28 Prettiest Villages in Scotland You Must Visit – Updated 2023
One of my favorite places on earth is Scotland. Like Depeche Mode in the 1990s, I’ve been to the nation numerous times, and I just can’t get enough.
The country’s sparse population is one of its best features. There are a lot of small towns and villages in Scotland because there are only about 5.5 million residents there. They can be found hiding near lochs, rivers, beaches, and towering mountains.
I’ve given you a taste of each in this guide. Here are some of my favorites, which I consider to be Scotland’s most picturesque villages and small towns.
Killin, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
My favorite Scottish village, Killin, is close to the Falls of Dochart and is a quaint, dreamy community tucked away in the countryside.
Explore the mysterious ruins of Finlarig Castle, climb Sron A’ Chlachain for spectacular views of the village and Loch Tay, and then reward yourself with a hearty meal at one of the village’s three pubs.
The ideal time to escape to nature is over the weekend in Killin.
Pittenweem, Fife – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
On Fife’s east coast is a small fishing community called Pittenweem. Its name is cute, but it’s also one of Scotland’s loveliest villages, located on the east coast.
This small village is artistic, colorful, and quirky, and it offers a lot to see and do. Take in the red pantile roof tiles with crow-step gables, shop in one of the craft stores, and purchase an ice cream from the shop on the harbor. It’s also worth admiring Kellie Lodge, a townhouse from the 16th century that once housed the Earls of Kellie.
Alternatively, pick up some fresh fish for dinner. Every morning, fishing boats arrive in the harbor with their catch of the day, which is then sold at the nearby market.
Anstruther, Fife – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Another absolutely charming village in Fife is Anstruther, which is located on the east coast. The Anstruther Fish Bar, which has won numerous awards, including UK Fish and Chip Shop of the Year, is the establishment most famous for its chippy.
Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets, go to the beach, or take the May Princess to the Isle of May.
St Monans, Fife – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The smallest fishing community on Fife’s East Neuk is St Monans.
The area’s primary industries once included fishing and salt production, and you can still see a replica of the St. Monans Windmill, which was used to pump seawater.
A photographer’s paradise, the white, blue, and orange pantiled cottages that line the harbor. The ruins of Newark Castle, which can be found on the Fife Coastal Path, are also there.
It also has a fascinating prehistoric past. David II built a small church there in thanksgiving for his survival of a shipwreck in the area of the village in the fourteenth century. Since then, the church has undergone renovations and is still in operation.
Dean Village, Edinburgh – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
A short stroll from Edinburgh’s city center, Dean Village offers a tranquil setting away from the bustle of the city.
The Water of Leith is surrounded by the village, and in the past, water mills were once ground there.
From Dean Bridge, where you can see the vibrant historical homes, you can get the best view of the village. Also visible from here is Well Court, a courtyard structure with Category A listing that formerly served as housing for mill workers.
Livingston Village, West Lothian – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Before Livingston became a town, there was a small community called Livingston Village, which was situated close to the River Almond.
The village was a farming community when it was first established in the 12th century. In the center of the community, there is a charming pub called the Livingston Inn with a lovely beer garden. In fact, while staying at the inn, Robert Burns wrote the poem “The Bonnie Lass of Livingston.”
Visit Livingston Village if you want to escape the crowds and experience a charming small town with a historic inn.
Check out these additional West Lothian attractions while you’re there.
Mid Calder, West Lothian – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The Haggis was raised in the conservation village of Mid Calder.
Nine pubs were located in Mid Calder, which was once a crucial stop for drovers traveling with their cattle to markets all over Scotland.
Witch trials were conducted in the Kirk of Calder, the community church, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In the village’s center, on Cunnigar Hill, those found guilty were set on fire. The Reformation leader John Knox has also delivered sermons at the church.
Visit one of the three pubs in Mid Calder for a drink if you want to experience a typical Scottish village since it is less of a tourist destination and more of a quiet, community village.
Peebles, Scottish Borders – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The bustling village of Peebles is situated in the Scottish Borders. Although it is technically a town, it still has a village-like atmosphere, which is why I included it on this list. There are a lot of people sitting on the shady banks of the River Tweed, which runs alongside the town.
The Cross Kirk, a church ruin, is located in Peebles. When what were believed to be St. Nicholas’ relics were discovered there, Alexander II asked for it to be built.
Peebles is a wonderful small town to visit over the weekend. It has a variety of arty stores as well as Osso, a cafe/restaurant with a Michelin star.
Kirk Yetholm & Town Yetholm, Scottish Borders – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The Bowmont River divides the two communities, which are only about a mile apart. The Gypsies of Yetholm used to reside in Kirk Yetholm, which is the area closest to the border.
The Pennine Way, the Scottish National Trail, and the St. Cuthberts Way all pass through these villages, making them popular destinations for walkers on those trails.
