Most weekends you will find me lacing up my hiking boots and getting outside in Scotland – it is the best way to discover this beautiful country. From a beginner’s munro with a simply stupendous view to a long distance over nighter into one of our remotest peninsulas, to a famous lochan, here are 10+ of the most beautiful walks in Scotland.
The most beautiful walks in Scotland
Suilven – the lonely mountain
Arriving in Assynt in the far North West of Scotland is literally jaw-dropping, the landscape is so strange that you’d think you’d travelled to Mars.
Rising above the turquoise seas and white sandy beaches are Assynt’s mountains – dramatic, otherworldly rock formations which give some of the best hillwalking days in the whole of Britain. The most famous of all the Assynt mountains is the mighty Suilven, a 731m high, 2km long rocky ridge rising straight up from sea level – and one of the most beautiful walks in Scotland.
Made up of two peaks – the quite unbelievable spire of Meall Meadhonach (its name ‘middle-round hill’ in English is, however, a little underwhelming) and the summit on the ‘grey castle’ or Caisteal Liath – the views from the top are simply incredible.
> How to climb Suilven
Kinloch Hourne to Barrisdale Bay
In a country the size of Scotland, it’s surprising that there are still parts of the country so remote that it can take days to get to them. Described as Britain’s last wilderness, Knoydart is only accessible by boat or a 16-mile (26 km) walk in from Kinloch Hourn.
To get there, you first need to tackle Britain’s longest dead end road – 22 miles of rather hair-raising single track road and one of the best Scotland driving routes.
Kinloch Hourn is one of the gateways to remote Knoydart, and from Lochhournhead a old coastal path takes you out alongside Loch Hourn to Barrisdale Bay and onwards to Inverie, the main settlement on the peninsula. The walk out along one of Scotland’s most dramatic and fjord-like sea lochs is simply stunning, don’t miss this remote beautiful walk in Scotland.
The full route to Inverie on Knoydart is 15 miles (8 hours) although most people will stop at Barrisdale at 6.75 miles (4 hours) where there is a campsite for the night before continuing on, or returning back to civilisation. Look out for stunning rhododendrons, otters, deer, and even dolphins!
> Hike out to Barrisdale Bay
Glencoe to Glen Nevis
The hike from Glencoe to Glen Nevis might be a marathon distance and take in 5000 ft of hill climbing, but the views through Scotland’s most famous glen and along the most beautiful section of the West Highland Way make for an incredible day out.
It is one of my favourite hikes and right up there with the most beautiful walks in Scotland.
The walk starts at the Clachaig Inn and first takes you 6 miles alongside the River Coe underneath the Three Sisters and the two mighty herdsmen, Buachaille Etive Beag and Mor, before climbing the Devil’s Staircase.
From the top of the staircase admire the view back across Glencoe and then follow the last 20-mile section of the West Highland Way all the way through the village of Kinlochleven to the foot of Ben Nevis in the beautiful Glen Nevis – with views of Scotland’s highest mountain and the mighty Mamores all the way. Scotland at its best – and one of the most beautiful walks in Scotland.
The Uath Lochans, Cairngorms
Hidden away in Glenfeshie are the Uath Lochans and above the lochs is a one of my favourite views in Scotland.
This is a walk suitable for all the family on wooden boardwards which at first, wind their way around the lochs before joining the Speyside Way.
The path then climbs up to Farleitter Crag, eventually opening up with an incredible view across to the Monadhliath Munros – the grey mountains. Look out for red squirrels along the way.
To return to the start the path continues along the crag before reaching a large rock and bench with another beautigul view over Strathspey.
Climb Farleitter Crag.
The best view in the Trossachs – Ben Venue
I want to let you into a little secret, whilst Ben A’an might be the most popular of all the Trossachs hills the view from Ben Venue on the otherside of Loch Katrine is even better.
Ok, so you have to work for it a little harder – Ben Venue at 729m is a bit higher than Ben A’an at 454m – and there is a wee bit of very easy scrambling to get you to the two summits – but the view across the Loch Lomond’s and the Trossachs National Park and Loch Katrine, Loch Akray and Loch Venacher is so worth it.
The walk starts just along from the Ben A’an car park and will take you around 4 hours.
> Follow the Ben Venue route via Ordnance Survey online map and app.
The Pap of Glencoe
It is said that the best view comes after the hardest climb – at just 2432 ft / 742m high, The Pap might be a wee baby in comparison to the surrounding giants of Glencoe, but this is no easy climb – be warned, the route up the hill is incredibly steep and boggy – the climb up the Pap of Glencoe certainly lives up to the proverb.
Giving a truly stunning view over Loch Linnhe, the giant peaks of the Mamores, Ben Nevis and down to Loch Linnhe at the gateway of Glencoe, the view from the Pap of Glencoe – or Sgorr na Ciche (from Gaelic peak of the breast – yes really!) – is one of the best views in Scotland.
> climb The Pap of Glencoe
Arthur’s Seat Edinburgh
You don’t have to hoof it up to the Highlands to go hill walking in Scotland, Edinburgh has its own mini-mountain. You even get to climb an extinct volcano – which is why climbing Arthur’s Seat is one of the must-dos when you visit Scotland’s capital.
Ok, Arthur’s Seat might not be strenuous – you can even cheat by parking at the back and ambling to the top – but the views stretch right across the city and down to the Firth of Forth and on a clear day as far as the Forth Bridges.
Whilst Arthur’s Seat is in the city centre, it is still a hill, so make sure you wear sensible shoes – the path up the front can be slippy and the summit is muddy and rocky – slip on pumps are guaranteed to lead to a slip. I’ve seen it. It’s not pretty.
> Arthur’s seat walk – Route map
The Quiraing loop
The Quiraing is a landslip on Meall na Suiramach, the highest part of Skye’s Trotternish Ridge. For those with stamina the the 4 mile / 3 hour hill circuit around the Quiraing allows you to view the Trotternish Ridge in all its glory – or you can just take in the fabulous views from the lower path.
The landslip is actually still moving, with the road to the hill needing repairs most years! The Quiraing is made up of lots of photogenic parts – the needle, the prison and the table from which there is an incredible view.
> Visit The Quiraing with this circuit from Walkhighlands.
Looking for more beautiful walks in Scotland?
Here are my favourite
Love from Scotland x
I’m Kate – a travel writer and photographer living in Scotland. Love, From Scotland is the Scotland travel guide that shows you where to stay and how to get outside in Scotland.