From the streets of the Scottish capital to majestic castles to glistening waterways, Musement shares 10 destinations in Scotland that seem straight out of a fairy tale.
With its castles, royalty, endearing villages, and enchanting landscapes, there’s no question that the United Kingdom exudes the charm and beauty reminiscent of a fairy tale. While the entire kingdom is incredible, we thought we’d zoom in on Scotland to highlight the country’s particular magic. Here are 10 fairy-tale destinations in Scotland that seem like they could have been pulled directly from the pages of a storybook.
1. Craigievar Castle, Alford
A dainty pink structure set against the rolling Aberdeenshire landscape, this 17th-century castle is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s “castle motif.” The seven-story structure is surrounded by gorgeous landscaping that includes Scottish glen and Victorian kitchen gardens as well as woodland trails. You may even spot a red squirrel or two scurrying around.
2. Portree, Isle of Skye
The main town on the Isle of Skye, this picturesque village is best known for its lovely seafront lined with a row of colorful storybook-like houses. The harbor is undoubtedly the most lively quarter, but the town that sits above the port is equally charming.
Everything about Edinburgh screams fairy tale. From the Medieval Old Town to the 18th- and 19th-century Georgian New Town to the looming Edinburgh Castle, one of the world’s most haunted, plenty of sites and sounds help visitors’ imaginations run wild.
4. Glamis Castle, Angus
This exquisite haunted castle has a connection to one of the most famous literary works associated with the country: Macbeth. The titular character resides in this 14th-century structure crowned with conical turrets and parapets that evoke princesses, princes, and all things romantic.
5. Achmelvich Beach, The Highlands
Part of a bay in the fabled Highlands, Achmelvich Beach has exquisite crystal-clear turquoise water and powdery white sand. Located by a hidden cove and the Hermit’s Castle, it’s easy to feel like magic lurks just around the bend.
6. Inverary Castle, Argyll
Located about two hours northwest of Glasgow, Argyll is home to Inverary Castle, the seat of its namesake Dukes since the 18th century. Its Gothic Revival facade is topped with distinct conical towers. Downton Abbey fans might recognize it as Duneagle Castle from the 2012 Christmas episode.
7. Devil’s Pulpit, Finnich Glen
One of Scotland’s most mysterious locales, the Devil’s Pulpit with its mossy gorge and ruby river can appear a bit unsettling at first glance. The pulpit itself is one particular protruding mushroom-shaped rock. Lore undoubtedly surrounds a location bearing that moniker, one of which involves the devil himself. But in reality, the gorge’s red sandstone affects the water color. Outlander fans will recognize the site as the Liar’s Spring. Since all fairytales have a dark side, we couldn’t resist including this spot.
8. The Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
Located at the vast Glen Brittle near the village of Carbost, these glistening gorgeous freshwater rock pools capture falls cascading from the Cuillin Mountains. A wonder to behold, these locales just feel magical and are guaranteed to take your breath away.
9. Cawdor Castle, Nairnshire
Another castle with a connection to Macbeth, Cawdor Castle is where the title character earns his Thane of Cawdor title. However, Shakespeare fictionalized the castle itself as the structure only dates back to the 14th century, and Macbeth lived during the 11th. The castle’s three lush colorful gardens are an attraction in and of themselves.
10. Buachaille Etive Mòr, The Highlands
This ethereal pyramid-shaped mountain jutting out of Glen Etive is one of Scotland’s most photographed sites. The slope makes for a popular hiking destination. Though the steep craggy terrain isn’t easy, the view from the top is worth it.