Scotland, one of the four countries that comprise the United Kingdom, has an abundance of exciting things to see and do. This top travel destination has a plethora of tourist attractions and points of interest, many of which are located in some of the most beautiful towns and cities in Scotland. Make sure to check out our list of the top towns in Scotland to help you decide what the best places to live in Scotland are.
Top 10 towns in Scotland
Tobermory – one of the most beautiful towns in Scotland
Tobermory was founded in 1788 as a purpose-built fishing port by the great engineer Thomas Telford. It derives its name from the Gaelic for “Virgin Mary’s Well.” As the main town on the Isle of Mull, Tobermory has an undeniably beautiful harbor. BBC filmed Balamory, a children’s television series, here.
Kirkcudbright is located in the Lowlands of Dumfries and Galloway, close to Castle Douglas and Gatehouse of Fleet, and overlooks the River Dee. During the Anglo-Saxon period in the 15th century, it housed St Cuthbert’s relics. This Scottish town now surrounds MacLellan’s Castle, which Sir Thomas MacLellan built in 1582.
Kelso – The nicest place to live in Scotland to enjoy the view
Kelso is located in Border country, where the rivers Tweed and Teviot meet. In the 12th century, it grew up around the magnificent Kelso Abbey. The Dukes of Roxburghe live at the grand Floors Castle. Their original home, at Roxburghe, can be seen in ruins across the river, having once been one of the great royal centers for Scottish kings in the Middle Ages.
Millport is the only town on the island of Great Cumbrae. It is in the Firth of Clyde off the west coast of Scotland, near Bute and Arran island. It also houses the Cathedral of the Isles, Britain’s smallest cathedral. Millport is located on the south side of the island, overlooking Millport Bay. Much of the Scottish town dates from the Victorian era, when Millport was a popular tourist destination for visitors from Glasgow.
Plockton, a picturesque harbour town on the west coast of the Highlands, looks out onto Loch Carron. It has a distinct appearance, thanks to the North Atlantic Drift, which creates a mild climate. The town grew in the nineteenth century as a fishing village founded by highlanders who had been driven off their lands. The Kyle of Lochalsh railway line runs just south of Plockton and provides one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the UK.
Portree, one of the best places to live in Scotland for nature-lovers
Skye is well-known for its natural beauty. Portree is the main cultural center on Skye, with views of the loch and the Sound of Raasay. The name Portree takes from the Gaelic word Port Righ, which means “king’s port”. When James V visited with his fleet in 1540, he gave it that name. Bonnie Prince Charlie bid farewell to his protector, Flora MacDonald, in Portree in 1746 as he fled the English.
Linlithgow was once home to one of Europe’s great royal courts in West Lothian. It is located on the road connecting Edinburgh and Stirling. Back to the 15th and 16th centuries, it was a favorite haunt of the Stewart kings of. The fountains were said to run with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie took the town during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.
Crieff – Whisky Scottish town
Crieff in Perthshire is well-known for its whisky and Victorian baths. It was a vital commercial hub for highlanders. Crieff has a strong Victorian feel today, thanks to the Hydro Hotel, which opened in 1868 for wealthy convalescents. Other notable sites include the Scotland’s oldest Glenturret Distillery, and the country’s oldest lending library – Innerpeffray Library.
Pittenweem, a small fishing town in the East Neuk of Fife, is located on the east coast. It derives its name from the ancient Pictish language, which means “the place of the caves.” In 1541, James V granted the town the status of royal burgh. Over the centuries, there was significant trade with merchants from the Low Countries sailing up the UK’s eastern coast.
Melrose – The picturesque Scottish town in ruins
In the Border country, Melrose is home to one of Britain’s most picturesque monastic ruins. Melrose Abbey, built by Cistercians in the 12th century, is the town’s focal point. It is also the final resting place of many Scottish kings, as well as the heart of Robert the Bruce. The town is in the middle of an ancient marketplace and crossroads and has significant and interesting sites surrounding it.
The biggest town in Scotland
Paisley, Scotland’s most populous town, has a population of 77,220 people. It is also one of the largest towns in the UK that has not yet been granted official city status.
The smallest town in Scotland
Elgin, at c. 21,000 population, is considered to be the smallest town in Scotland. It is a lovely town with a rich medieval history, from the stunning ruin of Elgin Cathedral to the charming cobbled market streets.
Facts about towns and cities in Scotland
- Scotland has three UNESCO-designated cities: Edinburgh is a City of Literature, Glasgow is a City of Music, and Dundee is a City of Design.
- The Edinburgh Festival is the world’s largest arts festival.
- Stirling Castle is home to the World’s Oldest Football.
- Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city by far, covering 68 square miles and housing over 600,000 people.
Also find out more about Scottish Landmarks to plan your next trip here!
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