18 Scottish Harbours & Seaside Towns You Must Visit

What a joy to be by the sea in Scotland. Walking along a coastal path in the fresh air, stopping for lunch at a seaside restaurant, spending the night in a cute coastal cottage or cosy hotel – doesn’t that sound good? Here we pick a selection of Scottish harbours and towns to inspire your next holiday, with some foodie tips thrown in.

  1. Tobermory Tobermory & North Mull

    A sea plane glides over the multicoloured houses along the pier at Tobermory, with the hills of North Mull over the water in the distance

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.

    Tobermory, the capital of Mull, is one of the prettiest ports in Scotland, thanks to its colourful houses and a sheltered bay where rumour has it a Spanish Armada ship sank in 1588 carrying gold bullion. In the mood for seafood? Café Fish, The Mishnish Hotel and the Fisherman’s Pier Fish & Chip Van all cater for hungry travellers.

  2. Millport Isle of Cumbrae

    A child walks on Crocodile Rock on the beach in the town of Millport on the island of Great Cumbrae in Ayrshire.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    The only town on the island of Cumbrae, just off the coast of Ayrshire, Millport is home to Britain’s smallest cathedral: The Cathedral of the Isles. The local museum is worth a visit too, especially if you enjoy thrilling tales about 18th century smugglers. You’ll find a good photo spot at Crocodile Rock – a rock painted to look like a crocodile! Enjoy fish and chips on your trip to Cumbrae at the Crocodile Chippy or Deep Sea Fish & Chip Shop.

  3. Pittenweem Pittenweem

    Pittenweem perches on the rocks above the sea, its pink, white and grey houses topped with terracotta roof tiles and reflected in the water below.

    © Kenny Lam, all rights reserved.

    This charming East Neuk fishing village has a beautiful harbour which comes alive each morning as the fishing boats return with their catch. The picturesque houses along the Pittenweem seafront are built in traditional Fife style with crow-step gables and red slate roofs. Enjoy fish and chips at the Pittenweem Fish and Chip Bar and maybe an ice cream at Nicholson’s Ice Cream Shop.

  4. Oban Argyll

    Oban, Argyll

    © VisitScotland / Stuart Brunton

    Nicknamed the ‘seafood capital’, a trip to Oban means a taste of the sea. This west coast town is  surrounded by miles of dramatic shores and gorgeous countryside. Oban harbour is a busy working port and provides a vital lifeline to the Scottish islands nearby. When it’s time for something to eat, there are plenty of places to choose from including Oban Seafood Hut, Ee-Usk, The Fisherman’s Kitchen and Tralee Bay Fish & Chips.

  5. Portree Isle of Skye

    View from Portree across the water at dusk, with stunning mountains beyond

    © © VisitScotland, All rights reserved, use

    Skye is a place of dramatic landscapes and the natural harbour at Portree is no exception. Fringed by high ground and cliffs, the harbour is used by fishing boats as well as pleasure craft. The town itself is Skye’s cultural hub and has many accommodation options as well as foodie highlights. These include Sea Breezes, The Lower Deck Seafood Restaurant, Cuchullin Restaurant and The Harbour Fish & Chip Shop.

  6. Plockton Plockton

    Looking down to Plockton and Loch Carron, from a hillside above the village, Highlands of Scotland.

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved

    The sheltered bay at Plockton overlooks Loch Carron, a beautiful Highland spot! Backed by a wild landscape of heather and pine, the waterfront around Plockton is usually full of yachts and fishing boats.  Enjoy a relaxing walk by the water’s edge or take a trip out on the water. Afterwards try locally caught seafood at a local restaurant. You have a few to choose from including The Harbour Fish Bar, Kishorn Seafood Bar, Plockton Inn and Plockton Shores Restaurant.

  7. Ullapool Ullapool

    Looking over to Ullapool, fishing port and resort on the east shore of loch broom, and departure point of the ferry to Stornoway

    © © VisitScotland, all rights reserved.

    Ullapool is a top outdoor destination with all kinds of things to do on its doorstep. From the wonderful wildlife of Inverpolly National Nature Reserve to the Instagrammable peak of Stac Pollaidh, you won’t be short of things to see. With a long history of fishing, Ullapool Harbour is also a gateway to the islands with regular sailings to Stornoway.  As you might expect there are lots of places to try local seafood such as the Seafood Shack, The Seaforth Bar and Restaurant and The Arch Inn Restaurant.

  8. St Abbs St Abbs

    Eb Carr's Cafe in St Abbs

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved

    If you’re a fan of the Marvel’s Avengers films you might recognise this pretty harbour town. St Abbs doubled up as ‘New Asgard’ in the popular film franchise. Photographers will love the cliffs and old fisherman’s cottages in St Abbs and the nearby St Abb’s Head Nature Reserve is a great place to go walking. Local restaurants where you can try the catch of the day include The Heathers Restaurant, The Ship Restaurant & Bar and Ebb Carr’s.

  9. North Berwick North Berwick

    North Berwick Beach with the law in the background.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam. All rights reserved.

