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20 images that prove Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world

With our wild beaches, deep lochs and romantic castles, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ve been voted the most beautiful country in the world by the readers of the popular travel guides Rough Guides. And, what’s more, the readers have also voted Scotland as both the most welcoming country in the world and the readers’ favourite destination of 2017. It can’t be denied, Scotland is truly breathtaking!

Scotland, you’re amazing… and amazingly photogenic. Not convinced? Here’s the proof: 20 of our best images we’ve captured in the last 12 months. It’s been a tough choice, but these are our winners:

1. Kilchurn Castle, Argyll

A good image to start on — if you had to conjure an image of Scotland in your mind, it might be this one. There are few more scenic castles in Scotland than Kilchurn. This marvellously evocative ruin sits on the scenic Loch Awe and is gently fringed with thick conifer forests and beautiful oak woods.

2. Bow Fiddle Rock, Moray

Already a top holiday spot for kayakers, the Bow Fiddle Rock in Portknockie looks stunning as the sun shoots its last rays over the coastline. This striking rock is actually part of the huge Cullen quartzite formation. Hike the trails around the area and find your own secret slice of paradise.

3. Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris

Scotland could put forward a few candidates for the world’s best beach, but the Outer Hebrides’ Luskentyre Sands is one of the best ever. The sand is white and gorgeous and the sea is a stunning colour; it’s regularly compared to the tropical beaches of the Caribbean.

4. The Calanais Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis

Nothing quite sums up the Scottish mystical feeling you’ll experience in the presence of the Calanais Standing Stones in the Outer Hebrides. These world-famous standing stones are one of the most complete stone circles in Europe. The most atmospheric time to experience them is without doubt at dawn or just after, or at sunset.

5. The village of Crovie, Aberdeenshire

The tiny fishing village of Crovie, tucked between a cliff and the sea, is a great place to get away from the stresses of modern life. You will find no shops, no phone signal and – incredibly – no roads. Enjoy the sea views at Crovie Viewpoint on the cliffs above.

6. The Glenfinnan Monument, near Fort William

A statue of a kilted soldier on top of a monument, cast into silhouette by the sun, with mountains beyond.The iconic Glenfinnan Monument, with a lone kilted Highlander on top, is a striking tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings. Set amid superb Highland scenery at the head of Loch Shiel, it sits opposite the world-famous Glenfinnan Viaduct. A must-see for any amateur photographer or Instagram addict.

7. Corgarff Castle, Aberdeenshire

A white tower house stands in lush fields with hills beyond.

©Damian Shields

Set in glorious seclusion on the edge of the magnificent Cairngorms National Park, Corgarff Castle is perhaps the most unusual of the castles on Scotland’s Castle Trail. View the reconstructed barrack rooms and feel what the atmosphere of barrack life was like at the castle in 1750, when Government redcoats were stationed here – a must for Outlander fans.

8. The Road to Applecross, Ross-shire

The Bealach Na Ba is one of the most famous driving routes in Scotland. Known as the Road to Applecross, the route offers stunning views out across the whole of Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. With its tight bends and single track, this road isn’t for the faint hearted but the views from the top are astonishing.

9. Lochau Uaine, Cairngorms National Park

Looking across lush forest to a green glowing lochan.

© Damian Shields

As the legend has it, the mysterious Green Loch in Glenmore Forest Park is green because the local fairies used to wash their clothes in the loch, although some think it might just be due to the trees lying along the loch floor. Either way, we think there is something pretty magical about this loch situated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

10. Loch Linnhe, Fort William

Ben Nevis on a stormy day, with an abandoned boat on the shoreline in the foreground.Scotland’s landscape is scattered with mist-shrouded hills and Munros, including the mighty Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak. This dark moody picture reveals the size and scale of ‘the mountain with its head in the clouds’ with the houses in the distance. Impressive, isn’t it? The abandoned fishing boat is on the shore of Loch Linnhe in Corpach, near Fort William.

