Scotland’s landscapes are known and admired around the world and the country is visited by thousands of tourists every year to enjoy them in person. We’ve compiled a guide that provides a snapshot of just a handful of the many locations you might want to take in when exploring Scotland’s incredible natural beauty.
Northwest Highlands – UNESCO Global Geopark
This region of Scotland has been shaped over billions of years into a stunning and varied landscape that encompases iconic mountain peaks, vast white sand beaches, hidden caves, and plunging lochs.
Whether you’re after a quiet holiday retreat in a remote region or an action-packed adventure, this corner of Scotland has something for everyone. Hiking is extremely popular with visitors as they take on the many challenging walks, sometimes incorporating a number of mountain peaks into one day of walking. Similarly, rock climbing is a major reason many people visit the area, with climbs such as Stac Pollaidh and The Old Man of Stoer being taken on.
The caves of the region are another stunning feature, with Smoo Cave and Bone Caves drawing visitors. Smoo Cave is a combined sea and freshwater cave set into the limestone cliffs with one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in the UK. Inchnadamph Bone Caves are one of the biggest cave systems in the country, including Fox’s Den, Badger Cave, and Bone Cave. Only experienced cavers with the correct equipment should explore any further than the initial few metres of the caves.
There is a wealth of wildlife here, with the birdlife in particular drawing in visitors keen to catch a glimpse of a variety of species. One of the best spots for birdwatchers is Handa Island bird Reserve, the area hosts up to 100,000 breeding seabirds, including guillemots, kittiwakes, shags and puffins. You can visit Handa Island by taking a pedestrian ferry from the mainland at Tarbet (3 miles north of Scourie, not to be confused with Tarbet on the banks of Loch Lomond) during the visitor season.
Argyll & Isles – Hidden Beauty
This quiet corner of Scotland is often overlooked by visitors, but it offers stunning scenery at every turn and is a popular retreat from the cities. On the west coast of Scotland, this region includes a number of islands that offer their own unique cultures, while the mainland of the region offers stunning rugged coastlines.
The ‘secret coast’ on the stunning Cowal Way walking trail is not to be missed, wild and remote with hills, glens, lochs, rugged coastline, white beaches, clear waters and ancient forests, there’s incredible scenery at every turn. You can also enjoy beautiful nature reserves filled with varied wildlife, including deer, eagles, seals, puffins, and much more besides.
This region also boast a number of stunning monuments and castles, including the moody and evocative ruins of Kilchurn Castle, perched on the banks of Loch Awe. The more romantic Inveraray Castle & Gardens on the shore of Loch Fyne is also very popular, one of Scotland’s finest stately homes located in an area of spectacular natural beauty.
Cairngorms National Park – Into the Wild
A diverse and wild region of Scotland, the Cairngorms offers moorlands of heather and peat, vast forests, rivers meandering through wetlands, and towering mountains. The landscapes here are not something just to be admired, they’re something the people that live and work there belong to and have shaped for generations. Active management is hard work and has led to the forests, moors and farmland that we can enjoy today. A quarter of the UK’s rare and endangered species call the Cairngorms home as it has Scotland’s largest natural habitats and is kept that way by large-scale conservation action.
When travelling by motorhome, or any other vehicle for that matter, through the Cairngorms, there are plenty of spots to stop at and take a moment to soak up the natural beauty of the landscape all around you. The stunning beauty of this region doesn’t stop at night as there’s a ‘Dark Sky Park’ in the Glenlivet and Tomintoul region that allows you to look to enjoy a night sky that is filled with stars in an area that has vastly reduced light pollution.
The Cairngorms can’t be talked about without mentioning the mountains, it is home to some of the highest peaks in the UK. As well as being stunning to look at, the mountains are a hive of activity throughout the year. From mountain climbing and walking routes to skiing and snowboarding, there is no end to the outdoor fun you can enjoy on the mountains of the Cairngorms.
Skye – Mountains and Clifftops
Among the most photographed places in Scotland, Skye’s landscape is admired around the world, drawing in visitors from far and wide. While driving around Skye you’ll see the incredible geological features at every turn, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing, and the Cuillin mountain range.
To really enjoy the landscapes of Skye you’ll have to bring your hiking boots and get out and explore them on foot. There are a variety of hikes you can take on that will be rewarded with stunning views, and where better to start than the famous Fairy Glen, a relatively easy hike that offers magnificent views. If you’re after a more challenging hike then the Quiraing is where you’ll find it, with sloping landscapes and jagged cliffs that will take your breath away, there’s hikes here for all abilities.
The coastline of Skye also offers stunning vistas, none more so than the remarkable Neist Point, where you’ll find a small lighthouse perched on the edge of the cliffs. For breathtaking sea cliffs you just have to visit Mealt Waterfall with Kilt Rock nearby, both amazing to behold. Mealt waterfall spectacularly flows off the cliff 200 feet into the sea, while Kilt Rock’s towering columns of Basalt resemble the pleats of a kilt, a quite impressive sight.
Hebrides – Stunning Beaches and Coastline
From hidden coves to vast stretches of sand, the white beaches and crystal blue waters of the Outer Hebrides are a joy to behold. In these landscapes you may find yourself strolling along a beach that is completely deserted with the only noise coming from the wind, sea, and wildlife around you.
The beaches of this region are often reached by walking through fertile coastal grassland called machair that becomes a colourful display of wildflowers in summer. The walk to the beach through this machair is a pleasure in itself as you spot rare butterflies and bees, and take in the scent of the flowers.
Wildlife on the islands of the Hebrides is abundant, with otters, birds, and a variety of marine life, including sharks, whales, dolphins, and seals. Whether you prefer a quiet walk on the beach, a clifftop stroll, or a boat trip, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy the wildlife of this stunning landscape.
Explore Scotland’s Landscapes by Motorhome
We’ve provided some insight to just a few areas of Scotland you might want to explore, but there are many more to enjoy. To experience Scotland’s natural beauty for yourself there’s no better way to explore than in the comfort and convenience of a luxury motorhome hire. A motorhome provides transport and accommodation that allows you to travel freely without worrying about where you’ll lay your head each night. Contact us to find out more and plan your motorhome tour of Scotland’s incredible landscapes.