    The East Lothian town of North Berwick is full of character and the busy harbour is one of the focal points. Once home to an outdoor swimming pool, the harbour area is now the location of the Scottish Seabird Centre, where families can stop and learn about the Scottish coast before a walk along the beach. In the summer months visitors will love eating fresh seafood at The Lobster Shack, Signals Bistro or The Rocketeer Restaurant.

  10. Largs Largs

    The town of Largs, on the Forth of Clyde in North Ayrshire is a seaside resort with a pier and links with the Vikings.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    With its unusual pebble beaches and yacht marina, Largs is a traditional holiday resort with strong links to the sea. Just a mile offshore, you’ll find the Isle of Cumbrae. A regular ferry service takes visitors to the island and the famous Waverley Paddle Steamer makes trips from Largs during the summer months. Looking for a bite to eat? Scotts Bar & Restaurant, Morris’s Seafood Café and The Fish Works all serve fresh seafood.

  11. Aberdour Aberdour

    A parkland course on the shore of the River Forth with some very interesting holes. There are extensive views from all around the course and in partic

    © Fife Council / Airborne Lens

    Aberdour is home to two beautiful beaches, a harbour, castle, golf course and a choice of traditional pubs and shops. Silver Sands beach overlooks the Firth of Forth towards Edinburgh & The Lothians and is said to be one of the finest in Scotland. Whether you love watersports or just a good old walk by the seaside, Aberdour has plenty to offer. Try the local catch at Room With A View or the Forth View Hotel.

  12. Portnahaven Portnahaven

    Portnahaven is a village on Islay. The village is within the parish of Kilchoman. It is located at the southern tip of the Rinns at the southern end o

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    The Isle of Islay is famous for whisky, but the island is also home to some charming little harbour villages. Portnahaven is one such village, built around a sheltered harbour where grey seals love to sunbathe. As the sun is setting over this beautiful island retreat, try some local fare in An Tigh Seinnse, the local pub. The name means ‘The House of Singing.’

  13. Pennan Pennan

    The two-storey stone houses of Covie sit almost on top of the pier. Their gable ends face the sea, and their walls are close together for shelter.

    © Iain Sarjeant, all rights reserved

    Pennan is a tiny fishing hamlet consisting of little more than a single row of whitewashed stone cottages tucked between a cliff and the sea. The village leapt into the limelight when the British movie Local Hero was filmed here in 1982. The town has an attractive harbour which is a great place to spot wildlife – including dolphins! Stop for a bite to eat at the Pennan Inn or Coastal Cuppie.

  14. Crail Crail

    The harbour at Crail, in the East Neuk of Fife.

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    The East Neuk town of Crail is a pretty patchwork of cobbled streets and fishing cottages, centred around an attractive harbour. In the summertime it is a great place to walk around and explore, stopping to watch the fishing boats and enjoy an ice cream. Like other towns along the Fife coast, it is easy to access the Fife Coastal Path from Crail which stretches for over 100 miles around the area. Crail Fish Bar & Café and Reilly Shellfish are brilliant places to stop and eat.

  15. Stonehaven Stonehaven

    Boats line the walls of the picturesque Stonehaven harbour

    © .

    Idyllic on a summer’s day and filled with things to do, Stonehaven is an Aberdeenshire gem. The sheltered harbour is always busy with boats and along the quayside you can visit the Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum. Two miles south you’ll find Dunnottar Castle, one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings. Each year the town plays host to a Hogmanay fireball ceremony which is a sight to behold. Foodie options include The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant, The Bay Fish & Chips and The Creel Inn.

  16. Dunbar Dunbar

    Dunbar high street and Toolbooth.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Dunbar is on the North Sea coast of East Lothian, about 30 miles east of Edinburgh. The town is renowned for its high sunshine record, rugged coastline and attractive countryside, including John Muir Country Park which supports a wide range of habitats, birds and plants. The town is steeped in history and was one of the most important Scottish Fortresses in the middle ages. Nowadays you can try cable wakeboarding at Foxlake Adventures – a fun day out for the family. Grab a bite to eat at The Creel, The Rocks or Umberto’s.

  17. Anstruther Anstruther

    Award Winning Anstruther Fish Bar.

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Located south of St Andrews, Anstruther is the largest in a string of pretty, old-fashioned fishing villages along the Fife Coast. Look out for puffins, seals and other wildlife on a boat trip to the Isle of May, which run from May through to September. And of course, try locally caught seafood in one of the towns award-winning eateries: The Waterfront, The Cellar, The Rockies Restaurant or The Anstruther Fish Bar.

  18. Nairn Nairn

    High tide on the River Nairn

    © Iain Fairweather. All rights reserved.

    Nairn is a relaxing and friendly seaside resort in the Scottish Highlands, with three beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and two championship golf courses. Located on the Moray Firth, Nairn is a popular family holiday destination and an ideal base for walking, cycling, touring the Highlands and golfing. The Classroom Bistro, Sun Dancer Bar and Restaurant, and Bandstand Bar & Restaurant are just some of the options you have for food on your trip.

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