Fife is a hidden gem on the Scottish east coast. Perhaps most famous for the historic town of St Andrews and the majestic Forth bridges, there is so much more to see! This list of great things to do in Fife will give you plenty of ideas and inspiration for great days out in Fife!

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You might have heard about Fife’s most famous town, St Andrews, and Dunfermline – Scotland’s newest city. If you are a fan of the Outlander TV show, you will have seen many beautiful locations all over Fife featured in the series – from Culross to Falkland.

But Fife has a lot more to offer. Time to explore the best things to do in Fife!

Read on for…

  • Lots of ideas for things to do in Fife and great days out, 
  • Suggested places to stay in Fife,
  • Tips for transport options and getting around in Fife, and
  • My favourite vegan-friendly eateries in Fife.

Fife is a brilliant region for weekend getaways or day trips from Edinburgh or Glasgow. The region offers something for every taste!

Fife is full of Outlander film locations – if you want to tour them and others, why not follow my Outlander’s Scotland itinerary?

Day Trip Ideas: Great Things to do in Fife

Dunfermline – Scotland’s newest city

Dunfermline is Scotland’s ancient capital. During the reign of Scotland’s King Malcolm III and his wife Saint Margaret, the town was the seat of the country’s royal power.

Kings and Queens were buried here until the 14th century – the last Scottish King to be buried here was King Robert the Bruce. You can see his tomb at Dunfermline Abbey and then visit the remnants of the old Abbey (£6, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders).

A day trip to Dunfermline is a great way to learn about the local history, visit the beautiful abbey church, stroll through the historic town centre and explore some of the local pub and restaurant scene.

Things to do in Dunfermline: Dunfermline Abbey, the historical buildings along the High Street, Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, Pittencrieff House Museum and Pittencrieff Park.

Food & Drink in Dunfermline: Heaven Scent Coffee Shop at Dunfermline Carnegie Library: Popular for Afternoon Tea (1 Abbot St), Tapas Ducal: Spanish cuisine and tapas (6-8 Nethertown Broad St), Khushi’s: Indian cuisine (1 Canmore St), The Creepy Wee Pub (17 Kirkgate).

All of these offer vegan options, although I would call in advance to enquire about vegan afternoon tea options at Heaven Scent.

Plan your trip with my Dunfermline Travel Guide!

Falkland – A Royal Jewel in North Fife

The village of Falkland is a must on any Outlander itinerary for Scotland. The picturesque conservation village at the edge of the Lomond Hills Regional Park stands in for Inverness in the series, but it is worth a trip just for its own sake as well.

The beautiful main square is a great starting point for an adventure around the historic centre of the village. Make sure you stop to marvel at the Market Cross, the Covenanter Hotel, Falkland Parish Church and the many little houses surrounding the square.

If looking at pretty buildings is simply not cutting it for you, and want to see one from the inside, consider visiting the Royal Falkland Palace (£13, FREE for National Trust for Scotland members. Join here!). 

Things to do in Falkland: Falkland Palace, village shops & architecture, Market Cross, a walk in the Lomond Hills (see below).

Food & Drink in Falkland: The Hayloft Tearoom (Back Wynd), Fayre Earth Gift Shop & Cafe (Mercat House, High St), Campbell’s Coffee House (The Cross, High St), Lomond Tavern (Horse Market).

Like in most places around Scotland, vegans can usually eat the day’s veggie soup or curry in these cafes! 

You might also like: Where to find all the Outlander filming locations in Scotland

The market cross in Falkland, Scotland.

Hike in the Lomond Hills

Falkland lies at the edge of Lomond Hills Regional Park and as such is a great starting point for hiking trips into the park! Several trails begin right in the village, first and foremost the popular walk to the waterfall at Maspie Den.

For a challenging tour up to one of the highest peaks in Fife, follow the trail leading towards East Lomond. It begins at the Market Cross in the village. After you’ve walked up Cross Wynd and left the historic centre behind, the trail leads through the woodlands up towards the hills. Find the full description of the trail here.

If you want a more relaxed, but still beautiful stroll through the woodlands of the park, go for a leisurely stroll around the Falkland Estate. Follow the same trail as to East Lomond initially, but soon after you’ve managed a first small ascent in the forest, turn right and choose from a variety of trails. There are many paths criss-crossing the estate, for example, the walk to the Tyndall Bruce Monument

What to wear & bring: Sturdy trainers or hiking boots (depending on the trail you choose), water + snacks.

Love exploring the east coast of Scotland? Use my Melrose guide to plan a trip to the Scottish Borders!

Coastal Adventures in Elie

The coast of Fife is a stunning string of golden sands and volcanic cliffs. There are many great places here for outdoor adventures.

