Incredible Fairytale Destinations in Scotland

Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland.
Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland. | ©  Westend61 / Getty Images
Tori Chalmers

Scotland, a catalyst for the imagination and a daydreamer’s playground, is worthy of a fairytale. Draped in intrigue and exalted upon high, one glance at the unfathomable transcendental essence of this bonnie land can truly transform any cynic. For a dose of sublime inspiration, Culture Trip has searched across Scotland far and wide to find the most magnificent fairytale destinations. And yes, they’re all real!

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An Stòr

Natural Feature

Stunning views of Old Man of Storr in Scotland

Watching over his kingdom, the ‘Old Man Of Storr’ is an ominous pinnacle of rock and one of the most photographed landscapes out there. Part of the Trotternish Ridge, this gracious chap came about from a leviathan ancient landslide.

Ben Venue

Natural Feature

A view of Ben Venue across Loch Achray in the Trossochs

What a venue indeed. Situated in the Trossachs close to Loch Katrine, the name ‘Ben Venue’ comes from the Scots Gaelic for ‘The Miniature Mountain’. A popular place for walkers, two summits and ferocious cliffs lurk within this beauty.

Devil’s Pulpit

Natural Feature

The Devil’s Pulpit, Scotland

The stunning hidden cliff rivers of Finnich Glen evoke a sense of otherworldliness, displaying the natural world at its finest. One particular spot, aptly known as the Devil’s Pulpit, perfectly captures the glen’s supernatural. Folklore has it that ancient Druids congregated at this mystical spot, as did Satan when he preached to monks.

Loch Earn

Natural Feature

© Andrew1Norton/Getty Images

Notably narrow and exceptionally magnificent, Loch Earn in the central Highlands is ruled by Mirror Man, a wondrous sculpture by artist Rob Mullholland. This enchanting loch is bestowed with its own tidal system or seiche, making it rare and stunning.

Neist Point Lighthouse

Building

© David Tomlinson / Alamy Stock Photo

The kind of place featured in a great novel, this lighthouse waved to the world when it was first lit in 1909. Operated remotely from Edinburgh since 1990, an aerial cableway was put in place to transport supplies to the cottages and lighthouse.

Buachaille Etive Mòr

Natural Feature

Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glencoe

A sanctuary where faeries flock, Buachaille Etive Mòr is circled by the River Etive and sports steep ascents and vertigo-inducing ridges. Derived from Scots Gaelic, the name translates as ‘the Big Boy Of Etive’.

Sound of Raasay

Natural Feature

Sound Of Raasay

Whimsical and hypnotic, The Sound of Raasay gracefully separates the islands of Skye and Raasay, while resembling an alternate universe.

Aonach Eagach

Natural Feature

Glen Coe at Loch Achtriochtan

Astonishing and dominant, Aonach Eagach – a precarious rocky ridge and adventurer’s dream – sits to the north of Glen Coe in the Highlands. Unsurprisingly, this beauty has quite the reputation as being one of the the most difficult horizontal ‘scrambling’ ridges in Scotland.

Dunnet Head

Natural Feature

Dunnet Head Lighthouse

The sort of place to evoke existentialist thoughts, Dunnet Head, a peninsula of Caithness, is home to the most northerly point of mainland UK. Although frightfully vertigo-inducing, the jagged cliffs were made to be admired.

Ring Of Brodgar

Archaeological site, Ruins

The Ring of Brodgar is a Neolithic henge and stone circle in Scotland

While the age of this stone circle is unknown, the mystique that surrounds the historical artefact transcends time. Forming part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Sit in Stennes, the world-renowned circle of standing stones range between seven and 15 feet, bearing a number of ancient carvings. Though likely to have once served a ritualistic purpose, the true purpose is still unknown, cloaking these pillars of rock in intrigue.

The Quiraing

Natural Feature
The perfect fusion of wild and wondrous, the name ‘Quiraing’ stems from the Old Norse ‘Kvi Rand’, meaning ‘Round Fold’. Legend has it that the fold was a perfect place to hide cattle from Viking raiders. Unknown to many but avid adventurers, this is Game Of Thrones land.

Loch Awe

Natural Feature

Loch Awe, Scottish Highlands

The longest freshwater loch in Scotland and appropriately named, Loch Awe holds schools of salmon surrounded by unfathomable beauty and intriguing ruins. Hypnotic reflections resemble an other-wordly portal into uncharted territory.

The National Wallace Monument

Memorial

Wallace Monument, Stirling

Sitting proudly atop Abbey Craig near Stirling, the National Wallace Monument was built in commemoration of 13th-century Scottish hero Sir William Wallace and resembles a scene from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Loch Etive and Ben Cruachan

Natural Feature

Loch Etive

The kind of beauty worthy of a bucket list, Ben Cruachan is the tallest summit in the beautiful range of peaks amidst Loch Awe and Loch Etive. The dancing reflections of the mirrored waters juxtaposed with the all-seeing mountains is therapy at its finest.

Cùl Mòr

Natural Feature

Cùl Mòr, Scotland

Jaw-dropping and perfectly ruggedCùl Mòr is the kind of place that helps muster up that perfect epiphany. An ideal spot to fall off the grid.

Sgurr na Stri

Natural Feature

© Stewart Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

Wizardly and imposing, Sgurr na Stri may only be 494 metres tall, and yet, it is considered one of the best spots in Scotland for outstanding views. The all-encapsulating skies add that extra touch.

The Hermitage

Natural Feature

The river Braan flowing under the stone bridge at the Hermitage near Dunkeld in Perthshire

The kind of rabbit hole you want to fall into, the Hermitage is a picture-perfect wonderland overflowing with tribes of regal trees adorned with soulful leaves.

Eilean Donan Castle

Building, Ruins

© paulmerrett / Getty Images

The queen of all castles, Eilean Donan Castle inhabits her own wee island with views towards the Isle of Skye. A true star, this jewel is featured on many a shortbread tin.

Suilven

Natural Feature

© Derek Beattie Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Divinely profound and drenched in dreams, even the stars shine with astonishment as they delicately dance over Suilven. After all, it is one of the most precious mountains of Scotland.

Loch an Rusgaidh

Natural Feature
An alternate universe, you can’t help but admire the kaleidoscope of dazzling colours as they flicker and taunt around Loch Rusky, or Loch an Rusgaidh in Gaelic, meaning ‘Lake Of The Peeling’.

Ben Lomond

Natural Feature

Looking across to Ben Lomond, Scotland

With intoxicating views of Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond first became frequented by explorers in the late 18th-century. Today, it is one of Scotland’s most raved-about munros.

Fairy Pools

Natural Feature

© Charlton Buttigieg / Getty Images

Fairies really do exist in Scotland. Enchanting little crystal clear pools of magic water, the Fairy Pools of Skye are so gracious they will render even the chattiest of folk speechless.

Sron na Creise

Natural Feature

Sron na Creise from the Glen Etive road, Rannoch Moor

Sacred to the core, the magnificent picture above shows Sron na Creise and Buachille Etive More in all their glory. When ice engulfs the area, only an ice-axe, crampons and intuition will suffice.

Flanders Moss

Natural Feature

Flanders Moss Nature Reserve

The gold at the end of the rainbow, Flanders Moss National Nature Reserve, a natural treasure, possesses the type of ineffable beauty akin to fairytales and dreams.

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