A self-catering rental north of the border will give you the freedom to explore the bagpipe-echoing Highlands and the monster-concealing lochs, the wind-lashed Hebrides Isles and the medieval keeps of Edinburgh. Bringing flexibility, comfort, cosiness and some seriously alluring destinations into the mix, Scottish country cottages are among the very best options to choose from.
Discover rural Scottish country cottages
Scotland's hinterland certainly lives up to its reputation for being untamed and feral, in a way of which England and Wales can only dream. From the raw Highlands to the pine-clad vales of the Lowlands, there are plenty of enchanting places to go in search of Scottish country cottages.
The district of Highland starts with the great peaks of the Cairngorms National Park. There's a real haggis load of cottages to pick from, clustering around the town of Aviemore. Both large and small places, luxurious ones and simple boltholes, are on the menu. Each have one foot firmly in the mountains, where Glenshee offers skiing pistes and Ben Macdui – the 2nd highest summit in the UK – splinters through the clouds.
A cottage around Inverness
Inverness isn't only about visiting the mysterious waters of Loch Ness. Bagging your Scottish country cottage here could also mean visits to the famous Culloden Battlefield where Bonny Prince Charlie was defeated, or the crumbling ruins of haunting Urquhart Castle.
Venture to Fort William
At the other end of the Great Glen from Inverness is Fort William, which claims to be the outdoors capital of the country. The closeness of mighty Ben Nevis is a clear winner for trekkers here, but there's also heritage, in the form of the steam-puffing Jacobite locomotive and its breathtaking route through the hills.
Scottish country cottages near the beach
Scotland might not seem like a beach destination extraordinaire, but ask anyone fresh from leaving their footprints on the shores of wild Lewis and Harris or the shingles of the Isle of Arran and you're bound to hear a different story.
Lewis and Harris tops the bill
Prepare to gasp as you swing around the headlands of Lewis and Harris and into the wide bay of Luskentyre Sands. The powder shimmers white like something out of the Caribbean, while undulating dunes skirt around it all before erupting with the hulking mountains. Famously remote, you might find that you're the only one about.
Choose Portobello in Edinburgh
Whoever said Scottish beaches had to be hard to get to? Opting for one of the handsome Georgian or Victorian townhouses that fringe the sands of Portobello will put you right next to Edinburgh's centre, which means proximity to the iconic sights of the UNESCO-tagged Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.
Discover the Isle of Arran
Carved through by serrated mountains and boulder-speckled ridges, Arran draws many people with its peaks. However, most of the cottages sit in the lowland areas around the coast, so you can often get a bedroom that looks out over the cobalt-blue Atlantic or the Firth of Clyde. The star beaches include hill-ringed Brodick and the wide curve of Blackwaterfoot.
Finding cheap Scottish country cottages
If you're keen to keep costs low and the travel budget intact, this trio of handy hints could help unearth some great bargains on Scottish country cottages.
Wrap up for a winter adventure
The cosiest Scottish country cottages of all come with log-burning fires, good central heating systems and even hot tubs, which means you shouldn't find it too hard to keep warm when the snows are falling on the Munros outside. The real bonus with trips between November and March is that rates will tend to be lower across the board – excepting Christmas and New Year.
Book as early as you can
There's a high demand for Scottish country cottages, particularly during the main trekking season of the summer. To ensure you get the hearty little bolthole that's perfect for you, along with your choice of the top deals, it's worth planning as far in advance as possible.
Consider less-trodden parts of Scotland
Don't worry if you can't find a cottage to fit the budget between the high Cairngorms or by the salt-washed coast of Skye – those beautiful corners of the country will always be there the next time you come back. For now, you might prefer somewhere with lower rates in lesser-known areas, such as the Lowlands, the Scottish Borders or Aberdeenshire, to name just 3.