12 Inspirational walking routes around Scotland

Old Man of Storr

Featuring some incredible locations around the country, we take a look at some of the great walking routes Scotland has to offer.

Spanning the length of breadth of this beautiful country, we start at the capital and the famous peak known as Arthur’s Seat.

1. Arthur’s Seat

scottish walks

Starting off in the capital, the iconic Arthur’s Seat rises high into the Edinburgh sky and is a great place to go for a stroll.

Actually an old, long dormant volcano, the famous peak overlooks the nearby Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse.

A number of trails are available that weave their way to the summit.

Pro Tip – Tucked away within Holyrood Park, Duddingston Loch is a popular hangout for the local bird population. Watch out for the Midges!

The perfect reward after your journey to the top – some 250 metres up – the views from atop Arthur’s Seat are incredible.

Look down across the city or beyond towards the famous Firth of the Forth.

Off into the distance, you follow the instantly recognisable cobbled roads of the Royal Mile right up to the gates of Edinburgh Castle resting on a rival peak just over 3 miles away.

This is the ideal place to relax and briefly escape the busy bustling streets of Edinburgh, particularly during festival season.

After descending down from the peak, the great attractions of the Scottish capital await.

Find Holiday Accommodation

2. Ben Nevis

ben nevis

The tallest mountain in Britain, the landscape surrounding Ben Nevis, close to Fort William, is a great place to explore on foot.

If you feel up to the challenge, walking up the mountain can take around 4 hours for experienced walkers. Coming back down is a lot quicker (roughly two hours).

Standing at over 1000 metres, the famous mountain is not be underestimated!

There is a popular tourist path that can take you to the summit. Alternatively, popular routes like the River Lundie walk offer the opportunity to admire this beautiful landscape in one of the most iconic walking and hiking spots in Britain.

Find Holiday Accommodation

3. Fife Coastal Path

Pittenweem

Running from Kincardine right up to Newburgh on the shores of the River Tay, Fife’s Coastal Path stretches over 100 miles.

Best tackled in sections, the path takes you through some of the UK’s most historic and scenic locations, including Pittenweem (pictured) and past the iconic Forth Rail Bridge.

Starting in Kincardine, the path’s early highlights include the famous former Royal Burgh of Culross and Charleston.

Heading beyond Limekilns, you will pass under the famous bridges (now three) where the path leads onto Aberdour of Silver Sands beach fame.

At this memorable point along the path, you can look out across the Forth to Edinburgh and admire the capital in all its splendour. Aberdour’s 14th-century castle and gardens, and two beaches make for rewarding adventures away should you decide to venture off the path.

After passing Burntisland, the path then leads on to Buckhaven and Elie. A 13-mile stretch, highlights along the route include the beach at Lundin Links (a popular golf stop) and Lower Largo.

The birthplace of Royal Navy Officer Alexander Selkirk, famously the inspiration for the character Robinson Crusoe depicted on film and print, Lower Largo’s Shell Bay is a great spot to relax.

A popular section thanks to the ruins of the Ardross and Newark Castles, the Elie to Cambo leg of the Coastal Path can take up to 6 hours to navigate.

This portion of the route stands out as you pass through some lovely fishing villages heading further into Fife’s East Neuk. Pittenweem, Anstruther, and Crail are all wonderfully picturesque.

Find Holiday Accommodation

4. Glen Coe

Glen Coe scottish walks

Symbol of the Scottish Highlands, Glencoe Valley, complete with a famous mountain range, is home to a wonderful glen.

A beautiful location, Glencoe’s eye-catching landscape has featured in a number of iconic films including the Harry Potter series and James Bond’s Skyfall.

There are a number of popular trails in the area where you will be able to spot local wildlife. Close by, Loch Leven (not to be confused with Loch Leven of Queen of Scots fame), and the village of Glencoe are great places to stop, take a break, and grab a bite to eat.

Find Holiday Accommodation

5. Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail

Glenfinnan Viaduct

A short walk incorporating the wonderful Glenfinnan Viaduct, one of Scotland’s most iconic tourist attractions, the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail is a tremendous route.

The route actually sees you climb above the viaduct where you will be met with spectacular views of both Loch Shiel and the Viaduct.

Time it just right and you may even see the famous Jacobite Steam Train crossing the viaduct leaving a trail of steam in its wake.

On the banks of Loch Shiel, the grand Glenfinnan Monument pays tribute to fallen Jacobite clansmen. Standing since 1815, this is one of the most important monuments in the country.

