Villages are always a great choice if you want to get the true taste of a country and explore it more like a local. And when it comes to Scotland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, just imagine how scenic the villages could be.
Most of the Scottish villages are set in stunning locations – some are nestled in mountains and lochs (lakes in Scottish), some have unspoilt ruggedness, some have amazing seaside settings – they will never cease to amaze you.
What we love the most about the villages in Scotland, apart from the warmth of the people, there is a certain sense of simplicity and cosiness, even though some of them are quite popular tourist destinations.
Here is our curated list of 20 of the best scenic villages to visit in Scotland that you can completely do in public transport.
🏴 20 of the Best Villages to Visit in Scotland
Located on the lap of rugged Cairngorms National Park, Braemar is truly a beautiful village where you would love to immerse into the wilderness escaping the hustle-bustle of the city life. Being on a relatively high altitude, this village is one of the coldest places in Britain.
Aside from the majestic scenery, it has amazing wildlife, especially the red deer and red squirrels. Just keep your eyes peeled out.
Braemar lies just about 9 miles west of Balmoral Castle, Queen’s residence in the Royal Deeside. This village hosts the Royal Highland Games, that Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family usually attend every summer; So, here is your chance to wangle a royal invitation.
Plus, this village has its own Braemar Castle – a must-visit site which has over 400 years of turbulent Highland history.
Not a tourist hotspot yet, the cute little village of Crovie is one of the well-preserved fishing hamlets, perched on the north coast of Scotland in Aberdeenshire. With just a row of whitewashed cottages tucked away beneath the cliffs, Crovie has a very rustic setting. Very frequently, the sea sprays lash against the narrow ledge in front of them. Some of those cottages offer holiday accommodation if you fancy a stay.
This village is only accessible via the steps that descend down the cliff to the seafront. So, if you are coming by car, you can’t simply drive through the village – you’ll have to leave your car at the clifftop and then walk down the steps – can’t complain when you are blessed with such a smashing view.
Have you ever been to a place where you would feel like you have stepped back in time? Well, Culross is certainly one of those places. Nestled in the coast of Firth of Forth in southwest Fife, Culross is a hidden gem and one of the best-preserved villages in Scotland. In recent past, hugely popular TV series, Outlander has brought this Scottish village on the tourist map.
This historic village has an iconic Mercat Cross – a symbol of prosperous markets in historic Scottish towns and villages, a classic clock tower, cobbled streets, 17th century whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs and above all, a yellow-coloured palace with a gorgeous garden.
Plus, the panoramic view from the top of the palace garden is simply stunning.
Probably Cullen is best known for the famous Scottish dish, Cullen Skink – which originated in this fishing village. There is more to this fishing village on the Moray Firth. It has one of the most scenic coastal walks in Scotland onto the rocky ruins of Findlater Castle, higgledy-piggledy houses around the harbour, a sweeping sandy bay, Three Kings Rock Stack and a photogenic viaduct at the heart of the village. Plus, if you are lucky, you can spot some jumpy dolphins across the coast.
Another start attraction is Bow Fiddle Rock in the neighbouring village Portknockie, which boasts of having one of the most dramatic rock formations on the UK coast.
With so many things to see and explore, you could easily spend a few days in this village on the north coast of Scotland.
Located on the east coast of the island, Portree is the main settlement in Isle of Skye and a great base to explore most of the attractions on this magical island. Portree itself is proper picturesque. Look at the colourful houses at the harbour.
Don’t miss the Lump which is just five minutes walk from the centre of the village. You would get to admire a stunning view of the bay from the Apothecary’s Tower, a free viewpoint over there. On a clear sunny day, the mighty pinnacles of the Old Man of Storr would give you a sneak peek.
Perched on the sheltered coastline of Loch Carron in Wester Ross part of northwest Scotland, Plockton is a picturesque village surrounded by lochs and mountains. No wonder why it’s often called the Jewel of the Highlands.
Having a mostly milder climate due to the Gulf Stream, this village is home to palm trees, quite a unique thing you would find in Scotland.
With just 10 minutes train ride from Kyle of Lochalsh – the gateway of Isle of Skye and a short drive from Lochcarron on the super scenic NC 500 route, this Scottish village is a perfect detour to relax and unwind.
A former royal burgh of Stuart Kings and Queens of Fife, Falkland is most certainly one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. With the Lomond Hills looming over this quaint little village, Falkland is home to honeycomb houses, prettiest lanes, Falkland palace – which boasts of having the oldest tennis court on the planet, a twin-tower gatehouse and Bruce Fountain which sits at the centre of the village.
