Scotland's best walks

From long-distance Highland hikes and coastal treks to short river walks and loch-side strolls, here is your guide to the best walks in Scotland

5th September 2018
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Take a trek through the Scottish Highlands where red deer and wildcats roam. Experience the thriving fishing industries, pretty villages and tight-knit coastal communities of the north-east coast or the remote, sickle-shaped beaches of the Outer Hebrides. Pull on your boots and walk alongside the tranquil waters of an inland loch to an isolated bothy or climb beside the tumbling falls of a wild mountain river.

You will find a more unassuming side to Scotland's trails too, of quiet valleys and accessible foothills, making it the perfect walking retreat for all abilities. 

Glencoe Lochan. Scottish Highlands
Glencoe Lochan. Scottish Highlands ©Getty

Click on your favourite walk for full details of the route, including instructions and a map. 

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
The Quiraing, Isle of Skye
Climb through the peaks of The Quiraing, Isle of Skye ©Getty

A two-mile hike to the peak of the unique and breathtakingly dramatic Quiraing on the Isle of Skye. Map and route.

Ben Lomond, Argyll and Bute
Ben Lomond
Take a hike to the summit of Ben Lomond, the most climb Munro in Scotland ©Getty

A seven-mile walk to the summit of Ben Lomond, the most climbed peak of the Scottish Munros. Map and route.

Handa Island, Sutherland
Hands Island Jake Graham
Handa's western beaches offer an ideal landing spot for visitors to the island © Jake Graham

Wrapped by brutish Atlantic swells and biting winds, this remote island off the west coast of Scotland makes for harsh living. But in spring, enduring these forces is one of north-west Europe’s largest seabird colonies. Route and map.

Steall Falls and the Nevis Gorge, Highland
Hikers walking through Glen Nevis
Hikers walking through Glen Nevis ©Jake Graham

A spectacular two-mile walk up Glen Nevis through gorges and meadows to the epic Steall Falls. Map and route.

River Braan, Perthshire
Black Linn Falls
The rushing water of Black Linn Fall's crashes deep into the foaming pools below ©Getty 

Follow the white water of Scotland's River Braan through a fabled woodland of giant Douglas firs, fairy-tale bridges and an ancient oak immortalised by Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Route and map.

Loch Katrine, Stirlingshire
Follow a pathway along a Stirlingshire loch beside steep cliffs and wooded islands ©Getty
Follow a pathway along a Stirlingshire loch beside steep cliffs and wooded islands ©Getty

Enjoy a tranquil five-mile stroll around a Scottish loch in the beautiful Loch Lomond and the Trossacks National Park. Map and route.

Glen Coe, Argyll and Bute
Pass of Glen Coe, Highland
Step deep into the Pass of Glen Coe, Highland ©Getty

A beautiful 4.5-mile mountain walk tucked away in the glorious glens of the Scottish Highlands. Map and route.

Isle of Staffa, Argyll and Bute
Staffa, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Explore the Isle of Staffa, Argyll and Bute, Scotland ©Getty

A remote walk on the remarkable Staffa – a island of basalt rockforms, puffins and blissful isolation. This one-mile ramble is perfect for artists, nature lovers and those with a strong sea belly. Map and Route.

Glen Affric, Highland
Glen Affric, Highland
Walk through the meadows and mountains of Glen Affric, Highland ©Getty

An 11-mile hike around the shores of Glen Affric, the Highland's most beautiful glen. Map and route.

Glenmore Forest Park, Cairngorms, Highland
Loch Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park,
Loch Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park ©Getty

A beautiful six-mile walk through the Cairngorms National Park, perfect for wildlife spotting and amazing Highland views. Map and Route.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland
Beautiful Sandalwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland
Beautiful Sandalwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland ©Getty

Explore glorious Sandwood Bay in Sutherland on this 12-mile hike across wild moors and through mighty dunes. Map and route.

