16 Unique Scottish Adventures You Must Experience

Scotland has a wealth of unique and unusual experiences, with a variety of landscapes and attractions for every taste and occasion. We've picked 16 of the best once-in-a-lifetime trips and things to do, so get inspired and start planning your unforgettable only-in-Scotland adventure.

  1. Enjoy a Microlight Adventure Scotland

    Loch Leven, Glencoe

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Experience flying like never before as you soar through the air in a microlight aircraft. Get a taste of open-cockpit flying and feel the wind on your face as you soak up the epic views.

    Fly from Kinross, East Lothian, Cumbernauld and Strathaven and see the likes of Loch Leven, the Lomond Hills, the Bass Rock and beautiful beaches. 

    Providers: try Microlight ScotlandEast of Scotland Microlight.

  2. Gaze at the stars Scotland

    Stargazing at Sailean nan Cuileag (The Bay of Flies)

    In Scotland there are many areas which experience little or no light pollution, meaning that on a clear night you can enjoy wonderful stargazing without the aid of a telescope. Look up in wonder at the star-studded canopy above you and breathe in the fresh night air as you search the sky for distant galaxies and the Milky Way. 

    The Galloway Forest Park is one of only four designated Dark Sky Parks in the western world and the only one in the UK. You could also visit one of the Dark Sky Discovery Points across the Highlands, or set sail to the Isle of Coll, Scotland's Dark Sky Island. 

    Visit Galloway Forest Park

    Discover the Isle of Coll

  3. Sail on a Vintage Yacht Scotland

    A yacht moored at the north pier pontoons, Oban

    © VisitScotland / Wild about Argyll / Kieran J Duncan

    There are few things that beat a sea voyage in a classic vessel. A trip around the sea lochs of the Isle of Skye and the Small Isles on a sailing ship is undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Visit the wonderful west coast of Scotland and enjoy the charm and seclusion of the Inner Hebrides or Knoydart peninsula. Sail against the spectacular backdrop of pristine islands and high sea cliffs and admire the landscapes of wild mountains and forests in the distance.

  4. Travel on a Steam Train Mallaig

    The Jacobite Steam Train

    Described as one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, the Jacobite Steam Train's* 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive sites.

    Starting in Fort William, the train travels along the shores of Loch Eil, passes the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar, and continues to Mallaig, where there is a ferry service to the Isle of Skye. The highlight of the journey is when the train crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct, where you can get a stunning view towards the Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel. The viaduct is known the world over for its remarkable engineering and for its appearance in the Harry Potter movies.

    Please note that the Jacobite Steam Train is only running the morning service at this time. There is no Harry Potter coach and reduced First-Class capacity.

    Check out the Glenfinnan Viaduct

    Follow our Harry Potter itinerary

  5. Walk to an Island (literally) Shetland

    St Ninian's Isle, joined to Mainland by a tombolo of sand at Bigton, Shetland.

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.

    Set foot on one of the finest sand tombolos in Europe and savour the splendid views. Linked to the Shetland Mainland by a natural sand causeway with sea on either side, St Ninian's Isle never fails to capture the hearts of visitors.

    With pristine sand and blue waters, just as vivid as those found in Barbados, Shetland's very own St Ninian's Isle is regularly compared to the tropical beaches of the Caribbean. Have you added it to your must-do list?

    Visit Shetland

  6. Take off from the water on a seaplane Loch Lomond

    Loch Lomond seaplane which tours over Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    A first class window seat in an iconic aircraft over one of the world's most magnificent landscapes, anyone? Whether you're looking for a seaplane experience, a scenic tour of magnificent Scottish landscapes or both, a seaplane flight is a completely unique flying experience.

    Enjoy a champagne tour with Loch Lomond Seaplanes - the UK's only seaplane airline - or fly over Loch Lomond into the heart of the Trossachs for lunch at an award-winning restaurant.

  7. Walk Across an Iconic Bridge South Queensferry

    The Forth Bridge in South Queensferry at sunset

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

    The Forth Road Bridge, the younger brother of the Forth Bridge, is amongst Scotland's best-known sights, transporting thousands of travellers between the Kingdom of Fife and Edinburgh & The Lothians every day.

    Take a walk over the Forth Road Bridge and enjoy spectacular views of both the Forth Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing. These landmarks steal the spotlight on virtually every Edinburgh-related calendar and postcard - make sure you capture your own shot!

