One of my favourite things to do in Scotland is explore Scotland’s beautiful, quaint villages. Spending time in a small Scottish village should be on every bucket list; villages have such a different feel to towns and cities, and you get a glimpse of what local life in Scotland is really like.
I’ve made a list of the prettiest villages in Scotland that I’ve visited on my travels. I’ve also included accommodation recommendations so you can plan the perfect escape.
If you expected to see a village listed here and it isn’t- just remember I’ve not visited EVERY village in Scotland. I’m always adding to this list, so if you think something should be included, leave me a comment and I’ll try to add it to my list of places to visit!
28 of the prettiest villages in Scotland
Killin, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Killin is probably my favourite village in Scotland; located next to the Falls of Dochart, Killin is a dreamy, cosy village nestled in nature.
Explore the magical ruin of Finlarig Castle, hike the hill Sron A’ Chlachain for great views of the village and of Loch Tay, and then treat yourself with a warm meal at one of the three pubs in the village.
A weekend in Killin is the perfect nature escape!
>> Read more: 8 reasons why you should visit Killin
Where to stay: The Courie Inn
Pittenweem is a small fishing village located on the east coast of Fife. Not only does it have an adorable name, but it’s also one of the prettiest villages in Scotland on the east coast!
Artsy, colourful and quirky, there is plenty to see and do in this small village. Buy an ice cream from the store on the harbour, shop in one of the craft shops, and marvel at the red pantile roof tiles with crow-step gables. Kellie Lodge is a 16th-century townhouse that was once home to the Earls of Kellie is worth admiring too.
Or grab some fresh fish for dinner- each morning the fishing boats sail into the harbour with their daily catch, which is sold at the market nearby.
Where to stay: The Crow’s Nest
Anstruther is another village on the east coast of Fife that is utterly delightful. It’s best known for its chippy- the Anstruther Fish Bar, which has won multiple awards including UK Fish and Chip Shop of the Year!
Wander the cobblestone streets, head down to the beach or ride the May Princess across to the Isle of May.
Where to stay: The Waterfront
St Monans, Fife
St Monans is the smallest fishing village on the East Neuk of Fife.
Fishing and salt production were once the main industries here, and you can still see a reconstructed version of the St Monans Windmill which would pump the seawater.
The white, blue and orange pantiled cottages that line the harbour are a photographer’s dream. So is the ruin of Newark Castle, located on the coast along the Fife Coastal Path.
It also has some interesting ancient history. In the 14th century, David II survived a shipwreck near the coast of the village, and so in gratitude, he built a small church there. The church has since been remodeled and is still in use today!
Where to stay: Catchpenny Safari Lodges
Dean Village, Edinburgh
Dean Village, located a short walk from the centre of Edinburgh is a tranquil setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The village surrounds the Water of Leith, and the village was where the milling of water mills once took place.
The best view of the village is from Dean Bridge, where you can see the colourful historic houses. From here you can also see Well Court, a Category A listed courtyard building that once housed the mill workers.
Where to stay: The Bonham
Livingston Village, West Lothian
Before the town of Livingston, there was Livingston Village– a bonnie village located next to the River Almond.
The village dates back from the 12th century and it was originally a farming village. There is a lovely pub called the Livingston Inn located in the heart of the village, which has a nice beer garden. Robert Burns actually stayed at the Inn and penned the poem ‘The Bonnie Lass of Livingston’.
If you’re wanting to get off the tourist track and experience a beautiful wee village with a historic pub- definitely visit Livingston Village.
While you’re there, check out these other things to do in West Lothian.
Where to stay: The Livingston Inn
Mid Calder, West Lothian
Mid Calder is a conservation village- and it’s also where the Haggis grew up!
Mid Calder was once an important stopover for drovers transporting their cattle to markets across Scotland; it was home to nine pubs to satisfy the thirst of the drovers!