Vertical Descents offers Coasteering Tours in Elie. Coasteering is a fun and active way to explore the coastline of Scotland. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, you walk along the rocky shores, explore hidden sea caves and learn a bit more about how the coastline was forged by the water.

If you’re confident enough to attempt a wee scramble on the cliffside, try doing the Elie Chain Walk. It’s only accessible during low tide, so it’s essential to carefully plan when to do this activity.

You might also like: 18 Fun Outdoor Activities to try in Scotland

Walk the Fife Coastal Path from Elie to Anstruther

The Fife Coastal Path is a long-distance trail along the coastline of Fife, stretching 187 kilometres (116 mi) from Kincardine on the Firth of Forth to Newburgh on the Firth of Tay.

The various sections of the route offer very different walking experience: Some are more challenging than others. Some stages lead through stunning coastal wilderness, while others let you hop from coastal town to coastal town and marvel at the Forth Bridges from close up. But they are all beautiful!

One of the most popular sections leads from Elie to Anstruther, passing small fishing villages of St Monans and Pittenweem along the way.

You can reach all these villages by bus, making this a very easy day trip from almost anywhere in Fife or even Edinburgh.

Highlights of this section along the Fife Coastal Path from Elie to Anstruther are the Lady Janet Anstruther’s Tower, the ruins of Ardross and Newark Castle, St Monans Windmill and the charming waterfront of Pittenweem.

Find out more and plan your day hike on the Fife Coastal Path here.

PS: You could also drive from town to town if you’re not a walker!

Listen to ‘Step by Step’ – my travel podcast about hiking from Elie to Anstruther!

Beach at Ruby Bay in Elie in Scotland.

Culross – Not just for Outlander Fans

Another must-see for Outlander fans is the quaint village of Culross in west Fife. There are several Outlander sites in Culross:

  • The garden at Culross Palace is the film location of Claire’s herb garden behind Castle Leoch.
  • The central market square of Culross is used as the fictional village of Cranesmuir.
  • You can see Geillis Duncan’s house and the town square with the market cross where she is sentenced to burn at the stake.

However, Culross is also worth a visit if you’re not an Outlander fan. Make sure you visit Culross Palace (£10.50, FREE for National Trust for Scotland members. Join here!) and wander the beautiful terraced garden behind it.

Then, go for a stroll through the historical heart of the village, its cobbled lanes and past the charming chocolate-box cottages.

Follow the Queen’s Footsteps to Kinross & Loch Leven

Loch Leven is a beautiful loch – not technically in Fife (it’s just over in Perthshire), but super close to the rest of these day-trip ideas in Fife.

Kinross on the banks of Loch Leven is potentially a great place to base yourself in and explore the rest of Fife, especially if you’re driving. The picturesque town has a convenient location (just off the M90 and in day-trip distance from Glasgow, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Perth and Dundee) and is busy with travellers who want to explore the area.

You can spend a whole holiday in this area, or visit Kinross and Loch Leven on a day trip.

Make sure you go for a wander around the loch and visit Loch Leven Castle (£10, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders). The castle sits on an island in the loch and can only reach by boat – Mary Queen of Scots was once imprisoned here!

St Andrews – Not just the Home of Golfing

St Andrews is Fife’s most famous town. It draws in golfers, history buffs, students and fans of the Royal family.

If you visit St Andrews on a day trip, I highly recommend starting your tour at the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral (£7.50, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders). Wander around the leftovers of this magnificent church and climb to the top of St Rule’s Tower for views of the town and the sea.

Continue to explore St Andrews’s sandy beaches and get lost in the cobbled lanes of the historic centre.

Find some nice Scottish pubs and restaurants, before you head on to St Andrews Castle (£8, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders) to learn more about the significant location this town was built in.

Finish your day with a walk towards the historic golf course.

Find more travel tips for St Andrews in my St Andrews travel guide.

The East Neuk Fishing Villages

The coastline of the East Neuk of Fife is dotted with charming fishing villages boasting colourful historic harbours and boats rocking in the gentle waves.

In St Monans, visit the windmill and the saltworks to learn about the long-gone sea salt industry that dominated this part of the East Neuk. Although, sea salt from Fife is making a comeback, thanks to the East Neuk Salt Company.

Pittenweem has a beautiful walkway along the waterfront and you can visit the legendary cave of St Fillan.

Anstruther is particularly well-known for the Anstruther Fish Bar (42-44 Shore St) – the chippy has won awards and serves some of the best fish & chips in Scotland. From Anstruther, you can also join a boat trip out to see the puffins on the Isle of May (May-July).

