14 Iconic Scottish Views

Looking for the most beautiful places in Scotland? Want iconic Scottish views and places where you can appreciate the jaw-dropping Scottish landscapes in all their glory? We can help! These 14 viewpoints where you'll definitely want to stop and drink in the amazing Scottish scenery.

  1. Scott's View Scottish Borders

    Scott's View, overlooking the valley of the River Tweed and the Eildon Hill

    Soak up the peaceful vista at Sir Walter Scott's favourite viewpoint. Things to look out for include the fast flowing River Tweed, famous for its underwater residents (huge wild salmon) and the prominent Eildon Hills, which are all that remain of an ancient volcano. Iron Age people and Romans also once lived on top of these iconic hills.

    How to get here: follow the B6356 to the viewpoint, near Bemersyde. You can also hop on a direct bus service from Edinburgh to Leaderfoot Bridge before starting your walk to the viewpoint. An alternative is taking the Borders Railway train service from Edinburgh to Galashiels then hopping on a bus to Leaderfoot Bridge. Both options take roughly 2h 30m, or just over an hour by car. 

  2. Isle of Arran from Ayr Beach Ayrshire & Arran

    Sunset over the Isle of Arran viewed from Ayr Beach

    Stroll along the soft sands of Ayr beach and enjoy the same view that Victorian families once marvelled at. See Arran rising up out the sea from across the water and look out for distinctive Ailsa Craig, an ancient volcanic plug in the Firth of Clyde that is home to 36,000 pairs of gannets (that's 72,000 gannets in total!).

    How to get here: from Glasgow bus station, you can hop on a bus, or from Glasgow central train station you can grab a direct train, both of which will take you to Ayr, then it’s just a 10 minute walk to Ayr Beach. Both options take roughly 1h 30m.

  3. Edinburgh Castle from the Vennel Edinburgh

    Edinburgh Castle seen from The Vennel

    Edinburgh Castle, but not quite how we're used to seeing it! Towering over Edinburgh atop Castle Rock, there are countless places in Scotland's capital to admire the castle in all its glory. One of our favourite views is this lesser known gem - from the top of the steps at the historic Vennel, just off the Grassmarket.

    How to get here: once you’ve arrived in Edinburgh, walk or cycle to the west side of the Grassmarket and climb the steps up the Vennel, located opposite King's Stables Road. When you reach the top, turn around, and voila! One of the best views of Edinburgh Castle you can get.

    Key facilities
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  4. Forth Rail Bridge North Queensferry

    The Forth Bridge seen from North Queensferry

    © VisitScotland/ Kenny Lam

    A truly impressive feat of engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a bridge you can't help but stop and admire. The Forth Bridge was opened in 1890 and stretches for 2.5 km between the towns of North and South Queensferry. Further west you'll also see the Forth Road Bridge (opened in 1964) and the Queensferry Crossing (2017) - three bridges that span three centuries.

    How to get here: from Edinburgh Waverley you can take the 20 minute train journey to South Queensferry (Dalmeny Station) or North Queensferry. You can hop on one of the bus services from Princes Street in Edinburgh that will take you to North and South Queensferry too. By bus the journey takes roughly 45 minutes. Once you’re here, head to the Albert Hotel in North Queensferry. This viewpoint is from Main Street, looking past Battery Road, just outside the hotel.

  5. Loch Katrine from Ben A'an Loch Lomond, The Trossachs & The Forth Valley

    Loch Katrine seen from the summit of Ben A'an in The Trossachs

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    Standing at 1,491 ft (454 m), Ben A'an is one of Scotland's most popular hills to climb and for good reason - just look at that view! The hill's pointed peak offers stunning views across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, with Loch Katrine stretched out below you. Look out for the Steamship Sir Walter Scott gliding on the sparkling water.

    Advice from the photographer: "This is the classic view from the very summit, looking down Loch Katrine. You are only rewarded with this view when you get right to the top (the route up is on the opposite side of the hill) but what a reward!"

    How to get here: follow the A821 to the Forestry Commission car park at the foot of Ben A'an. The drive takes roughly 1 hour from Glasgow, and 1h 30m from Edinburgh.

  6. Queen's View Perthshire

    The Queen’s View in Highland Perthshire which overlooks Loch Tummel

    Overlooking gleaming Loch Tummel, Queen's View has been popular for centuries. When Queen Victoria visited this spot in 1866 she assumed that it had been named after her, but many believe it was named after King Robert the Bruce's first wife, Queen Isabella. Cast your eyes out in the distance to see the towering Munro, Schiehallion, overlooking the west end of the loch.

    How to get here: follow the B8019 to the Queen's View Visitor Centre, at the east side of Loch Tummel and the Tay Forest Park. From Perth you can also hop on the M10 bus service to Fishers Hotel, then switch to the number 10 bus that will take you to Queen’s View Visitor Centre. The journey by bus takes roughly 1h 50m.

  7. Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Shiel Highlands

    Glenfinnan Viaduct

    One of Scotland's most instantly recognisable attractions, the Glenfinnan Viaduct was finished in 1901 and has famously starred in several of the Harry Potter movies. There are plenty of places to enjoy views of the viaduct and beautiful Loch Shiel - including the lovely Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail - but this lesser known vantage point is from the lower slopes of towering Beinn an Tuim.

