From the iconic white cottage in Glencoe to the pink fairytale castle at Craigievar, the medieval Old Town streets in Edinburgh and the dramatic peaks on the Isle of Skye – Scotland is a bucket list destination. Over the years I have visited many bucket-list worth places in Scotland and made experiences that I think are quintessentially Scottish – but there are plenty more to discover. Here are 100 places to visit and experiences to add to your Scotland bucket list.
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While I don’t believe in universal bucket lists – no way every person should do the exact same 10 things – there are many places in Scotland and unforgettable experiences that I think most people will enjoy.
This Scotland bucket list is overwhelming by design. I thought of 100 things to see and experience in Scotland, so you can pick and chose your favourites – or join me on the journey to tick them all off over time!
I grouped these bucket list-worthy experiences in categories:
- Places to visit
- Journeys to embark on
- Unique experiences and activities
- Whisky-related things to do
- Experiences for outdoorsy folk
- Scottish events and festivals
- Wildlife experiences
I marked each item I have done so far so you see, I’ve got quite a bit of exploring left to do!
Need help with your trip? Hire me to review your itinerary or to plan a custom route for your trip!
Places to add to your Scotland bucket list
- Visit the Mull of Galloway lighthouse, the southernmost point in Scotland ✅
- Visit Ardnamurchan lighthouse, the westernmost point in mainland Scotland ✅
- Visit Dunnet Head, the northernmost point in mainland Scotland ✅
- Visit Unst, the northernmost inhabited British isle ✅
- Tour Culloden Battlefield ✅
- Visit Castle Sween, presumably the oldest castle in Scotland
- Hike for sunrise at the Quiraing on the Isle of Skye ✅
- Do a boat trip to Staffa and Fingal’s Cave ✅
- See where the Declaration of Arbroath was signed at Arbroath Abbey ✅
- Visit the grave of Robert the Bruce in Dunfermline ✅ (and the final resting place of his heart at Melrose Abbey ✅)
- Visit all eight Scottish cities: Edinburgh ✅, Glasgow ✅, Stirling ✅, Perth, Dunfermline ✅, Inverness ✅, Aberdeen ✅ and Dundee ✅
- Climb the Wallace Monument in Stirling
- See the Stone of Destiny at Scone Palace
- Stand on the Centre of Scotland stone near Newtonmore ✅
- Visit Balmoral Castle, the Royal summer residence in the Highlands ✅
- Cross the Bridge over the Atlantic to the Isle of Seil ✅
- Visit Skara Brae, the oldest archaeological site in Scotland
- See the full effects of the Gulf Stream at Logan Botanic Garden ✅
- Have a pint at the oldest pub in Glasgow, the Scotia Bar ✅
- Visit the Local Hero phone box in Pennan
- Learn about Robert Burns at the Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway
- Visit Iona Abbey on the Isle of Iona ✅
- Tour Stirling Castle and see the Great Hall ✅
- Enjoy sunset from the top of Arthur Seat
- Learn about Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford House ✅
- Take the Glenelg turntable ferry to the Isle of Skye ✅
- Learn about Charles Rennie Mackintosh at The Hill House in Helensburgh ✅
- See the colourful harbour front in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull ✅
- Visit the four Border Abbeys (Melrose ✅, Kelso ✅, Jedburgh, Dryburgh)
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Bucket-list worthy journeys in Scotland
- Road trip round the North Coast 500 ✅
- Ride the Jacobite Steam Train ✅
- Hike the West Highland Way ✅
- Follow the City Centre Mural Trail in Glasgow ✅
- Take the West Highland Line train journey ✅
- Set sail for St Kilda UNESCO World Heritage Site ✅
- Make the boat journey to Scotland’s remotest pub in Knoydart
- Drive around Scotland’s “mainland island”, the Kintyre peninsula ✅
- Visit the sunniest place in Scotland (Dundee) ✅ and the sunniest island (Tiree) ✅
- Be taken home to Lallybroch (i.e. Midhope Castle) and other Outlander sites ✅
- Explore Scotland on a canal boat trip
- Drive the Bealach na Ba pass road ✅ (but only as a passenger)
- Ride the Falkirk Wheel ✅
- Paddle along the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail ✅
- Follow the Scottish Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire ✅
- Island hop in the Outer Hebrides ✅
- Cycle the Caledonia Way ✅ (at least a part of it)