Mersehead Sands, Dumfries and Galloway
Solway Firth, Dumfries and Galloway coast
Enjoy the ups and downs of Solway Firth coast in Dumfries and Galloway ©Getty

This rugged clifftop walk from a pretty village to a beautiful beach is the jewel in the crown of the astonishing Dumfries and Galloway coast. Map and route.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Tobermory Scotland
The town of Tobermory – built as a fishing port in 1788 – accounts for one third of Mull’s population ©Alamy

Revel in the festive shops, illuminated streets and charming harbour of a small island town in the Inner Hebrides before taking a walk to the sandy shores of Calgary Bay. Map and route.

Loch Garten, Highland
Loch Garten
Hidden within Abernethy Forest in the lowlands of the Cairngorms National Park is Loch Garten ©Alamy

Take a walk on the banks of Loch Garten – one of Scotland's most beautiful nature reserves – in search of ancient trees, tottering wood-ant nests, grazing deer and soaring ospreys. Map and Route.

Cruachan Valley, Argyll and Bute
Cruachan Valley, Argyl and Bute
Cruachan Valley, Argyll and Bute ©Getty

This 2.5-mile ramble takes you underground into an astonishing subterranean power station and then emerges topside for a walk to the reservoir that feeds it. Map and route.

Grey Mare's Tail, Dumfries and Galloway
A walker takes in the fascinating frozen landscape of Grey’s Mare Tail waterfall in winter
A walker takes in the fascinating frozen landscape of Grey’s Mare Tail waterfall in winter ©Getty

Walk high into the Scottish hills and explore a valley that becomes a snow-clad wonderland in winter, complete with an frozen waterfall cleaving through its middle. Map and route.

Bridge of Allan to Dunblane, Stirlingshire
Allan Water
Walk along the Allan Water from Bridge of Orchy to Dunblane ©Getty

The earthy scent of mosses, ferns and wild garlic are heavenly on this exquisite three-mile riverside ramble, where fish leap, herons stalk and weirs rumble. Map and route.

St Abb's Head, Berwickshire
St Abb's Head, Berwickshire
Ramble along the clifftops of St Abb's Head, Berwickshire ©Getty

Enjoy a four-mile walk on the coastal cliffs of southern Scotland, spotting thousands of nesting seabirds, splashes of pink thrift and maybe even otters. Map and route.

Ben Nevis, Highland
Hiker beneath Ben Nevis, Scotland
Hiker beneath Ben Nevis, Scotland ©Jake Graham

Climb to the crest of the Highlands with the 11-mile hike to the summit of Ben Nevis. Map and route.

Suilven, Sutherland
Suilven, Scotland
Amid the watery wilderness of Assynt rises Suilven, here viewed from the south. Its highest point, Caisteal Liath, stands at 731m. Its second highest point, the flat-summited Meall Meadhonach, lies east of the ridge ©Getty

Steep, wild and remote, this Scottish giant is one of Britain's most striking peaks – reaching its summit is difficult, but with spectacular views stretching out across the Highlands, it's well worth the climb. Map and route.

Glen Sligachan, Isle of Skye
Cuillin mountains
A sullen sky over the Cuillin Range ©Getty

This rugged wilderness trail in Scotland guides intrepid walkers into the nucleus of the Cuillin Mountains, past gushing burns and striding ridges to a dramatic, sea-kissed bay. Map and route.

Birks of Aberfeldy, Perthshire
Birds of Aberfeldy
The gorge was once known as the Den of Moness ©Getty

Experience a jaw-dropping gorge path that inspired Scotland’s national bard, ending the walk with a pub dinner at a local inn. Route and map.

Creel Path, Scottish Borders
St Abbs village on the Creel Path, Scottish Borders
St Abbs village on the Creel Path, Scottish Borders

Walk the Creel Path, a ruggedly beautiful stretch of coastal path trodden by centuries of fishermen and holy men. Map and route.

Main image ©Getty

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