11. Rannoch Moor, Perthshire

Often referred to as one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe, the boggy moorland area of Rannoch Moor is a great place from which to admire the fiery Scottish sunsets. The most striking thing about the moor? Probably its remoteness – think of an uninhabited land of peat bogs, lochs and heather hillocks. Still, so stunning!

12. The National Wallace Monument, Stirling

Snow-covered hills provide an impressive backdrop to the famous National Wallace Monument in Stirling where you’ll feel like you have stumbled into a fairytale. Follow the story of Scottish patriot and martyr, Sir William Wallace. This national landmark is a place where you can touch and feel centuries of history.

13. Bracklinn Falls, near Callander

The captivating Bracklinn Falls on the River Keltie near Callander have mesmerised people for generations, including Queen Victoria. Situated in a beautiful wooded gorge, you can admire them from the viewpoint suspended right above the cascade.

14. Kinnaird Head Castle, Aberdeenshire

The sun sets over the sea, with the lighthouse in the distance, and cliffs in the foreground.

© Damian Shields

We might not have got the monopoly on castles, but some of Scotland’s surely must be amongst the most unusual structures in the world, like Kinnaird Head – a fascinating example of a castle-turned-lighthouse. It is part of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses – come and experience its beautifully preserved keeper’s quarters inside.

15. Kenmore, Perthshire

The beautiful village of Kenmore on Loch Tay is set amongst a wooded area that turns this golden colour in autumn which is a great time for photography. It’s part of the Perthshire Tourist Route, a short but spectacular drive and a tale of non-stop scenery on an epic scale. You’ll want to stop off and take a closer look!

16. Red roof cottage, Ross-shire

Simply splendid, isn’t it? Spend a day roaming hills and mountains in Ardnamurchan, Sunart, Morvern or Knoydart in the Lochaber area of the Highlands or up in the North Highlands, and unplug yourself from the modern world. The sense of freedom and isolation (which is a good thing!) you will feel is indescribable.

17. Inchcailloch Island, Loch Lomond

A women and her dog walk on a path through a field of bluebells.Inchailloch is magical, whatever the season. In spring, the island is carpeted in bluebells, while in autumn, the leaves change colour and you can hear sounds of the rutting deer echo through the trees. As part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve, it’s a wonderful place to visit due to its abundance of flora and fauna.

18. Loch Lomond

Two hillwalkers admire the view over Loch Lomond from Conic Hill.Could there be anything nicer than enjoying the wonders of Loch Lomond? It’s not unusual to experience peace and quiet, whilst spotting wildlife and exploring the beautiful landscapes. Relax amongst the natural beauty of the lochs and breathe in the air of the hills. A couple of hours of climbing will reward walkers with an unparalled sense of achievement and awe-inspiring views from each of these summits.

19. Yesnaby Castle sea stack, Orkney

As soon as you arrive, you can’t fail to admire the beauty and respect the ocean around the Yesnaby Castle sea stacks. Sitting off the west coast of Orkney, this impressive rock formation is a great place to see various sea birds including the oyster catcher. The chances are it will just be you – perfect for budding Robinson Crusoes.

20. Edinburgh

Cliché? Yes, but admit it – the capital is rather lovely. Edinburgh is a photographer’s dream. Whether it’s capturing the excitement of the summer festivals or finding that perfect vantage point to see the sunset or the beautiful cityscape at night – there is no denying that Scotland’s capital is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Rough Guides have also found that Skye is the most beautiful place within Scotland, with their top ten most beautiful places as voted for by Rough Guide’s readers. But what do you think makes Scotland beautiful? Share your favourites with us at our iKnow Community discussion.

Feel free to try and beat our images (if you can) using #scotspirit or #lovescotland. Or simply get on and book that holiday to Scotland.



  • Eileen Falk

    So beautiful and no different in person.

  • David L Siddle

    Not to mention St. Andrews, and the other famous golf courses to be enjoyed.

  • Wishaw Jim

    Left in 1963,seen more of Scotland since then. Try to come back to see family, and friends .Lang may yur
    lum reek.

