Beautiful and wonderful Scotland is often missed during a trip to Europe, with so many cities and towns to explore along the European Backpacking Route it’s hard to decide what to include and what to miss when time is of the essence .
Away from the busy cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, Scotland has a whole host of hidden gems, undiscovered secret friendships and off the beaten track wonders to explore.
the the best time to visit Scotland it is without a shadow of a doubt the last months of summer. As the sun cools the bright blue cloudless skies remain crisp and dry offering you illuminated views of Scotland’s stunning scenery.
Here they are the best secret and natural places in Scotland that are just crying out to be explored!
#1. Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle is a picture perfect moated medieval castle surrounded by unique rolling Scottish countryside. Caerlaverock Castle means Castle of the Lark and has been imposing on the great lands of Scotland for over 400 years.
Retaining its rustic and delicate charm Caerlaverock Castle is located on the very edge of Solway Firth. The magical and majestic Caerlaverock Castle overlooks the beautiful kingdom of Scotland with its unique and eye-catching grade.
A wonderful place to explore with all the family Caerlaverock Castle is open to the public all year round and hosts a wide variety of family fun days and events inspired by history.
#2. Tombolo of San Ninian
On St. Ninian’s Island in the Shetland Isles in the north of Scotland can be found the 500m long St. Ninian’s Tombolo which is certainly one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. This beautiful Tombolo quicksand is the largest of its kind in the UK and is a truly unique geographical feature that is photogenic and memorable.
Although Shetland is far from the mainland it is certainly worth a visit and is the epitome of the beautiful British coasts. Although island life is a far cry from the tropics, life on Shetland is slower and more relaxed than mainland Scotland and the residents of St Ninian’s Isle are warm and welcoming Abundant in wild flowers and grass along the sand dunes. The sweeping beaches of St Ninian’s Island have soft white sand and crystal clear blue waters…albeit a bit chilly!
#3. Smoo Cave
Smoo Cave in Durness is a beautiful and expansive seawater cave combined with a freshwater cave set in the limestone cliffs of Sutherland. This dramatic coastal setting is always missed by travelers along the Europe backpacking route and it’s a crying shame for Smoo Cave shows Scotland’s fantastic and varied geography and geology at its best.
The cave is so deep and wide that it can be explored by boat or on foot along the specially designed trail. Smoo Cave is illuminated to add a real sense of mystery and magic to a visit.
#4. Stone of Sueno
At the north-east end of the Forres Suneo Stone is a Picto-Scottish stone standing at an imposing height of 6.5m. This undiscovered Scottish landmark is the largest and most beautiful of the many carved stone artefacts that have survived over the centuries from Scotland’s medieval period.
It has now proceeded from a sheer glass housing The Sueno Stone is steeped in history and local residents are proud to be kept where it belongs in rural Forres. The Sueno Stone weighs over seven tonnes and is a vital and central part of Scotland’s rich heritage.
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#5. Skara Brae
Island hopping is not an activity that comes to mind when planning a trip to Scotland but with so many islands dotted along the northern peninsula you’d be a fool not to get your toes to the sea and explore the Isle of Orkney and Skara Brae. On the southern shore of O’Skaill Bay can be found the ancient ruins of Skara Brae.
The Neolithic village of Skara Brae is widely regarded as one of the most remarkable and impressive prehistoric landmarks in all of Europe. Take the time to learn about the impressive and important history of Skara Brae and the legends and tales that go with it. Skara Brae is one of Scotland’s most hidden places and is waiting to be explored!
#6. Isle of Jura
Scotland’s last true wilderness the Isle of Jura is known worldwide for their Jura Scotch Whisky. The South Hebridean Isle of Jura is home to just 200 people in a small, close-knit community. The deer population is larger than the human population! More than 5,000 deer roam free in the beautiful and picturesque countryside.
The Isle of Jura is a landscape photographer’s dream and a hiker’s paradise. The Paps of Jura is the most popular area for ramblers and the island offers unlimited freedom to roam and roam which is a truly beautiful and unique experience and an opportunity too good to miss. The Jura distillery opens its doors to visitors by appointment and certainly does not disappoint.
Wild and wonderful the Isle of Jura is a hidden gem too good to pass up!
#7. St. Mary’s Loch
We are all familiar with Loch Ness but have you heard of St Mary’s Loch? This beautiful and tranquil Loch can be found between Moffat and Selkirk, 70km south of Edinburgh in the heart of the Scottish borders. Situated on the Ettrick Forest hunting ground St Mary’s Loch embodies everything you would anticipate from a day out in rural Scotland. Peaceful and calm waters surrounded by steep hills and abundant woodland forests. The perfect place to relax with a book and breathe in the fresh Scottish air.
#8. Loch Katrine
Home of the Sir Walter Scott steamship Loch Katrin is steeped in history and proud Scottish heritage. The best way to explore Loch Katrine is on a micro-cruise liner. Feel the wind in your hair as you walk along the placid water. Take in the vast and rolling landscapes that surround Loch Katrine and look out over the water to see the reflections of the undulating hills. Located in the county of Stirling Loch Katrine fresh water are enticing and enriching.
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When we think of the Glens we think of the Scottish Highlands but don’t be fooled there are beautiful Glens that can be found further afield and none as beautiful as Glentrool and Galloway Forest Park.
This idyllic forest area is perfect for mountain bikers and walkers and is the perfect place to appreciate Scotland in all its glory. The sunsets at Glentrool are the best, so be sure to stay late and enjoy the colorful spectacle.
#10. Isle of May
Last but by no means least is the Isle of May in Fife. This small but perfectly formed Isle is home to a number of endangered and protected bird species and comes alive with the sounds of Puffins during the breeding season. The tiny May Island is less than a kilometer wide and only 1.8km long and is uninhabited by humans in order to conserve the precious landscape for birds. Boats visit the Isle of May daily during the summer months.
Off the beaten track the Isle of May is the epitome of hidden gems in Scotland and should be high on your must see places in Scotland.
From the Outer Hebrides to the Shetland Islands, from Orkney to Fife Scotland has a huge number of hidden places, secret places and true deserts to explore. Pack your map and your sense of adventure and prepare to have the adventure of a lifetime in the great lands of Scotland.
Come rain or shine, stormy weather or pleasant skies Scotland’s vast and full landscape boasts wonderful views all year round.
About the Author
Linda is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of easytravel4u.com. She is passionate about travel and is excited to share all her travel experiences and tips with you on her blog. You can connect it through it Twitter.