Not only that, Falkland has a few local boutique shops, cosy cafes, tearooms, and restaurants that you would love popping into. This village is also famous for the time-travelling historic TV Series, Outlander.
For nature lovers, there are some great walks around the village like Maspie Den, a highly recommended fairly easy walk. Fit hikers would love exploring the full East Lomond Circuit.
8. St Abbs
Just let me tell you, you would absolutely adore this fishing village on the Berwickshire coast in Scottish Border due to its dramatic cliffs and stunning seaside setting. The coastal walk from the village centre to the iconic lighthouse at the other end of the village is considered one of the most scenic walks in Britain. Bustling birds on the cliffs and sea stacks, plenty of wild plants and butterflies, and of course the uninterrupted view across the North Sea on this windswept walk will simply blow your mind away.
Always a favourite among keen walkers and scuba divers, St Abbs has found some extra dose of attention recently after being featured in 2019 Avengers Film, Avengers: Endgame (as New Asgard) and the Harry Style’s popular single, ‘Adore you’ (as Isle of Eroda).
9. St Monans
St Monans is a pretty fishing village in East Neuk of Fife and a jewel on the jagged coastline of the Firth of Forth. Around the harbour, huddle a charming blend of traditional whitewashed and colourful houses with crow-stepped gables – possibly a Dutch influence. The village gets very photogenic in high tide with the wild churning waves from the Forth pounding on the breakwater – super atmospheric! Have seen a million images but our timing was bad for the tide.
Being on the Fife coastal path, this picturesque village is very popular with walkers. Along the coast, you would find the ruins of Newark Castle, a beehive dovecot, a seaside church, salt pans – a reminder of its salt-producing past, and a windmill spinning its arms in an idyllic setting.
Located on the west bank of Loch Lomond, Luss is one of the prettiest and popular villages in Scotland. Aside from the astounding view of the mountains looming over the loch, Luss has pretty flowery stone houses which look really amazing in full bloom. Plus, the village has some great walks in and around.
Perhaps, no visit to Luss would be complete without a cruise across Loch Lomond. From the pier, you would have cruise and waterbus services in summer to visit other villages on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond – Balloch, Balmaha, Tarbet and Rowerdennan, which is a great base for hiking up to Ben Lomond. Private charters are available too.
If you are a serious hiker, you might be interested in walking along the 7.5 miles seductive stretch of Loch Lomond along the West Highland Way, a long-distance walking trail in Scotland.
A small historic village in Perthshire, Birnam is renowned for the Birnam Oak – an iconic 600-year-old tree which is thought to be the inspiration for Birnam Wood in Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Macbeth.
Another star attraction of this village is the Highland Games where thousands of visitors flock to every summer.
Just opposite of the River Tay lies the neighbouring town Dunkeld, which is connected to the village by a pretty arched bridge. Dunkeld Cathedral, one of the medieval churches of Scotland is a must-see attraction. Plus, Nearby Hermitage has a great walking opportunity.
Gardenstown is a picturesque village dotted on the north coast of Aberdeenshire and just 10 minutes walk from its sister village, Crovie. The village has a really pretty harbour and from there you would get an amazing view to the layer of houses clinging over the cliffs.
A short walk from the harbour in the opposite direction of Crovie, there is a nice beach. You would also love the walk to St John’s Church, an 800-year-old ruined church perched on the cliffs.
Home to one of the most photographed castles in the UK – Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie is just about 15 minutes drive from Kyle of Lochalsh, the gateway of the iconic Scottish island, Isle of Skye. Nestled at the meeting point of Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh, the village has a natural scenic setting.
Aside from exploring the castle, this former fishing village is really beautiful to ramble around. Along the coast, you will find a row of houses, mostly whitewashed and some with colours creating a nice contrast. Don’t miss the viewpoint a bit above the village offering a stunning view of the castle.
14. Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
The remotest place on our list, Gearrannan Blackhouse village is a former crofting village on the west coast of Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It’s a must-see attraction on the island because of its unique cluster of thatched stone cottages.
You can get a really nice insight into the Hebridean life of the past centuries like how they used to weave the world-renowned Harris Tweed and survived in the wild North Atlantic weather.
You can either day-trip to this village or spend the night at their holiday accommodation.
