Top 5 picturesque villages in Scotland

Kelso, photo by Ken Bagnall

Scotland is one of the most remarkable countries in the world, and not only because of its craggy mountains, crystal clear loughs and windswept coast, castles and ruins. Scotland is at its best in towns, villages and cities exploding with life and color, and one of the best travel experiences you could have here is to simply watch people go about their day to day lives. Rural life in Scotland preserves many elements of the past, from architecture to cuisine and traditional crafts. Seeing the great cities like Edinburgh or Manchester is not enough to make the most of your visit to Scotland. Immerse yourself in Scottish rural life by visiting some of the most picturesque villages in Scotland.

Kelso, Borders

It’s not just recently that one can say that Kelso is one of the most picturesque places in Scotland. Even Sir Walter Scott himself was of the opinion that there is no prettier or more romantic place in the country than Kelso. Although it is actually a very small town rather than a village, Kelso has an unmistakably peaceful and welcoming rural atmosphere that goes well beyond its tourist attractions. Although sights abound in Kelso, most visitors are drawn by its scenic setting and architecture.

Auchmithie, Angus

Auchmithie is the stereotypical remote and tiny Scottish village, with a bit of a romantic past as smuggling and fishing village, and today simply lying peacefully perched atop sandstone cliffs. The small village is incredibly scenic, and the kind of place where you wish you could run away to when you get fed up with city life. The beach near the village has unusual numbers of jasper stones lying about.

Portree, Isle of Skye

Portree, photo by Nick MacNeill

The Isle of Skye with its legendary natural beauty seems about the perfect setting for any of the top 5 picturesque villages of Scotland. The small village is the largest settlement in Skye, and the kind of place where everything is within a 10 minute walk. The most scenic part of the village is the harbor, lined with old houses painted in bright colors.

Dunkeld, Perthshire

Dunkeld has a little over a thousand inhabitants so it isn’t the smallest community you’ll ever bump into, but at times it can be so quiet and peaceful that you feel like you’re the only person in the whole village. The village’s appeal lies in its many restored 17th century building, gloomy old cathedral and a decidedly scenic bridge over River Tay.

Tobermory, Inner Hebrides

Tobermory, photo by Andrew Hackney

The only settlement on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides is Tobermory, founded as a fishing village in the 18th century. Despite being really small (only about 700 inhabitants), Tobermory is the hometown of many famous Scots. The colorful houses of the village are very pretty, but don’t become too distracted, because you’ll definitely want to sample the village’s fish and chips – some of the best in Scotland.

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