- Listen to all episodes of the Wild for Scotland podcast ✅
- Walk from the Isle of Colonsay to the Isle of Oronsay at low tide ✅
- Sail to the tallest lighthouse in Scotland: Skerryvore lighthouse near Tiree
Experiences for your Scotland bucket list
- Be in the presence of a standing stone ✅ (here’s some favourites: Callanish, the Isle of Lewis; Machrie Moor, Isle of Arran; Nether Largie, Kilmartin Glen; Clava Cairns, Inverness)
- Dance at a ceilidh ✅
- Attend a Burns Night celebration ✅
- Drive on a single-track road ✅
- Go stargazing at a Dark Sky Park ✅ (for example of the Isle of Coll or in the Galloway Forest Park)
- Enjoy traditional afternoon tea ✅
- Try a can of Irn Bru ✅
- See the heather bloom at its peak in September ✅
- Try to play the bagpipes
- Spend the night in a castle
- Dig your toes into the soft sand of a Scottish beach ✅
- Do a New Year Dook
- See a west coast sunset ✅
- Try haggis (or veggie haggis) ✅
- Step inside an authentic blackhouse ✅ (for example at the Highland Folk Museum or at Gearennan Blackhouse Village)
- Correctly pronounce Milngavie ✅ (I think…)
Scotland bucket list additions for outdoorsy folk
- Hike in Glencoe ✅
- Ride Scotland’s longest dual zipline at Go Ape Aberfoyle ✅
- Climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Scotland and the UK
- Climb the Aonach Eagach, the narrowest ridge in the UK ✅
- Cross the Lairig Ghru pass in the Cairngorms
- Swim in the sea ✅, a freshwater loch ✅ and river pool ✅
- Climb a Munro ✅ (Here are some beginner-friendly ones)
- Become a completist and bag all 282 Munros
- Hike to the tallest waterfall in Scotland: Eas á Chual Aluin in Assynt
- Climb the only Via Ferrata in Kinlochleven ✅
- Go wild camping ✅
- Hike in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park ✅
Whisky experiences for your Scotland bucket list
- Have a dram from each Scottish whisky region: Islay, Speyside, Highlands, Islands, Campbeltown & Lowlands ✅
- Attend the Fèis Ìle whisky festival on the Isle of Islay ✅
- Tour the oldest, highest, smallest and largest distilleries in Scotland (Glenturret, Dalwhinnie, Edradour ✅ and Glenfiddich)
- Have a dram at the Am Politician pub on Eriskay ✅
- Follow the Malt Whisky Trail in the Speyside ✅
Scottish events and festivals for your bucket list
- Attend the Wigtown Book Festival
- Celebrate Hogmanay in Edinburgh ✅
- Head to Up Helly Aa in Shetland ✅
- Enjoy music at Celtic Connections in Glasgow ✅
- Attend the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh
- Experience the Highland Games ✅
- Be dazzled at The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry ✅
Bucket-list worthy wildlife experiences in Scotland
- Go for a cruise on Loch Ness ✅
- Join a boat trip to Bass Rock or the Isle of May ✅
- Brush a Highland cow ✅ (for example at Newton Farm Holidays in Angus)
- Go puffin spotting ✅ (my favourite place for that is the Isle of Canna)
- Tour a traditional croft ✅
- See the Big 5 of Scotland: golden eagle, red deer ✅, red squirrel ✅, otter ✅ and harbour seal ✅
- Visit the reindeer herd in the Cairngorms National Park
- Spot dolphins in the Moray Firth
- See salmon leaping in autumn ✅
- Go snorkelling at the Argyll Hope Spot ✅
- Go on a wildlife cruise to see whales or basking sharks
With 100 new items for your Scotland bucket list, you’ll have plenty to do!
What’s on your Scotland bucket list?
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49 thoughts on “Your Scotland Bucket List: 100 Places to visit & Experiences to have in Scotland”
Could you suggest any festivals, gatherings, etc to attend at the end of September 2019? We’ll be staying near Perth but are willing to travel. Anything involving whisky would be great!
Hi Colleen, thanks for your comment and your question! There are many whisky festivals in Scotland, but none I can think of are in September – they are usually in (early) summer. North East Open Studios is a great art festival in September that happens in Aberdeenshire – so not too far from you! I went along last year and covered it for the blog: https://watchmesee.com/blog/north-east-open-studios-meeting-local-artists-at-aberdeen-festivals/ I hope you have a great time in Scotland!
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There’s some great ideas on this blog. We’re reading it all eagerly as we plan to visit Scotland for a week in late October. Keep up the great writing.
