Wed. May 29th, 2024

Beloved for romantic landscapes, cultural hotspots like Glasgow and Edinburgh, and sleepy seaside towns, Scotland is top of our list for a UK break this year.

Its iconic coastline is full of unexpected wildlife, and lined with picturesque harbour and seaside towns where the nation’s ancient traditions are kept alive, along with a dose of modern fun thanks to lovely restaurants and exciting outdoor activities.

The mesmerising beauty and remote peace and quiet of Scotland’s islands is also unbeatable, which is why we’re inviting Prima readers on some incredible adventures this year. One is a four-day Scottish steam-themed trip, where you’ll ride an iconic train and visit the seaside town of Mallaig.

Another is an exclusive eight-day cruise around the Scottish Highlands and islands, where you’ll be joined by TV weather star and Scotswoman Carol Kirkwood. On this holiday, you’ll visit the pretty coastal towns of Oban and Tobermory.

Or you could get to know TV broadcaster and journalist Kirsty Wark on a five-night cruise on a yacht-style ship that explores various locations including Oban and Tobermory.

Want to discover more of Scotland’s coastal wonders? Try an island hopping expedition cruise, where you’ll try authentic whisky, see wildlife and charming little towns, like Bowmore.

To give you a taste of the places you’ll see along the way and inspire you to visit one of the hottest destinations of the moment, we’ve rounded up some of Scotland’s prettiest harbour and seaside towns to visit in 2023.

Nairn, Scottish Highlands

nairn beach, scotland
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Another Highland gem, this popular seaside town is one of Scotland’s sunniest spots, and boasts three beautiful beaches which make great places to chill out in summer, or take long walks (with or without your pooch).

As well as the sandy beaches, you can enjoy the romantic backdrop of Culbin Forest, and nature-lovers should keep an eye out for dolphins, minke whales, seals and rare birds along the coast.

Check in to the glorious Golf View Hotel & Spa for a two-night spa break in Nairn. Prima has an exclusive hotel package including a stay with dinner, bed and breakfast, afternoon tea, spa gifts and a thermal spa experience.

Oban, Argyll and Bute

scotland seaside towns
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Oban means ‘little bay’ in Gaelic, and the harbour looks out towards the wild and rugged Inner Hebrides islands. Panoramic views of magical landscapes, including the ruins of Dunollie Castle, make for amazing pictures, which is probably why Queen Victoria declared Oban “one of the finest spots we have seen” after visiting.

The town is also famous for its amazing seafood and great range of outdoor activities – if you’re feeling adventurous, then head out for a bit of sea kayaking, sailing or a wildlife-spotting boat trip.

Explore Oban on a boutique cruise in the Scottish Highlands and exploring the islands. You’ll be joined by TV weather star Carol Kirkwood who give a talk about her life growing up in Scotland and her career, including her time on Strictly Come Dancing.


You can spend six days getting to know the hidden sea lochs, the Caledonian Canal and pretty Oban on a trip with journalist Kirsty Wark and Prima this October.


Alternatively, make Oban your base by checking in to the Oban Bay Hotel for a two-night seaside break. You’ll have breakfast each morning, freshly made afternoon tea, a thermal spa experience, spa treats and dinner on both nights.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

scotland seaside towns
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Probably Scotland’s most famous port thanks to the CBeebies show Balamory, you’ll instantly recognise the bright colours of the charming houses lining the town’s main street by the harbour.

Legend has it a ship from the Spanish Armada sank here in the 1500s while fleeing the English fleet, and that it was full solid gold bullion – but none has ever been found! Nowadays the picturesque port and the island’s romantic feel have made it a trendy spot for weddings.


See the colourful houses of Tobermory on a spring-time cruise with Carol Kirkwood, where you’ll meet the weather presenter and visit the Isle of Skye, Isle of Iona and more.

Visit Tobermory during a six-day October cruise, where you’ll be joined by broadcaster Kirsty Wark. You’ll also visit Loch Ness and Oban on a yacht-style cruise ship.

Spend two nights at the Isle of Mull Hotel & Spa, which is 30 minutes from Tobermory. With a two-night spa package, you’ll enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast, afternoon tea, spa treats and a thermal spa experience.

Mallaig, Scottish Highlands

scottish seaside towns
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A picturesque seaside town along Scotland’s famous Road to the Isles, Mallaig is a terminus for the West Highland Railway. The Jacobite steam train, made famous by the Harry Potter films, follows the Road to the Isles from Fort William.

Once you arrive in Mallaig, you can wander around the harbour area, hike the town’s Circular Walk or go on a wildlife cruise to spot porpoises and seals. Mallaig is also a gateway to the Isle of Skye and visitors can travel there in 45 minutes by ferry.

Prima has a four-day Scottish steam trip in June and July, which includes a ride on the legendary Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. You’ll then have time to explore the coastal town and stop for a seafood lunch if you wish.

Portree, Isle of Skye

scotland seaside towns
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Colourful fishermen’s cottages line the natural harbour at Portree on the Isle of Skye, which you’ll fall in love with straight away for its old-world charm and calm, timeless atmosphere.

Grab fish and chips from The Harbour chippy and settle down for a spot of people watching, then spend the rest of your day exploring the hills and woodland behind you – or simply soaking up the gentle rhythms of this remote Scottish port. Heaven!

Plockton, Scottish Highlands

scotland seaside towns
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Known as the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’, Plockton is a lovely little waterside village surrounded by a classic Highland landscape of pine trees and snow-capped mountains.

The glassy waters of Loch Carron are often busy with yachts and small fishing boats, and a handful of great restaurants mean it’s a great destination for foodies too – but it’s just as much a place for simply breathing in some fresh air and re-energising body and soul.

Ullapool, Scottish Highlands

scotland seaside towns
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Tucked away in the magnificent Scottish Highlands, this historic harbour town is a great place for outdoor adventures, with stunning views of the ancient landscapes in Inverpolly National Nature Reserve.

Unsurprisingly it’s also a great spot for seafood if that’s your thing, and you’ll be well rewarded with a trip here. Try the Seafood Shack for a rustic taste of some of the most delicious fresh fish the UK has to offer.



By Lala