12 of the Most Picturesque Small Towns in Scotland

Posted: May 17th 2021

Scotland is without a doubt one of the most picturesque countries in the world. And no, we’re not biased… We are lucky enough to be surrounded by quaint small towns with incredible history, architecture and fabulous places just waiting to be explored! But where to go first? We have compiled a handy list of truly post-card-worthy locations, sure to make you feel like you’re living a real-life fairy tale!

Anstruther

Anstruther is a picturesque fishing town popular with tourists, located in the East Neuk of Fife. While in Ansruther, you must sample a quality fish supper from Anstruther Fish Bar, one of the UK’s most celebrated fish and chip shops. During the summer months, you can take a boat trip to the Isle of May, with the opportunity to get close to puffins, seals, and other wildlife.

A two-in-one for picturesque small towns, Cellardyke, just half a mile east of Ansruther, is an overlooked hidden gem! This wonderfully preserved fishing port was designated a Conservation Area in 1977, with unspoilt scenery and houses beaming with character.

 

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Banchory

Banchory is a small town west of Aberdeen on historic Royal Deeside. A great base for exploring the depths of the rural Scottish countryside, Banchory offers a great range of walking opportunities along the River Dee and Feugh and further afield. You won’t be stuck for things to do in Banchory, with two famous castles, Crathes, and Drum, located nearby. Plus, Banchory offers a range of adventure activities as well as numerous golf courses.

Check out our blog about Royal Deeside for more information on the area.

 

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Broughty Ferry

Broughty Ferry more than deserves a space on this list, situated a few miles east of Dundee. This lovely seaside town offers a picturesque harbour, pristine beach, a castle, and a great selection of shops, bars, and restaurants! After a recent resurgence, Broughty Ferry is now a popular location, especially in the summer months.

Broughty Ferry Castle and Museum is well worth a visit to discover the story of Broughty Ferry as a fishing village and the history of whaling, as well as information about local geology and wildlife.

Forbes of Kingennie is located just minutes away from Broughty Ferry, with a great range of accommodation options.

 

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Crovie

Crovie provides a true glimpse back in time, built on a remarkably narrow ledge overlooking the north-sea. Not even the residents drive their cars down to the village, as Crovie officially has the narrowest space between shore and cliff of any Scottish village! Although there’s not a huge number of activities, Crovie is the best-preserved fishing village in Europe! It is well worth a visit to experience the uniqueness of this small village.

Dean Village

Take a step back in time whilst staying in Edinburgh and visit Dean Village! You’ll feel completely transported back in time, from the city bustle, whilst only being a short walk from Edinburgh’s city centre. Described as an oasis of calm in the city, enjoy a pleasant walk along the Water of Leith, appreciating the striking architecture of Dean Village – including the impressive Well Court.

Looking for somewhere to stay in Edinburgh?

Fort William

The Scottish Highlands are renowned for their mountain ranges and scenic beauty, but there are some great towns to be explored in the area! Fort William is the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK’, positioned near Ben Nevis and many other Munro mountains.

Fort William offers everything you’d need from a small town, with a well-established high street and a wide range of eating and drinking opportunities. Fort William also marks the end of the West Highland Way, Scotland’s first and most popular long-distance walking route.

The Garrison Hotel, located in central Fort William, offers the ideal accommodation for everyone, from walkers to families.

 

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Oban

Nestled on the west coast, surrounded by miles of dramatic shores and beautiful countryside, Oban has earned the title of a picturesque small town! Its name means ‘little bay’ in Gaelic, and Oban positions itself as the seafood capital of Scotland, with the busiest ferry port in the country.

You’ll be amazed by the rich local history and culture of Oban, with plenty of small galleries and independent stores to enjoy. Plus, visit the centrally located Oban Distillery – established in 1794, or enjoy great views from McCaig’s Tower, a prominent feature of Oban which resembles an unfinished colosseum.

No. 26 By The Sea is a beautiful boutique hotel set on Oban’s Esplanade, the perfect place to stay while exploring the west coast.

 

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Pittenweem, Fife

Pittenweem is described as one of Scotland’s most unspoiled scenic locations, located on the coast of Fife. The harbour of Pittenweem is a picture-perfect scene, with a regular fish market and many restored old townhouses surrounding the area. Visitors are impressed by the traditional charm of Pittenweem, perfectly coupled with plenty of shops, pubs, and restaurants.

The Pittenweem Arts Festival is popular with tourists and locals alike, offering exhibitions, workshops, performances, talks, and more.

 

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Pitlochry

In the heart of Scotland, Pitlochry offers beautiful scenery, rich history, and everything you’d expect from a picturesque small town. You can enjoy a whole host of outdoor activities in Pitlochry, from fishing, walking, and golf, all the way to bungee jumping and quad biking.

Peaceful yet energetic, there are many things to enjoy in Pitlochry – such as a stroll to Queen’s View, fishing at Loch Tummel, or a wander down the picturesque Mill Lane.

 

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Portree

Known as the capital of Skye, Portree is a pleasant, sparkling town with a thriving cultural hub. Portree’s beauty speaks for itself, with its picturesque harbour lined with brightly painted houses. Portree is known for beautiful walks offering everything you’d expect from the Highlands., breath-taking nature, and vast open spaces.

 

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St Andrews

While St Andrews is by no means a hidden gem of Scotland, but it would be impossible to create a list of picturesque towns without it! St Andrews is home to much more than just golf, this ancient seaside town has a history extending back more than a millennium. Stroll through St Andrews’ medieval streets, enjoying dazzling traditional buildings and cosy cafes.

St Andrews’ boasts beautiful unspoilt beaches waiting to be enjoyed, with many in and around the area to choose from! West Sands Beach is the most popular and well-known, stretching almost 2 miles!

The Old Course Hotel is a lovely place to stay whilst exploring St Andrews.

 

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Stonehaven

Stonehaven, particularly famous for the remarkable Dunnottar Castle, is a lively seaside town on the Aberdeenshire coast. Stepping away from the iconic castle ruins, Stonehaven has a lot to offer – with some of the best places to eat in Aberdeenshire, including The Bay Fish and Chips and Aunt Betty’s ice cream parlour.

Stonehaven is an ideal staycation spot for everyone, with their Heated Open Air Swimming Pool providing fun for families, and for history fanatics, Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum is a must-see!

Royal Arch Riverside Park is perfectly situated to explore Stonehaven, just a short drive away.

 

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These are just some of our favourite small towns in Scotland, there’s far too many to choose from! If you have visited one of these places, or are planning a trip, we’d love to hear about it! You can continue the conversation with us over on Instagram.

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