Scotland: 21 Incredible places to see in 2021

Glenfinnan ViaductGlenfinnan Viaduct

Scouring the land, DC Thomson Travel recommends 21 places around Scotland you need to see in 2021, starting with one of the finest beaches in the UK. Click on any of the 'bonnie' images to view our related Scottish tours - 2021 departures now available!

1. Luskentyre Beach

Luskentyre BeachLuskentyre Beach

On the Isle of Harris, the secluded and brilliant white sand Luskentyre Beach is one of the UK’s finest.

Combining beautiful green blue water with pristine sand, the beach stretches for over uninterrupted two miles along the island’s coastline.

2. Tobermory

TobermoryTobermory

Filming location for the hit television series ‘Balamory’, the colourful buildings lining Tobermory’s famous waterfront are often the first sight visitors to Mull encounter.  

The island capital, Tobermory is often used as a springboard for exploration of the island and its neighbours. 

3. Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan ViaductGlenfinnan Viaduct

One of the great symbols of Scotland and amongst the most photographed places in the UK, the Glenfinnan Viaduct can be found close to the banks of Loch Shiel.

Featured on the West Highland Railway Line, a journey aboard the world-famous Jacobite locomotive will leave a lasting impression. 

A feat of Victorian-era engineering, stretching close to 400 metres as it winds through beautiful Highland countryside, the viaduct is a must-include on your bucket list.

4. Moray Firth

Moray Firth DolphinsMoray Firth Dolphins

An area famous for its wildlife, the Moray Firth, close to Inverness, is a fantastic place to go out in search of bottlenose dolphins.

Also known to frequent the area, be sure to keep an eye out for porpoise, minke whales and ospreys.

5. Ring of Brodgar

On Orkney, the mythical and UNESCO-listed Ring of Brodgar dates back thousands of years.

A carefully placed collection of standing stones believed to have once been used in a ritual ceremony, the famous ring is one of the most visited places in Scotland.

6. Iona

The sacred isle, Iona, off the coast of Mull, is a small yet wonderfully scenic island.

Holding an important role in the spread of Christianity, Iona’s landmark Abbey was first constructed in the 1st century.

Car-free, visitors to the island can easily visit the abbey and spend some time following a scenic coastline where they can take in views looking out to sea and neighbouring Mull.

7. Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan CastleEilean Donan Castle

Up there amongst the world’s most famous castles, Eilean Donan Castle sits on its very own tidal island close to the village of Dornie.

A key landmark in the area featuring in countless films over the years, Eilean Donan can be admired on the road to Skye.

Standing at the point where lochs Duich, Long and Alsh meet, the castle is one of the great symbols of Scotland.

8. Skye

Cullins Isle of SkyeCullins Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye, home of the Cullins, Dunvegan Castle, the Storr, Fairy Pools, Quiraing and Neist Point, is a collection of iconic Scottish locations with many serving as symbols for the country across the world. 

Reached from the mainland via a scenic route taking you across the Kyle of Lochalsh, Skye is one of the most visited islands in the UK. 

9. Loch Katrine

Loch KatrineLoch Katrine

Resting in one of Scotland’s two national parks, Loch Katrine is tucked away amongst the Trossachs.

Surrounded by beautiful Scottish wilderness, the surrounding area is steeped in legend, forever associated with the exploits of Rob Roy McGregor.

A rather romantic way to travel, a trip on board the famous steamship Sir Walter Scott gives readers the chance to admire the scenery from a perfect vantage point.

10. Staffa

StaffaStaffa

Off the coast of Mull, striking Staffa is a rather unusual-looking pillar island.

Made up of thousands of volcanic basalt rock columns, the island looks almost man-made.

Burrowed into the rock, the enchanting Fingal’s Cave (reached by boat) is known for its natural acoustics.

11. Jura

Paps of JuraPaps of Jura

Once home to George Orwell of ‘1984’ fame, sparsely populated Jura is dominated by the brooding ‘Paps of Jura’.

Relatively unspoilt, the island is a safe haven for a variety of different wildlife through the seasons. 

