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Scotland is a walker’s paradise. One day you could be hiking in the Scottish Highlands, the next walking along the white sands of a remote beach.
You will also find a more unassuming side to Scotland’s trails too, with quiet valleys and accessible foothills, making it the perfect walking retreat for all abilities and families.
Glencoe Lochan, Highland ©Getty
Here is our pick of the best day walks and hiking routes in Scotland, including the Scottish Borders, Highlands and Scottish Isles.
Climb through the peaks of The Quiraing, Isle of Skye ©Getty
The Old Man of Storr is kept company by other rock spires, collectively called the Sanctuary. These pinnacles and their brothers on the Quiraing were formed as the result of landslips that occurred on the 19-mile long escarpment. Gravity caused the immense weight of the upper volcanic layers of the Trotternish ridge to dislodge the weaker underlying sedimentary rock layers.
Now the entire escarpment can be walked as part of a very long outing, but most walkers might find it easier to explore the broad ridge on a shorter ramble.A two-mile hike to the peak of the unique and breathtakingly dramatic Quiraing on the Isle of Skye.
Glen Finnan – looking north ©Jake Graham
Seek refuge from the cold inside one of Scotland’s most majestic churches, then venture into the Highlands past the wizards’ railway to a lonely mountain pass.
Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire ©Alamy
Perched high on a rocky peninsula, with sheer cliffs rising up from the crashing North Sea on all its sides but one, Dunnottar is perhaps the most dramatically located castle in the entire British Isles.
- 8.3km/5.1 miles
- 3 hours
Take a hike to the summit of Ben Lomond, the most climb Munro in Scotland ©Getty
A 12.3km walk to the summit of Ben Lomond, the most climbed peak of the Scottish Munros.
- 12.3km/7.6 miles
- 4.5 hours
Handa’s western beaches offer an ideal landing spot for visitors to the island © Jake Graham
Wrapped by brutish Atlantic swells and biting winds, this remote island off the west coast of Scotland makes for harsh living. But in spring, enduring these forces is one of north-west Europe’s largest seabird colonies.
Hikers walking through Glen Nevis ©Jake Graham
A spectacular two-mile walk up Glen Nevis through gorges and meadows to the epic Steall Falls.
The rushing water of Black Linn Fall’s crashes deep into the foaming pools below ©Getty
Follow the white water of Scotland’s River Braan through a fabled woodland of giant Douglas firs, fairy-tale bridges and an ancient oak immortalised by Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Follow a pathway along a Stirlingshire loch beside steep cliffs and wooded islands ©Getty
Enjoy a tranquil five-mile stroll around a Scottish loch in the beautiful Loch Lomond and the Trossacks National Park.
Step deep into the Pass of Glen Coe, Highland ©Getty
A beautiful 4.1-mile mountain walk tucked away in the glorious glens of the Scottish Highlands.
Walk through the meadows and mountains of Glen Affric, Highland ©Getty
An 11-mile hike around the shores of Glen Affric, the Highland’s most beautiful glen.
Loch Morlich lies beside the starting point of this magnificent walk through the Cairngorm National Park ©Getty
A beautiful six-mile walk through the Cairngorms National Park, perfect for wildlife spotting and amazing Highland views.
Sandwood Bay in north-west Scotland ©Getty
Explore glorious Sandwood Bay in Sutherland on this 12-mile hike across wild moors and through mighty dunes.
View across Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull, Scotland ©Getty
Revel in the festive shops, illuminated streets and charming harbour of a small island town in the Inner Hebrides before taking a walk to the sandy shores of Calgary Bay.
Hidden within Abernethy Forest in the lowlands of the Cairngorms National Park is Loch Garten ©Alamy
Take a walk on the banks of Loch Garten – one of Scotland’s most beautiful nature reserves – in search of ancient trees, tottering wood-ant nests, grazing deer and soaring ospreys.
Part of the Blue route around Mabie Forest, Dumfries, Scotland ©Alamy
Forestry and Land Scotland’s Mabie Forest lies just outside the town of Dumfries in south-west Scotland and is managed in association with Butterfly Conservation Scotland, whose reserve – their largest – occupies 100 hectares in the middle of the forest. Ancient oak woodland, wetlands and grassland are all here, offering ideal conditions not just for butterflies, but also bats, red squirrels, roe deer and dragonflies.
Ramble along the clifftops of St Abb’s Head, Berwickshire ©Getty
Enjoy a 5.4km walk on the coastal cliffs of southern Scotland, spotting thousands of nesting seabirds, splashes of pink thrift and maybe even otters.
Suilven, Scotland ©Alamy
Steep, wild and remote, this Scottish giant is one of Britain’s most striking peaks – reaching its summit is difficult, but with spectacular views stretching out across the Highlands, it’s well worth the climb.
Glen Sligachan on a moody day ©Getty
This rugged wilderness trail in Scotland guides intrepid walkers into the nucleus of the Cuillin Mountains, past gushing burns and striding ridges to a dramatic, sea-kissed bay.
Birds of Aberfeldy – The gorge was once known as the Den of Moness ©Getty
Experience a jaw-dropping gorge path that inspired Scotland’s national bard, ending the walk with a pub dinner at a local inn.
Looking north across Loch Scridain to the towering basalt terraces of the Ardmeanach Peninsula. Encased at the foot of the 170m-high cliffs is the Fossil Tree ©Alamy
Take a hike on Scotland’s Isle of Mull and discover towering cliffs, wild waters and the fossilised remains of a 50-million-year-old tree.
Ben More, Isle of Mull, Scotland ©Getty
Hike to the summit of this Hebridean giant and gaze out over island-strewn sea lochs and beach-straddled peninsulas – a fitting reward for conquering one of Scotland’s finest peaks.