Melrose, Scottish Borders – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
A history buff’s paradise is Melrose. The tiny settlement is home to Melrose Abbey, a 12th-century monastery built by Cistercian monks following David I’s orders and tucked beneath the Eildon Hills.
Melrose is a vibrant small town that makes a good home base for exploring the Scottish Borders. It has some top-notch restaurants and pubs, a great campground, and it has even won over some of Scotland’s most well-known personalities.
King Robert the Bruce also requested that his heart be interred in Melrose Abbey (his body is interred in Dunfermline Abbey), and Sir Walter Scott constructed his home, Abbotsford House, there. If you ever visit Melrose, I highly recommend taking a tour of Abbotsford House, one of the most well-known homes in the world.
Kelso, Scottish Borders – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Although Melrose or Peebles are frequently preferred over Kelso, which is a hidden gem in the Scottish Borders, I adore visiting this quaint village for its pubs, cafes, and architecture.
One of the four borders abbeys, Kelso Abbey, is a ruin that can be found in Kelso. It was one of the most well-known religious buildings in Great Britain at the time it was built. The extravagant and opulent Floors Castle and Gardens, which were constructed in the 18th century and resemble something out of a fairy tale, are also located in Kelso.
Drymen, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Another well-liked stopping point for Highland cattle drovers, Drymen is now a popular destination for walkers as it serves as the route’s first overnight rest stop.
As a result, there are a few pubs, a variety of B&Bs, and nature trails right outside your door. The oldest officially recognized licensed pub in Scotland is The Clachan Inn, which received its license in 1734. It’s also one of Loch Lomond’s pubs with the most dog-friendliness.
There is also a lot of history to discover, including the ruins of Buchanan Castle, which are one mile away from the village, and the remains of a medieval motte that can be seen by the village’s bridge.
If you want to explore the region around Loch Lomond and return to a cozy pub to unwind at the end of the day, Drymen is a great village to base yourself in.
Aberfeldy, Perthshire – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
A burgh (chartered town), Aberfeldy is a Scottish village that I enjoy visiting.
It is a haven for nature, with the River Tay winding around the village on one side and the Birks of Aberfeldy—home to the Falls of Moness—on the other. Robert Burns’ poem with the same title was inspired by the Birks of Aberfeldy.
Aberfeldy offers a wide range of outdoor activities, such as white water rafting, abseiling, gorge walking, canyoning, mountain biking, and more. The picturesque village is the ideal setting for a peaceful evening at the end of the day.
The Watermill Bookshop and Cafe, one of my favorite bookstores in Scotland, is located in Aberfeldy.
Blair Atholl, Perthshire – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Blair Atholl is a small highland village at the foot of Cairngorms National Park.
The village is known as the gatekeeper to the highlands and is surrounded by lush greenery, forest. The River Garry threads through the town
It is home to Blair Castle, an impressive 13th-century whitewashed, baronial-style mansion and seat of Clan Murray. The castle is well worth a visit; here you can learn about the Atholl Highlanders, Britain’s only private army, and explore the expansive gardens where you can enjoy the birdlife and may even spot the odd red squirrel!
Pitlochry, Perthshire – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Perthshire’s Pitlochry is a well-liked destination for both tourists and locals. The main street is lined with charming shops, hotels, and restaurants, all nestled in a stunning natural environment.
For lovers of nature, Pitlochry makes the ideal home base. Pitlochry is close to many hikes in the Cairngorms National Park and has a lot of interesting places to explore. The lovely Loch Faskally, which is encircled by forest trails, was selected as the location for Outlander movie shoots.
The months of September and October are ideal for travel if you want to see the lush green landscape turn golden.
Braemar, Perthshire – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
A village called Braemar can be found in the Cairngorms National Park. This village, which is surrounded by mountains and forests, draws thousands of walkers, climbers, and skiers each year.
From Braemar, one can access 24 Munros (mountains higher than 3,000 feet), and the Glenshee ski area is only 8 miles away. One of the most well-known highland games in Scotland is the Braemar Gathering and Highland Games.
The Royal Family spends their vacations in Scotland at Balmoral Castle, and they also come to the Highland Games held in Braemar every year.
Luss, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The quaint village of Luss is located on the shores of Loch Lomond. It’s a well-liked spot to pause and take in views of the loch.
Wandering around Luss and admiring the adorable little cottages is one of my favorite things to do; the gardens are so vibrant and well-kept!
The Luss General Store, one of my favorite gift shops, is situated in Luss. Come by and get something special for yourself!
Sheildaig, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Scotland’s remote West Coast is home to the fishing community of Shieldaig. It was built in 1800 to encourage families to start fishing, and it is situated on the edge of Loch Shieldaig.
It’s a charming village with many cafes and eateries that serve fresh seafood. Shieldaig island is located across the loch, and inland the village is encircled by ominous rocky mountains.
This village, located in the remote north-west highlands, is undoubtedly one of the prettiest in all of Scotland. For anyone who enjoys going off the beaten path, a weekend here is ideal.