From the 16th – 18th centuries, witch trials were held in the village church, the Kirk of Calder. Those who were found guilty were burned at Cunnigar Hill, in the center of the village. The church has also heard sermons from John Knox, leader of the Reformation.
Mid Calder is less of a tourist spot and more of a quiet, community village, so if you want to experience a local village in Scotland, head down to one of the three pubs for a dram!
You can read more about Mid Calder’s history here.
Where to stay: Bankton House Hotel
Peebles, Scottish Borders
Peebles is a bustling village located in the Scottish Borders. Technically it’s a town, but is still has that village feel- hence why I included it on this list. The River Tweed runs alongside the town, and on a sunny day, you’ll see many folks sitting on its bonnie banks.
Peebles is home to the Cross Kirk, a ruin that was once a church. Alexander II requested it to be built when what was thought to be the relics of St Nicholas were discovered there.
Peebles is a great wee village for a weekend getaway. It’s home to an array of artsy shops and it also has a Michelin-star cafe/restaurant, Osso.
Where to stay: The Tontine Hotel
Kirk Yetholm & Town Yetholm, Scottish Borders
The villages of Kirk Yetholm and Town Yetholm are located next to the Scotland and England border.
The two villages are separated by the Bowmont River, and lie just under a mile apart. Kirk Yetholm is the closest to the border, and was once home to the Gypsies of Yetholm
They are popular villages for walkers of the Pennine Way, the Scottish National Trail and St Cuthberts Way because these trails either begin, end or pass through the villages.
Where to stay: The Border Hotel
Melrose, Scottish Borders
Melrose is a history lover’s paradise. Tucked beneath the Eildon Hills, the small town is home to Melrose Abbey, a 12th-century monastery that was founded by Cistercian monks under the instructions of David I.
Melrose is an energetic wee town, and it’s a good place to base yourself when exploring the Scottish Borders. It’s filled with some excellent pubs and eateries, a fantastic campground, and it has even impressed some of Scotland’s most famous figures.
Melrose Abbey is also where King Robert the Bruce requested his heart to be buried (his body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey), and Sir Walter Scott built his mansion, Abbotsford House, in Melrose. Abbotsford House is one of the most famous houses in the world- and I recommend going on a tour through the mansion if you ever visit Melrose.
Where to stay: Burt’s Hotel
Kelso, Scottish Borders
Kelso is a hidden gem in the Scottish Borders and often overlooked in favour of Melrose or Peebles, however, I love visiting this charming village for its pubs, cafes and architecture.
Kelso is home to the ruin of Kelso Abbey, one of the four borders abbeys. When it was built it was one of the most famous religious houses in Great Britain. Kelso is also home to Floors Castle and Gardens, a grand and lavish castle that was built in the 18th-century and looks like something straight from a fairy tale!
Where to stay: Queenshead Hotel
Drymen, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Drymen is another village that was once a popular stopover for Highland cattle drovers, but today it’s popular for walkers, as it’s the first overnight stop on the West Highland Way.
As a result, there are a handful of pubs, an array of B&B’s, and nature walks on your doorstep. The Clachan Inn, which was licensed in 1734, is the oldest registered licensed pub in Scotland. It’s also one of the most dog-friendly pubs in Loch Lomond.
There is also a bunch of history to explore; the remains of a medieval motte can be seen by the bridge in the village, and the ruins of Buchanan Castle, which are located 1 mile from the village.
Drymen is an excellent village to base yourself at if you want to explore the area around Loch Lomond, and come back to a cosy pub to relax in at the end of the evening.
Where to stay: The Clachan Inn
Aberfeldy is a burgh (chartered town) and is one village in Scotland I love spending time in.
It’s a nature haven; on one side the River Tay curves around the village, and on the other side you’ll find the Birks of Aberfeldy, home to the Falls of Moness. It was the Birks of Aberfeldy that inspired Robert Burns to pen a poem of the same name.
