Are you looking for inspiration for romantic things to do in Scotland for couples?
There is nothing that Craig and I love more than exploring Scotland together- and we’ve had some pretty memorable adventures.
We’re sharing some of our favourite romantic things to do in Scotland; from cosy highland escapes to stargazing to luxury afternoon tea.
Here are our favourite things to do in Scotland for couples, plus a few activities still on our bucket list!
Make sure you read my ultimate guide to planning a trip to Scotland
Romantic things to do in Scotland for couples
1. Take a day trip to St Andrews
Quaint, quiet-ish and coastal, St Andrews is a lovely destination for couples.
It is also the town where Prince William met Kate, the now Duchess of Cambridge. They both attended the University of St Andrews together, and the rest is history!
Go for a romantic stroll on West Sands Beach and through the ancient ruins of St Andrews Cathedral.
Share an ice cream from Jannettas Gelateria, play a round of golf on the world’s oldest golf course, or have a spa day.
There are also plenty of cute cafes and pubs in St Andrews.
Where to stay: Fairmont St Andrews
Read more: 40 things to do in St Andrews
2. Go hiking in the Cairngorms National Park
Scotland’s second national park, the Cairngorms, is much less busier than Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
There are plenty of great hikes and activities for the adventurous couple in the Cairngorms National Park.
A hike we recommend is to the Ruigh Aiteachain bothy at Glen Feshie, one of Scotland’s newest and nicest bothies. If you’re up for it, you can even spend the night at the bothy. Just make sure you pack your camping gear and read the bothy code before you do.
If you’re experienced at hiking and feeling adventurous why not hike Scotland’s second-highest mountain, Ben Macdui? You can hike it along with Cairn Gorm, the national park’s namesake.
For a full list of hikes for every ability in the Cairngorms, check out the WalkHighlands website.
Reward your day’s hiking with a hearty meal and a dram at The Old Bridge Inn.
Where to stay: Macdonald Morlich Hotel in Aviemore
3. Have a romantic nature break in Killin
Killin in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is hugely underrated and one of my favourite places to escape to with Craig.
We spent three blissful nights in a wooden lodge completely immersed in nature. There is so much to do in this area that you’ll need a few days, but our highlights included driving the circuit around Loch Tay, hiking in Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve and visiting the Scottish Crannog Centre (update: this sadly burned down in 2021!)
We also saw rare Scottish red squirrels scurrying from tree to tree.
In the village of Killin itself you can walk to the Falls of Dochart, the Clan Mcnabb Burial Grounds and the ruins of Finlarig Castle.
After a day exploring the area we recommend having dinner at The Courie Inn, a quaint and cosy hotel with a bar and cafe that has a small but traditional menu.
Where to stay: Rowan Lodge [we stayed here!] or The Courie Inn.
Read more: 8 reasons you should visit the village of Killin
4. Go star gazing at Scotland’s Dark Sky Parks
Is there anything more romantic than star-gazing in Scotland? Scotland has some of the darkest skies in Europe making it the perfect place to look up at night.
There are two Dark Sky Parks in Scotland: Galloway Forest Park in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Cairngorms Dark Sky Park.
At these parks you’ll have the opportunity to see shooting stars, the rare Andromeda Galaxy and stellar nurseries, where stars are born! You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Galloway Forest Park is the largest Dark Sky Park in the UK, and the views of the sky from the park have been described as ‘not far off sitting in the middle of the Atlantic on a boat.’
The best views are from the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, near Dalmellington.
Tomintoul and Glenlivet Cairngorms Dark Sky Park is the darkest park in the UK and the most northerly Dark Sky Park in the world.
They run a bunch of astronomy events throughout the year for locals and visitors. You can find information about these on the Cairngorms Dark Sky Park website.
There are also a bunch of other great places you can go stargazing in Scotland- check out this map for all of the locations!
5. Hike to The Lost Valley in Glencoe
One of the best hikes myself and Craig have done as a couple was to The Lost Valley in Glencoe.
We went on an epic 2-day road trip to Glencoe, and our highlight was most certainly discovering the valley located between two mountains, where the MacDonalds of Glencoe once hid their stolen cattle.
It’s a short but steep, moderately challenging hike up a dried up river bed. Once you reach the valley, you’re sheltered by the Three Sisters, and it’s a popular wild camping destination.
If wild camping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of great accommodation options located throughout Glencoe. One of our favourite pubs in Scotland is located in Glencoe- the Clachaig Inn. Head here after your hike for a dram and a warm meal to celebrate your efforts!
Where to stay: The Ballachulish Hotel – we stayed here and recommend upgrading to a loch view room.
Read more: The perfect 2-day Glencoe road trip
6. Go for afternoon tea at The Witchery By The Castle
The Witchery By The Castle is one of the most romantic restaurants in Edinburgh; the decor is like something from an 18th-century historical novel. It’s located near Edinburgh Castle, however, it’s hidden from view down a narrow close, tucked away behind lush greenery, making it all the more romantic.
Myself and Craig had afternoon tea there one day, and- honestly, it’s the best afternoon tea experience we’ve ever had! It’s a bit pricey at £30 per person [excluding wine], however it’s well worth the price tag because the food, atmosphere and service is 5 star.
We sat in The Secret Garden room [there are two rooms you can choose from]. The room is lit up by candles and natural light streaming in through the French windows. As you look up you’ll marvel at the hand-painted ceiling, stealing your eyes away only for the three-tiered cake stand filled with an array of delicious sandwiches, cakes and scones.
