become the centre of Scotland's culture, cuisine and shopping.
Great gems of architecture are spread out across the city and patronage of the wealthy citizen proven local museums and galleries with lots of reasons to be proud.

St Andrews

St Andrews
IMG_8957-2.jpg by Evan Wilson (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Known worldwide as the home of Golf, St Andrews used to be the religious capital of Scotland. The City’s Cathedral although ruined still stands proud and dazzles tourists with its mysterious beauty.

Along the rugged coast line, there’s also the Castle with amazing maze of underground tunnels to aid its defence.

The city is also home to the Scottish Oldest University so there's more than enough of night life around. “The home of golf” has 7 golf courses including the world famous Old Course.

 

must see map

Scottish Landscape

Quiraing

Quiraing
Quiraing, Skye sunrise by Mark (CC BY-SA 2.0)

An extraordinary mass of towers and pinnacles into which cattle were driven during forays.
A very rough track zigzags up to The Needle, an imposing obelisk rising 120 feet high beyond the needle lays The Table, a flat grassy area slipped down from the summit plateau. This area provides some of the most impressive views in Scotland.

See Also: Isle of Skye 1 Day Trip

Glencoe

Glencoe
Glencoe by Petr Meissner (CC BY 2.0)

Nowhere in Scotland, the travellers are able to admire the more dramatic landscape than here. The road through this glen meanders between the mighty peaks sometimes dark and transverse other times full of light and charm.
The Weeping Glen has long been known for its dark history with the most famous Glencoe slaughter which took place winter of 1692. Nowadays Glencoe is the place to go for the ski and snowboard lovers as well as hill walkers.

See Also: Everything About Glencoe A to Z

Fingal’s Cave

Fingals Cave
Fingal's Cave, Staffa by James West (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Staffa island hides one of the most precious of Scottish natural monuments: Fingal's Cave. Formed from extraordinary columnar basalts. The columns typically have three to eight sides, forming groups of amazing hexagonal columns.
This view inspired Mendelssohn to write the Overture called "Fingal's Cave".

See Also: 15 Scottish Landscapes You Will Never Forget

Old Man of Storr

Storr Sunrise
Storr Sunrise by Kris Williams (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The Old Man of Storr pinnacle towers above Skye horizon and can be seen from miles around. This area is attracting lots of tourists each year and is one of the busiest walks on Isle of Skye and one of Scotland's most iconic places.
The pinnacle juts forth 2360 feet above the Storr plateau. Legend has it that, it once was part of a tripod for a giant’s cooking cauldron.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness
Loch Ness by Duncan McNeil (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

It does not get more Scottish and iconic than Loch Ness. It’s 300m deep loch with distinctive pitch black cold water. Beeing 42 km long it is definitely the longest loch in Scotland and is surrounded by picturesque hills.
On the side of the loch stands the ruins of Urquhart Castle. The place rightly deserves its reputation of a very atmospheric area and we think that it is best explored along the north shore.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond by Ian Dick (CC BY 2.0)

It Is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain by surface area and the beauty of this place was praised in countless works of arts and poems, songs and legends.
It lies within the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and the whole region is widely attractive to hill walkers and active people due to its high peaks and sports centres along the shores.

 

 Where to stay in Scotland:
Booking.com has over 6000 different properties in Scotland. You get a free cancellation on most rooms and the best price guarantee.

 

Find more places to add to your Bucket list with this great books:

peter irvine

Scottish Castles

Dunnottar Castle

Last Light At Dunnottar Castle
Last Light At Dunnottar Castle by bergjagger (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Dramatically located, stands alone on a  rocky headland. In 17th-century Dunnottar Castle was home to Scottish Crown Jewels and England unsuccessfully besieged its walls for 8 months also the Castle dungeons witnessed exceptional tortures and deaths.
The castle walls have left traces of its turbulent past but Dunnottar is still looking mythical, especially at dawn.

See Also: Scottish Castles Trail

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan
Skye_2004 08 17_059 by Harvey Barrison (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Absolutely everybody who drives past this castle will take a picture. This small restored 13th century Castle is claimed to be the most photographed place in Scotland and certainly one of the iconic must see places while in Scotland.
Blended with dramatic scenery along the way to the Isle of Skye Eilean Donan Castle cannot be missed.

Urquhart Castle

Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle am Loch Ness, Schottland by sodele (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Once one of the biggest castles in Scotland, situated on the banks of magical Loch Ness now in ruin with a graceful tower standing tall on its grounds.
Views from the top rewards all the effort taken to reach it.
Nowadays it’s also a modern tourist centre with an exhibition of medieval objects.

Stirling Castle

Forework, Stirling Castle
Forework, Stirling Castle by dun_deagh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

As if engraved from the very rocks on which it sits Stirling Castle towers above the plains which saw quite a few battles shifting the fate of the country.
Certainly was one of the biggest and most crucial fortresses in Scotland's history. Features some outstanding works of architecture. Nowadays is the 5-star extraordinary visitor attraction.

See Also: Stirling Castle Ultimate Guide

Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey
Melrose Abbey by Elena Gabrielli (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

High arches of this proud but now ruined abbey must have seems a miracle even to faith seekers from 12 century. Even nowadays it’s hard to believe that this breathtaking building was raised so many years ago.
Melrose Abbey fell prey to looting and destruction of war and now stands ruined with the spirit of Robert The Bruce whose heart was supposedly buried in this place.

Scottish Monuments

The National Wallace Monument

Wallace Monument
Wallace Monument From Stirling Castle by dun_deagh (CC BY-SA 2.0)

75-meter tall tower commemorates William Wallace and his fight for Scottish independence. While going up through the spiral staircase there are some nice themed halls with amazing exhibits including a huge sword that belonged to William Wallace himself.
From the top visitors can enjoy some fine panoramic views towards four corners of the earth.

See Also: The National Wallace Monument

The Standing Stones at Callanish

Calanais
Calanais 1, Eilean Leòdhais, Isle of Lewis. by Seán Ó Domhnaill (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This one can be found on Isle of Lewis which is the part of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. This megalithic structure must be one of the most popular spots to visit in the region.
It consists of 12 standing stones and one central stone. The area is rich in stone circles of similar structure. The legend says that giants once inhabited the island, but were turned into stones by St Kieran. 

See Also: 10 Unmissable Things To Do On Outer Hebrides 

Skara Brae

Skara Brae
Skara Brae by Ade46 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

UNESCO World Heritage Site older than Egyptian's pyramids. Uncovered from the sand in 1854. The archaeologists were astonished to find 5000 years old settlement of the Stone Age which inhabitants had left suddenly, leaving most of the equipment behind.
Today at the visitors centre you can admire the stone tools and furniture used by people from the Neolithic period. While you visit you can also learn what life looked like 5000 years ago.

The Kelpies

The Kelpies
The Kelpies by 4652 Paces (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Made by Scottish artist Andy Scott 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures can be adored from April 2014 in the Forth and Clyde Canal area.
According to sculptor Andy Scott, the original concept of mythical water horses was a valid starting point for the artistic development of the structures. The Kelpies are named after mythological transforming beasts.

See Also: The Finest of Falkirk

Forth Rail Bridge

The Kelpies
Forth Rail Bridge 2 by Kit Carruthers (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Another UNESCO World heritage Site. Forth Rail Bridge is a miracle of engineering from the Victorian era and is instantly recognisable all around the world. 
It joins North Queensferry with South Queensferry on the Lothian side. There are plenty of viewpoints around to stop and admire this breathtaking spot.