    How to get here: follow the A830 to the Glenfinnan Viaduct car park. Or why not take the Glasgow to Fort William train? This scenic train journey lasts roughly 4h 40m and takes you from Glasgow to Fort William and then on to Glenfinnan where it is just a further 15-minute walk to the viaduct. You can also travel by bus from Glasgow bus station to Fort William, then take another bus on to Glenfinnan Viaduct, taking roughly 4 hours.

  8. Isle of Barra Outer Hebrides

    A view from the plane to Barra

    Not everyone will arrive in Barra by plane - you can also catch the ferry from Oban and South Uist or drive from Vatersay - but the view from above is simply incredible. Marvel at the crystal clear waters and paradise island just before you touch down on Traigh Mhòr beach - the world's only beach runway for scheduled flights. An unforgettable experience.

    How to get here: book your flight from Glasgow to Barra Airport.

  9. Bow Fiddle Rock Moray

    Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie

    Resembling the tip of a bow, Bow Fiddle Rock juts out of the sea on the stunning coastline between Portknockie and Cullen. Made up of a hard rock called Cullen quartzite, Bow Fiddle Rock's distinctive sloped sides were caused by the impact of two ancient continents colliding hundreds of millions of years ago.

    Advice from the photographer: "A rare occurrence takes place for around a week twice a year. If you visit during May and August you may be lucky enough to catch the sun rising through the arch of the Bow Fiddle Rock!"

    How to get here: the fastest route to Bow Fiddle Rock is from Portknockie. Head to Aberdeen train station where you can hop on the train to Dyce then switch over and take the bus straight up to Bow Fiddle Rock, taking roughly 3 hours.

  10. Bealach Na Bà Highlands

    Bealach na Ba - the road to Applecross

    At the top of one of Scotland's most famous roads lies this stunning viewpoint. The hairpin bends and steep heights of the Bealach na Bà make it an unforgettable road to drive, and when you get to the top - at a height of 2,053 ft (625.7 m) - you're rewarded with this jaw-dropping view of the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye. Look out for the Outer Hebrides in the distance on clear days, too.

    How to get here: follow the Bealach na Bà from Tornapress to Applecross. Pull off the road when you reach the large parking area at the top of the Bealach to enjoy the view.

  11. Sumburgh Head Shetland

    Sumburgh Head Lighthouse

    Shining its beacon from the perilous cliffs of Sumburgh Head, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse is perched 91 metres above sea level and boasts incredible views out across the North Sea. Constructed in 1821, the lighthouse was designed by the renowned lighthouse architect Robert Stevenson (grandfather of author Robert Louis Stevenson). Marvel at the huge colonies of seabirds, including gannets and puffins.

    How to get here: fly from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen to Sumburgh, or head to Aberdeen Ferry Terminal to catch the ferry from Aberdeen or Orkney to Lerwick.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
  12. Lunan Bay Montrose, Angus

    The ruins of the red castle at Lunan Bay, with the broad sandy beach beyond

    © Paul Tomkins, VisitScotland, All rights reserved.

    This vast expanse of pristine sand is one of Scotland’s most iconic beaches. Beloved by surfers, families, snorkellers, birdwatchers, horse riders and even the odd gemstone hunter, Lunan Bay is a captivating backdrop for an array of activities. It even has its own castle, a red sandstone ruin from the 12th century keeping watch from the grassy bluff.

    How to get here: from Dundee train station, grab the train service to Arbroath where you can hop off and grab the bus to Braehead of Lunan to start your trip to Lunan Bay. The journey takes roughly 1h 20m.

  13. Calanais Standing Stones Isle of Lewis

    The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis

    These enigmatic megaliths have fascinated visitors and archaeologists for thousands of years. Measuring 12 feet in height and centred around a chambered tomb, these standing stones were erected in the late Neolithic era around 5,000 years ago. The reason is shrouded in mystery, but theories suggest a religious or astronomical purpose.

    How to get here: you can travel to the Isle of Lewis by bus from Fort William. Hop onboard the 916 service to Uig where you can then catch the ferry to Tarbert. Once on Lewis, you can catch a second bus to see the stunning Calanais Standing Stones. The journey takes roughly 8h 45m. You can also drive the same route which takes roughly 6 hours.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Pets Welcome
    • Hearing Loop
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  14. The Northern Lights Orkney

    Northern Lights at Gairloch with Four Seasons Campers

    © Four Seasons Campers / Peter Sandground

    Known locally as the “Mirrie Dancers”, Orkney is one of the best places in Scotland to witness the celestial phenomenon of the Northern Lights due to low levels of light pollution. It is also one of the most atmospheric with ancient sites, serene lochs, and other stunning locations from which to observe this natural wonder.

    How to get here: you can travel from Inverness or Aberdeen to Orkney. From Inverness, hop on the X99 bus service to Thurso where you can catch the ferry to Orkney. The journey takes approximately 7h 30m. Similarly, you can take a direct ferry to Orkney from Aberdeen, which takes roughly 6h 50m.

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