12 Prettiest Small Towns in Scotland

Looking for beautiful small towns in Scotland to visit? We are here to help!

Scotland is a land of wilderness, lochs and mountains. There is so much to do here especially if you love the outdoors!

You will also find many pretty small towns in Scotland and visiting them should be on your bucket list whether you are a local or first-time visitor.

From Edinburgh to the islands, we tell you everything about the cutest Scottish small towns!

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Prettiest small towns in scotland

Prettiest small towns in Scotland

Portree, Isle of Skye

Portree is surrounded by magnificent hills and an attractive natural harbor where you can stay to enjoy a cruise or relax after a long day. It began as a small fishing village about two centuries ago.

From this town, you can explore other towns on the Isle of Skye easily. If you love the outdoors, you can enjoy the geological formations at Quiraing or hike to Lealt Falls.

Other places of interest include the Portree iCenter and the Skye Blue Art Gallery. If you will be staying close to the sea, make sure you visit a restaurant to enjoy the delicious local cuisines.

HOW TO GET TO PORTREE: It’s very easy to get to Isle of Skye by car. The Skye Bridge is free and it’s very easy from the mainland.

Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour that includes Portree and other famous attractions on Skye. Tours are available from:

WHERE TO STAY: The Portree Hotel is ideally located in the town centre. It was built in 1875 and is a beautiful building. They have rooms for solo travellers, couples and families of 4. See reviews here.

Oban

Oban is a seaside town located within the Argyll and Bute council area. It’s mainly known as the gateway to the isles, especially Isle of Mull.

It’s also famous for its delicious seafood! That’s one of the perks of visiting a town with a harbour, the seafood is exceptional! You can experience it in one of the local restaurants or opt for a seafood tour of Oban. See prices here.

You can walk around the town to discover the cute streets but if you want to make the best of your time, make sure to go up to the tower. It’s only 10 minutes walk and the views are well worth it!
You’ll also find a lot of cafes and restaurants in Oban but make sure to book in advance as they can get pretty busy.

Finally, Oban is also one of the best kayaking destinations in Scotland. If you’ve always dreamt of going kayaking in the sea and camping, that will be an excellent place to do so!

HOW TO GET TO OBAN: You can easily get to Oban by car. It takes 2h15 from Glasgow.

Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour from Glasgow (prices here) or from Edinburgh (see prices here).

WHERE TO STAY IN OBAN: Failte Bed & Breakfast is an excellent place to stay in Oban, especially for a couple. See reviews here.

Kelso

Nestled near the Scottish borders, Kelso has a lot of beautiful attractions to see, especially for nature lovers.

It is a small, agricultural town that was once the most powerful in Scotland before it was damaged by the English during the war.

Everywhere you go in this town you will find beautiful architectural buildings and designs that are a testament to the era when the town thrived. 

Today, Kelso is still a popular town in Scotland, with beautiful attractions to explore.

Castles seem to be everywhere with the most prominent ones being the Smailholm Tower and the Floors Castle, and Kelso Abbey and Gardens.

To fully appreciate the ancient architectural designs, you should step into the St. Andrews Scottish Episcopal Church.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can easily drive from Edinburgh to Kelso. It’s about 1h15 drive.

Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour from Edinburgh which includes both Kelso and Alnwick castle. See prices here.

WHERE TO STAY: Queenshead Hotel Kelso is an authentic and cute hotel located in the heart of Kelso. See reviews here.

Plockton

Plockton is a small village in the Scottish Highlands. If you are looking for a cute and authentic village in Scotland, it will be the perfect destination!

As you roam around, you’ll discover cute painted cottages and beautiful white houses. It almost feels like you are abroad, especially if you go to the waterfront where you can find rows of palmtrees.

Plockton is a relaxing place to stay and perfect for a romantic staycation in the UK. Cycling, walking… there are a lot of peaceful activities here.

You can also go on a boat tour on the lochs nearby.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can get to Plockton by car. It takes a bit under 2 hours from Inverness.

If you don’t want to spend the weekend, you should opt for a day tour from Edinburgh that includes also Applecross and Gleneg, two other cute villages in Scotland. See prices here.

WHERE TO STAY: The Haven Guest House is the perfect place to stay in Plockton, especially for a couple or small family. See prices.

Brodick, Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran is the largest island in the Firth of Clyde and Brodick is the main village, making it a convenient place from which you will explore the island and surrounding towns.

It is home to numerous attractions including the Brodick Castle, garden and country park, the Isle of Arran Heritage Museum, the Auchrannie Leisure Center, the Arran Coastal Way (for nature and wildlife lovers), the Isle of Arran brewery (where you can taste wine) and the Arran Sense of Scotland (Where you can buy a souvenir).

Kids will enjoy visiting the Playbarn, an indoor play center inside the town.

HOW TO GET THERE: You will need a car to explore properly the Isle of Arran. You can take the ferry from Ardrossan and will need to book in advance. They also offer island hopper tickets so if you want to visit several Scottish islands, you may want to opt for those instead.

The tickets are not too expensive but still pricey enough not to go for a single day. If you can spend at least a weekend, that will be better.

Alternatively, you can opt for a multi-day tour from Edinburgh or Glasgow.

WHERE TO STAY: The Douglas Hotel is an absolutely stunning hotel in Brodick featuring stunning views over the bay. See reviews here.

Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Built as a fishing port in the 18th century, Tobermory is the main town on Isle of Mull and one of the most colourful small towns in the UK.

The best place to visit is the Tobermory harbour. You’ll be able to admire the vibrant colours of the row of houses there. It’s a great photo spot!

You can also visit the Mull Museum, Mull Aquarium, the distillery and the lighthouse.

HOW TO GET THERE: There is no bridge to Isle of Mull so you will need to book a ferry ticket from Oban. Again, if you want to visit several islands, the island hopping ticket will work out cheaper.

Make sure you visit with a car as you won’t be able to visit much more on the island without it.

Alternatively, you can opt for a multi-day tour to Isle of Mull from Edinburgh or Glasgow.

WHERE TO STAY: Western Isles Hotel is a stunning hotel overlooking the bay. It’s such a beautiful place and ideal for a romantic getaway. See reviews here.

Kirkcudbright

Situated on the banks of River Dee, Kirkcudbright is the only town with a working harbor on the Solway Coast.

The town was very popular with Scottish artists in the 19th century. If you visit here, expect to see all kinds of creative artworks, paintings, and sculptures that have stood the test of time.

There are the Kirkcudbright galleries, the Stewartry Museum, the ICenter, the Orchardton Tower, the Maclellan’s Castle, the Anwoth Old Kirk, the Whitehouse Gallery, the Tolbooth Art Center, the Harbor Cottage gallery, and other artistic attractions to visit.

Outdoor lovers can explore gardens and hiking trails in the town.

The Barhill woods, Elizabeth MacGregor Nursery, the River Dee walk, and the Dhoon Beach are great places to take a hike in Kirkcudbright.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can easily drive to Kirkcudbright from Dumfries (45 minutes) or Carlisle (1h30).

WHERE TO STAY: The Kirkcudbright Bay Hotel is a super cute hotel located in the centre. They also have a traditional bar and restaurant. See reviews here.

Fort Augustus

Fort Augustus offers a magnificent view of Loch Ness, the beautiful expanses that are a popular tourist site in Scotland.

Although it has not been proven that the Loch Ness monster exists, tourists still enjoy cruising in these waterways because of the spectacular views of the surrounding nature.

Fort Augustus is surrounded by sprawling hills and mountains that are characterized by jutting rocks and uneven terrain.

The Suidhe viewpoint is a vantage point to sample the town’s scenic natural wonders.

While here, visit the Fort Augustus War memorial centre, the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Foundation, General Wade’s Military roads, the Fort Augustus Light House, and the Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre.

A cruise on Loch Ness is a must-do activity within this beautiful town. See prices here.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can drive from Inverness to Fort Augustus. It’s only 55 minutes.

Alternatively, you can opt for a day tour from Inverness, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

WHERE TO STAY: Lock Chambers, Caledonian Canal Centre is a great hotel in the centre of Fort Augustus. It’s a great place to stay especially for couples. See prices here.

Saint Monans, Fife

Saint Monans is an old, small fishing port in East Neuk. Salt production and fishing were the main income-generating activities in this town, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

You can still find the old, exhausted salt pans in the town today and they have a lot of historical significance to the town’s residents.

They also act as landmarks when you are walking or passing by the town.

These are some of the many attractions you can expect to see when you come into the beautiful town.

Visit the St. Monans Church of Scotland, a beautiful church and graveyard that offers you beautiful views of the sea. Other places you can visit in this town include the Newark Castle, St. Monans War Memorial and cemeteries, and the St. Monans Harbour.

Most of the old buildings in this town have been restored to retain their architectural significance.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can easily drive to St Monans from Edinburgh. It takes 1h20. Alternatively, you can take bus X60 from Edinburgh. It’s a 2-hour ride.

WHERE TO STAY: Harbour Heights is a cute holiday house in the centre. It can sleep up to 6 guests. See prices here.

Anstruther

This was originally set up as a fishing village as well.

As a tourist, the best way to experience the little town is by taking a stroll on the cobblestones that pave the walkways before enjoying the award-winning local fish and chips delicacy from the Anstruther Fish Bar.

Some of the best attractions you can visit while you are in this town include the Isle of May National nature reserve, the Scottish Fisheries Museum, the Anstruther harbour, the Anstruther lifeboat station, the bow house and the farmer’s market, the Anstruther cemetery, and the Billow Ness beach. 

Killin, Loch Tay

Killin has a rich history. The name translates to the white (or fair) church in Gaelic and like most small towns in Scotland, it has a very rich history and heritage.

Because of its ideal location close to the Trossachs National Park, the Ben Lawers National Reserve, and the Loch Lomond, visitors can enjoy uninterrupted access to abundant wildlife and lush landscapes.

Kayak lovers can paddle in the rapids that follow the River leading to the Falls Of Dochart or enjoy the scenic hiking trails at Loch Tay.

Other places of interest include the Stone Circle Killin, the Finlarig Castle, the Breadalbane Folklore Center, the Killin railway viaduct, and the Acharn Forest. 

Stromness

Stromness is an old, well-established seaport that contains beautiful homes built in the ancient Viking style.

Stretching for over a mile along the Hamnavoe, Stromness narrow streets weave their way past closely-tacked buildings and onto the harbour where cute little boats dock.

Cobblestones line up the walkways, making this one of the most beautiful small towns in Scotland.