17 Magical Weekend Breaks in Scotland (2023)

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From city breaks to coastal retreats, weekend breaks in Scotland are the perfect way to experience all this fantastic country has to offer.

Scotland is a beautiful destination filled with stunning landscapes and quaint towns. Whether you’re looking to explore the wilds of the Highlands, take in some breathtaking scenery, or relax on a beach, Scotland has something for everyone.

With so much variety, deciding where to go first can be hard – that’s where we come in. We’ve visited many places throughout this magical country, and we’re here to help you plan one of the best weekend breaks in Scotland.

Weekend Breaks in Scotland

Isle of Skye

Mountainous landscape with a lake in the middle.

The Isle of Skye is one of the most iconic destinations in Scotland and a perfect place for a weekend break. With its wild, rugged landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and picturesque villages, you can easily get lost in the beauty of this island.

Its breathtaking views will surely leave you mesmerized; hike in the mountains or explore the fairy pools, which offer stunning panoramas over the Cuillin mountain range. During your stay, you can also experience Scottish culture by trying traditional dishes like haggis.

Be sure to stay somewhere central, like in the quaint town of Portree – this was where we stayed during our trip, and we loved it. There are many places to eat here and quite a few cute bed and breakfasts.

Remember that if you visit in the off-season, some iconic landmarks may be closed for maintenance, and many restaurants may also be closed for the season. However, you can snag lower deals during this time! We visited in February, which was the off-season, and loved it.

Learn more about the Isle of Skye:


View of a historic city from above in spring.

Edinburgh is a bustling city filled with friendly locals and plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Its stunning architecture, from historic castles (Edinburgh Castle is a must-visit) to quaint museums, provides visitors with the perfect backdrop for a memorable weekend break in Scotland.

Be sure not to miss Old Town and its winding streets, which are filled with cafes, shops, and galleries, where you can find gifts for friends or souvenirs to remember your trip. For those looking to explore nature during their stay, Arthur’s Seat offers breathtaking views of the city below.

There are plenty of festivals taking place throughout the year too, making it an exciting destination no matter when you visit. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an action-packed weekend away with friends, Edinburgh has something for everyone!

Learn more about Edinburgh:


Empty street lined by brick buildings.

Dornoch is ideal for a romantic getaway, family adventure, or quick weekend escape, which is why it has a spot on this list of weekend breaks in Scotland. Nestled in a peaceful bay on Scotland’s picturesque coast, it has abundant striking natural scenery and engaging activities!

The town itself is charming and full of character. With cobbled streets and old-fashioned buildings, it feels like stepping back in time. Stroll along its bustling main street for some retail therapy, or wander down to the seafront to take in some stunning views across the bay as you go.

There are also plenty of quaint cafes and pubs to explore if you’re searching for traditional Scottish fare and a few beverages. Milk and Honey and Cocoa Mountain are two of our favorites!

Learn more about Dornoch:


Where should you travel next?


Fun graphic art posters on the wall in a purple room.

Dundee is a great place to spend the weekend in Scotland. Its stunning views of the River Tay, its lively nightlife, and its abundance of cultural attractions make it one of the top destinations for anyone visiting Scotland.

In Dundee, you can explore some of Scotland’s most beautiful countryside and take in some incredible views. Plus, there’s plenty to do right on your doorstep – from exploring local museums (the V&A Museum is a must-visit) and galleries to shopping.

And when it comes to nightlife in Dundee, there are plenty of places to grab a bite to eat or relax with friends at one of the many bars and pubs. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled weekend away, Dundee has something for everyone – explore this Scottish gem.


Silhouette of a girl on a beach under a blue orange sky.

Buckie, a small fishing town in northeast Scotland, is the perfect destination for a weekend break. It’s known for its quaint harbor and stunning views of the surrounding cliffs, as well as its traditional pubs and seafood restaurants.

Those looking for a relaxed break from city life will find plenty to love here, with plenty of leisurely activities like whale watching or just looking out at the view of the sea. Nature lovers will appreciate the area’s rugged scenery; walkers can explore rolling hills and hidden coves.

And if you’re after more of an adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for cycling and watersports too! With so much to do at your fingertips, Buckie is sure to be the highlight of your trip.


