Looking for a walking holiday that has it all? Look no further than Scotland. With its rugged Highlands, stunning shoreline and plenty of pristine wilderness in its sprawling national parks, get inspired with these ideas for walking and hiking holidays in Scotland.
Killer coastal walks across Scotland
Whether you're roaming the shoreline of the Isle of Arran or watching the waves from Helensburgh, Aberlady and North Berwick, Scotland's got more than enough striking coastline to go around. Book a holiday rental along one of these great walking routes and get ready for stellar seaside sights.
Seaside strolls on the Isle of Arran
For a coastal walking holiday, the Isle of Arran is an excellent option. Here, you'll find holiday cottages in charming coastal towns that offer easy access to popular paths – like the 66-mile Arran Coastal Way, and the more strenuous hike to the 2,866-foot-high summit of Goat Fell. The island's also home to the Arran whisky distillery, where you can unwind over a dram at the end of a long day's hike.
Holidays along the Ayrshire Coastal Path
Another great seaside option, the Ayrshire Coastal Path offers 100 miles of coastal trail from Glenapp to Skelmorlie. Along the way, you'll encounter historic castles, scenic seaside vistas and loads of quaint towns. Book a holiday cottage for an extended break in Irvine, a bustling town that's home to Dundonald Castle and the Scottish Maritime Museum. Meanwhile, check out Ayr's broad, sandy beach and the Burns Cottage, childhood home of celebrated poet Robert Burns.
Hike the heart of the Highlands
If it's high-altitude countryside and high-reaching peaks you're looking for, Scotland's peerless Highlands offer everything you're after, and more. Check out these great ideas for spot-on Highlands hikes, then spend some time exploring the nearby towns from your cosy Highland holiday home.
Trek west to east the John Muir Way
Named for the Scottish-born naturalist who later founded the United States' National Park Service, the 130-mile-long John Muir Way runs from Helensburg on Scotland's west coast to Dunbar in the east. You'll enjoy scenic views of Loch Lomond as you make your way inland, towards Linlithgow and Edinburgh, then wind through charming seaside towns like Aberlady and North Berwick – where you can admire the 14th-century Tantallon Castle ruins – before ending the trip in Dunbar, Muir's hometown.
See Scotland from the Coast to Coast Walk
An unmarked route that roams through several charming Highlands towns, Scotland's formidable Coast to Coast Walk runs 128 miles from St Andrews to Oban. Take in the sights as you recuperate in towns like Newburgh, Lochearnhead and Dalmally, where you'll find charming pubs and eateries, as well as plenty of charming holiday lettings for groups of all sizes. Once you reach the end of the route, visit the acclaimed Oban Distillery and treat yourself to a tipple and a tour.
Cosy cottages near the Cairngorms
With nearly 1,750 square miles of scenic natural beauty, Cairngorms National Park offers everything from winter sports to rolling countryside along the foothills of the Cairngorm mountain range. Whether you're looking to hike the formidable Ben Macdui or simply stroll the park's sprawling plateau, you'll find loads of trails throughout the area.
Holiday rentals in Aviemore
For a lively spot, it doesn't get much better than Aviemore. Villa rentals and holiday cottages here offer easy access to Ben Macdui, the highest peak in the Cairngorms and the second-highest summit in the UK, as well as winter sports at Cairngorm Mountain ski resort. The town's dotted with cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as shops selling all you'll need for an enjoyable extended stay.
Unbeatable lettings in beautiful Braemar
To see a less buzzy side of the Cairngorms, consider holing up with a holiday home in laid-back Braemar. On the eastern side of Ben Macdui, this charming hamlet along the River Dee is a decidedly quieter counterpart to the lively scene in Aviemore. Here, you can stroll along the river or enjoy a cosy cup of tea in town, then head to the well-maintained Braemar Castle. The 17th-century stronghold features a turreted stone facade, and tours of the rooms – which are done up in period decor from different eras of the castle's past – are a popular pick.