Top Castles in Scotland

by EliasZanetti

This is a post about some of the magnificent castles of Scotland. There are more than 3.000 castles in Scotland; here are five of them that stand out.

Scotland is an almost mythical place, at least to my eyes, and not only because of the imposing Highlands. The country carries a history of an uneasy co-existence with its powerful neighbor England, which gave birth to a spirit of independence. Of course, the troubled days between these two countries are over since a long time ago; nonetheless, the mentalities and the attitudes of the Scottish people have survived till today. The Scots are proud people; they are famous for their roughness, which is mingled, though, with friendly feelings for all of those that approach them… in a friendly way! In this life, you always get what you give after all and it seems that the Scots know this very well!

There is a vast number of castles dispersed in all corners of this beautiful country. To me, this surely adds to the feeling that this country -Scotland, that is - is a place shaped by old legends and medieval stories that appear in front of our eyes till today. We don’t build castles anymore; we build skyscrapers. Still, the idea is the same: both are colossal projects with the aim to create an imposing feeling of admiration and respect. The idea of constructing castles and skyscrapers is simple: we, humans, are always in the need and desire to prove our capabilities on creating something equally magnificent with the natural wonders that surround us, such as mountains and the like. So here it is a short list of magnificent and spectacular Scottish castles.

Scottish Castles
The Scottish Castles Story (Story series)

The turbulent and dramatic history of Scotland's castles, including Edinburgh, Balmoral, and Cawdor Castle, and castles still venerated by members of clans such as Castle Campbe...

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The Castles of Scotland

As Seen On PBS - Legendary Sentries of a Storied Past - Scotland's castles emerge from swirling mists to reveal fortresses originally erected against the threat of Viking invade...

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Spectacular Scotland

Breathtaking photography captures the soul and passion of this spectacular land of bagpipes, heather, thistle, and tartans. This enchanting collection of images celebrates Scotl...

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh Castle II
Edinburgh Castle II

It would be difficult to start with a Scottish castle other than the Edinburgh Castle. It is viewed as Scotland’s national symbol and it is the second most visited site of the whole United Kingdom (only after the Tower of London). Its construction started in the 12th century, but is continued up till the 20th century in what it seems to be an ongoing project highlighting Scottish history. And even if it’s quite hard to choose the best castle out of the 3.000 (!) castles in Scotland, I do think that Edinburgh’s castle qualifies to be the “king of the Scottish castles”.

The Edinburgh Castle by Night
Buildings Lit Up at Night with a Castle in the Background, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
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Balmoral Castle

The Royal Castle
The Royal Castle
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle

The first construction on site took place in 1390 when Sir William Drummond built his home there. Some centuries later, though, and in 1848 in particular, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of England bought the castle. The Balmoral Castle was rebuilt and significantly expanded throughout the years. It remains a private property of the monarch till today. Located in Aberdeenshire, the castle is open to the public, from April 1st to July 31st. In case you spend your holidays in the city of Aberdeen after you booked your ideal Travelodge Aberdeen hotel, it would be really easy to take a day trip to the castle in order to breathe some… Royal air!

Balmoral: The Royal Family (BBC)

Learn the story of Balmoral, the Royal Castle of Scotland

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle

Presently the house of the 13th Duke of Argyll, the Inveraray Castle was originally built back in 1746. While not so old as other castles, this castle is distinctive due to its astonishing furnishing and interiors. The castle combines various architectural styles, such as Gothic, Baroque and Palladian.  It is also open to the public during the summer season. 

Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan
Eilean Dolan Castle
Eilean Dolan Castle

This is probably the most filmed and photographed Scottish castle and maybe the one to be depicted on the big screen, as well. Do you remember the movie Highlander? Well, it surely made Eilean Dolan known to many people all across the globe! Built in the 13th century, this small castle was completely destroyed in 1719 and rebuilt only less than a century ago. A bridge was added to make for an easier access as Eilean Donan, which is built on a small island where three lochs meet.

Glamis Castle

The spooky castle
The spooky castle
A Mystery Novel Inspired by the Glamis Castle Legends
Death at Glamis Castle (Robin Paige Victorian Mysteries, ...

Last, but not least, Glamis castle is the darkest castle of them all and this is because certain legends have given the place a mythical and mystical reputation. Ever since the castle was built in the 14th century, all sorts of monsters, devils and vampires supposedly like to hang out around the Glamis Castle quite often! It is possible that a horrible, but true story triggered the imagination of people through the years. It is said that once upon a time the Ogilvie family found a horrible death inside the castle when they were walled up and consequently left to die from starvation.

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Updated: 04/10/2013, EliasZanetti
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


SamThompson on 02/28/2016

Love your selection of castles. Scotland is a medieval history buffs paradise!

EliasZanetti on 07/18/2013

Thanks for stopping by and the nice feedback!

Thamisgith on 07/18/2013

Good selection. I shudder to think how many castles there are in Scotland. There must be hundreds - if you count the ruins as well. I'm pleased to hear that you think us natives are friendly!

EliasZanetti on 07/08/2013

hehe..hard to heat but quite desirable indeed!! :)

chevril on 07/08/2013

Oh, what lovely castles. I know they say they're hard to heat, but I'd still like one! Nice article.

EliasZanetti on 07/06/2013

Thanks, appreciate your comment and support :)

WriterArtist on 07/05/2013

Scotland is one of the beautiful countries that I would love to visit, the castles are beautiful and the images are awesome.

EliasZanetti on 07/03/2013

Thanks a lot TonyaB, I really appreciate your kind words! Thankfully for you, Europe is packed with medieval castles so.... enjoy the hunting!

TonyaB on 07/02/2013

Oh my - such a beautiful page! I have always wanted to go to Scotland. One day I plan to either have an extended visit or even move there. The castles are one of my favorite parts of that part of the world.

EliasZanetti on 06/28/2013

Thanks jericho911, who knows, the trend of building castle might return one day!! :)

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