View of the tops of historic buildings with a blue Scotland flag on the top of one.

Inverness is one of the best weekend breaks in Scotland for travelers looking to experience a unique blend of culture and nature. The city is surrounded by stunning landscapes such as the Caledonian Canal, Loch Ness, and Cawdor Castle – perfect for a leisurely stroll or sightseeing.

Plus, there’s plenty of history and heritage to uncover in Inverness itself, including Inverness Castle, Old Town Centre, and Inverness Cathedral. With great restaurants (Hou Hou Mei is one of our faves for ramen!), bars, and shopping to explore too, it’s no wonder why this spot is so popular among travelers!


View from a river of a city skyline. A bridge stretches over the river.

Glasgow has a lot to offer for those seeking a weekend getaway in Scotland. The city is full of culture, from its vibrant music scene and galleries that house some of the finest collections of art in the United Kingdom to its dynamic landscape and fantastic bars and restaurants.

It’s also home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and the Glasgow Cathedral. Plus, with great shopping opportunities and plenty to do outdoors – including biking along the River Clyde or strolling around one of Glasgow’s many parks – it’s easy to keep busy during your stay here.

Loch Lomond

View through the trees of a lake in fall surrounded by mountains.

Loch Lomond is one of the most picturesque and stunningly beautiful places in Scotland. Whether you’re a first-time traveler to the area or someone who’s been visiting for years, it’s guaranteed to take your breath away. From its nearby lush rolling hills to its crystal clear lakes, it has something for everyone.

The best way to experience Loch Lomond is on a weekend break. With so many activities and things to see and do, from boating trips around the islands of the loch, exploring any one of its many walking trails, and sampling some of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries.

It’s perfect for those looking for a relaxing holiday or an opportunity to get back in touch with nature.


The sun setting over a river view with boats on the water.

Fife, Scotland, is one of the best weekend break destinations in Scotland for a number of reasons. Its close proximity to Edinburgh and its many transportation links make it easy to travel to and from Fife in no time.

Once there, you’ll find an array of attractions that make Fife the perfect destination for a short getaway. There’s a beautiful coast, making it the perfect spot for a romantic beach walk or some family fun at one of the many coastal towns (like St. Andrews, which we included on its own later in this post).

Plus, with miles of rolling hills and valleys, it’s also great for hiking and biking enthusiasts. And when you’re done exploring the outdoors, there are plenty of quaint pubs and restaurants to grab some dinner or drinks.


View of a historic city skyline in fall.

Aberdeen is an ideal destination for a weekend break, offering a vacation filled with plenty of activities and sightseeing opportunities. From the beautiful coastlines to the vibrant cultural scene, there are plenty of things to do no matter what your interests are.

Gorgeous beaches provide the perfect backdrop for long strolls, while the city’s many museums offer a great way to learn about Aberdeen’s rich history and culture. Shopping enthusiasts can explore boutique stores or sample local delicacies in one of the city’s many restaurants. Plus, don’t miss out on Drum Castle.

For those looking for a night out on the town, Aberdeen has plenty of pubs and clubs that offer live music and entertainment. No matter how you decide to spend your time in Aberdeen, you’re sure to have an unforgettable weekend away!


Aerial view of a town with a castle on a mountain.

Stirling is the perfect place for a weekend break in Scotland; its rich history, stunning landscape, and vibrant culture make it an ideal destination. With so much to see, you could easily spend a few days exploring the area.

Begin visiting Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks. Not only does it offer incredible views over the city, but you can also explore its many galleries and attractions – including The Great Hall, The Royal Palace, and the Chapel Royal.

Just outside the walls, you’ll find nearby villages such as Bridge of Allan and Cambusbarron, which are filled with quaint pubs and independent shops.

No trip to Stirling would be complete without taking time to appreciate its many cultural offerings. Visit local art galleries or take in some live music at one of the city’s renowned pubs – whatever your taste, there’s something for everyone in this bustling Scottish city!


Boat floating out on blue waters.

