Let's discover some of the Best Scottish Castles that you could include on your itinerary: the most fairy-tale looking, the strangest, the most dramatic, the most scenic... with photos and video! A great selection of the best castles in Scotland to inspire your trip.
Navigate back to the complete Travel Scotland Guide
This article contains affiliate Links (info on the Disclosure page). If you purchase using my link, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Most Enchanting Castles in Scotland
Let's start with the most fairy-tale looking Castles in Scotland. And when you think princesses, 2 come to mind:
Located in the Argyll region, close to Loch Fyne, it is often visited on a day trip from the Trossachs or Glasgow. The beautiful green castle is mesmerizing, especially in spring when the park's flowers are blooming. It is definitively one of the best castles in Scotland (or at least my favorite...)
Discover more photos of this fascinating building in the dedicated article about Inveraray Castle
Located North of Inverness, Dunrobin Castle is a magnificent building surrounded by parks and gardens, close to the sea. All its angles are interesting and it is as dreamy from the front as it is from the back.
Discover more photos in the Dunrobin Castle article
Most famous Castles in Scotland
But when you think about Scottish Castles, maybe the two presented before where not the ones that came to mind. The most famous are the big medieval fortresses in Edinburgh and Stirling (and maybe Eilean Donan that I will introduce in the next category).
Located in the center of Edinburgh, at the end of the Royal Mile, this castle can only impress. Thanks to its great location on top a hill, you can see it from many places in the city. This is one of the best castles in the UK.
Discover it with video and plenty of photos on the article: Visit Edinburgh Castle
Just North of Edinburgh, Stirling has a similar structure, located on a hill. One of the best views is at its foot where Scottish cattle hang out.
Scottish Castles in best scenery
Eilean Donan Castle
Unless you take a ferry to reach the isle of Skye, you have to drive past Eilean Donan Castle. The small fort is located where 3 lochs meet between the magical Skye island and the summits of the Scottish Highlands.
Discover more photos of the castle and its environment on the Eilean Donan article.
The ruins of Kilchurn Castle are not the most impressive. But its location in the North of the enchanting Loch Awe makes it worth a visit.
The castles, along with many other beautiful places, are included in my eBook. It facilitates the planning of your Scotland road trip:
Plan your perfect trip to Scotland!
- 15 maps to easily plan your itinerary
- 170+ selected locations so you don't miss the most beautiful places
- GPS + info to make the most of your time
- 170+ original photos to get inspired
Most Dramatic Castles in Scotland
Scotland has a lot of coastal areas to protect. This is why many castles are located right on the cliffs making them quite dramatic (or at least what remains of them...)
Located North East of Scotland, Girnigoe was one of my favorite Scottish Castles: the mix of ruins on a strange promontory carved by the sea is spectacular.
Discover more pictures of the ruins and the cliffs on the Sinclair Girnigoe Castle Post.
The massive wall still standing of Tantallon castle is very close to the cliff. It is not as pretty as Girnigoe, but the fact that you can still climb to the top and see the incredible views makes it special.
Discover the experience in video and photos in the Tantallon Castle article.
Another famous Scottish castle for its location is Dunnottar. South of Aberdeen, the ruins of the 13th century are located on a rocky promontory.
Best Scottish Castles in ruins
If you like ruins, you will find plenty in Scotland. They are often disappointing with just half of a tower remaining. But sometimes you find a partial structure that you can explore. It is the case with Dirleton Castle just East of Edinburgh.
Explore the castle in photos on the article dedicated on Dirleton.
Other castles in Ruins
Some of the best ruins also include the Tantallon and Girnigoe castles mentioned in the previous category.
Best Scottish Castles - Strangest Architecture
Caerlaverock was the first place I visited in Scotland. Located in the South, the castle is very intriguing with its triangular shape. Take the time to explore the inside as well as tour it from the outside. Every angle is fascinating.
Discover more photos in the article dedicated to Caerlaverock Castle.
Located in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, the fort overlook the River Dee. Its L-shape tower was the base of grand hunting parties in the surroundind woodland.
East of Cairngorm National Park, the castle remains at is was built in 1626. Located in a vast park with old trees, the Pinkish tower is a great example of Baronial architecture.
Best parks around castles
The architecture of Culzean Castle is square and austere. But the giant park that surrounds is what makes it famous. It is home to woodlands, gardens, beaches, a swan pond, a pagoda....
Discover the castle and its park on the Culzean Castle Article
Dunrobin was one of the first castles listed in this article. I decided to add it again in this category because its gardens between the castle and the sea are beautifully maintained and provide stunning views of the castle.
Also considered one of the best Scottish Castles , Drummond Castle is mostly famous for its surrounding park. Located in Perthshire, the terraces are covered in formal garden with statues and clean cut trees.
Best castles in Scotland - special mentions
You might have heard the name before. This is because this castle located in the Cairngorm National Park is the summer residence of the Queen. I actually reached the gate of the Balmoral Castle park. But the huge number of busses and monarchy adoring tourists made me turn around. I chose to spend more time in nature further South. But I had to list it here...
Glamis is the one castle I wish I had had time to visit. But is was quite a detour from my itinerary for just one castle.
Located North East of Perth, the impressive building dates back largely from the 17th century. It is considered quite an icon based on its size and color.
Most disappointing Castles in Scotland
And when planning your Scotland Itinerary, I thought you might also want to know if some Scottish castles had disappointed me...
Some people might shout at me for it. But I think the Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle are overrated, all because of a monster that nobody can see... yes it is fun to tell people you have been to the Loch Ness but after seeing so many lochs in Scotland, I can tell you this one is quite boring. And I think the ruins of the Urquhart castle pale in comparison to all the other castles I have shown you in this article.
Yet this is a highly touristic site, with big coaches coming in everyday.
I was not expecting much from it so I was not that disappointed. But when you see the castles in Edinburgh and in Stirling, the castle of Inverness looks boring. However the lovely river and surrounding town make up for it.
Iconic Castles in Scotland Video
And now, sit back and enjoy a Scotland road trip through its castles.
Spending the night - Castle Hotels in Scotland
Spending the night in a castle in Scotland, does that tempt you?
In Scotland some large houses and castles are open to the public as Castle hotels.
For those who are looking for a unique experience!
Planning a trip to Scotland? Check out my eBooks to facilitate the planning of your itinerary:
Want to see more of SCOTLAND?
Which ones would you love to visit?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: