Scotland is often described as the best small country in the world. To be fair, it’s often said in jest, or as a proclamation of entitlement by those who live here, but when you look closer, it’s pretty difficult to argue that there are few countries of comparable size that have such an abundance of natural attractions and wonders.
We’ve put together some suggestions as to Scotland’s top natural wonders, based on their uniqueness and world-class natural beauty. As you can imagine, given the plethora of wonders, this wasn’t particularly easy, but it will be worth your while to visit even one or two of them during your visit.
The Old Man of Storr
This iconic feature is part of a wider landscape in the Trotternish area of Skye that is simply breathtaking, featuring in a number of films, including The Wicker Man, Prometheus, and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The Isle of Skye as a whole is a hugely popular attraction, drawing in visitors from around the world, but The Old Man of Storr is the image many have in their minds as they make their way to the island. You can climb the Storr if you have experience hillwalking via a 3.8km route of rough paths, steep rocky sections that can be scrambled and some boggy ground.
Scotland has many caves, but perhaps the most famous one is Fingal’s Cave on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa in Argyll, on the Inner Hebrides. Looming about 230 feet over the ocean, legend has it that this visually astounding sea cave was created around 60 million years ago, by the same ancient lava that gave rise to Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, which as the crow flies, is directly across the sea.
This isn’t the only connection between the two. Both are made of the same basalt columns and were intended to act as a bridge between the two countries where rivalries between Fionn mac Cumhaill and his Scottish counterpart, Fingal, were intense to say the least. Famous visitors to Fingal’s Cave include Queen Victoria, Sir Walter Scott, and Felix Mendelssohn who enjoyed the astonishing acoustics of the cave which are said to have inspired his Hebrides Overture.
The Three Sisters Of Glencoe
These breathtaking mountains, (Bidean nam Bian in Gaelic), reside in arguably Scotland’s most famous and scenic glen, Glen Coe, in the Highlands. Dominating the skyline, The Sisters, three steeply-sided ridges – Beinn Fhada (Long Hill) on the east, Gearr Aonach (Short Ridge) in the middle and Aonach Dubh (Black Ridge) on the west – were shaped millions of years ago from some of the oldest sedimentary and volcanic strata in the world.
They’ve endured and remain somewhat of a mecca for hill walkers, attracting and captivating visitors from all over the world. Visit for yourself to see the sheer scale and grandeur of the surrounding landscapes and learn about the area’s turbulent past. And if you have time Ben Nevis in Fort William is also well worth seeing.
Situated on the Isle of Harris in the north west of Scotland, Luskentyre Sands is perfectly-curved crescent of fine shell sand and dunes is renowned for its long miles of white sands and the gorgeous azure waters that surround it. Submerged at high tide, the sands become part of the ‘Sound of Taransay’ that looks out towards the Isle of Taransay. Coastal scenery really doesn’t get any better than this.
The UK’s on dual UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Nature Reserve is a tiny archipelago far off the west coast of mainland Scotland that is simply stunning. The island features dramatic, jagged landscapes and towering sea cliffs that are among the highest in Europe.
St Kilda hosts nearly a million seabirds during the breeding season, with a diversity of birds in numbers that is unrivalled in Europe, from the iconic Puffin to Gannets and Fulmars, the island is a birdwatchers dream. St Kilda features the vestiges of human occupation, including traditional Highland style stone cottages and cleits (traditional stone storage hut). It’s not easy to visit St Kilda, but it is an experience like no other.
Scottish Dark Sky Park
If you’re a stargazer then Europe’s first designated Dark Sky Park, spanning around 75,000 hectares of land at Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries & Galloway, is an absolute must see. It’s so dark here, that you can catch a glimpse of stars, planets and maybe catch sight of the odd meteor while you’re at it. Visibility is often clear enough for the bright band of the Milky Way to be seen arching across the sky.
There’s something different every night because, as we travel around the sun, we receive a constantly changing view of the stars. And if that isn’t enough, the Observatory on the edge of the park in Dalmellington, has two large telescopes through which you can observe the night sky.
The Old Man of Hoy
We finish our seven natural wonders with a visit to Orkney. The Old Man of Hoy rises out of the Atlantic Ocean to a remarkable height of 450ft, this red sandstone monolith is the UK’s tallest sea stack.
Originally an arch with two legs, this rock formation was slowly created, or separated from the land, depending on your point of view, by the erosive nature of the sea and wind. Popular with rock climbers fascinated by its structure and formation, you can walk to it on the island of Hoy, or see it from a distance on the Scrabster to Stromness ferry route.
Hire a Motorhome to Visit Scotland’s Natural Wonders
If you travel in one of our luxurious motorhomes for hire you and your family might manage to visit quite a few of the natural wonders we’ve suggested. You can appreciate the awe-inspiring beauty Mother Nature has gifted us, visit expansive beaches, walk natural trails with the sun on your back, or simply stop for a bite to eat and enjoy some of the best food and drink from Scotland’s extensive larder.
Your time is your own, so when all that fresh air and exercise catches up with you, kick back and relax in your motorhome and plan the next day’s activities, before sleeping like a baby.
Visit our motorhomes for hire page to find out more about out luxury vehicles.