A prosperous bustling industrial town at one time, Dysart today is a suburb in the northeast of Kirkcaldy. No cargo ships today, no salt miners or colliers – now Dysart has turned into a photogenic village with picturesque old buildings and narrow alleys leading to the seafront. Crow-stepped gabbles on the historic building are stark reminders of its trading past with Holland. On the High street, a tolbooth stands tall with a clocktower as a prominent landmark of this village.
Dysart harbour was featured on the TV Series, Outlander. There is an excellent view of the harbour with St Serf’s old Parish Church from the Sailor’s walk which continues to the Ravenscraig Park.
One of our favourite places in the Scottish Isles, Lochranza is located at the northern part of Isle of Arran on a sea loch called, Loch Ranza, after which the village is named.
This small pretty village has a ruined castle, a distillery, a field Centre for the Geology enthusiasts (which we are not by the way), wide-open view along the Firth of Clyde and most interestingly the red deer – they keep dashing around the village freely – you won’t miss them!
Another thing that we really like about Lochranza is it’s less touristy than other areas in Arran which makes this village a perfect blissful spot to commune with nature.
17. Fort Augustus
Halfway between two major Scottish towns of Fort William and Inverness in the Highlands, Fort Augustus lies at the southern end of Loch Ness, the largest freshwater lake by volume in the UK and home to the celebrity monster, Nessie. The village has many things to do and explore for everybody. You can pop into the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre, Cruise into Loch Ness, walk or cycle around the village or simply enjoy the view of Loch Ness.
If you are serious hiker, you might be interested in the Great Glen Way, a long-distance walking trail between Fort William and Inverness, which runs through the village.
The previous winner of the Best Large Village Award, Comrie is clearly one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland and lies in the West Strathearn part of Perthshire. With plenty of big trees and woodlands, there are some fabulous walking opportunities around the village to Deil’s Cauldron, Comrie Croft and Melville Monument that you would really enjoy. The surrounding gets super beautiful in autumn with dazzling colours.
Not only that, this village hosts some great events like Comrie Fortnight in Summer and Flambeaux – torchlight parade as part of Hogmanay celebration in New Year’s Eve.
Lastly, don’t miss the Drummond Castle, just 20 minutes drive from Comrie, which has a glorious garden. The Castle is open only in summer months though.
Did you know? Due to this village’s location on the Highland Boundary Fault, it has more earth tremors than anywhere else in the UK and this village has one of the oldest seismometers in the world.
19. East Linton
East Linton lies about 20 miles east of Edinburgh and many consider this village a gem of East Lothian county in Scotland. In past centuries, this farming village on the River Tyne had many working watermills on its map. However, the only remaining one now is the picturesque Preston Mill, which has a quite unique shape with its conical roof.
After Preston Mill’s feature on the TV Series, Outlander, it started getting growing popularity over the last few years. They have guided tours available to tell great stories about the mill’s grinding past. Another must-see attraction in this village is Phantassie Doocot, a 16th-century beehive-shaped dovecot.
You would also love exploring the village centre (which has a nice fountain), Preston Kirk and a charming waterfall, Linton Linn on the River Tyne.
Best known for its silver sands, Morar is one of the scenic villages on the west coast of Scotland. A stroll along the miles of lonely beaches of white sand would be a great experience. On clear days, you would get a stunning view to the mountain ranges of Isle of Skye and the small Isles of Eigg, Muck, Rum and Canna in the Inner Hebrides.
Moreover, there is Loch Morar – the deepest freshwater lake in the UK and also the home of Morag, a loch monster, not so famous though like its celebrity big brother, Nessie of Loch Ness.
Planing a Trip to Scotland?
For further reading on other SCOTLAND destinations:
🏴 Isle of Skye | 24 Most Incredible Things to do in Isle of Skye
🏴 Cullen, Moray | 2 Days in Cullen, Moray Firth – 17 Things to Do
🏴 Braemar | How to Spend 2 Days in Braemar – 15 Top Things to do
🏴 Plockton | How to Spend a day in Plockton – 7 Best Things to do
🏴 Inveraray | 15 Most Awesome Things to do in Inveraray
🏴 Elgol | How to Spend a Day in Elgol and Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye
🏴 Best Villages in Scotland | 20 Most picturesque Villages in Scotland
Killin and Tobermory are also very beautiful villages and they are on our list of places to go. I am sure you would enjoy visiting them as well. Hope you enjoyed reading this article. Let us know on the Comment Section which one of the villages is your favourite.