Our Scottish adventure list – 13 places to visit

13 places to add to your Scottish adventure list

You didn’t think I’d be in Scotland too long before putting together a Scottish adventure list did you?

This beautiful country has just been voted the most beautiful country in the world by Rough Guide readers (and Canada came second?! WHAT?!). I’ve visited Scotland a couple of times and it’s easy to see how it won the title. Getting to adventure around Scotland was one of the things we were most excited for when we were moving.

While this list is in no way final (because we keep seeing more amazing places on Instagram and Pinterest), here are 13 places (plus a bonus) on our Scottish Adventure list. Incidentally, this is perhaps a list of 13 awesome travel photographers to follow on Instagram.

13 places that need to be on your Scottish adventure list

Ben More, Crianlarich

 

The North Face

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Daz spotted Ben More on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and it looks stunning. It’s not too far from Edinburgh so hopefully we can get this one ticked off before the days draw in. Having done some research into the hike, it looks like it’s incredibly unrelenting and is going to make me feel very unfit. Alas, the view from the top looks spectacular.

 

Isle of Skye

What list of awesome Scottish places to visit would be complete without mentioning the Isle of Skye? With it’s faerie pools, dramatic green landscape, moody weather, waterfalls, and the enchanting Man of Storr, it is everything we’re looking for in a place to visit.

There are so many stunning looking places on Skye we want to visit that I think this will turn into a few days of adventuring. That and the weather is so famously unpredictable that we might get one dry day out of four or five. Maybe?

 

John O’Groats

 

Pretty cool sea stacks #nc500 #visitscotland #coast #scotland

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I couldn’t care less about the whole tacky white sign thing, what I do want to see is the geographical (not political, ooh) end of the UK. There’s something weirdly exciting about looking out into the sea and knowing you’re stood at the end of a country.

 

Loch Ness

Loch Ness as seen from a tour boat

When you think about Scotland, one of the first places you think about is Loch Ness. Steeped in mystery and mythology, the dark loch is just somewhere you have to visit. I visited Loch Ness a couple of years ago, and sure it’s not the most beautiful loch in Scotland, but when you see it you can understand where the stories of a monster came from. Daz hasn’t visited yet so I definitely need to take him.

 

Eilean Donan Castle

One of the most visited castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan castle looks like it’s right out of Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. It’s on the main route to the Isle of Skye so exploring this castle would be the perfect thing to do on the way there or back.

 

Harry Potter walking tour of Edinburgh

 

The very photogenic Victoria Street, or Diagon Alley if you will ⚡️

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It is well known that J K Rowling worked on the series while living in, and being inspired by, Edinburgh. For any other Harry Potter adventurers, I came across this self-guided Harry Potter tour of Edinburgh which looks fantastic. Just walking around Edinburgh, it’s so easy to see how the Harry Potter universe came to life.

 

Skiing & Snowboarding

I learned to snowboard as part of Duke of Edinburgh though I didn’t actually make it onto a mountain, and Daz last went skiing on a holiday a few years ago. There is no way we’re living this close to a place we can go skiing and snowboarding and not doing it. I think I’ll stick to the bunny slopes though, once I’ve got over my fear of ski lifts; they just don’t look safe, what if I get tangled up in myself and fall flat on my face getting off? Serious fear.

 

Edinburgh’s underground


I only learned about Edinburgh’s underground a couple of months ago. Some part of the city you see today were built on top of existing parts, turning the original streets into tunnels and vaults. Mercat offer tours into the vaults which looks really interesting. It is marketed it as being haunted but I hope the ghost stuff isn’t too over the top.

 

Astronomy nights at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh & Calton Hill

 

Amazing photo of the stars by @kyleeeeliang ✨

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Both of us love space stuff and have wanted to visit an observatory for months, and now we have one right on our doorstep. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh runs public astronomy evenings every Friday throughout the year for just a fiver! We’re definitely going to get in on that as soon as we can.

On top of that, the observatory sits on top of Calton Hill, right in the city centre. We have heard that it’s supposed to provide better views over the city than Arthur’s Seat, so I guess we’ll find out if there’s any truth to that too. As another matter of interest, a fellow student told me that the Postgraduate levels in the main university library also provide amazing views over Edinburgh; so, if you’re a student get in that library and stare out the window! I mean, study.

 

Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail & Jacobite Express

 

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As two huge Harry Potter fans, visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct is high up our list. There’s a hike around the viaduct that takes a couple of hours, and hopefully we’ll manage to spot the Jacobite Express crossing the bridge. You can actually hop aboard the Jacobite Express and cross the viaduct pretending you’re en route to Hogwarts. I came across a blog post on Dangerous Business about her experience riding the train, and I am seriously hyped up to do it. That would be really fun to do when some of our Harry Potter loving friends and family visit.

 

Ben Nevis

 

#bennevis #highlands #scotland #mountains #landscape #valley

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As the highest mountain in the UK, a hike up Ben Nevis is probably the most adventurous thing on this list. With an estimated return hike time of 7 – 9 hours, this is probably one we’re going to have to leave until next summer to make sure we have plenty of daylight and (hopefully) better weather.

 

Coire Gabhail

Glencoe is one of my favourite places in Scotland, and Core Gabhail (also called the Lost Valley) is a hidden valley in Glencoe:

  • Visiting Glencoe – good
  • Hidden valleys – good
  • Custard – good (just a little Friends reference for you)

According to Walking Highlands the walk is 2 or 3 hours long, which gives us plenty of time to explore Glencoe some more.

If you’re interesting in visited Glencoe I cannot stress the importance of getting there early, or trying to go on a weekday if you can. During peak season, it is horrendously busy and you’ll struggle to find a parking space, and you might find a coach considerately blocking you in when you try to get out. The good news is that most of the visitors don’t stray too far from the road so the trails aren’t going to be jampacked and ruin your Scottish adventure.

 

Ben Lomond

 

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Loch Lomond is often said to be one of the most beautiful lochs in Scotland, so what better way to take it in than from the summit of a mountain? Seeing photos that look down to the islands on the loch really reminds me of Canada and the islands around Tofino.

With an estimated hike time of 4.5 – 5.5 hours, we might just be able to fit this one in before winter comes.

 

Bonus: Faroe Islands


No, I didn’t skip geography classes. The Faroe Islands are not part of Scotland at all but you can get direct flights to the Danish owned islands direct from Edinburgh. I keep seeing the Faroe Islands popping up all over Instagram at the moment and we’d like to go before it gets too touristy and the accomodation situation goes tits up and ends up like Iceland; in which it costs you a kidney to stay anywhere.

 

Traveling sustainably in Scotland

We all know that it is more environmentally friendly to travel by public transport. Traveline Scotland’s website has a great journey planner that will help you figure out how to get anywhere in Scotland using public transport. They also offer a carbon calculator to show you the CO2 emissions of your journey – which is pretty fun, and scary.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh as part of your trip public transport is the easiest way to get in, out, and around the city. With a single bus ticket costing £1.60, it is probably also the cheapest (again, depending on your circumstances) when you consider the extortionate costs of parking in the city.

Sometimes, public transport isn’t practical, so here are three tips if you need a car for your Scottish adventure:

  • Hire / use an electric or small car
  • Carpool; if you and your adventure buddies can fit in one car, get comfy with each other
  • Find out how many of these eco-driving tips you’re already doing, and what you can start doing

Where is on your adventure list at the moment?

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