You can order champagne if you so feel, or you can warm your belly with a selection of loose leaf teas.
It is a truly magical experience.
Read more: My Edinburgh 2-day itinerary
7. Visit Outlander filming locations
I couldn’t get through this list of things to do in Scotland for couples without mentioning Outlander. Sorry, not sorry!
Truth be told, whether you are an Outlander fan or no- the locations they filmed the series stand on their own two feet with and without the show.
Some of our favourite locations we’ve stumbled across include the beautiful villages of Culross and Falkland, Blackness Castle, and Craigmillar Castle.
You can also do a tour of Outlander filming locations. We recommend this one day Outlander tour with Rabbies.
8. Elope at Gretna Green
Now we’re not actually suggesting you elope- but Gretna Green is one of the most romantic places in Scotland and the marriage capital of the UK.
Gretna Green is one of Scotland’s most southern villages, and so it was the perfect place for young English couples to secretly elope.
In England during the mid-18th century you had to be at least 21 to legally marry without parental consent. In Scotland, the legal age of marriage was 16- and so young English couples would run away to Gretna Green to tie the knot.
Isn’t that sweet?
Today Gretna Green is still a popular wedding destination due to its romantic history. You can still visit the Gretna Green Famous Blacksmiths Shop, where couples have come to marry since 1754.
9. Hike Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill
Both of these hikes offer some of the best views of Edinburgh. Best of all, they’re not too difficult and they’re also located in the centre of Edinburgh.
Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano located at the bottom of the Royal Mile. Some say it was the site for Camelot, the castle of King Arthur. Scenes from the romantic Anne Hathaway flick One Day were actually filmed on Arthur’s Seat.
Calton Hill has great views of Edinburgh Castle and the Balmoral Hotel Clock Tower. The top of the hill is shrouded with monuments including the National Monument of Scotland- also known as ‘Edinburgh’s Disgrace.’
Despite the not so flattering nickname, I think the monument is rather pretty, even if it is half finished. Calton Hill is a fantastic place to watch the sunset; take a blanket and cuddle up next to your beau to stay warm and enjoy the view.
The walk up Calton Hill is just 20 minutes, while Arthur’s Seat takes around 2 hours.
WalkHighlands has a good guide on hiking Arthurs Seat and walking up Calton Hill.
10. Ride the Jacobite Express [or watch it pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct]
Otherwise known as the ‘Harry Potter train’ or ‘Hogwarts Express’ thanks to that infamous car flying scene, the Jacobite Steam Train is a great weekend getaway activity for couples.
The train departs Fort William in the morning and makes its way to Mallaig, passing through some of Scotland’s most wildest and wondrous terrain.
You can opt for a return trip that day, or if you’d prefer to overnight in Mallaig you can catch the train back to Fort William the following day. We recommend going for the First Class Open Carriage, which has private tables for two. Otherwise you may be sharing a carriage!
You may not want to ride the Jacobite, but watch it cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct instead. This is a popular option for the photography enthusiasts out there. You will have to time it right, as the Jacobite will only pass over the viaduct once, sometimes twice per day. Make sure you check what time the Jacobite departs Fort William and make sure you arrive with plenty of time to find a park and walk to the viewing spot.
The train should reach the Glenfinnan Viaduct around 30 minutes after it departs Fort William.
The train also crosses the viaduct in the opposite direction, when it is returning from Mallaig to Fort William. It will make its way across around 45 minutes before the train is due back in Fort William.
Where to stay: Inverlochy Castle Hotel in Fort William or The Wee Lodge in Mallaig.
11. Spend a weekend in Pitlochry
Pitlochry is the perfect couples destination and a great wee town to base yourself to explore the surrounding sites. It’s small, making it easy to explore on foot [and you can easily walk back to your accommodation from the pub-winning!].
It also has great cafes and restaurants, shopping and nature trails surrounding the wee town.
We recommend having a yummy cake and pot of tea at Hettie’s Tea Rooms, doing a tour of the Blair Atholl Distillery, and going bar hopping down the main street.
If you’ve got a car make sure you visit Soldier’s Leap which is located nearby in Killiecrankie. The story behind it is that an English soldier leapt 5.5 metres across the River Garry to escape Jacobite soldiers on his tail! He probably would have plunged to his death had he not made the jump…
We also recommend exploring Blair Castle, a huge white castle set amongst nine acres of gardens. Both Craig and I have ancestral ties to this castle, and it really is a wonderful place to explore on a sunny day.
Where to stay: The Old Mill Inn [fun fact: it was the ‘Inn of the Year 2016’ at the Scottish Hotel Awards.]
12. Do the Malt Whisky Trail
This one has been on our couples bucket list since I first visited the whisky region Speyside: the Malt Whisky Trail.
The Speyside region has an incredible 51 working whisky distilleries and is the world’s largest concentration of Scotch malt whisky distilleries. The Malt Whisky Trail links eight of the best whisky distilleries and one cooperage.
We recommend hiring a driver or doing a tour of the Malt Whisky Trail so you can sample as many whiskies as you like without having to worry about driving.
In spring there is also the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival where you can meet the makers and taste the world’s finest whiskies.
Where to stay: Hillside Havens in Dufftown.
Have you tried any of the above activities? Let me know which ones in the comments!