Thank you! I’m glad you find some inspiring ideas for your trip!
Ooh let me know if you do the NC500 and stop by Dornoch/Tain. Would love to say hello 🙂 It’s so beautiful up here!
I’m actually going to do it around Easter next year! My friend is doing our itinerary (he’s writing an article about it for an Austrian magazine), but I’ll let you know I’d that’s on our schedule 🙂
I will be visiting the Tain Scottish Festival this year. (2018) My friend and I can’t wait to get there.
Dont forget the beautiful Moray firth, National Geographic lists it amongst the top ten coastal destinations in the world.. Miles of empty sandy beaches, and one of the best places in europe to watch bottlenose dolphins (you don’t even need to leave the beach to see them close up).. More than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries are situated in the Speyside area of Moray – and there are less midges than the west coast!
I’d love to explore that area – Speyside whiskies are my favourite 🙂 I’ve been as far as Banff, but not further West – next time!!
Oh I love this list!
I’ve been to Inverness in December 2015 and I’m planning to go to Edinburgh in late October (or early December).
But I got the Scotland bug again and looking at a roadtrip by train through the country. Starting in Glasgow and ending in Inverness. Just need to figure some things out and if it fits in my life right now 🙂
Sounds like a lovely plan! In December you’d have the Christmas markets already open… just saying ** Be aware though, that there is no train connection between Fort William and Inverness – trains to Inverness run along the east coast of the country, not through the Highlands! There are busses though, and the train from Glasgow to Fort William is amazing!
I’m seeing this from Inverness! It’s a great place to live too 😁
Was just in Scotland in May and canoed and camped with 9 others in the Nortwest Highlands. Probably the highlight was canoeing close to Suilven and then climbing it. There is something about that mountain! I live near Chicago and We have some pretty majestic mountains in our country but Suilven has a mystery about it that I can’t quite figure out. Scotland is my favorite country and this was my 10th trip to Europe. Your people and your beautiful country are second to none!
Thanks for telling me about Suilven – I love anything to do with kayaks/canoes and would love to do a holiday like the one you described – did you go with a tour company? I’m glad you enjoyed Scotland; hearing things like that always makes me proud calling it my home 🙂
I hope you do manage the Borders – always overlooked as everyone heads north for Edinburgh, Glasgow and points north. You will need your own transport as public transport is almost insignificant. Lots of great houses to visit – the silver staircase at Mellerstain, Sir Walter Scott’s home at Abbotsford for example ; Berwick, the last town in Britain to be fortified by walls (by Elizabeth I of England against the Scots) and although technically in England, it’s as much a part of the Borders as if it was on the other side of the Border; lots of pretty villages as you pass through (usually with tasty tea shops); walking – the Southern Upland way as an alternative to the West Highland Way; castles – especially in the west, such as Threave and Caerlaverock or Drumlanrig if you want something with a roof on. Of course, you can combine it with a trip south to Hadrian’s Wall which should include a trip to Hexham or Carlisle Castle if you have time.
It’s a big area and lots to do. Have fun!
Thanks for all the tips! Sounds like I should take at least a week off and explore the Borders 😀 Can your recommend a section of the Southern Upland Way that you find particularly beautiful for a day- or 2 day-trip?
I don’t live in Scotland but have been to many of these places and they are all wonderful. I did a great write up in puffins and the tour that took me there. You should really head that way it is amazing.
Lucky you! I’m going to Mull in August and a Staffa boat tour is high on my list. Maybe we can do one with a focus on wildlife <3
Scotland is spectacular, Kathi! I would love to go there as soon as possible!
Spent 9 days (Not Enough!) in Scotland for our second honeymoon last May. The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies were cool 😎. We only did part of the NC500, beautiful! The cliffs at Dunnet Head are amazing, take binoculars to get the best views of the many birds. We’ll be back!
How lovely – and what a choice for a honeymoon 😀 I’ll make sure to stop at those cliffs when I finally make it up there! Thanks of the tip!!
Walking the West Highland Way is my absolute dream! I also really want to take a journey on the Belmond Express. If you haven’t heard of it yet – you’re going to die. I may have to save up for quite a while for that one though!
Oh, I’ll need to look into that! I love train travel 🙂 I’m going o. The Harry Potter train in May! Thanks for your comment. X
What about coming over to Angus and the Mearns, Kathi? We have some great walking in the Glens, beaches of sand and shingle, cliffs, historic buildings, big sunset skies – and even distilleries 🙂
Never thought about this – I will definitely add it to my list 🙂 Thanks for the tip!