12. Kisimul Castle

Kisimul CastleKisimul Castle

‘The Castle on the Sea’, Kisimul Castle stands just off the coast of Barra in the Outer Hebrides.

Standing since the 15th century, the castle has  three floors.

Scaling the heights to the battlements, visitors are rewarded with wonderful views of the surrounding area.

13. Callanish Standing Stones

Standing Stones CallanishStanding Stones Callanish

One of the key places to experience throughout the collective Outer Hebrides, the carefully placed Standing Stones of Callanish date back to the Bronze Age.

Standing for over 5,000 years, the standing stones, like many across the UK, were once used for ritual ceremony purposes.

14. Cockleshell Beach

Cockleshell BeachCockleshell Beach

Traigh Mor or Cockleshell Beach has a rather unique claim to fame.

The world’s only beach airport running scheduled flights, the tidal beach has served as a runway since the mid 1930s!

Thousands of passengers land and depart from Barra each year from the airport with the beach’s pristine sand accommodating landing planes excellently.

15 The Treshnish Isles

Lunga Treshnish IslesLunga Treshnish Isles

Taking to the water, the beautiful and important Treshnish Isles, found close to Mull, are a wildlife haven during the summer months.

Something of a bird watching paradise, this collection of small islands provide the ideal protective setting for a huge range of different birds to nest and rest ahead of their long migrating journeys often taking them hundreds of miles across open water.

As well as puffin, razorbill and fulmars, visitors can often see Atlantic Grey seals with dolphins and basking sharks commonly spotted in the more open waters surrounding nearby Mull.

16. Islay

Soldier's Rock IslaySoldier's Rock Islay

Once the home of the Lord of the Isles who ruled the Hebrides centuries ago, the remote island of Islay is a cultural treasure trove.

Islay attracts visitors from all over the world thanks to its famous whisky, intriguing wildlife and lovely beaches.

17. Skara Brae

Skara BraeSkara Brae

Once hidden from view, Skara Brae was uncovered during a nightmarish storm over 100 years ago. 

Located close to the shoreline, the intense waves summoned by the storm caused portions of land to fall into the sea, exposing a lost Neolithic village. 

Since that fateful night, huge sections of the Skara Brae have been carefully excavated, allowing visitors to gain a sense of village life practiced thousands of years ago. 

You can carefully walk around this invaluable site, allowing you to almost step back in time. 

18. Colonsay

Colonsay ScotlandColonsay Scotland

popular optional excursion available after exploring nearby Islay and Jura, venturing to Colonsay ticks off a trio of incredible Inner Hebridean destinations. 

One of the UK’s most remote islands, Colonsay House is a real treat for visitors, offering up a garden you can explore, featuring some of the rarest, most unusual plants and trees found in Scotland. 

19. Sumburgh Head

Sumburgh Head ShetlandSumburgh Head Shetland

Found at the southern tip of the Shetland mainland, the RSPB Nature Reserve at Sumburgh Head is a must-visit for budding wildlife watchers. 

Scattered across steep cliffs, the reserve is home to a huge number of different seabird including puffins, guillemots and fulmars. 

Just off the coast, orcas, dolphins and minke whales can sometimes be spotted skirting the island. 

20. Jarlshof

JarlshofJarlshof

One of the most important archaeological sites in the UK, the Bronze Age settlement Jarlshof is home to over 3 acres of remains including oval shaped bronze age houses, iron age broch and wheel houses, Viking long houses and medieval farmhouses. 

21. Tiree

Tiree ScotlandTiree Scotland

Statistically one of the sunniest places in the UK, the small island of Tiree is the most westerly of the Inner Hebrides. 

During a visit, readers will be able to soak up the sunshine, enjoy the coastline and tick off some of the island’s beautiful beaches. 

See Scotland in 2021 

Explore our Scottish holidays collection here. 

For any of the holidays featured above, connecting flights, rail travel and extra accommodation is available on request, particularly for those travelling from outside any of our listed departure points.