Everything thinks of Edinburgh when planning a trip to Scotland, but from caves to fairy pools, its lesser-known destinations are just as enchanting.
When you plan on traveling to Scotland, the first place that comes to mind is Edinburgh. But did you know that there are other wonderful places you can visit beyond the popular city? From the Kelpies to Smoo Cave, Plockton, Skye Oban, and St. Kilda, here are Scotland’s hidden gems that will have you rethinking Edinburgh.
Nature lovers will have a grand time when they visit Highlands’ jewel, Plockton. Facing Loch Carron, this place is your haven if you want peace and quiet. Activities include cycling, kayaking, and sailing, but the best thing to do is stroll the coastline to experience the beauty and scenery of this place. A day tour is also available if you have extra cash to spend.
Getting there: Fly to Inverness and rent a car to drive to Plockton (2 hours travel time). You can also take the train (3 hours travel time).
Accommodation: Book your room at the Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant
6. Smoo Cave
Smoo Cave is located in Durness and is considered another one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Taking a guided tour is the way to go in this tourist spot and it is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. A careful study of the weather forecast before going here is a must if you want your visit to be uninterrupted by heavy rains.
Getting there: Fly to Inverness and rent a car to drive to Durness (2.5 hours travel time). You can also take the train (7 hours travel time).
Accommodation: Book a room at The Tongue Hotel, which has a cozy restaurant and offers deluxe rooms.
5. Fairy Pools
The Fairy Pools are situated on the Isle of Skye and boast crystal-clear waters thanks to the waterfalls that form these natural pools. Surrounded by mountainous rocks and green grass, this place is truly a hidden gem for all swimmers and vacationers alike! Guided tours are also available, in addition to visiting on your own.
Getting there: Fly to Inverness and rent a car for the drive to Inverness (2.5 hours travel time). Park at the Forestry Commission parking area.
Accommodation: Book a room at The Boat House where you can enjoy the magnificent views of the sea from every room.
4. Dunmore Pineapple
The Dunmore Pineapple is among the oddest buildings in the country. Classified as a folly, or an ornamental building that is costly and has no useful purpose, the Dunmore Pineapple was built by Lord Dunmore. A former Virginia governor, he retired and returned to Scotland with cultivating pineapples in mind, hence, the inspiration of this building.
Today, Landmark Trust is managing the Dunmore Pineapple and it may come as a surprise, but vacationers can rent the place for their Scotland trip for only 60 pounds a night. This rate is for four people and you can bring your dogs along.
Getting there: Fly to Glasgow or Edinburgh and drive a car to Dunmore (40 minutes travel time), or you can take the public transport and travel for 2 hours.
Accommodation: If you want the Dunmore Pineapple as just a place to visit, book your room at the Inglewood House and Spa, a hotel that has amenities like a thermal suite, a hot tub outdoors, and spa treatment rooms.
Located in the region of Aberdeen shire is a little town called Crovie. Little is the right word as this village, where all houses face the sea has only one road. This road is so narrow that the villagers’ vehicles have to be parked outside the settlement.
Brief research on the history of Crovie tells us that the rich landowner of the community had the inhabitants of his property driven out for his flock of sheep to be able to eat in his fields. This led the occupants to retreat to this minute parcel of land in front of the sea. At present, there are still villagers living on the seafront but most of them are already rented out to vacationers.
Getting there: Fly to Aberdeen and drive a car (1 hour travel time), or you can take the train and travel for 3 hours.
Accommodation: If you want to stay at the village’s center, book your accommodations at 49 Crovie Village.
2. St. Kilda Archipelago
This remote island in Scotland begs the question of how you can get there. Home to one of Scotland’s highest sea cliffs, St. Kilda Archipelago, is situated at the Outer Hebrides and is a world-class site that is worth visiting.
This island, which is rich in history, has been the home of some of the locals that evacuated in 1930. Today, this unique attraction in the UK has become an ideal place for tourists who love birdwatching. Boat tours and cruises are available should you wish to visit this isolated island.
Getting there: Fly to Glasgow and take another domestic flight to the Isle of Harris on Stornoway for a short flight of less than an hour.
Accommodation: Finsbay Lodges located on the Isle of Harris.
1. Fingal’s Cave
This majestic cave that rises from the ocean is so captivating and astonishing that vacationers are lured to explore the beauty inside. A one-of-a-kind cave, it is home to numerous animals and if your timing is right, you can also see the puffins that migrate here to mate. Going to the cave is easy, thanks to boat tours that are scheduled multiple times during the day at Fionnphort.
Getting there: Fly to Glasgow and rent a car. Drive for 2 hours to Oban then take a 50-minute ferry ride going to Craignure.
Accommodation: St. Columba Hotel, or Perle Oban Hotel