  8. Marvel at the Northern Lights Scotland

    Northern Lights at Mounthooley Dovecot

    © VisitScotland / Discover Fraserburgh / Fiona McRae

    For many people, catching a glimpse of the beautiful Aurora Borealis is on their wish list and Scotland offers a good chance of seeing this incredible night-time phenomenon.

    While the northern reaches of Scotland offer better chances of spotting the "Mirrie Dancers", the aurora can be seen anywhere in Scotland when the right conditions are met. Autumn and winter are the best seasons to spot this amazing display.

  9. Land on a Beach The Outer Hebrides

    Barra Airport, Traigh Mhor Beach, Isle Of Barra.

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    If the thought of an airport makes you feel bored, fly to the Isle of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, where you will land on the wide sands of Traigh Mhor beach! Landing at Barra Airport on the beach is a truly unique experience -  it's the only beach runway in the world to be used for scheduled airline services.

    Traigh Mhor beach is submerged at high tide and is open to the public when there are no flights due.

    Visit Traigh Mhor beach

  10. Take on a Classic Long Distance Walk Scotland

    Hillwalkers take a break on the West Highland Way between Kinlochleven and Altnafeadh.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Take in some of Scotland's dramatic landscapes with the views along the West Highland Way. 

    Stretching 96 miles from the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William in the Highlands, this classic adventure travels along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and past the dramatic Glencoe before finishing at the foot of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

    Walk the West Highland Way

  11. Soar High in a Hot Air Balloon Scotland

    Hot air ballooning

    A hot air balloon ride in Scotland is the perfect way to take in incredible views and see the sights from a vantage point like no other. Hop into a basket and launch from sites including Perthshire and Lanarkshire.

    Be hypnotised by the spectacular landscapes that lie below you - it's definitely an activity not to be missed!

    Providers: try Webster Adventures and Virgin Balloon Flights.

  12. Go back in time at a Geopark Scotland

    A view of Cùl Mòr in the North West Highland Geopark

    © VisitScotland / Airborne Lens

    Explore Scotland's geoparks and walk across an ancient oceanic crust, tackle mountains and see the remains of deserts, seas, volcanoes and glaciers, which have all left their mark on Scotland's landscape.

    The natural beauty of Scotland's geoparks is sure to leave you speechless - after all it's been three and a half billion years in the making!

    Find more information on North West Highlands GeoparkLochaber Geopark and Geopark Shetland.

  13. Try your hand at land yachting Scotland

    Land yachting in St Andrews

    Challenge your fellow land yachters to a race along the sands on iconic St Andrews beaches.

    Using the wind for propulsion, land yachting takes the gracefulness of sailing and combines it with the high adrenaline thrill of motor racing – an outdoor adventure that’s guaranteed to leave everyone happy and smiling.

    Providers: try Blown Away Experiences.

  14. Hitch a ride on a husky sledge Scotland

    Two huskies at the summit of Meall a Bhuachaille

    © VisitScotland / Jakub Iwanicki

    Husky sledging in Scotland? Oh, yes. When the weather turns cold, take a dog sledge ride through the stunning Perthshire countryside in Blairgowrie.

    As you speed along the scenic trails you'll experience engaging views and you're sure to fall in love with the friendly husky dogs, too. It's a magical winter wonderland and the perfect winter mini break - sit comfortably and enjoy the ride.

    Providers: try Bowland Trails.

  15. Swim with basking sharks Oban

    Basking Shark Scotland

    Just off the coast of Oban on the west coast of Scotland, you can go snorkelling with the second largest fish in the world - the basking shark. Despite growing up to 10 metres in length, basking sharks are gentle creatures that eat only plankton. Choose from the thrill of swimming with the sharks or watching them from the boat.

    You can see basking sharks every summer in the waters off the west coast. Particular hotspots include the Firth of Clyde, off the coast of Oban and around the Isles of Coll, Tiree and Canna. In addition to the regular basking shark sightings, local waters are also home to minke whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, harbour and grey seals, porpoises and more.

  16. Spend a day Canyoning Scotland

    A group of friends enjoy a day out canyoning at the Falls of Bruar

    © Perth and Kinross Council / Fred Murray

    Filled with beautiful glens, fast flowing rivers and narrow gorges, Perthshire, Aviemore and Fort William - to name just a few - are all fantastic locations to try canyoning.

    Think cliff jumping, abseiling down rocky precipices, slipping and sliding down natural water flumes, scrambling under cascading waterfalls and perhaps even some wild swimming. How does that sound?

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