Scotland has it all, doesn’t it? Deep fried mars bars (that I’m still too scared to try), Hogmanay, Annie Lennox, J. K. Rowling (who once said of herself “They see me Rowling, they hatin’…“) and of-course those wonderful kilts that I genuinely wish I could pull off! Despite the fact that kilts don’t suit me, there are thankfully other things that are just as great about Scotland (actually, even better) and possibly cause less of a draught to your nether regions – the pretty towns and cities that make up Scotland!

I fell in love with this wonderful country after living there for 6 years. I had the best time there, though those short-lived Scottish summers do get some getting used to!

Thankfully, there’s a multitude of wine cellars, whiskey houses and old-style Scottish bars that’ll see to those summer woes right up and get you raring to go explore some of Scotland’s most impressive towns and cities. Take a look at the top places to include while exploring beautiful Scotland.

The Best Places To Visit In Scotland

1.) St Andrews

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I just had to include my old university town! I love St. Andrews! This tiny little town is literal a stone’s throw from the North Sea and houses the world’s most famous golf course. The town is cut off off to most of Scotland (in that it doesn’t even have it’s own train station) but this just adds to the charm. It’s also got lots of students here so you’re guaranteed a good night in town when you visit. 🙂

Thinking of visiting St. Andrews? Take a look at some of the best sights in this pretty little town!

2.) Edinburgh

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This stunning captial city is a perfect place to spend a long weekend exploring the multitude of historic sights, Royal Mile and furious hopes to bump into J.K. Rowling. Plan a long weekend and take advantage of the many free things to do in the city, before heading out to some of Edinburgh’s best bars!

Planning a visit to Edinburgh? Don’t miss these 14 essential experiences that everyone should have! 

3.) Falkirk

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Take a wander around Falkirk to see one of Scotland’s most impressive works of art, the Kelpies. These stunning horse heads have been commissioned as a meeting point for 16 communities that surround them. Take a wander around and even try one of Scotland’s deep-fried mars bars for a little sugar high!

If fried Mars bars aren’t your thing, then don’t forget to try this authentic Scottish meal whilst in Scotland! 

4.) Perth

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Spend an afternoon exploring the historic charm of Perth. There’s actually a surprisingly huge amount of sights to see here and ways to keep the traveller in you very happy when you’re in Perth. For starters, take a trip to Scone Palace and Elcho Castle to explore some of Scotland’s royal heritage and historic opulence – you might even find your own Prince or Princess Charming… or at the very least an ogre with a Scottish accent! 😉

Perth is really easy to visit from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Hop on a train and within just over an hour you’ll be there!

5.) Carnoustie

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Carnoustie is home to Scotland’s second most famous gold courses (after St. Andrews, of course) but there’s so much more to do in Carnoustie than just golf. Carnoustie is definitely a must-visit for a nature buff and if you’re one of those people I long to be, an early-bird, take a stroll at sunrise and enjoy a truly beautiful view.

6.) Fort William

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Prince William has never invited me to see his fort (*boooooo!*) but thankfully no one needs an invite to explore this quaint little town (*yayyyyyyy!*). With it’s stunning scenery and picturesque mountains (which have no doubt inspired many a poet and crooner) this is perhaps one of the very best places to get lost in nature!

7.) Anstruther

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Anstruther is home to one of the best things in all of the UK….the best fish and chip shop EVER! (Like seriously, they win LOTS of award for their fish and chips!) If you pop in to try the fish and chips, do bring me back some too! 😉 This tiny fishing village in perched in the Kingdom of Fife, about an hour north east of Edinburgh. You can also take a boat from here to the Isle of May to see those cute (and seemingly elusive) puffins!  🙂

8.) Pitlochry

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Famous for its castle and salmon, Pitlochry is definitely one place to enjoy the finer things in life. It’s also close enough to Perth and the Cairngorms for you to make this a 3-in-1 trip! When you visit, do head straight for Blair Castle or Atholl Palace and set up home for as long as you can! 🙂

9.) Glasgow

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Edinburgh’s arch rival, Glasgow has so much to offer and a completely different feel from its neighbour, Edinburgh. Take a wander around the Burrell Collection, Pollok House and even discover the now world-famous Santa Dash that happens every year!

Thinking of visiting Glasgow? You must include these experiences on your trip!

10.) Portnahaven

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This tiny little fishing village is situated on the Isle of Islay. Take a wander around one of Scotland’s unspoilt villages and enjoy a true throwback in a place that time forgot.

Image via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10

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  • I’d love to go back and see more of Scotland!:)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Same! We always feel like we don’t have enough time when we visit. We’re heading up next week and already realising we’ve allocated far too little time! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Rue Roxanne
    • HandLuggageOnly

      So glad you like x

  • Edinburgh’s up there on my list! I’m thinking that might be one of the stops on my Europe trip this year!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      YAAAS! It definitely should be – you’d love it Rachel 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Ahhhh this is making me want to cry! I miss Edinburgh already even though its only been two weeks since we left. It certainly didn’t help that today I rehashed the memories while writing my latest (and last!) Edinburgh blog post. *sad face* I should definitely branch out though and see more of Scotland!

    Also, deep fried Mars Bars is not scary at all! It’s surprisingly ‘mild mannered’ if a little sickly sweet but definitely not terrifying at all – please try it and tell me what you think! x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is a stunning city isn’t it Jasiminne. So glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. We lived in Edinburgh for over 5 years and never tried one… how terrible is that! We’ll definitely try one next week! 🙂

      We’ll blame you If we get addicted and end up gaining 20kg in weight! Haha! 😉

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Barbara Hyatt

    I’m shocked that, while Glasgow is on this list, Inverness is not! I much prefer Inverness to Glasgow!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Ah good point Barbara – we’ve yet to visit Inverness, we hear the natural wilderness around the town is amazing! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Islay is definitely worth a visit!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s stunning isn’t it! 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

      • I’m constantly trying to figure out how to get back but everytime I go to book everything’s full. Must get on my game if I’m going to make it work.

        • HandLuggageOnly

          Haha! Definitely! 🙂

  • Kathi Kamleitner

    I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Fort William as a town to visit – it’s more of a necessary stop on your way to the Ben or other places in the hills. Instead I’d add Oban, Tobermory on Mull, Portree on Skye, Ballater, and maybe Banff/MacDuff or Fraserburgh on the north coast 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Tobermory is a little gem.. you’re right about that! We’d love to go there and Portree – I would love to spend a few weeks going across through all these little places and discover so much more of Scotland.

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Deborah Williams

    Just recently took a 3.5 week solo self-drive tour of Scotland – hit 6 of your 10 (and that was after I finished a 3.5 week solo self-drive tour of Ireland)! I can’t wait to go back and find all the things I missed. Love your post, but I’m curious to know the location shown in the title photo. Thanks!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      That’s amazing Deborah! So, so happy you had an incredible time! It sounds like the whole trip was fantastic.

      With regards to the photo – the featured image is from Edinburgh and the small village is from one of the tiny hamlets on the west coast. Hope that helps. 🙂

      Lloyd & Yaya

  • Shroppie

    I feel Falkirk is the odd one out. It’s just on this list for The Kelpies?. They are miles away from downtown Falkirk and more accessible from the M9 when travelling from Edi to Stirling.

    (However, I like these kinda places though, where real people live and not many tourists around, like Leith before the gentrification began..)

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Same. We wanted to include The Kelpies but also a side of Scotland that many visitors might not think of seeing, like Falkirk.

      Edinburgh is a great city isn’t it!