Question! Just traveled to Iceland last April where we could pull over on the roads at our leisure, hop out and hike a mountain wherever we pleased. It was our own isolated piece of the world for miles and miles. Would you say that Scotland has the same appeal?
Thanks for your question! I think it really depends on where in Scotland you go… The main roads between Glasgow and Skye will be quite busy between May and August, so are the more popular hiking trails; but you will always find a calmer side road or hiking trails off the beaten track. I think it many ways the Scottish and Icelandic landscape are similar, mostly due to the absence of trees (for most of the Scottish Highlands anyways) – so if you liked Iceland, you wil lalso love Scotland!
I looooove Scotland and this article should be shared with the whole world. <3 I especially love driving in Scotland.
Thanks for your comment! I hope the whole world sees my blogpost 😀 Road trips in Scotland are among the best, such beautiful roads!!
I’m planning a solo trip for 3 weeks in JUNE to Scotland, I’m pretty nervous about going alone. This blog has given me a jumping point get my planning started!!
How amazing – three weeks is a great amount of time to see a good deal of Scotland! I think it’s a great destination for solo travel, because there is so much to do, people are super friendly and public transport is fairly easy to navigate! I even wrote a post about this – you might find it reassuring 🙂 http://watchmesee.com/blog/scotland-best-destination-female-solo-travellers/ Thanks for your comment!
What a great list. I did spend a little time in Scotland and I didn’t do any of these things, so it is a great starting point for when I plan my next trip! I pinned for later.
Absolutely – this is not a list of all the highlights typically for a first-time in Scotland, but rather little gems to discover on a return trip. I hope you make it back soon 🙂
I’d love to go all of these. The Isle of iona looks amazing and I want to go to the very north to see the puffins.
Oh yes, the puffins are high up on my list as well! I saw them in the Faroe Islands last summer – they’re just the cutest <3 Thanks for your comment!
A great list! I definitely have a lot of those on my Scottish Bucket List as well 🙂 I’ve done a few and I highly recommend them – except for GoApe, I was let down by it (I’ve done much better courses in North America). A friend of mine did the West Highland Way hike last year to celebrate her 30th and she said it was tough but oh so worth it!
Oh really? That’s sad to hear about GoApe – but I guess it might just be more geared at families, right? Definitely want to do the West Highland Way soon – before turning 30 sounds like a good plan! Thanks for your comment!
The zip lines at Aberfoyle were pretty amazing though. May be worth it just for those!
Love this! I have a mini love affair with Scotland. We were only there for three days and I am itching to go back. Actually, we glamped near Loch Ness in May at Loch Ness Glamping. We weren’t a huge fan of Loch Ness, but glamping was fantastic!
Love this! I have a mini love affair with Scotland. We were only there for three days and I am itching to go back. Actually, we glamped near Loch Ness in May at Loch Ness Glamping. http://bootsnotroots.com/my-first-glamping-experience-and-why-it-wont-be-my-last/ We weren’t a huge fan of Loch Ness, but glamping was fantastic!
Epic list! Most of these are on my list too and the ones that aren’t I might have to add!
We need to put a trip together and ask Visit Scotland to take us ha ha
Scotland is so beautiful. I have the Isle of Skye on my bucket list and Edinburgh. So I’m staying in Edinburgh for five days in January and would love if you could recommend some unusual things to do their if you know of anything 🙂
Hi Marteen, thanks for you comment! Have a look around my Edinburgh section – I’ve done several weekend trips there and wrote plenty about cool activities and great restaurants! I loved the Botanic Gardens in particular and think you should definitely head to Leith & Leith Water!
I am actually looking into preparing tours in Scotland for a travel agency, and your blog post helped me with inspiration. The pics show the fairytale side of it and the Go Ape walk in the woods seems alot of fun! Thank you 🙂
Yes, I think it is easy to go explore places outside the one you live – we have been in Scotland for almost a year and while we’ve been to several places on your list, there are many places we have yet to see. We haven’t done any of the walks, visited any of the islands other than Skye, or done any of the long-distance hikes among others! Just a note, Hadrian’s Wall is in northern England not Scotland, but is an easy day trip from the Scottish Borders which is a beautiful region.
Yeah, I guess it would just be nice to see the entire southern Scottish region 🙂
I want to go to Scotland so bad, and think it might just be on the cards for 2017! Thanks for sharing this list, it has made me very excited 😀