- Logan Botanic Garden, Port Logan, Galloway: Touched by the warm currents of the Gulf Stream, an exotic paradise thrives in what seems to be the edge of the world amid these stark landscapes at Scotland’s southernmost tip. It’s all the work of the McDougall family, who over the years traveled the world to bring back the palms, ferns, and other semitropical species that thrive in this microclimate.
- Colonsay, Hebrides: This 20-square-mile island facing the open Atlantic—only a lighthouse stands between the western shores and Canada—is as remote, quiet, and wild as it gets, the domain of wild goats with elegant horns, and for most visitors, that’s the appeal.
- The Water of Leith, Edinburgh: It’s easy to forget that you’re in the busy capital as you follow a 12-mile wooded trail along this ribbon-like river that tumbles from the Pentland Hills down to the docklands in Leith to meet the Firth of Forth.
- The Trossachs: Despite their proximity to Glasgow, these mist-shrouded lochs and wooded glens seem a world removed. The A821 from Callander to Aberfoyle is your entryway into the appealing landscapes, but get off the road as quickly as you can and onto a woodland trail or the deck of the 1890s steamer SS Sir Walter Scott for a cruise across Loch Katrine.
- Fair Isle, Shetland: Diehard birders flock to this small, remote island floating about halfway between Orkney and Shetland to observe an estimated 350 species known to stop over on their flight paths. Aside from spotting these winged attractions, the rewards for a trip to this hard-to-reach outpost, famous also for knitwear, are walks across moors ablaze with summertime wildflowers. Be mindful, though—foul weather can make it impossible to get off what becomes “Not So Fair Isle” for days at a time.
- The Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk, near Edinburgh: Another testament to Scottish engineering is the world’s first and only rotating boat lift. Talk about old-fashioned know-how: Using the ancient Greek Archimedes’ theory of water displacement, the giant, clawlike mechanism lifts and lowers boats between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal. Visitors can board a boat to experience this new take on an age-old principle.
- Kintyre Peninsula, Argyll: The longest peninsula in Scotland seems like an island, surrounded by water except for a wee slip of land, and the quiet glens, woodlands, and pebbly shorelines are lost in a sleepy world of their own. At the southern tip, looking toward Ireland across 12 choppy miles of the Mull of Kintyre, you’ll probably be humming along with local celeb Paul McCartney, “Oh mist rolling in from the sea/My desire is always to be here/Oh Mull of Kintyre.”
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.