These are 14 of the best and most beautiful castles to visit in Scotland, according to our readers.
Nowhere does castles quite like Scotland. Here you can find some of the most beautiful fortresses in the world, with rich histories and breathtaking scenic backdrops.
Each of them tells its own tale of our nation, century after century – from clans to royalty, uprisings, invasions, and war. And many of them have starred in major TV shows and films – from Game of Thrones to Outlander and even James Bond.
1. Eilean Donan Castle
Found on a tidal island in the western Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle is an iconic Scottish castle which is thought to be one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland. Built in the 13th Century, it would become the stronghold of Clan Mackenzie. The castle has featured in a number of Hollywood films, including Highlander, The World is Not Enough, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Photo: Getty Images
2. Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, pictured here with snow covered mountains Stuc a Chroin and Ben Vorlich in the distance, is one of the largest and most significant castles in Scotland. Sitting strategically on Castle Hill, part of a 350 million-year-old rock formation, the castle has seen at least eight sieges - including an unsuccessful one by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Photo: Michael Gillen
3. Edinburgh Castle
Built on the plug of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle has outstanding views of the Capital city. This spot has been a fortress since at least the Iron Age, and has been central to countless key moments in Scotland's history, from the Wars of Independence to the Jacobite Uprising. It serves as the backdrop for the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo and is said to be the UK's second most-visited attraction. Photo: Getty Images
4. Dunnottar Castle
Perching on a 160ft rock formation over the North Sea, the dramatic ruins of Dunnottar Castle are an unforgettable sight to behold. Once the formidable fortress of the Earls Marischal, this picturesque castle is also famous for being the hiding place of the Scottish Crown Jewels from Oliver Cromwell's army. Photo: Getty Images