Best and Beautiful Castles in Scotland

When we moved to Scotland we didn’t know we would stay here this longer – 4 years. What started as an infatuation, has now grown into an addiction towards this country that we currently call home.  Living in Scotland is pretty much like being on a holiday. There’s lot of things that we love about this country – should we tell you how beautiful the lochs are, or the vast wilderness in the highlands and coasts where we got lost every other weekends, or the festivals that soaked the cities with tourists. The more we stayed here, the more we deciphered the mystery and secrets this country beholds, and it only surprised us every time. 

We wanted to keep some exclusivity on Scotland while we continue our Castle series, and as  promised in our last castle blog post, this is the last post on castle series. But we are very sure this post will only mesmerize you, and give you the ichy feet as you ponder over when the hell am I going to travel to Scotland? 

Beautiful Castles in Scotland

Here’s our 12 favourite picks which we think are the best and beautiful castles in Scotland, and should not be skipped from your itinerary.  We haven’t explored all of the castles listed here either, but we are getting there slowly, and we are sure to end up seeing all of them before this year during our weekend travelling.  

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle Scotland
One of the iconic and most visited monument in Scotland and the one that dominates the skyline of the capital city of Edinburgh. It’s impossible to ignore the sight of the castle while you are travelling around the city.  A UNESCO heritage site, the castle sits on a dormant volcano hill.

*****
Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle Royal Deeside

Photo via Flickr / Marc

A large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Balmoral Castle has been one of the summer residences of the Royal Family since 1852 when it was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture and the castle surrounds gorgeous 50000 acres of land that includes gardens, grouse moors, farmland. The estate ground, garden and Ballrooms are open to public during Spring-Summer.

*****
Culzean Castle
Culzean Castle
Photo via Flickr / Mat’s eye

Located on a dramatic settings along the Ayrshire coast, it’s easy to see why Culzean Castle has been one of the most popular attractions in Scotland.  Considered as architect Robert Adam’s masterpiece, the castle has impressive oval staircase, armory, circular saloon and gas house. There are also sea caves beneath the castle which are open to public only during summer. The castle surroundings are very huge and are Scotland’s first country park which has deer park, ponds, walking trails. Easily makes a great day out. 

*****
Dunnattor Castle

Dunnattor Castle, Stonehaven

Dunnattor castle is a ruined medieval fortress located on a rocky headland on the north-east of Scotand, about 3 kms south of Stonehaven, it is nothing but a stunning landscape. The castle has played a major role in the history of Scotland, primarily because of its strategic location. The castle can be reached by steep narrow path from the car park. 

*****
Tantallon Castle
Tantallion Castle

Tantallon Castle is certainly one of the eye catching 14th century castle . Sitting on a small cliff along the shores of North Berwick overlooking BassRock, the semi-ruined castle is so photogenic whether seen from land or from the sea. 

*****
Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle and Sundial
Photo via Flickr / Neil Howard

Not only famous for its architecture and history, but reputed as one of the most haunted and intriguing castle, Glamis castle was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Located in the quaint village of Glamis in the Angus region, this castle has strong connections with Royal family.  The castle was childhood home for The Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth), and her 2nd daughter Princes Margaret was born in this castle.

*****
Duart Castle
Duart Castle Mull

Yet another impressive castle located in Isle of Mull, Duart Castle dates back to 13th century. For over 400 years this has been home base for Clan McLean. The castle is surrounded by a landscape that looks beautiful in all angles with wide open coast.

*****
Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle

A prominent structure that you cannot miss while you are in Inverness, the castle gets the name after the city, and it overlooks River Ness. The impressive red sandstone structure was built on 1836 by William Burns (architect), and the castle currently serves as a Sheriff Court. 
*****

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

One of the important castles in Scotland both historically and architecturally, Stirling Castle sits on an extinct volcano surrounded by steep cliffs. Several scottish kings and queens have been crowned here including Mary Queen of Scots, and the castle played an important role during Scottish Wars of Independence. 