There are plenty of outdoor adventures to be had in Aberfeldy, including white water rafting, abseiling, gorge walking, canyoning, mountain biking, and more. At the end of the day, the picturesque village is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening.
Aberfeldy is also home to one of my favourite bookshops in Scotland: The Watermill Bookshop and Cafe.
Where to stay: The Townhouse
Blair Atholl, Perthshire
Blair Atholl is a small highland village at the foot of Cairngorms National Park.
The village is known as the gatekeeper to the highlands and is surrounded by lush greenery, forest. The River Garry threads through the town
It is home to Blair Castle, an impressive 13th-century whitewashed, baronial-style mansion and seat of Clan Murray. The castle is well worth a visit; here you can learn about the Atholl Highlanders, Britain’s only private army, and explore the expansive gardens where you can enjoy the birdlife and may even spot the odd red squirrel!
Where to stay: The Old Manse of Blair
Pitlochry in Perthshire is a popular place for tourists and locals alike. The main street is filled with pubs and restaurants, hotels and guest houses, and adorable shops, all within a beautiful natural setting.
Pitlochry is the perfect base for nature lovers. There is plenty to explore in the area around Pitlochry, and it’s a short distance from many hikes in the Cairngorms National Park. The beautiful Loch Faskally is surrounded by woodland trails and was chosen as a spot to film scenes from Outlander.
A good time to visit is during September and October to witness the abundant green landscape turn to gold.
Where to stay: Tigh Na Cloich Hotel
Braemar is a village located in the Cairngorms National Park. Surrounded by mountains and forest, this village attracts thousands of walkers, climbers and skiers every year.
There are 24 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) accessible from Braemar, and the Glenshee ski field is just 8 miles away. The Braemar Gathering and Highland Games is one of the most famous highland games in Scotland.
Braemar also attracts royalty- Balmoral Castle is the Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family, and they also attend the highland games held here each year!
Where to stay: Cranford Guest House
Luss, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
Luss is a bonnie village that sits on the banks of Loch Lomond. It’s a popular place to stop to enjoy views of the loch.
One of my favourite things to do in Luss is to wander around and peer at the cute wee cottages; the colourful and perfectly-kept gardens are just stunning!
One of my favourite gift shops is located in Luss, the Luss General Store. Pop by and buy yourself something special!
Where to stay: Luss Cottages at Glenview
Sheildaig, Scottish Highlands
Shieldaig is a fishing village located on the remote West Coast of Scotland. It is located on the edge of Loch Shieldaig, and was established in 1800 to encourage families to take up fishing.
It’s a delightful village that has several cafes and restaurants selling fresh seafood. Across the loch you will find Shieldaig island, and inland the village is framed by dark rocky mountains.
This village is certainly one of the prettiest villages in Scotland, positioned within the secluded north-west highlands. A weekend here is perfect for anyone who enjoys venturing off the beaten path.
Where to stay: Rubha Lodge
Torridon, Scottish Highlands
Torridon is located a short distance from Shieldaig, tucked away at the edge of the Upper Loch Torridon. It’s a great base for some hillwalking, and if you’re interested in geology, there are some fascinating rocks in this area.
The Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve is located a short distance away, where you can see birds and wildlife, including golden eagles if you’re lucky! During my first visit to Torridon, I was lucky enough to spot a pine marten frolicking in the village.
The village itself is very remote, and home to one store, The Torridon Stores and Cafe. It’s a simple village, however, it’s the surrounding scenery that makes this one of Scotland’s prettiest villages.
Where to stay: The Torridon
Gairloch, Scottish Highlands
Gairloch is a small village on the west coast of Scotland, located on the shores of Loch Gairloch.
There are a handful of spectacular beaches in this area, including Big Sand beach, which is also home to a nice campground.
On a clear day, you can see across to the Isle of Skye!
Hillbillie’s Bookstore is located in Gairloch, which is one of my favourite bookstores in Scotland, so do check it out!
