Scotland is well known for the stunning landscapes around Loch Lomond and the Isle of Skye. However, if you’re seeking unique and off-the-radar destinations in Scotland with the aim of getting outside and exploring away from the crowds, here is where to escape to on your next trip.
Located in the far northwestern part of Scotland, Assynt is known for its stunning and rugged landscapes and incredible mountains. Explore the otherworldly beauty of the Assynt Geopark, climb the incredible Suilven and Stac Pollaidh, see the puffins on Handa Island and enjoy the solitude of remote beaches like Achmelvich and Clachtoll.
- Read more: visit Assynt, how to climb Suilivan, how to climb Stac Pollaidh, visit Handa Island.
- Where to stay in Assynt: Batbox Lochinver, a quirky cabin near Lochinver, West Coast Hideaways, glamping cabins with terraces and sea views, B&B Philosophy, a gorgeous B&B near Drumbeg, Summer Isles Hotel an iconic hotel with views across the gorgous Summer Isle, Acheninver Hostel, a fabulous hostel in a location which needs to be seen to be believed!
The Knoydart Peninsula
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. 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.
- Read more: How to visit Kinloch Hourn
- Where to stay at Kinloch Hourne and Knoydart: No.1 Old Cottage, Kinloch Hourne or Kinlochhourn B&B, Rokeby Manor, a beautifully refurbished hotel with great Indian food, Ardgary Farm, or Invergarry Hotel. Check out Visit Knoydart for more accommodation on the peninsula.
The Isle of Jura
Nestled in the Inner Hebrides of the coast of Islay, the Isle of Jura is a hidden gem with magnificent landscapes and abundant wildlife. Explore the remote wilderness, hike the Paps of Jura, and visit the Jura Distillery to savour its famous whisky. Catch the ferry from Port Askaig on Islay to Feolin on Jura and explore this lovely remote island home to 180 people and 5000 deer.
The Ardnamurchan Peninsula
Situated on Scotland’s west coast, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula is a tranquil and unspoiled destination. The ‘headland of the great seas’ is the most western part of the British mainland and is beautifully unspoilt, wild and remote and is home to just 2000 people. Enjoy stunning coastal scenery, visit the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, go wildlife spotting, and explore hidden beaches like Sanna Bay.
The Isle of Harris and Lewis
The Isle of Harris and Lewis, located in the Outer Hebrides, offers rugged landscapes, pristine beaches, and rich cultural heritage. The largest of the Outer Hebrides 15 inhabited islands, Lewis and Harris are actually the largest islands in the UK. Explore the stunning Luskentyre Beach, visit the famous Callanish Standing Stones, and immerse yourself in Gaelic culture.
Considered one of Scotland’s most beautiful glens, Glen Affric is absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy hiking through the glen’s remnant ancient Caledonian pine forests, spot wildlife, and appreciate the tranquillity of Loch Affric. The 44 mile Affric to Kintail Way runs through the glen.
- Read more: how to visit Glen Affric
- Where to stay near Glen Affric: families will love Glen Affric Holiday Park, book a chalet at
Caledonian Glamping, stay at Foyers House or book Bearnock Lodge for a big group.
Located in the far northwest of Scotland, Sandwood Bay is a remote and untouched beach accessible via a 4-mile walk. Enjoy the dramatic coastal scenery, the pristine beach, and the sense of solitude. One of the best destinations on the famous North Coast 500, a popular drive and destination in Scotland.
Cairngorms National Park (the off the beaten path areas)
While the Cairngorms National Park is very well-known and a popular destination in Scotland, there are still off-the-radar areas to explore. Visit the lesser-known glens like Glen Feshie or Glen Einich for stunning hikes and wildlife encounters.
- Read more: how to visit the Cairngorms National Park
- Where to stay: If you dream of retreating to a tiny log cabin in the woods, then I have the perfect spot for you. With an 8-bed hostel, a beautifully quiet 4-pitch campsite and three romantic eco-huts, the Lazy Duck is a little piece of off-grid heaven. If you prefer a B&B, deep in the Drumochter Pass in the Cairngorm National Park is Balsporran B&B. Upstairs are four simple, but luxurious, guest bedrooms and downstairs, owners Fiona and Geoff serve up lovely communal meals.
The Aberdeenshire Coast
While the city of Aberdeen is well-known, the surrounding Aberdeenshire Coast offers picturesque fishing villages, rugged cliffs, and beautiful sandy beaches. Discover the charming towns of Stonehaven and Pennan, and explore the dramatic ruins of Dunnottar Castle.
Galloway Forest Park
Located in southwest Scotland, Galloway Forest Park is a vast expanse of wilderness with dark skies, making it an ideal spot for stargazing. Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife spotting in this tranquil and lesser-known area.
- Read more: how to visit Dumfries and Galloway
- Where to stay in D&GL Gatehouse Luxury Lodges are dog and family friendly and are located near Gatehouse of Fleet, Corsewall Lighthouse – indulge your inner coastal geek by staying a real live working lighthouse, complete with quirky decor and a warm welcome. Arden House Hotel is a lovely country house hotel near Kirkcudbright. The Roundhouse offers unique glamping with sea views near Newton Stewart. Trigony House Hotel and Garden Spa is a country house near Closeburn.
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.