With gentle hills, green forest, miles of coastline and windswept mountain ranges, there’s no shortage of great hikes and walks in Scotland. Here are our favorite scenic Scottish walks that will satisfy any hiker.
Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh
This spot is an ideal walk for visitors and residents of the country’s capital city that want to take a break from busy urban life. Arthur’s Seat sits in the middle of Edinburgh, but that doesn’t make it any less scenic. Arthur’s Seat is the remainder of a dormant volcano which is 251 meters tall. There’s a gentle path for casual walkers, but more keen hikers may want to take the more difficult route right to the summit. The views over Edinburgh, the Scottish Parliament, and the Firth of Forth are extraordinary.
Ben Nevis, Inverness-shire
Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Britain, its peak at 1,344 meters, can be reached via two routes. One is the ‘Mountain Track’ (also known as the ‘tourist path’) and ascends gradually from Glen Nevis, this 17 km long walk, up and down, is suitable for unprepared visitors. The other route escalades corries (a circular hollow in the side of a mountain) and crags – and is not for the faint-hearted. Whichever way you prefer, you’ll enjoy stunning views of Scotland from the summit.
The Isle of Iona
Iona is a paradise for walkers. One of the great things about Iona – a small island in the Inner Hebrides – is that it measures just one mile by 3.5 miles and can be perfectly explored on foot. Iona is ideal for walkers interested in a gentle and peaceful stroll rather than an uphill struggle. From a relaxing walk along one of North End’s beaches, admiring peaceful panoramas to exploring Columba’s Bay in the south, there are plenty of places to discover by foot.
Fort William, Highlands
Fort William has some of the most scenic and diverse walking trails in whole Britain, from challenging and exhilarating climbs to the tops of Munros (peaks over 3000ft), long-distance walks to short and pleasant strolls for the entire family.
The East Highland Way – Scotland’s newest long-distance trail – starts at Fort William and ends 78 miles later at Aviemore. This trail passes three beautiful castles, prehistoric sites, and several beautiful lochs. It takes about 4-6 days to walk this whole trail, but you can opt for single pieces like the last 10 miles from Kincraig to Aviemore that passes the impressive sculptures on Scottish culture before heading through the Inshriach National Nature Reserve and taking a glimpse of the picturesque Loch an Eilein.
Another popular hike, starting in Fort William is the Great Glen Way. A route that takes you for 79 miles through a broad stretch of forest and along Lochs Locky, Oich, and Ness. Most walkers take 4-6 days to walk this trail, providing a chance to admire its beautiful scenery.
Clyde Coastal Path
The Clyde Coast Way is a 55 km long trail that offers many stunning views of Scotland’s southwest coast. You’ll cross several coastal towns, each with their attractions. There’s easy access to roads, railway stations, and accommodation throughout, making this an excellent choice for the casual hikers who wants plenty of beautiful scenery.
Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
A walk in the desolate and lunar-like moorland is amply rewarded when the breathtaking panoramas of Sandwood Bay – perhaps the most beautiful beach in Britain- come into sight. Enjoy exploring the golden sandy beach with its dunes, rocky cliffs, and a giant sea stack. Although Sandwood Bay is a popular destination, it never seems busy and is as well a perfect spot for wild camping.
Fife Coastal Path
Starting at North Queensferry, just outside of Edinburgh, the Fife Coastal Path heads northwards around the beautiful coastline, crossing small fishing villages and passing sandy beaches, prehistoric caves and castles. Don’t miss the ancient town of St Andrews and the village of Anstruther famous for its delicious fish and chips.
The Speyside Way is a classic Highland long distance walk of 65 miles that goes through the heart of Malt Whisky country and Cairngorms National Park. Following the River Spey, this walk is a great way to visit some of Scotland’s best whisky distilleries and to enjoy the open coastlands and vast Caledonian forests.
Glentrool, Dumfries & Galloway
The region of Dumfries & Galloway, situated in Southwest Scotland is, is home to an enormous wild grassland called the Galloway Forest Park. Within this beautiful park, you’ll find many great hikes, and Glentrool is one of the most ideal for casual hikers.
Glentrool wraps around Loch Trool – in the shadow of Mount Merrick- that lies in the center of the Galloway Forest Park. The trail crosses forested shores, climbs fairly steep hills then leads down to the headwaters of the loch. This is a 2-3-hour hike that is popular with the locals of Dumfries & Galloway.
The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
The geology of the Isle of Skye is some of the most savage and remarkable in entire Scotland. In the northern part of Skye, just north of Portree, stands one of Skye‘s most popular natural monuments: The Old Man of Storr. The Storr is a rocky ridge consisting of sharp rock pinnacles set against the scenery of gentle green hills and Skye’s coastline. The trail crosses forests, takes steep slopes and continues over rugged lands of rocks. The hike to Skye’s Old Man of Storr is the perfect excursion from Portree. The landscape is peculiar and gorgeous, and the views are stunning.