Where to stay: Gairloch Sands Youth Hostel
Applecross, Scottish Highlands
Applecross is a scattered village located in the north-west highlands; it’s one of the most remote areas in Scotland.
It’s a popular section of the North Coast 500, and to reach the village the quickest route is via the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), which is one of the highest and steepest roads in Great Britian at 2,053 ft!
Despite its inaccessibility, it is still a popular tourist location due to its rugged and wild terrain. Here you will see vast and open land where Highland cows and sheep roaming the wilds freely. Accommodation books up here quickly
Where to stay: Applecross Inn
Kinlochbervie, Scottish Highlands
Kinlochbervie is a remote village in Sutherland, on the northwest coast of Scotland. It is home to several white sandy beaches, including Oldshoremore beach and Sandwood Bay, which is often referred to as Scotland’s most beautiful beach.
It’s a lovely village to visit if you enjoy venturing off the beaten path. While you may not get a WiFi signal, you will soak in some of Scotland’s iconic beauty and meet some of its friendliest residents.
Where to stay: Lochinchard Cottages
Plockton, Scottish Highlands
Plockton is a pretty village that has the best of both worlds being surrounded by hills and located in a sheltered bay.
Its beauty makes it a popular location for artists and photographers, and its a great place to spend some time in if you need to slow down. You can hire a bike and cycle around the countryside, go on a boat trip for some wildlife spotting or fishing, or simply enjoy the walking trails nearby.
There is also a small island you can explore when the tide is low.
Where to stay: The Haven Guest House
Portree, Isle of Skye
Portree on the Isle of Skye is a popular place to base yourself to explore the island- but the reason I think Portree is one of the prettiest villages in Scotland is because of the colourful houses that line the harbour, contrasted with the dark, leering mountains beyond.
The village is home to a handful of restaurants and shops and lovely walks, including the path to The Lump where you can climb the Apothecary’s Tower for views of the town all the way to the Old Man of Storr.
It’s busy during the summer, so I recommend visiting in the off-season.
Where to stay: The Portree Hotel
Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Tobermory is most famous for its postcard-perfect colourful cottages that line the harbour. These cottages are also featured in the British children’s show, Balamory.
Tobermory was built in the 18th century as a fishing port and is now the main town on the Isle of Mull. The main street is fun to explore, and is filled with guest houses, eateries, shops, and hotels.
It still has a village feel, but in the summer it is popular with tourists. After getting a few snaps of the colourful buildings, make sure you do a tour of Tobermory Distillery, visit the Mull Museum, and in the evening find a pub that is playing live music and enjoy the local atmosphere!
Where to stay: Glenelg
Dunkeld is also classed as a town, but feels more like a village. Dunkeld is next to the River Tay, and is home to many historic buildings, including the colourful ‘little houses’ that were built in the 1700s.
Dunkeld also has some great local eateries, including ARAN Bakery which is owned by Great British Bake Off alum Flora Shedden.
The Hermitage walk is located nearby, which is a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers, especially during autumn!
Where to stay: Atholl Arms Hotel
Portnahaven is a fishing village on the Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides. This place deserves a spot on the prettiest villages in Scotland list because it’s just picture perfect.
You can often spot seals sunning themselves or swimming in the small bay (pictured above). Portnahaven is a popular spot for a secluded coastal summer holiday.
You will also have a lovely view across to Orsay Island and the Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse, and Eilean Mhic Coinnich (also known as Mackenzie Island).
Where to stay: Orsay House
St Abbs, Scottish Borders
St Abbs is a delightful fishing village on the east coast of the Scottish Borders. The 2019 Marvel film The Avengers: Endgame was filmed here. It was the location for New Asgard in the film, and the village even installed a sign stating ‘St Abbs: Twinned with New Asgard’!
Harry Styles also filmed his music video for ‘Adore You’ in St Abbs.
Where to stay: The Rest