The Seven Most Beautiful Castles in Scotland

Featuring over 3,000 castles, Scotland is one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in the world. Whether built by the original Scottish clans, or the ever power-hungry English, every castle retains that medieval charm that sends your mind flying centuries back in time. It wasn’t the easiest of tasks, but we’ve managed to put together a list of the seven most impressive castles in Scotland:

Inveraray Castle


[Photo Credits]

Located in western Scotland, on the original site of Inveraray village, Inveraray Castle is the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell. It was commissioned in 1746, by Archibald Campbell, who had the village of Inveraray demolished and rebuilt, so it would not spoil the castle’s view.


[Photo Credits]

Inveraray Castle incorporates multiple styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Palladian, featuring a square layout with four round towers at its corners, topped by conical spires. It’s surrounded by a 2-acre garden and a huge, 14-acre park. Inveraray is now the home of Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll and opened for visitors during the summer season (April-October).

Stuart Castle

Castle Stuart  on the way to Nairn Invernesshire Scotland

Built almost 4 centuries ago, by the first Earls of Moray, Castle Stuart was a derelict ruin for 300 years. After being inhabited only by ghosts, Charles Stuart invested 15 years of his life and a substantial amount of money, turning Castle Stuart into one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.

Castle Stuart

Castle Stuart is a true work of art both on the outside and on the inside. Most of the original furniture was restored, each room has its own fireplace and the surrounding gardens have kept their original structure. Those willing to experience castle life can rent a room, for 150 British Pounds.

Ballindalloch Castle

ballindalloch castle spring

Known also as “The Pearl of the North”, Ballindalloch is a “Z plan” castle, built in 1546, in the Moray region. It expanded several times, and its current state dates back to 1965. Ballindalloch Castle has been the residence of the Russell and Macpherson-Grant Families ever since its inauguration.

Ballindalloch Castle Scotland

The Pearl of the North is known as one of the most popular haunted castles in the world, with the ghost of General James Grant as its most famous inhabitant. The dining room of Ballindalloch is also said to be haunted by “The Green Lady”.

Edinburgh Castle


[Photo Credits]

Perched on the 120 meters tall plug of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle is the national symbol of Scotland. Around one million people visit this place, making it the second most popular tourist attraction in Britain, after the Tower of London. There’s more to Edinburgh Castle than its historical significance, it’s also the best vantage point to admire Edinburgh’s unique topography.


[Photo Credits]

Edinburgh Castle is made up of dozens of buildings dating back from the 12th to the 20th century. It was frequently used as a safe haven by Scottish kings, until the Union of the Crowns, in 1603.

Eilean Donan


[Photo Credits]

Eilean Donan is the most photographed castle in all of Scotland, mostly because of its fairytale setting, on an island at the meeting point of three great lochs. The original castle was built during the 13th century, as defense against the Vikings and later became a stronghold of Clan Mackenzie.


[Photo Credits]

During a Jacobite uprising, in 1719, Eilean Donan castle was occupied by Spanish Forces and ultimately destroyed. It lay in ruins for more than 200 years, until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap restored it to its former glory, in 1932.

Glamis Castle


[Photo Credits]

Located near the village of Glamis, in Angus, Glamis castle is one of the finest castles in Europe and appears on the back of ten pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. It is mentioned as the castle of Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s play, although King Macbeth (who died in 1057) had no connection with a castle built in 1372.


[Photo Credits]

With a history of over 600 years, Glamis Castle has some of the creepiest most intriguing tales, involving monsters and even the devil himself. The Ogilvie family, who were hiding out in the castle, were walled up and left to starve to death, in a room somewhere.

Balmoral Castle


[Photo Credits]

Located in the magnificent valley of the River Dee, Balmoral Castle is one of the most visited and photographed sites in Scotland. Its history begins in 1390, when Sir William Drummond built it as a home, but it became a part of history in 1848, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose it as a private royal residence.


[Photo Credits]

The original Balmoral Castle was considered too small for a royal retreat, so the breathtaking estate we see today is the result of extensive redesign. Balmoral has been passed on to each of the royal successors and remains a favorite holiday destination of the Queen’s. The castle is open to the public, from April 1st to July 31st.

12 Comments for "The Seven Most Beautiful Castles in Scotland"

Vickie Sanders says on April 25th, 2011 at 9:28 pm:

These are the most beautiful castles. I have always been interested in the uniqueness and size. I hope one day to see up them up close and in person.

Donny MacAndrew says on July 9th, 2011 at 10:33 pm:

Balmoral is a bit trashy. I would suggest that Stirling Castle merits a mention in its place.

Matthias says on October 16th, 2012 at 12:39 pm:

You are so cool! I do not suppose I’ve read anything like this before. So great to discover somebody with some original thoughts on this topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

Outdoor Thermometer

Barbara Cook says on March 18th, 2013 at 8:54 am:

I agree with Donny…Stirling Castle certainly merits a mention. It’s not only beautiful, but also quite accessible.


  1. HotelClub
  2. Tiago
  3. Niall O'Meara
  4. Dave Turley
  5. whereivebeen
  7. Isabelle Kenis
  8. Agnieszka Creed

Leave your Comment

Name *

Mail (will not be published) *

Your comment

* denotes a mandatory field