Top 15 Attractions & Things To Do In Scotland


While the major cities overflow with glorious architecture, whisky tasting shows and frenetic art festivals, the Highlands invoke the legend of King Arthur, pierce with the sound of bagpipes, enchant with the romanticism woven into the tartan pattern, sooth with abundantly grassy hills and hypnotize with mysteriously steamy lakes. A sense of enigma lurks in the countless fortresses scattered all over the country, rests up high on the spires of magnificent cathedrals, plummets from the edges of treacherous cliffs, and hovers over tranquil archipelagos.

Following some research into the preferences and opinions posted by users of various social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as own resources and reviews by the most popular travel sites, Open Travel has compiled a list of top 15 things to see or do on your Scotland Vacations. Let yourself be mystified!

  1. Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

    Old Town of Edinburgh

    Photo by Tilmandralle

    No other European capital could provide a canvas for The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On arrival you come to see the respectable figure of the Old Town's medieval tenements robed in the New Town's neoclassical chic. Heels tap rhythmically on the frigid cobblestones of the Royal Mile a...

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  2. Neist Point

    Photo by David and Lynn

    The Island of Skye, situated off the West coast of Mainland Scotland and with its 350 miles of coastline, is the largest and best known of the Inner Hebrides. Often referred in Gaelic poetry as Eilean a' Cheò, the Misty Isle, the place is famed for stunning natural beauty and wildlife. The drama...

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  3. Location: Glasgow, Scotland

    Glasgow Merchant City

    Photo by John Lindie

    Here in the heart of Glasgow, where tobacco traders once came to settle down, do business and build their warehouses, you will find a hermetic environment consistent with its historical roots and proud of its mercantile background. Overflowing with galleries, fine historic buildings, some of the...

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  4. Location: Loch Ness, Scotland

    Loch Ness

    Photo by Shadowgate

    Dark-watered, deep and mysterious, the Loch Ness is the instantly recognized lake not only in Scotland but worldwide. It stretches for over 20 miles along the natural geological cleft from Fort William in the west to Inverness in the north. Reaching as deep as 740 feet, the lake is the largest o...

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  5. Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland

    Dunnottar Castle

    Photo by Hossein Mansouri

    It doesn't take much effort to stumble upon gloomy medieval fortresses in Scotland, but frankly, Dunnottar beats them all with its evocative and dramatic location. Perched at the edge of a cliffy headland about 3 kilometers south of Stonehaven, the castle is now heavily ruined, but its former glo...

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  6. Location: Hebrides, Scotland

    Beaches of Outer Hebrides

    Photo by Gordon Hatton

    Rising majestically from the sea at the northwest edge of Europe, this 150 mile-long island chain of beaches, culture, wildlife and adventure is a paradise for activity-packed summer stays and a wonderful place to unwind. The Outer Hebrides have some of the most breathtaking straps of golden san...

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  7. Soothing golden beaches, mesmerizing cliffs and a world of truly wild nature where seals and otters frolic in quiet coves and the air is filled with the sound of wild birds. That's Shetland Islands. The group consists of over one hundred islands north of Scotland and astonishes with dramatic ice...

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  8. Location: Lochaber, Scotland

    Called the last great wilderness , the Scottish Highlands mesmerize with grand mountain scenery, shimmering lakes, solitary inns, spooky ruins and a wealth of legends. It's a realm of your childhood fantasies, an oasis of tranquility, a paradise for walkers and rare fauna watchers. If you're in f...

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  9. Location: Hebrides, Scotland

    St. Kilda - The Cliffs Of Hirta

    Photo by CaptainOates

    The archipelago is a World Heritage Site that has managed to preserve ecosystems for thousands of years. These distant and solitary islands are home to the highest cliffs in Europe nesting the most important colonies and breeding sites of birds in the north-eastern Atlantic. A birdwatcher's parad...

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  10. Location: Pitlochry, Scotland

    Rannoch Moor

    Photo by Mahir Sayar

    Uninhabited and barely accessible, the Rannoch Moor has a sense of a legend and mystery interwoven into its heavy mists. The windswept expanses of peat bogs, sweeping moorland clad with heather, granite tors, and gnarled pines make for the spot's simple, yet beguiling beauty. Difficult to navigat...

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  11. Heart of Neolithic Orkney

    Photo by Shadowgate

    The Orkney Islands cut the water's surface where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet , that is at the very northern tip of Scotland. The pristine archipelago includes roughly 70 islands, 21 of which are currently inhabited. Deservedly, the Orkney is a little paradise for holidaymakers that...

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  12. Location: Scotland

    Speyside Whisky Distilleries

    Photo by foxypar4

    When you think of Scotland you see romantic castles, dramatic rugged landscapes and men in kilts maybe. But there is one more thing that should definitely not be left out, the whisky. Whisky, Uisghe Beatha, The Water of Life as it is often referred to, has changed and evolved for more than 500 ye...

