The Top 7 Castles to Visit in Scotland

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The Top 7 Castles to Visit in Scotland

Sprawled all over the beautiful landscape of Scotland, these windows into the country's fascinating history make for the perfect places to visit. While you'll find impressive castles still standing all over the UK, with the incredible mountain and highland scenery as a backdrop, castles in Scotland are often the most stunning. Once home to over 2,000 castles with hundreds still standing today, it can be a little hard to decide just which to visit. To start with the very best, here are the most impressive and famous castles in Scotland that warrant taking a trip to see.

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The Top 7 Castles to Visit in Scotland

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral castle, Scotland

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One of the most famous residences of the British Royal Family, Balmoral Castle is a popular escape for the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II who spends most summers there. This huge impressive castle features some beautiful unique architecture known as Scottish baronial style. While it's usually closed when the Queen is in residence there, the castle is open to visitors for the rest of the year.

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

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This coastal castle might not be as grand or impressive as other castles around the kingdom, however it makes up for it with history and the stunning seaside setting. The castle is reachable only by a short path onto the rocky headland, with dramatic, sheer cliffs providing the perfect defenses.

Unlike some of the other famous castles around Scotland, Dunnottar Castle is mostly in ruins, giving it an authentic, historic look and atmosphere.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

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One of the most famous sights of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle is particularly famous for its beautiful surrounding scenery. Built at the convergence of three lakes, known as lochs in Scotland, Eilean Donan was built in the mid-13th century on a small tidal island which makes it look particularly stunning when it's surrounded by water.

As expected from its location in the Scottish Highlands, the castle has an impressive backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery that completes the iconic image. As it's right next to the A87 road, the castle is a popular stop for people driving to the Isle of Skye.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish Capital

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The centerpiece to the skyline of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most famous castles in the region. Built on a large volcanic rock that rises out of the center of Edinburgh, the castle was first built back in the 11th century and has been an iconic landmark there ever since.

While exploring the castle and its grounds is a must, for the best view of Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding city, make sure to visit Arthur's Seat, an extinct volcano that towers over the area.

Floors Castle

Floors Castle Scotland, Scottish Borders

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One of the largest castles in Britain, Floors Castle is an impressive, sprawling residence for the Dukes of Roxburghe that sits close to the border of Scotland and England. The surrounding grounds also feature some beautiful gardens and forest walks.

The area is home to a number of impressive castles and residences which can easily be reached from each other including Abbotsford.

Kilchurn Castle

View of Kilchurn Castle Scotland, Scottish Highlands

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Another of Scotland's beautiful ruins, Kilchurn Castle lies at the north tip of Loch Awe with the mountains around Ben Cruachan looming in the background. Another castle that's easy to visit on a road trip around Scotland, Kilchurn Castle is located just off the A85 on the way to Oban, a popular Scottish seaside town.

Interestingly enough, the castle's demise was not in fact brought about by war, but by a devastating lightning storm that badly damaged the structure. Since the storm in 1760, the castle has been abandoned.

Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle Scotland

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Thought to be the oldest site of a stronghold in Scotland, Dumbarton Castle is built up and beside a huge chunk of volcanic basalt rock, giving the structure its iconic view. For several centuries this stronghold was the center of the Kingdom of Strathclyde that ruled the local area, until it was raided by Vikings in the 9th century.