10 Scenic Scottish Seaside Towns & Villages

1) Portnahaven, Islay
Portnahaven located on the Hebridean island of Islay was built in the 19th Century as a ‘planned village’ and was inhabited mainly by fishermen and crofters. Today many of the fishermen’s cottages have been converted to holiday homes and this scenic little village makes the ideal retreat for those seeking a peaceful holiday in an idyllic location.

portnahaven islay

Portnahaven on the Hebridean Island of Islay.

2) Crovie, Aberdeenshire
The tiny village of Crovie is located on the North East coast of Scotland, and consists of a single row of houses. The village occupies such a narrow space that cars have to be left on it’s perimeter. Not surprisingly Crovie was once a fishing village, however fishing is now in decline in the locality, and most of the fishermen’s cottages have been turned into holiday lets. In 1953 a particularly fierce storm hit the village, and almost washed it into the sea. Many villagers left after the fateful storm, however some remained and rebuilt this charming little village.

crovie banffshire aberdeenshire

The Tiny Village of Crovie, Aberdeenshire.

3) Plockton, Highlands
Located in the North West Highlands on the shores of Loch Carron, Plockton was originally a ‘planned village’ built with the intention of stemming the population exodus from this remote region. Today this scenic little place boasts a population of only 378. The village is set in a stunning location surrounded by rugged Highland scenery, and during the summer months is a popular tourist attraction offering a good selection of hotels, B&B’s restaurants, and activities.

plockton wester ross

View of Plockton Harbour.

4) North Berwick, East Lothian
North Berwick is only 35 minutes away from Edinburgh by train, making it perfect for a day trip away from the capital city. Given its close proximity to one of Scotland’s largest cities, North Berwick became a popular tourist town in the 19th Century, and still attracts holidaymakers to this day. This prosperous little town offers the visitor 2 sandy beaches, a selection of pubs and restaurants, 2 golf courses, and a cliff top castle, amongst its many attractions.

north berwick east lothian

North Berwick, East Lothian.

5) Portree, Isle of Skye
With a population of 2491, Portree is the largest town on the popular Isle of Skye. Over 35%  of the town’s population can still speak the ancient Scottish Gaelic language. Portree makes the perfect base for those wishing to explore this magical island, with attractions such as the Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, Elgol, and Black Cuillins all within easy reach.

portree isle of skye

Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye.

6) Pennan, Aberdeenshire
Pennan is a quaint little fishing village typical of the North East coast of Scotland. Sadly, like many other towns and villages in the region, the fishing industry has gone into decline, and these days, Pennan is mainly a holiday village. Most of the fishermen’s cottages in the village are now used as holiday homes. The village was made famous in the early 80’s as it was chosen as the setting for the film ‘Local Hero’ featuring Burt Lancaster.

pennan banffshire aberdeenshire

Pennan, Aberdeenshire.

7) Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire
Gardenstown is located a short distance from the villages of Crovie, and Pennan on the rugged North East coast of Scotland. The village was established in the 1700’s as a fishing port; to this very day fishing still contributes to the local economy. Over the years the village has developed in an unusual manner, and has expanded vertically as opposed to horizontally, with newer cottages clinging to the cliff slopes. In the 1950’s, Gardenstown experienced an unexpected population boom, after many of the residents of nearby Crovie abandoned their village due to serious storm damage.

gardenstown aberdeenshire banffshire

Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire.

8) Crail, Fife
Crail is an attractive seaside village located in an area known as the ‘East Neuk of Fife.’ Neuk in the Scots dialect means ‘corner,’ and is pronounced as ‘nuke.’ There has most likely been a settlement at this location since ‘Dark Ages,’ however most of present day Crail consists of fine buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries. The village is very accessible being only 90 minutes away from Edinburgh by car, and attracts tourists all year round.

crail east neuk fife

Crail, on the East Neuk of Fife.

9) Tobermory, Isle of Mull
The brightly painted town of Tobermory is the main town on the Hebridean island of Mull. The island is a popular tourist destination in summer, and is particularly suited to those seeking a holiday exploring the ‘Great Outdoors,’ in the form of remote beaches, lonely mountain peaks, and ancient castles.

tobermory isle of mull

Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

10) Pittenweem, Fife
Pittenweem is one of several picturesque fishing villages, dotted along the ‘East Neuk of Fife.’ It’s built in the characteristic style of this part of Scotland, with the cottages featuring whitewashed walls and distinctive red tiled roofs. Interestingly, the red tiles supposedly were offloaded from passing Dutch ships who used them as ballast. Today, Pittenweem is an active fishing port, and popular tourist destination.

pittenweem east neuk fife

Pittenweem, East Neuk of Fife.

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