Find Holiday Accommodation

6. Great Glen Way

Loch Ness

A long distance route (over 70 miles), the Great Glen Way starts at Fort William heading northeast before finishing in Inverness.

One of Scotland’s greatest trails, the route takes you through the Great Glen and is a great introduction to the Scottish Highlands for novice walkers.

Often broken into six stages, this is one of the great walking routes the British Isles has to offer.

Highlights include Loch Lochy, views looking over Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.

Find Holiday Accommodation

7. Old Man of Hoy

Old Man of Hoy

A spectacular coastal route on the island of Hoy, the pinnacle being the sight of the famous sea stack (pictured), this is a must for any walking enthusiasts visiting Orkney.

The path starts in Rathwick along the coast before reaching the Old Man of Hoy.

Over 100 metres tall, the famous stack is slowly being whittled down by the harsh Atlantic.

Find Holiday Accommodation

8. Scottish National Trail

Scottish walks

Encompassing nearly the entire length of the country, the Scottish National Trail is over a staggering 500 miles long route starting in the Scottish borders and finishing at Cape Wrath (pictured).

The route’s beginning actually also marks the end of the Pennine Way route.

Unless opting to tackle the entire route, we recommend joining the trail in part of the country that you have yet to fully discover.

At key points, the trail actually follows other famous trails including the previously mentioned Great Glen Way.

Popular highlights include the beautiful Cairngorms National Park, Pitlochry and the Pentlands.

Find Holiday Accommodation

9. Arran Coastal Way

Arran Coastal Way

The beautiful island of Arran is one of the country’s best.

Such is the island’s beauty; Arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in Miniature’.

Following the famed Coastal Way, walkers will encounter evolving landscapes home to a number of lovely features that define this beautiful country.

Great mountains, caves, tidal beaches, and beautiful castle ruins can all be admired during this essential walking route.

Despite its name, the route actually heads slightly in-land at points, mixing up the staggering scenery once again.

Committing to the full 66-mile route can prove to be a real challenge, although trying out parts of the journey will leave a lasting impression.

Find Holiday Accommodation

10. Moray Coastal Trail

Moray Coastal Trail

Tucked away in the North East, the Moray Coast Trail runs just under 45 miles between Forres and Cullen.

Moray’s coastline is an ideal walking destination with the trail well sign-posted throughout.

Following the trail, walkers will be able to enjoy towering cliffs, coves and caves with the natural landmark Bow Fiddle Rock one of the most photographed spots on this fabulous stretch of coastline.

The area is also rich in maritime history and the trail incorporating this along the way, connecting different fishing villages.

Historical landmarks found close to the route include the Iron Age remains of a Pictish Fort at Burghead.

Find Accommodation

11. Hermaness

Muckle Flugga

The small yet beautiful island of Muckle Flugga rests just off the Shetland mainland and is a key landmark to look out for during a walk around Hermaness and into Hermaness National Nature Reserve.

Sitting north of Unst, Muckle Flugga is one of the most northerly points in the entire British Isles.

One of the shorter strolls to make our list, walkers will be able to admire the wildlife of Hermaness National Nature Reserve and its variety of interesting seabirds.

During a number of points throughout the route, the views looking out from cliffs are spectacular.

Nesting in this rocky terrain, fantastic species of bird to look for include Fulmars, Puffins, Kittiwakes and Gannets.

Key points of the route are laid out with boardwalk for visitors to follow to avoid damaging precious local vegetation.

Notable landmarks during the route include Muckle Flugga Lighthouse and the rocky features at Taing of Looswick.

Find Holiday Accommodation

12. Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr

Our walking list would not be complete without featuring the beautiful Isle of Skye.

In many ways, a symbol of Skye, the prehistoric-looking Old Man of Storr is a great place for a hike.

The spikey centrepiece sitting amongst a number of other rock formations scattered around close by, the Old Man of Storr is one of Scotland’s most iconic locations.

A number of paths are available to choose from in the area taking hikers up close to this mammoth spectacle.

Reaching some of the highest points in Skye, the surrounding views surveying the mainland and nearby Sounds of Raasay are simply incredible, especially if you time your ascent on a clear, sunny day.

Find Holiday Accommodation

Visit Scotland

Start planning your next Scottish walking adventure by browsing a wide selection of accommodation here.

Similar Features

Discover Scotland – 29 Wonderful places to visit

Scotland at its irresistible best – A Classic Scottish Steam Break

‘Scotland in Miniature’ – The Wonders of Arran


Follow us on Facebook or on Instagram @DCThomsonTravel. Got a travel suggestion or story you want to share, email us at holidayenquiries@dcttravel.co.uk.