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17 Jaw-Dropping Photos of Scotland

It's like a fairy tale!

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Welcome to Scotland

There are many beautiful places to visit in the world. Over the years, Scotland has been consistently voted the most beautiful country in the world, beating out other beauties like Canada, New Zealand, and Italy, and we can see why. In case you need any convincing, we’ve rounded up some stunning landscapes (like hiking along the Quiraing in Isle of Skye, shown here) to show why it earned its title. If this has sparked your wanderlust, here are 80 gorgeous travel photos from around the world.

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Loch Ness

Loch Ness might have gotten its fame for its mythical sea monster, but the real-life scene is just as magical. The historic Urquhart Castle has been keeping watch over the loch since the Middle Ages. Loch Ness is also one of the most haunted bodies of water in the world.

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River Sligachan

In Gaelic, Sligachan means “shelly place,” referring to the shells found in the area. During a sunset, the purple riverside flowers practically match the sky’s bright colors.

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Sligachan Bridge

Legend has it, if you dip your face into the water beneath Sligachan Bridge, you’ll be blessed with eternal beauty—just like Scotland itself is.

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Autumn in the Highlands

Scotland might have a reputation for being green, but autumn brings even brighter hues as the fall foliage turns the Highlands a patchwork of reds and yellows.

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Imagine living in a port town in the world’s most beautiful country. Residents of Portree—the biggest town on the Isle of Skye—get to enjoy rolling hills and crystal waters every day. Don’t miss these other beaches with the world’s clearest water.

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You might complain about morning fog on your morning commute, but in the village of Glencoe, a misty sunrise is breathtaking. Check out these other real places that look like fairy tales.

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Eilean Donan Castle

The Eilean Donan Castle was built first in the 13th century and expanded over the centuries until destroyed in 1719. The current structure is a reconstruction built between 1912 and 1932, but it’s just as breathtakingly beautiful as it looms over the Isle of Skye.

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Green landscapes aren’t the only beauties you’ll find in Scotland. In the Old Town in the capital city, you’ll find the Balmoral Hotel’s landmark clock tower and centuries-old buildings. If that sounds like a fairy tale to you, don’t miss these Airbnb castles you can stay in overnight.

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The Trossachs

Happy cows just might come from Scotland. Highland cattle—like this one in the Trossachs by the Arrochar mountains—have much thicker coats than you’d see in the United States.

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Ben Lomond

The Ben Lomond mountain towers over Loch Lomond, Britain’s biggest freshwater lake. Talk about the perfect hiking path! Here are some more of the world’s most underrated travel destinations.

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Finnich Glen

Near Killearn the gorge Finnich Glen, whose mysterious look earned one rock the title of Devil’s Pulpit. Can’t get enough of these stunning landscapes? Make sure to check out more photos of the world’s 50 most beautiful countries.

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Medieval fortress Dunnottar Castle (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
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Dunnottar Castle

There are plenty of castles to be found in Scotland, and that included ancient ruined castles as well. Dunnottar Castle was once home to one of the most influential Scottish families, the Earls Marischal. The castle has seen many impressive visitors including Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI. The castle was abandoned and then brought back when the Pearson family bought the castle in 1925, which you can visit today. Here are more abandoned castles from around the world.

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Downtown Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
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You don’t always have to go to the countryside for beauty. In the port city of Glasgow, beauty can be found in museums like Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the University of Glasgow, one of the oldest universities and Scotland’s four ancient universities.

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Shetland Islands, Scotland.
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Shetland Islands

The charming Shetland Islands tucked away north of mainland Scotland have a long history and geology spanning about 3 billion years. Yes, the Shetland Islands are also home to the adorable and intelligent Shetland ponies. To see the beauty of these islands, it’s best to pack appropriately—the islands are far north and about 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle!

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The Old Man of Hoy in evening light
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Orkney Islands

There are plenty of things to do on the Orkney Islands including going for a walk along the beach, reading through the history of the islands, and taking part in cultural events and festivals.

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Nevis Valley
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Ben Nevis

Your visit to Scotland isn’t complete unless you’ve visited Ben Nevis, “the mountain with its head in the clouds.” At the end of the West Highland Way next to Fort William, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles and a true beauty to behold. If you’re looking for something a bit closer to home, these are the most stunning mountain towns in America.

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.