Scotland is a wild, rugged place where countless centuries of history, fairytale glens and surreal lochs come together to create something special. The northern nation is known for its abundance of natural beauty full of verdant rolling hills peppered with abandoned chapels and long gone castle ruins, many of them surrounding Scotland’s lakes. Whether you’re a history buff, fancy some r&r or like to hit the trails – Scotland is loaded with lakes that fit every type of traveller. Here are our picks for the most beautiful lakes in Scotland.
7 of the Most Beautiful Lakes in Scotland
1. Loch Awe
Framing the peaceful village of Lochawe, this freshwater lake is famous for its historical charm and stunning highland scenery. In addition to velvety steep hills and rolling valleys, the surrounding landscape is dotted with old churches and crumbling ruins. Additionally, the lake is dotted with islands, some of which hold their own church and castle ruins. However, the real star of Loch Awe is the ever-romantic 15th-century castle ruins of Kilchurn Castle.
2. Loch Lomond
Nestled in the heart of the famous Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, this surreal Scottish lake is the most beautiful of its kind. Acting as a gateway from Scotland’s lowlands to the highlands, Loch Lomond holds the title for the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain. If the stunning surroundings of verdant green forests, glens and mountains weren’t enough, within the lake, you’ll find a whopping 22 islands. Moreover, one of the islands, Inchmurrin, is the largest island in the British Isles.
3. Loch Ness
We’ve all heard of the Loch Ness monster, Nessie, an enormous sea creature lurking beneath the grey waters of Loch Ness. Beyond the fascinating lore and legends of Loch Ness, however, there’s loads of natural beauty. This enormous lake, which happens to be the second deepest in Scotland, is home to stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside. Not only that, but Loch Ness also boasts the magical Urquhart Castle and peaceful views of Lochend and Fort Augustus.
4. Loch Maree
Another lake shrouded in myth and legend that’s also breathtakingly beautiful is Loch Maree. Tucked away up north in Wester Ross, this sprawling lake is peppered with islands, a crumbling chapel, forgotten graveyard, 7th-century monastery ruins and ancient druid sites. Sitting high above Loch Maree is the dominating Slioch mountain which makes for awe-inspiring views of the surroundings. If all that wasn’t enough, the legend that surrounds this beautiful lake say that its waters are a cure for all ailments.
5. Loch Arklet
Loch Arklet is a relatively small, remote loch with a huge reputation for its wildlife and scenic views. Whether you’re a fisher, a wildlife enthusiast, just looking to relax or enjoy hiking, Loch Arklet fits the bill. The most famous residents here are the countless osprey and wild goats that dot the terrain. And at certain times of day, the mirror-reflection of the lake and the surrounding scenery is simply breathtaking. While it may be a bit of a walk to reach as it’s deep within the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, it’s well worth it.
6. Loch Katrine
Famous as the setting for Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake, Loch Katrine is loaded with natural beauty and wonder. Since Victorian times, Loch Katrine as served as the water supply for Glasgow and looked dang good while doing it. Not only is the area full historical sites like Queen Victoria’s gothic cottage, but you’ll also find a plethora of hiking trails sure to provide gorgeous views of mighty Loch Katrine at every turn.
7. Loch Shiel
Made famous from the Harry Potter Series as the Black Lake near Hogwarts, Loch Shiel is just as magical in real life. Framed by verdant green hills dotted with ruined chapels; it’s the perfect place to spend the day exploring whether you’re a history buff or a nature lover. It was, in fact, here that the Scottish army defeated the Norse in 1410; and has since been home to several other historical events that only add to Loch Shiel’s allure.