About 14 million tourists visit Scotland every year to see the country’s famous landmarks. Edinburgh Castle alone sees more than 2 million visitors.
While it’s true that seeing these sights is well worth the effort, visitors with anxiety may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people.
You may be wondering if there are any places to get away from the huge crowds that come here throughout the year if you love Scotland’s landscapes but hate being jostled by fellow visitors.
Where is the Cheapest Place to Travel in Scotland?
Cities like Stirling, Perth, and Aberdeen are among the best in Scotland for those on a tighter budget. One of the cheapest cities in the United Kingdom is Stirling.
Stirling, smack dab in the middle of Scotland, is where you’ll find the National Wallace Monument, Stirling Castle, and the beautiful Forth River.
What is the Underrated Town in Scotland?
The town of Campbeltown in Scotland deserves more recognition. Now it’s out in the open: Campbeltown is the most underrated city in all of Scotland.
I have no doubt that this Argyll gentleman is. Floating on the southernmost tip of the wild and beautiful Kintyre Peninsula, the setting could not be more dramatic.
Best Non Touristy Places to Visit in Scotland
Find out how to avoid the hordes of people at the most popular attractions with this comprehensive guide to Scotland’s top off-the-beaten-path destinations.
The following is not an exhaustive list of quiet spots in Scotland (that would be impossible to fit into a single article), but it does include some of my personal favorites that are sure to calm even the most harried of tourists.
1. Place of Arran
Yes, I’m aware of how busy Arran can be during the summer. This beautiful island off the west coast is usually bustling with tourists, but if you go during the off-season, you’ll have the place to yourself.
The Isle of Arran is one of the more accessible west coast islands thanks to its location in the Firth of Clyde to the west of Glasgow, and yet it is sizable enough that you can travel to its outskirts and feel like you are completely cut off from the rest of the world.
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Because of its stunning landscape, which includes mountains, forests, and beaches, Arran is often called “Scotland in miniature,” despite being one of the larger Scottish islands at 167 square miles in size.
2. Ireland’s Mull Island
Mull, the third-largest island in Scotland, is located in the Inner Hebrides, and it is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions, including picturesque harbor towns tucked along the island’s rugged coastline and spectacular mountain landscapes in the island’s center.
Mull is a great destination for nature lovers, as it is home to some of Scotland’s cleanest beaches and a wide variety of British flora and fauna.
3. Isle of Eigg
The Isle of Eigg is a small island off the west coast of Scotland that covers just 12 square miles, but its rich history makes up for its diminutive size.
Despite being located so close to the ever-popular Isle of Skye, this out-of-the-way spot is one of the least-visited western isles, which only adds to its allure.
4. Saint Kilda Islands
You can’t go wrong by visiting the stunning volcanic archipelago of St. Kilda if you want to avoid the crowds of other tourists.
St. Kilda is a group of islands located off the western coast of the Outer Hebrides. The largest of these islands is Hirta, but visitors to the islands typically only visit Dun and Soay.
5. Island of Tiree
Tiree, an island in the Inner Hebrides, is located near the westernmost tip of the group and seems to have escaped the attention of international tourists, despite its many popular golden beaches (for more information, see The Complete Guide to Beaches on Tiree).
These shores surround the island for the most part, and many have very shallow bays where you can walk far out into the sea with the waves barely lapping up to your knees because the island is so flat.
In my opinion, the town of Peebles in the Scottish Borders is a true gem that is grossly underappreciated.
Located only 23 miles south of Edinburgh in the tranquil Borders countryside, the historic town is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
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This charming little town is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring one of Scotland’s most beautiful and undiscovered areas.
7. Enjoy Some Delicious Loch Creran, Oban oysters
Try some fresh oysters from The Caledonian Oyster Co. in Argyll, not far from Oban. You can get the freshest oysters you’ve ever tasted by ordering them via text message or email and picking them up from an honesty box.
Hugo and Judith Vajk have built an award-winning company in the oyster industry under the name Caledonian Oyster Co. Over the course of twenty years, oysters have been successfully farmed in Loch Creran’s pristine waters.
You can find their products at the Perth Farmers Market on the first Saturday of every month if you are unable to make it to Oban. Oysters are available for purchase and can either be taken home or shucked and eaten immediately.
The beauty of camping is that you can explore the country at your own pace, away from the crowds. Some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks should definitely be on your itinerary.
You shouldn’t miss out on seeing Glencoe or the Isle of Skye, two of Scotland’s most famous attractions. Off the beaten path, however, is where you’ll find some of life’s most unforgettable moments.