Torridon, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Torridon is tucked away at the edge of the Upper Loch Torridon, not far from Shieldaig. It’s a fantastic starting point for some hillwalking, and if you’re interested in geology, this region has some interesting rocks.
A short distance away is the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, where you might get lucky and spot some golden eagles among the birds and other wildlife. When I first came to Torridon, I had the good fortune to see a pine marten playing around the community.
The Torridon Stores and Cafe is the only store in the small, isolated village. Although the village itself is unremarkable, the surrounding landscape elevates it to the status of one of Scotland’s most beautiful.
Gairloch, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
On the shores of Loch Gairloch, a small village named Gairloch can be found on Scotland’s west coast.
This region is home to a few amazing beaches, including Big Sand beach, which also has a nice campground.
You can see over to the Isle of Skye on a clear day!
Check out Hillbillie’s Bookstore, which is one of my favorite shops in Scotland, which is located in Gairloch.
Applecross, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
One of the most remote places in Scotland is Applecross, a dispersed village in the north-west highlands.
It’s a well-known section of the North Coast 500, and the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), one of the highest and steepest roads in Great Britain at 2,053 feet, is the quickest way to get to the village.
Due to its rough and wild terrain, it is still a well-liked tourist destination despite being inaccessible. Highland cows and sheep can be seen freely grazing in this vast, open terrain. Bookings for lodging are made quickly here.
Kinlochbervie, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
On Scotland’s northwest coast, in the county of Sutherland, is the isolated village of Kinlochbervie. It has a number of white sandy beaches, including Sandwood Bay, which is frequently referred to as Scotland’s most beautiful beach, and Oldshoremore beach.
If you like to travel off the beaten path, you should check out this charming village. Even though you might not get a WiFi signal, you will encounter some of Scotland’s friendliest people and take in some of its iconic beauty.
Plockton, Scottish Highlands – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Plockton is a charming village that benefits from both being surrounded by hills and being situated in a protected bay.
Its beauty attracts artists and photographers, and if you need to slow down, it’s a great place to spend some time. You can rent a bike and ride through the countryside, take a boat trip to see some wildlife or go fishing, or just take advantage of the nearby walking trails.
When the tide is low, you can also visit a small island.
Portree, Isle of Skye – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
The Isle of Skye’s Portree is a well-liked base for exploring the island; however, in my opinion, Portree is one of Scotland’s prettiest villages because of the contrast between the brightly colored homes that line the harbor and the shadowy mountains beyond.
There are a few eateries, shops, and lovely walks in the village, such as the route to The Lump, from which you can ascend the Apothecary’s Tower for vistas of the city all the way to the Old Man of Storr.
I advise going in the off-season because it gets very crowded in the summer.
Tobermory, Isle of Mull – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Most people associate Tobermory with the picture-perfect, vibrant cottages that line the harbor. The British kids’ program Balamory also features these cottages.
The main town on the Isle of Mull is Tobermory, which was developed as a fishing port in the 18th century. It’s fun to stroll down the main street, which is lined with hotels, restaurants, and lodging options.
Even though it attracts tourists in the summer, it still has a village-like atmosphere. After taking a few pictures of the vibrant buildings, be sure to tour the Tobermory Distillery, go to the Mull Museum, and, in the evening, find a pub with live music and take in the neighborhood vibe!
Dunkeld, Perthshire – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
Although Dunkeld is categorized as a town, it has a village-like atmosphere. The historic city of Dunkeld, which is located next to the River Tay, is filled with colorful “little houses” that date back to the 1700s.
ARAN Bakery, which is run by Great British Bake Off contestant Flora Shedden, is one of the fantastic neighborhood restaurants in Dunkeld.
Nearby is the Hermitage walk, a well-liked destination for photographers and those who enjoy the outdoors, especially in the fall.
Portnahaven, Islay – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
On the Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides, there is a fishing community called Portnahaven. This location is simply picture-perfect, so it deserves a spot on the list of Scotland’s prettiest villages.
In the tiny bay, seals can frequently be seen swimming or sunbathing (pictured above). Popular summer destination for secluded coastal vacations is Portnahaven.
Additionally, there will be a beautiful view of Orsay Island, the Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse, and Eilean Mhic Coinnich (also known as Mackenzie Island).
St Abbs, Scottish Borders – Beautiful Villages in Scotland
On the Scottish Borders’ eastern coast, the charming fishing community of St. Abbs is located. This is where The Avengers: Endgame, a 2019 Marvel movie, was filmed. It served as the setting for New Asgard in the movie, and the town even put up a sign proclaiming “St. Abbs: Twinned with New Asgard”!
In St. Abbs, Harry Styles also shot the music video for his song “Adore You.”
Topic: 28 Prettiest Villages in Scotland You Must Visit – Updated 2023
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By: Travel Pixy