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  13. Location: Scotland

    Firth of Clyde

    Photo by Robert Watson

    Held to be Britain's Most Beautiful Estuary, the Firth of Clyde stretches from its upper tidal limits in Glasgow to the outer firth in Argyll and Ayrshire, feeding a wealth of bustling towns and idyllic villages nested along its banks. The natural charm of numerous sea-loch, wild beaches and ador...

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  14. Location: Melrose, Scotland

    Melrose Abbey

    Photo by Akinom

    Melrose Abbey sits somewhere along the scenic St Cuthbert's Way  - a 62-mile (100 km) walk through the highly diversified countryside between the Scottish Borders town of Melrose and Lindisfarne (Holy Island) off the coast of Northumberland. The trail commemorates the life of a 7th century monk...

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  15. Forth Bridge

    Photo by George Gastin

    Regarded as an engineering marvel, the Fourth Railway Bridge has been Scotland's world-famed landmark since it was opened in 1890 by the Prince of Wales. The steel construction of three separate double cantilevers linked together by 350ft long girder spans joined to the main structure of the brid...

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USER RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. ricechrisb Oct 19, 2009 11:35 AM

    Neist Point is a fantastic place, brilliant choice. Bounding over the rocks and sitting to watch the sea is beautiful here. Saw a few jellyfish here myself.

  2. alan Oct 19, 2009 11:36 AM

    you forgot to mention get wet,all very nice to see,when you can see through the fog and rain

  3. Banni Oct 19, 2009 8:53 PM

    The picture of 'Merchant City' isn't in Merchant City. That's of what is coalloquially called the 'Galleries'. Merchant City is actually about 300-400 yards away from there.

  4. Nix O'Neill Oct 20, 2009 12:49 AM

    Visited Orkney last October - Skara Brae, The Stones of Stenness, Maes Howe: all fabulous.

  5. JRM Oct 20, 2009 2:32 PM

    If a list of things to do and see in Scotland doesn't include a golf course, then the list is, by definition, bogus

  6. Big Bob Oct 20, 2009 2:42 PM

    What? No mention of seeing the Famous Glasgow Rangers? Pish list I'd say. Smashing photos though...

  7. Eddie Oct 21, 2009 5:21 PM

    The Highlands have nothing to do with King Arthur at all. It's an English myth, not Scottish. The places that claim a link to King Arthur are all in England, Wales, or the north of France... oh well. Plus, if you're in Glasgow in the summer you should check out Kelvingrove Park, a couple of hundred drunken weigies is a cultural experience unlike any other.

  8. Robert Oct 21, 2009 7:52 PM

    Hey Eddie. Edinburgh was known as Gododdin in the dark ages. Wiki it and you'll see it has plenty claim to be involved heavily in any arthurian legend.

  9. Nic Oct 23, 2009 3:20 PM

    Wiki is the worst sorce for information there rob

  10. Fiona Oct 26, 2009 1:02 AM

    Calton Hill is not the headquarters of the Scottish Government. Whoever wrote this should have done some proper research.

  11. Dave Oct 29, 2009 4:52 PM

    I Can't believe you didn't include St Andrews - "Home of Golf", and a beautiful small city as well.

  12. Cat Oct 30, 2009 8:47 AM

    Where is St Andrews?! Such a definitional locale brushed off.

  13. Lorna Oct 31, 2009 12:34 PM

    I understand Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle (the McLeod castle) in Scotland. That one is not a ruins.

  14. Greig Oct 31, 2009 3:11 PM

    It's spelt WHISKY.

    To all those who say St. Andrews should be included: You're wrong and you're idiots.

  15. Wendy Porter Nov 13, 2009 10:18 AM

    I love this site and it inspires me even more to make a trip to the birthplace of my dad someday. Dad came to Canada when he was 11 years old and unfortunately never had the opportunity to revisit his homeland so I want to do it for him. Now I have some concrete places to visit other than Paisley, where dad was born.

  16. Kat Apr 28, 2010 12:20 PM

    Wow. Beautiful photos.

    That said...the majority of comments have been smug, arrogant and annoying.

    Really people. A person labors on a post and shares it with the internet world so strangers can enjoy it. Is this the correct way to show appreciation?

    Tsk, I say. Tsk.

  17. Doris Hecht Dec 28, 2012 12:27 AM

    Scotland is a lovely country; in fact, it is our favorite country to visit. All places have the good, bad, and ugly. Look for the good and you will find it!

  18. madeira hotels Sep 26, 2013 4:20 PM

    That's of what is coalloquially called the 'Galleries'. Merchant City is actually about 300-400 yards away from there. Tourism Guide Madeira

  19. su Jan 18, 2014 8:41 AM

    Greig: It's "SPELLED" (not spelt)

  20. gra May 3, 2014 4:38 PM

    Such it is both ways. Spelled and spelt.

  21. Name: Jul 24, 2014 12:24 AM

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