8 of the Most Stunning Rivers in Scotland

Water is the lifeblood of our land. Trickling from tributaries at the top of mountains and pouring out to sea, rivers in Scotland journey through all our most fascinating places. They also flavour our whiskies too! Whether you're looking for a beautiful view, a thrilling watersport or a waterfront walk, let's introduce you to some of our most ravishing rivers and experiences you can enjoy near them.

  1. River Tay Perthshire

    Looking toward St Matthew's Church on the River Tay, Perth.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

    The Tay is Scotland's longest river and starts out life as a tiny spring on Ben Lui. It flows through adventurous towns such as Dunkeld, Kenmore, Aberfeldy and Perth, before reaching the North Sea.

    Visit: Stanley MillsTaymouth Marina Watersports and Perthshire Wildlife Tours

  2. River South Esk Angus

    El río South Esk, Angus

    © @river_esks

    A gushing glacial torrent from starting out at the cold slopes of Broad Cairn, South Esk leaves Scotland through the Montrose Basin. With wildlife, wildflowers and wildcats to spot along its course, it's easy to see why it's part of a carefully protected Special Area of Conservation.

    Visit: Glen ClovaLoch BrandyTulloch Hill and Inch Park

  3. River Laxford North Highlands

    Laxford Bridge in the North West Highlands

    © VisitScotland / Airborne Lens

    Drive across the Laxford Bridge and you'll find yourself enjoying 360° views of the River Laxford. The shortest river on our list at only 4-miles long, it runs between two lochs before meeting the Atlantic, in the wild north west corner of the Highlands.

    Visit: North Coast 500Durness, and Isle of Handa

  4. River Dee Aberdeenshire

    El río Dee, Aberdeenshire

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    From south west to north east, there's another Dee to discover! This river bubbles through Royal Deeside, Queen Victoria's favourite holiday spot, before making its way to its estuary at Aberdeen Harbour.

    Visit: Balmoral CastleMuir of Dinnet NNRBraemarBallater and Linn of Dee

  5. River Dee Dumfries & Galloway

    El Castillo de Threave sobre el río Dee, Dumfries y Galloway

    © Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere / Allan Wright

    Moving swiftly downhill from the Galloway Hills through the wide bays of Loch Ken, the Dee swirls past beautiful scenic spots and peaceful villages in Dumfries & Galloway, along its journey to the Solway Firth.

    Visit: Threave CastleGalloway Activity CentreGalloway Forest Park and the Artists' Town of Kirkcudbright

  6. River Spey Highlands

    La tonelería de Speyside, Craigellachie

    © North East 250 / Damian Shields

    We have the sparkling waters of the River Spey to thank for flavouring some of Scotland's finest single malt whiskies in a region with around 50 working distilleries. Rising in the Monadhliath Mountains, it twists and turns until it reaches the Moray Firth. 

    Visit: Loch Insh WatersportsSpeyside CooperageMacallan Distillery, the Malt Whisky Trail and The Speyside Way

  7. River Tweed Scottish Borders

    El viaducto de Leaderfoot sobre el río Tweed, Melrose

    © VisitScotland / David N Anderson

    The famous Tweed cloth derives from the name of this river, which glides through the Scottish Borders from the Lowther Hills and into the North Sea, with pretty towns sitting on the riverbanks such as Peebles, Galashiels, Selkirk and Kelso.

    Visit: Abbotsford HouseMelrose AbbeySt Boswells and Scott's View

  8. River almond West Lothian

    Almond River

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    This river played an important role in the area's shale industry. A walk along the river tells tales of Scotland's first oil boom and the 'shale people' that worked in the area. With an impressive ox-bow lake at Almondvale, it travels through the Lothians and drains at Cramond into the Firth of Forth.

    Visit: CramondAlmondell and Calderwood Country Park and The Shale Trail


Our coasts and waters offer fun activities for all the family, but it's important to stay safe. Whatever you're planning to do, follow the advice from Water Safety Scotland.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution also provides helpful advice and safety tips across a range of pursuits, to ensure you have the best day out.

Fire Safety Outdoors

As the weather gets drier, the risk of wildfire in Scotland increases. Fire can ignite easily, spread fast and burn with high intensity. We're all asked not to light a fire outdoors during prolonged dry periods, and to always fully extinguish cigarettes.

Find out more on preventing wildfires in Scotland

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