Oban, Scotland, is one of the most picturesque places in Britain – and a great getaway to boot! Its idyllic coastal location is reason enough to make a visit, but the town’s culture and activities are what bring people back time and time again. Whether you’re looking for an active adventure or a cozy weekend away, Oban has something for everyone.

The town itself is small, but its charm can’t be overstated. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs to explore and quaint streets lined with shops selling unique goods. Plus, the views from the harbor are absolutely stunning.

For those who like to keep busy while on holiday, there’s no shortage of things to do around Oban. Activities like kayaking, horseback riding, and sailing are popular – as well as whale watching and birdwatching along the coast.

Orkney Islands

Blue lake with green mountains in the background.

The Orkney Islands is a magical archipelago situated in the North Sea. With its unspoiled landscapes, fascinating history, and abundance of wildlife, it’s no wonder that it’s one of Scotland’s favorite weekend getaways.

In addition to the natural beauty of the islands, don’t forget about all the delicious local food and drink! Whether you’re headed out with friends or just looking for some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Orkney Islands is the perfect destination, which is why it’s one of the best weekend breaks in Scotland.


Quaint lake surrounded by mountains.

Inveraray is one of the best weekend break destinations in Scotland due to its incredible mix of history, nature, and culture. With rolling hills, deep lochs, and stunning architecture, Inveraray has something for everyone.

From lush gardens to historical sites like Inveraray Castle, there’s plenty to see and do here. Not to mention the quaint shops along the High Street and traditional pubs with a warm welcome.

Plus, you can enjoy outdoor activities like fishing or sailing on Loch Fyne – there are many options! So if you’re looking for a relaxing yet exciting getaway in Scotland, Inveraray is perfect for a weekend break.

Fort William

Tall mountains under a purple sky.

Fort William is a beautiful destination and an ideal weekend getaway for travelers looking to experience the best of the Scottish Highlands. With its stunning scenery, unparalleled outdoor activities, and abundance of history and culture, Fort William has something for everyone to enjoy.

For an active weekend break, there are numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure such as walking, hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking and canoeing in Loch Linnhe. Nature enthusiasts can explore the grasslands and woodlands nearby while photographers can take pictures of incredible landscapes such as Ben Nevis. (Don’t miss out on Ben Nevis – it’s one of our favorite Scotland landmarks.)

Those seeking a more leisurely weekend can take their time exploring the historic village in Fort William or visit some of the local attractions such as The West Highland Museum with its exhibits showcasing Scotland’s past. And don’t forget about the famous Jacobite Steam Train that travels from Fort William to Mallaig.

St. Andrews

Aerial view of a town on the water.

St. Andrews is one of the best weekend breaks in Scotland for travelers looking to explore some of the most stunning coastlines and countryside in Europe. It’s small enough that you can easily get around by foot or bike, while still offering enough attractions and activities to stay entertained all weekend long.

Whether you’re looking to walk along the beach, explore St. Andrews’ famous golf course (you can even learn at the golf museum), or enjoy a relaxing stroll through town, there’s something here for everyone. Plus, since it’s relatively close to Edinburgh and Glasgow, it makes for an easy and convenient weekend break from the hustle-bustle of city life.

Cairngorms National Park

Grey castle with a garden in front.

The Cairngorms National Park is one of the best weekend breaks in Scotland. Not only does it have a wealth of breathtaking scenery, but it also offers an abundance of outdoor activities that will keep you busy all weekend long.

The park is home to some of Scotland’s highest mountains, including Ben Nevis. You can take different trails around the area and admire spectacular views from the summit. For a more leisurely hike, there are plenty of beautiful trails along rivers and lochs.

While there, don’t miss out on a visit to the beautiful Balmoral Castle. We absolutely loved our visit there and it’s truly one of the top fairytale castles in Europe.

Final Thoughts: Weekend Breaks in Scotland

Scotland is an amazing country with plenty of opportunities for weekend breaks. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient castles, admire breathtaking landscapes, sample some of the best whisky in the world, or simply relax and take in the fresh air, Scotland is sure to have something special for you.

With its wide range of attractions and activities, Scotland offers something that everyone can enjoy. And with all this on offer, a short break in Scotland is sure to leave lasting memories that will stay with you long after your holiday has ended.

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