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An Insider’s Guide: The 9 Most Picturesque Villages in Scotland

The people of Scotland have often settled in the most unexpected of spots - in small remote corners where life is carried out at a slower pace than in the bigger towns and cities. Every Scottish village has its own unique story and charm, but here’s my pick of the most picturesque villages in Scotland ...

Falkland, Kingdom of Fife

Situated beneath the Lomond Hills in the centre of Fife, Falkland was Scotland’s first conservation village and many of the picturesque houses are over 300 years old. Falkland Palace was commissioned by King James IV as a "pleasure palace" for the pursuits of falconry and hunting, and later became a favourite haunt of his granddaughter Mary Queen of Scots.

This quaint little village was also used in the filming of Outlander where it stands in as 1940s Inverness - Claire and Frank’s honeymoon spot. Explore this gorgeous place for yourself on our Outlander Tour

 

Staffin, Isle of Skye

Set beneath the magnificent Trotternish Ridge, Staffin is a postcard-maker's dream come true with a sprinkling of little white houses overlooking Staffin Bay - a perfect spot for a family beach day or a picnic. The beach is particularly famous for its 160 million year old dinosaur footprints, discovered here in 2002.

The incredible rock formation of The Quiraing can also be accessed from Staffin, a spectacular two hour walk created by a landslide and featuring high cliffs and hidden plateaus. Bring your camera!

 
 

Elie, Kingdom of Fife

How can anyone choose a favourite from the impossibly quaint villages in the East Neuk? With beautiful beaches, two golf courses, and a great array of little shops and cafes - Elie is a strong contender. The 16th century harbour is popular with yachts, while the village cricket team play their games on the beach! 

For a mini adventure, try the Elie Chain walk (but watch for the tide coming in!) or stroll along the Fife Coastal Path to the nearby village of St Monans.

 

A post shared by Welcome to Fife (@welcometofife) onMay 8, 2018 at 4:42am PDT

 

Comrie, Highland Perthshire

"The Shaky Toun"! Comrie takes this nickname from a series of earthquakes that have been felt in the little Perthshire village. With fantastic walking opportunities around and some great little cafes lining the flower-filled main street, Comrie offers a real taste of everyday village life.

The walk up to Melville’s Monument past the Deil’s Cauldron is an excellent short walk and, for the adventurous, Comrie Croft is surrounded by its own network of free mountain biking trails. Stop in their tea garden after for some delicious cake.

 
 

Shieldaig, Wester Ross

What would a list of the most picturesque villages be without Shieldaig? This little village is best viewed from the Applecross Peninsula, and was built to attract families to take up fishing in the 1800s.

Shieldaig means "village of the herring" in the Viking language, and prospered as a fishing port for most of the 1800s. Today, it is an excellent spot to relax, escape the modern world, and admire the spectacular views of the surrounding Torridon Mountains.

 
 

Luss, Loch Lomond

Luss is a tiny conservation village on the edge of Loch Lomond which has been a settlement since Medieval times. Standing on the edge of the pier you will enjoy a fabulous view of the majestic Ben Lomond - often considered Scotland’s most accessible Munro.

This is an unbeatable spot to take to the water and try wakeboarding, kayaking or water skiing. For something less vigorous, take a relaxing boat tour onto the loch with a glass of wine in hand.

 
 

St Abbs, Berwickshire

Long ago in the 7th century, a Northumbrian princess called Aebbe became shipwrecked on the Berwickshire coastline and founded a nunnery in what is now known as St Abbs. This little fishing village situated on the Berwickshire Coastal Path is surrounded by a rugged cliffs which are home to a huge variety of nesting sea birds.

The area is recognised internationally for its array of wildlife, and visitors can start by visiting the St Abbs Visitor Centre for panoramic views and exhibits about the history of the area.

 

Crinan, Argyll

It’s simply impossible to resist adding another location along Scotland’s coast, with a special mention to Crinan, a tiny harbour village in Argyll. This pretty, unspoilt village looks out across Loch Crinan to Duntrune Castle.

Crinan is famous for the Crinan Canal (known as "Britain’s most beautiful shortcut") which runs from Loch Fyne to the Sound of Jura. The canal was designed by James Watt and Queen Victoria sailed through in 1847.

 
 

Lochranza, Isle of Arran

Arran is often referred to as "Scotland in miniature" and offers a little bit of everything. Placed on a shingle spit sticking into the loch, the main feature of Lochranza is its dramatic 16th century castle. If the stunning scenery isn’t enough, the Isle of Arran Distillery is located at the south end of the village, where you can tour one of Scotland’s few independent distilleries and try a wee dram.

For a true taste of Arran hike the Arran Coastal Way - a 63 mile circular walk around this magical island. 

 
 

Discover Your Own Favourite

If you're inspired to explore these beautiful locations for yourself, Absolute Escapes offer award-winning self-guided walking holidays and self-drive holidays in Scotland and beyond. Please don't hesitate to send us an enquiry if we can help you discover your own favourite village in Scotland.

Caitlin Rush

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