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What was the places you loved most on your trips to Scotland .??? What would you skip?

Please share with me your favorite places you visited and why?

Favorite attraction, museum, treat, restaurant, hotel, view , experience etc etc.

I want to learn from you all.

Starting our trip planning and I want the hidden gems and What Not to see......

what in your opinion is overrated.

We are a couple in our 40's and my mom who is 71. Doing a driving holiday. Can't wait.

thanks for any and all help.

Posted by
287 posts

Culloden House - a beautiful old manor house turned into a lovely hotel with fantastic food.

Culloden Moor battlefield - very somber. The visitor's center was very informative.

Urquhart Castle ruins on the shores of Loch Ness -- beautiful setting, especially if you are lucky enough to be there on a warm sunny day. The boat tour of Loch Ness was nice, but the Nessie stuff is way over the top touristy. Fortunately the castle ruins are not adorned with blow up Nessie balloons.

The Royal Mile in Edinburg - crowded yes, and some very touristy type shops, but a good walk between Edinburgh Castle at the top of the mile to Holyrood House at the bottom. Lots of history there. Also some good shops with fantastic prices on cashmere and good whisky hidden amongst the souvenir places.

Posted by
3428 posts

Aviemore.... in the Cairngorm Mountains. Lovely little village. Great hotel- The Cairngorm Hotel- looks like a miniature castle. Great restaurant and pub and a piper plays on the porch most evenings before supper. There is a micro brewery that gives tours (and samples) and LOTS of great distilleries nearby (reachable by train or bus). Restored steam train that does round trips along the Spey River- you get to see lots of lovely countryside and sheep!

Inverness- great tourist info office. Lots of nice day trips- cruise on firth to dolphin/whale/puffin watch, cruise on River Ness up to Loch Ness- can stop and tour Urquhart Castle- agree with above. Although the Nessie stuff is BIG in Durmnadrochit (the village at the top of the Loch), there are some good to great shops and a pottery and some nice pubs. You can even do a long day bus trip up to Orkney- nice if you want a taste of the islands. Good tours to Glen Coe, Elieen Donnan Castle, Isle of Skye, etc.

Posted by
5678 posts

I have a very hard time narrowing things down like this. There are some very favorite activities.

  1. Driving the wee single track roads. Whether it's Glen Lyon, going over Ben Lawler, or driving on the west cost, I love driving these small roads. I love being able to stop and just enjoy the view whenever I want.
  2. I've come to really enjoy The Anderson in Fortrose. I've stayed there for a week long walking holiday. The food was great, the rooms just right, the whisky bar friendly, and it's easy access to the west coast and north.
  3. The Taybank in Dunkeld. I love this whole area. The Taybank is a great music pub which I enjoy. I like to go for walks in the area--there are some very flat ones along the Tay.
  4. Edinburgh. I like cities and this one is big enough to interesting things to see, but not so big that you get overwhelmed. It's more like and overgrown town.
  5. Stirling Castle. I love the strategic location. The castle itself and the history.
  6. The Museum of Scotland is just plain excellent. But I've not seen the new Museum of Transport and I want to see it.

To be honest, there is very little that is over-rated. People complain about the Tartan Tat on The Royale Mile or the Nessie stuff in Drumnadrochit, but having grown up near the Wisconsin Dells and having visited Gatlinberg, Scotland really has a long way to go before they catch up with those tourist traps!


Posted by
47 posts


On a similar note, I've read some places that Fort William is too touristy. My wife and I generally stick to natural and historic sites when we travel. We plan to do the gondola up Ben Nevis but not much else, maybe the West Highland Museum. We'll be in a motorhome so food and lodging won't be needed.

Anything else in Fort William that is a must?

Posted by
1579 posts

Our favourite place in Scotland is Orkney. We stayed three nights (Kirkwall) and would have welcomed a fourth. While we flew in and rented a car, if I were to do it again I'd drive and take a ferry.

Its a beautiful landscape and the historical sites are second to none.

Like previous posters said I don't find Scotland overly touristy and Orkney not at all - and we were there when a cruise ship was in.

I just can't recommend it strong enough!

Posted by
2732 posts

If there's an overrated place in Scotland, I haven't found it. Some of my favorites are:

Edinburgh - my favorite city in Europe. The castle is great, the view from Princes Street is fabulous, and the Royal Mile is wonderful. Climbing Arthur's Seat is really fun. I would not bother with Holyrood Palace, except for the outside.

Stirling - great castle and nice town. Love the history.

Isle of Skye - a beautiful island with striking scenery and so many great walks and hikes.

Orkney - really unique, especially Skara Brae. Where else can you see a 5,000 year old village, and that's just the start. Just wonderful.

Harris and Lewis - this island (these islands?) feel really remote. I love that.

Oban is nothing special, but you can take a three island tour of Mull, Iona and Staffa, which offers a lot of different scenery packaged in one tour. Don't leave out Staffa - it's fascinating.

I could go on and on...

Posted by
5678 posts

If you are near Fort William look for the Commando Monument. It is on the A82 just past Spean Bridge. Wonderful views of Ben Nevis and lovely tribute to those who fought in WWII.

And, yes the Orkney's really are wonderful. They are normally on my list.


Posted by
279 posts

Definitely drive through Glen Coe, and make sure you take your time to enjoy the views (we didn't and I really want to go back soon!). My favorite grand manor that we walked around was Dunrobin Castle, north of Inverness, which was small enough to be not too overwhelming, but big enough to be worth the stop. It is wrapped around the original medieval keep, which is unusual, has beautiful grounds that are compact enough to be seen easily, and include a resident falconer who demonstrates his work with his birds for the visitors.

My favorite place in Scotland, though, is Orkney. We spent three days there and didn't see nearly enough of it! The Neolithic sites were amazing, but I equally loved the ruined palaces, the Viking monastery remnants, and the wonderful gem that is the Italian Chapel. Not to mention all the terrific shopping!

Posted by
6113 posts

There seem to be a lot of duplicates of "hidden" gems!

For what it's worth, mine are:

The drive down Glen Etive near Glencoe. (Note it's not spelt Glen Coe)

The Ardnamurchan Peninsula via the Corran ferry.

Altnaharra on Loch Naver for truly breathtaking, remote scenery

The Cairngorms - great for Ospreys and wildlife

The Border towns have a fascinating history

Trumpan at the northern end of Skye

Orkney (not Orkneys) but the ferry crossing can be hideous if like me you are a poor sailor

Big Disappointments:

Aviemore - incongruous design - a bit like a cheesy, poor man's version of a Disney town surrounded by great countryside - stay in the much nicer nearby Boat of Garten or Nethy Bridge - so much classier and traditional.

Loch Ness - hideous traffic and full of tourist tat everything (hotels, Ye Olde Tea Shoppe etc). Suitable for children only.

John O' Groats - not much there. Bleak.