*****
Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle

Photo via Flickr / Sue Langford

Visit to Isle of Skye is almost incomplete without visiting the Dunvegan Castle. Located in the west coast of Scotland, this castle is seat of Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for about 800 years, and it still is. Unfold the history, stroll around the castle gardens, or take a boat trip to visit the nearby seal colony or simply enjoy the landscape that Dunvegan offers.

*****
Inverary Castle
Inverary Castle Gardens

Photo via Flickr / Steven Feather

A country house in Argyll county, Inverary castle is seat of Duke of Argyll, the chief of Clan Campbell since 17th century. It is surrounded by 16 acre garden and estate of 60,000 acres. This photogenic castle is one of the most visited castles in west of Scotland.

*****
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle

An iconic image of Scotland, Eilean Donan is one of the most photographed castles in the world, and it wouldn’t be fair to miss it out from your itinerary if you are planning a trip to Scotland. Located in a small island where 3 lochs meet (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh),  the castle is connected with land by a lovely foot bridge.  This is one of the unusual view of the castle taken from top of the village hill. 

*****

We hope you’ve enjoyed touring the Scottish Castles. If you are planning on a vacation in Scotland, we recommend you to look through our Scotland travel guide for offbeat travel ideas and unexplored places. 

What is your favourite castle among these? Have you visited any of the castles in Scotland? 

25 Responses

  1. I like the Balmoral castle. The white shades in that picture are too good. So why don't you build one for yourself on the lines of these castles? 😛

    Destination Infinity

  2. Wow! A fantastic list. I have visited Edinburgh and Stirling castle, and seen Inverness from a distance. I seem to remember I have seen Dunnattoor as well, would have to go back and check. My favourite from your list? It has to be Culzean although I would happily be transported to any of them!

  3. What a great collection of wonderful castles. Actually, I didn't know there are so many stunning castles in Scotland. My favourite one is definitely Culzean Castle!

  4. A great collection for castle lovers! Dunvegan in the mist and fog looks so moody…

  5. Stunning is the only word I have! Scotland is one of my dream destinations and knowing that you are living there makes me envious. 😛

  6. Great captures. Loved each of the castles

  7. Stunning! I love visiting castles and have been to only Edinburgh castle and the ruins of an old castle in the highlands that I can't remember the name of. You guys are very lucky living in such a beautiful place!

  8. I so want to see them all, I have been to edinburgh one twice now.. and coincidentally we were planning to go a week this year too end of this month , saw some cottages in aberdeen but the 7 hours drive put me off 🙂 maybe next year

    Bikram's

  9. Been to 3 of them, I love castles, they hold so much history in them!

  10. These are beautiful! The only one I've been to is Edinburgh castle, though I have a friend who lived in Stirling for a while who says their castle is amazing. I can see why you've stayed in Scotland longer than expected!

  11. Eilean Donan is one of my favourite Castles of all time! Everything about it is fairytale and I love it! Great list and photos 🙂

  12. What a great list of castles. Scotland is on my bucket list. I would love to stay in a castle for a few nights to get the whole experience.

  13. A great list! We visited some of those castles on our Whiskey tour of Scotland although Eilean Donan is by far my favorite! 🙂

  14. there all so beautiful thanks for sharing that amazing photos

  15. I love castles and I really enjoyed your post. I did a similar one on Czech Republic once. The Scottish castles seem to be pretty different from what Central Europe has to offer though.

  16. Have been to all but two of them . The Castle of Mey on my next trip to a Scotland. Eileen Donan is my favourite though, magical views all around

  17. I saw a post similar to this on Stumbleupon. I want love to see more of Scotland from the end of this year. Starting with a trip to Edinburgh this coming Friday.

    Hong Kong: Lunch Date at Ritz Carlton

  18. WOW.. these castles are beautiful!

  19. I loved this post!! Great article.

  20. We haven't been to Scotland yet but when we finally go, I'm planning to visit all their castles! beautiful place on Earth!
    If you guys like photography, we would like to invite you to participate in the next edition of our Travel Photography Competition. Every week we publish 3 winning shots on our website and write a nice bio with a link to the photographers' websites/FB/G+/Flickr pages etc.
    Find more details here: http://hitchhikershandbook.com/your-contributions/travel-photography/
    Take care!

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