The northernmost village on this stretch of coastline is Crail – and its picturesque harbour is possibly one of the most photographed in the region!

See above for a walk suggestion from Elie to Anstruther along the Fife Coastal Path.

You might also like: My complete travel guide for the East Neuk of Fife

History & Beaches in Aberdour

The historic seaside town of Aberdour is well worth a day trip and there is a lot to see. Visit Aberdour Castle (£7.50, FREE for Historic Environment Scotland members & Explorer Pass holders), one of the many scenic castles in Fife. It dates from the 1200s and was extended during the 16th and 17th centuries.

There are two beautiful beaches to explore in Aberdour: Silver Sands to the east of the village, and Black Sands with darker sand and rockier shores to the west. The two are linked by the Fife Coastal Path, and make for a great walk!

On a bright day you get great views across to Inchcolm Island, which you can visit with a boar tour from South Queensferry (below).

Industrial World Heritage in North Queensferry

North Queensferry was once the bustling point of entry to Fife. Ferries went back and forth between North and South Queensferry and enabled people from Edinburgh access to Dunfermline, St Andrews and beyond. That all changed when the iconic Forth Bridge was completed in 1890. The railway bridge revolutionised the Scottish transport system and turned North Queensferry into a quaint, sleepy village.

But there is still a lot to see here in North Queensferry. Walk along the Forth Bridges Trail, visit the Light Tower by the old ferry pier and learn about the construction of the bridge at the small museum shed next door. Follow Battery Road around the bay to a picnic area underneath the bridge – it’s so close you can almost touch it.

From across the bridge in South Queensferry, you can join a boat trip to Inchcolm Island to visit the island by boat and see the beautiful Abbey.

You might also like: A one-week itinerary for the northeast of Scotland (incl. Fife)

Learn more about Picts in the Wemyss Caves

The Wemyss Caves lie near the village of East Wemyss along the coast of Fife. They were formed by retreating glaciers and sea action some 8-5000 years ago. They have been inhabited and used by local people every since.

After the time of the Romans, the Picts used these caves as gathering spaces. They left behind the highest concentration of Pictish cave carvings in Britain. The west-facing cave walls are littered with beautiful carvings of Pictish symbols: double disks, crescent shapes, Pictish beasts and even an old depiction of a boat.

In winter, when the sun stands low, it illuminates the decorated walls in a beautiful golden glow. But the caves are interesting to visit all year round. The Save Wemyss Ancient Caves Society offers guided tours – advance booking is essential.

Listen to Icons of the Kingdom – my travel podcast about a winter trip to Fife, featuring these caves!

Discover the South Fife Snorkel Trail

Snorkelling is a fantastic way to learn about the Scottish Sea and get close to its inhabitants. With the right equipment, anyone can do it!

The South Fife Snorkel Trail was developed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Ecology Cenre in Kinghorn. It features five sites along the south coast of Fife that have been chosen because they are particularly interesting for snorkellers, and safe to access.

Along the south coast, you might spot rare fish like the pipefish (a relative of the elusive seahorse), anemones in all shades of the rainbow, hermit crabs and more.

Learn more about the Scottish snorkel trails and my experience of snorkelling in Fife here on my podcast Wild for Scotland.

Spend a day at Cambo in Kingsbarns

Cambo is a historic estate on the outskirts of Kingsbarns and you could easily spend all day here!

Start with a tour of Cambo Gardens, an 18th century Walled Garden bursting with heavenly scents and beautiful flowers in summer, and hundreds of varieties of snowdrops in the winter. There is a great cafe on-site at the Stables Visitor Centre.

Continue by following the trails through the woodlands to Kingsbarns Beach, a beautiful golden sandy beach. The trail along the beach is the signposted Fife Coastal Path – you could follow it all the way to St Andrews and beyond if you wanted.

I recommend stopping at the other end of the beach though, and booking a session at the Wild Scottish Sauna. Get a sweat in while you watch the light dance across the waves through the big picture window, and cool down between sauna sessions with quick dips in the sea.

At the end of the day, make your way to the other side of Cambo Estate for a whisky and/or gin tour and tasting at Kingsbarns Distillery.

How to get around in Fife

I love travelling around Scotland on public transport because it takes the pressure off having to navigate the left-hand side traffic and allows me to focus entirely on the landscapes I drive through from the “passenger seat”.

Fife by bus

Public transport in Fife is really good, with Stagecoach being the largest bus operator in the region.

For a great day out in Fife, you can get a Fife Dayrider ticket which gives you unlimited access to buses around Fife all day long.

Bus times can vary, so it’s good to check suitable connections in advance on the Stagecoach website (also works great on mobile).

