Scotland's nature and geography

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Still from the Cairngorms National Park video
Cairngorms National Park

Discover the outstanding Cairngorms National Park, home to a rich variety of wildlife

The Distillery Blog

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Fancy a picnic this summer? ››

Plan a picnic in Scotland this summer and discover beautiful locations, delicious recipes, planning advice and inspiring ideas.

Scallops at the Loch Fyne Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Foodie Trails eBook ››

Check out our new eBook and plan a delicious culinary journey around Scotland.

Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 ››

Discover the talent across Scotland this year with YIAD 2016.

With over 11,000km of coastline, hundreds of islands, majestic mountains and beautiful canals, rivers and lochs, Scotland’s landscape and distinct geography offers a stunning mix of unique and inspiring habitats for you to explore. Scotland’s nature and geography will take your breath away.

With miles upon miles of scenic landscape and a wealth of wildlife splendour, take your time to appreciate the beauty of this wild and untamed land.

Discover over 1,400 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and 47 National Nature Reserves (NNR) each containing some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery and threatened wildlife. These rich and diverse habitats range from the sub arctic wilderness of the mountainous Cairngorms National Park, with its numerous arctic landforms and rare alpine plants, to the rare blanket bog of Caithness, and the unique low-lying, flower rich machair lands of the Hebridean coast, one of the most unique habitats in Europe.

Explore Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland’s first National Park, and you will find a haven for those who love walking, wildlife and the great outdoors. In the park you will come across the Arrochar Alps, one of the more popular climbing regions in Scotland due to its proximity to Glasgow. But you don’t have to climb mountains to enjoy this beautiful area - there are many fantastic walks along the shore of Loch Lomond.

Enjoy a walk along one of Scotland’s picturesque, meandering waterways where pristine rivers and lochs, full of wild salmon and trout, contribute to the breathtaking scenery. For those with green-fingers, take a stroll around one of the many beautiful award-winning gardens found across the country.

VisitScotland runs a Green Tourism Business Scheme which encourages tourism businesses to be environmentally friendly, so you can be rest assured that you are helping to keep Scotland beautiful as you travel around.

  • A climber takes in the view across the Black Cuillin, Skye
    The Black Cuillin, Skye
Loch Trool, near Newton Stewart, in the Galloway Forest Park

Forests and woodlands

Scotland is home to a variety of stunning woodlands and dense forests that are teeming with wildlife and flora.

Looking onto the Falkirk Wheel

Canals, rivers and lochs

Whether you travel by boat or towpath, you can witness spectacular landscapes and rich built heritage.

the view across Loch Tay to Ben Lawers, a Munro near Kenmore, Perthshire

Mountains and hills

Scotland is known for her majestic mountains and rolling hills - why not take on one of Scotland’s iconic Munros?

A view of the sun setting over Loch Lomond from Rowardennan Pier

National Parks

Uncover Scotland’s two beautiful National Parks in the Cairngorms and in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.

Looking across the Sound of Iona to the Isle of Iona from Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull

Coasts and islands

Explore thousands of miles of stunning coastline, taking in rich wildlife, geological treasures and pristine white beaches.

The House of Dun and gardens near Montrose, Angus

Gardens and parks

Scotland boasts a wide range of stunning parks and gardens in the cities, countryside and castle grounds.

Eshaness, on the north west coast of mainland Shetland

Scottish Geoparks

Experience some of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring landscapes at one of the country’s stunning geoparks and see towering mountains, magnificent lochs, paradise beaches, breathtaking cliffs, ancient settlements and much more.

Traigh Shanndaigh beach


Explore the beaches in Scotland on a quiet walk along sandy shores, past rugged moors and by clear blue waters. As part of an island, Scotland is surrounded by plenty of beautiful beaches.

The Northern Lights in the night skies above Durness © Mo Thomson

Northern Lights

Experience the magnificent spectacle of the Northern Lights in Scotland

Thousands of stars visible in Scotland's Dark Sky Park at Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries & Galloway © James Hilder

Scotland’s Dark Sky Sites

Scotland boasts some of the clearest skies in Europe, which provide exceptional conditions for stargazing. In 2009, Galloway Forest Park was named the UK’s first Dark Sky Park. See if you can spot the Milky Way, The Plough or Polaris.

The pebbled beach at Cowie by Stonehaven

Nature and geography itineraries

Find ideas in our nature and geography itineraries for Scotland. Use the inspiration to plan a trip in the great outdoors with amazing views, nature and lots to explore.

Nature and geography across Scotland

Fife Coastal Path

Uncover the natural beauty of the Fife Coastal Path.

Nature and geography

Shetland’s extraordinary landscape is a treasure trove of stunning geological landmarks found throughout these remote islands.

Scotland's Gardens

Visit some of Scotland's finest privately-owned gardens with Scotland's Gardens (SG).

Scotland's protected natural places

Explore Scotland’s protected natural places and experience the sights, sounds and smells of the country’s natural world.

Galloway Forest Park

Spend a day in the Galloway Forest Park and take in the scenery as you enjoy wildlife, mountain biking, walking and stargazing.

Parks and gardens

Explore the parks and gardens of Edinburgh - a city full of great green spaces filled with plants and flowers.

East horticultural delights

Explore beautiful gardens on a walk through exotic blooms and sculpted shrubs in Perthshire, Angus and Fife.

Wild map

Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a new map of areas of wild land throughout Scotland.

More information on SNH

Find out more about the new wild map produced by Scottish Natural Heritage.