  • pittypat

    Loved it so much last year that we are coming back next year for a longer time (Woo Hoo!!! can’t wait)

  • Derick Robins

    Ma hame toon is jis an adventure wait’n fae ye

    ” I have every reason to love Scotland,
    Cause Scotland is every reason to love”.

  • Gail Hardy

    I loved Newton-Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway, with the salmon river running through it and such a peaceful, quiet town.

  • Stuart James Takahashi Gray

    That’s hame fir me..

  • Jason Redd

    I visited in May of this year with my son, daughter and nephew. I only thought I knew what the color green looked like until we walked around Loch Lomond. I love Scotland and cannot wait to return!!

  • Jo Mason

    We have just returned from 6 days in Scotland. We flew into Inverness and then travelled around the Highlands . It is a truly beautiful and amazing place . We hope to return soon .

  • JoyceSenanian

    What no Glasgow?

  • Félix Amsellem

    C’est vrai….quelques uns des plus beaux sites. Mais quand on adore forcément l’Ecosse……

  • Herbez Sylvia

    So many places to discover ! I need to come back again and again !

  • Maria Cecília Webster

    Todos os lugares maravilhosos!!! Um dia eu vou conhecer!!!

  • Pierangelo

    I don’t have any doubt about the wanderfull areas of Scotland but, don’t consider me as a campanilist person, I never change the wanderful Italian areas having full testimoniance all its History since Etrurian /Roman age and full of wanderfull naturalist areas along the costs & in the internal country. For my personal opinion it’s been exagerated to consider Scotland the most beatifull country on the World.

  • Buongiorno, grazie per il tuo commento.
    Fare campeggio e’ un ottimo modo per esplorare la Scozia!
    Per iniziare potresti dare un’occhiata alla nostra sezione Camping & Caravan.
    Spero ti possa essere d’aiuto per organizzare la tua vacanza.
    Buon soggiorno in Scozia e per qualsiasi informazione non esitare a contattarci.

  • Marilyn

    Your photo of Kenmore really brought memories back for me. I am in my mid sixties now but I remember going on my first ever real holiday to Kemore when I was 10 years old. We had rented a caravan in the original caravan park there which is now the holiday village. It took us ages to get there. We had to take a train from the old Caledonian Station in Edinburgh to Perth. Then we had to take a train from Perth to Ballanluig. From their we had to take steam train from Ballanluig to Aberfeldy and from their a bus from Aberfeldy to Kenmore. We arrived in Aberfeldy half an hour after the bus to Kenmore had left so we had to wait for another three hours for the next bus. We are talking the 1960’s here so that was the norm for rural buses then. My dad decided to take us all into the Aberfeldy Hotel for our lunch since we had so long to wait for the next bus. Wow. I had never been in a hotel for lunch before and to be honest I felt like a princess sitting at that table and being served by people who were so polite to this little ten year old girl. I will never forget that holiday. Maybe your first holiday is always your best, but I remember every single bit of it and I adored it.

    • almorr

      So glad you enjoyed your holiday in Kenmore Marilyn, you think the bus service was bad then with a 4 hour service, it’s even worse now, perhaps 4 buses a week?? ¶ many complaints, especially from older people regarding rural bus services in Scotland and for that matter in the rest of the UK as well.

  • CHAMBRE Arlette

    what no Eilan Mc Dunan Castle ?

  • Ellen O’Donnell


  • Karen Ann Aitchison

    Lock Tay is my favorite and Kenmore has a wee shop and Post office in a house, it takes my breath away.

  • almorr

    I’ve been in Edinburgh many times, I visit it twice a year, at the Festival and just before Christmas, a really beautiful city, only regrets I have is that I have never been able to visit at night.

  • Robert Macgregor

    I have had many day trips also,short and longer stays throughout Scotland including the isles. and no matter when on these trips were taken the scenery was always magnificent. You find a big change in the views seeing the same place at different times of the year. I find it difficult to say I have a favourite but one place I do like to visit is the village of Balquidder where my name sake is buried. I think I am very privileged as I stay in Scotland.

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