Fife by rail

There are also a few train lines crossing through Fife, connecting Edinburgh with Dunfermline and Leuchars (for St Andrews), and a few stops in port towns along the coast (North Queensferry, Aberdour, Burntisland, Kinghorn and Kirkcaldy).

Driving in Fife

Of course, a car will give you more flexibility and freedom to go even further off the beaten track. But rest assured that all the day trip ideas listed here can be done by public transport!

Where to Stay in Fife

There are endless options for great accommodation in Fife, but if you travel by public transport I suggest choosing a town that is well connected with the rest of the region and is easy to reach from Glasgow or Edinburgh respectively.

On my most recent overnight trip to Fife, I enjoyed a stay at Cambo House – a historic estate near Kingsbarns with lots of beautiful self-catering options in cottages and the main house.

A room with a Dutch four poster bed at Cambo House

Vegan-friendly Restaurants in Fife

Travelling Scotland as a vegan is becoming easier all the time. Many restaurants in the rural areas of Scotland have caught up on the trend, and unless you’re in a tiny village or a traditional fish & chip shop, you should be able to find a vegan option on the menu.

The only full vegan restaurant – to my knowledge – is in Dunfermline. Vegan 269 offers delicious breakfast, brunch and lunch options, as well as coffees and cakes. Many other restaurants in the city also have great vegan options to choose from.

Around Fife, keep an eye open for chip shops with vegetarian haggis on the menu, as many brands of veggie haggis are actually vegan-friendly. Most cafes and tea rooms serve a soup of the day, which in many cases is vegan-friendly.

I loved discovering locally made vegan-friendly options at Ardross Farm Shop and Bowhouse Market – both are near St Monans.

The Beehive Cafe in Crail was very accommodating in adapting some of the veggie options to be vegan, and The Crusoe in Lower Largo also has a few veggie and vegan options on the menu.

A safe (and popular) bet is to eat at Indian restaurants with many vegan-friendly curries to choose from.

I’ve visited Fife a number of times, but I’m certainly not done with this picturesque region of Scotland yet! From Culross to Anstruther, there are so many great things to do in Fife, I will keep adding to this list as I explore more of this region.

If you are looking for a relaxed holiday in Scotland, off the beaten track and away from the hustle and bustle of the Highlands or the cities, consider choosing Fife and fill your itinerary with some of these day trip ideas!

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17 thoughts on “14 Amazing Things to do in Fife

  1. Martin says:

    Thanks for some nice ideas, Spending 8 days in Fife camping with my 13 year old. Staying near Falkland, so will bear your tips in mind! 🙂

  2. Pingback: ‘Icons of the Kingdom’ - A Winter Trip to Fife - Wild for Scotland Podcast

  3. Pingback: 'Step by Step' - East Neuk of Fife - Wild for Scotland

  4. Laku says:

    Wonderful tips. Planning to spend 10 days in Scotland with wife and two kids below 5yrs old . Would love to hear your suggestion. We plan to take only public transport. Fly into Edinburgh spend 2-3 nights there. Then head to kinghorn for 5 nights. Then head back to Edinburgh and fly out. can we have kinghorn as a base and do few day trips by bus/rail. This is our first trip to Scotland.

    • Kathi says:

      That sounds like a lovely idea! There is so much to do on the coast of Fife – you should also check out my friend Gemma’s blog as she’s a local in the region: You might also want to consider Leven as a base in Fife – maybe not as quaint as Kinghorn, but very well connected to surrounding coastal towns. Or the area around Elie, Pittenweem, Crail and Anstruther – I love that part of the Fife coast! have a fab trip!

  5. Jessica C says:

    This is gold! I can’t believe that we haven’t even been to Scotland yet. I feel like we need at least a month up there to really see the area, have some epic day trips and such. Thanks for this!

    • Kathi says:

      You should definitely come and visit then! There’s a lot to see, but Fife in particular is still so untouched by the huge crowds (not like the Highlands or Skye at all), so well worth a visit!!

  6. April says:

    Great post with some incredible ideas! I’ve never heard of coasteering before, but it sounds incredible! Scotland looks like a dream. I’ve only been there for 4 days and definitely not enough time.

    • Kathi says:

      Coasteering is great fun! I tried it on the coast of Northumberland a few years ago – it’s such a cool active way to explore the coast!! You’ll have to come back 😀

  7. Lauren says:

    Every time I read your blog it makes me want to hop on a plane and head home. You always capture Scotland beautifully and although it’s home I always discover somewhere new (like Aberdour) I’ve never even heard of before! Great foodie tips too, I’m not vegan but often I prefer the vegetarian haggis to ordinary – its so good!!

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