Scotland was never on my list until I realized there was tons of Harry Potter locations here (just a tad obsessed if you haven’t already noticed⚡️).
We first flew into Edinburg to explore the city for a couple days and then rented a car and headed North. Scotland’s landscape totally blew us away! We got to see so much of the country, which is the main reason I love road trips so much. Our last Scottish destination was Isle of Skye. Stick around to see what we got up and lots of Harry Potter inspired locations!
Some of my favorites sites to see & all within walking distance:
Location: Victoria Street
One of the most photographed streets in Old Town Edinburgh and it is easy to see why! Its colorful store fronts, cobble stones, and curved road definitely draws you in. Also, apparently one of JK Rowlings inspiration for Diagon Alley, how magical!
Location: Dean’s Village
One of the cutest neighborhoods in the city is Dean Village. Isn’t it so picturesque and quaint? The best views are at the bottom of Hawthornbank Lane. Just a short climb down to the edge of the river and you can are greeted this view (main image).
Location: Circus Lane
Is it weird that I really love just wandering through peoples neighborhoods? Anyway, if you are like me here is another cute neighborhood! All of the homes are so, so charming! Hanging flower pots, brick facades, and creeping ivy with roses. Magical.
Location: Elephant House
Probably the most famous of the Harry Potter related attractions in Edinburgh is this coffee shop. There is even a sign on the outside proclaiming it to be the “Birthplace of Harry Potter” but it is more likely she began on the third Harry Potter novel here. All the same, such a cool spot to see. Fans from all over (myself include now) have written tribute to JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series in its bathroom! So cool. We ordered a cake and hot chocolate and it was super tasty.
Location: The Dogs
We decided to grab dinner here because it was close to all the locations we went to and the reviews looked decent. They also have traditional Scottish dishes which I was excited to try. We loved how the interior was decorated and had such a fun mood.
We began our road trip up to Isle of Sky with only a few locations I had in mind to stop at like Glenfinnan Viaduct and Glen Coe but besides that we didn’t really have a plan. We just pulled over wherever we thought looked pretty and let me tell you we did a lot of stopping!
Location: Glen Coe
The most unreal landscape I have ever seen! Everything so green, dramatic and vast, valleys with lochs, and the cutest cows in existence. Perfect for some beautiful hiking also an ideal base to explore more the Highlands of Scotland.
Location: Kilchurn Castle
Sitting the head of Loch Awe, with the peak of Ben Cruachan visible it’s east to see why it is possibly one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. Besides its visual appeal it has such an interesting history. Built in the 1400’s by Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Lord of Glenorchy. So amazing to just roam its grounds and try to envision what it must have been like during the castle’s prime.
Me and Mitchell joked around that this could be Hogwarts because to Muggles ‘[Hogwarts is] bewitched,’ said Hermione. ‘If a Muggle looks at it, all they see is a mouldering old ruin with a sign over the entrance saying DANGER, DO NOT ENTER, UNSAFE. Goblet of Fire — page 148 — Bloomsbury — chapter 11, Aboard the Hogwarts Express
Location: Glenfinnan Viaduct
Aka the Hogwarts Express. Honestly so surreal to see this place in real life. This is the actual filming location they use for exterior shots of the train. Was totally imagining Harry and Ron flying over head in Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia the whole time we were here. There is a free parking lot close by and its only short walk to see it from this location.
You can also see Loch Shiel which is another Harry Potter filming location. They use Loch Shiel as the Black lake in the movies that is suppose to right in front of the castle and is also where the 2nd task was held in the tri-wizard tournament in the Goblet of Fire! Fangirling*
Isle of Skye
Situated in Scotland’s North is Isle of Skye. Best known for its rugged landscapes, picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles. It is the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago. It has a beautiful coastline of peninsula, sparkling lochs, and a sprawling mountainous interior.
Portree is the largest town and is the capital of Skye. This is where you will find most of its shops, restaurants and hotels. Highly recommend Isle of Sky Baking Company. We had got the most delicious stuffed bread from here and was probably our favorite food we got in Scotland.
Location: Fairy Glen
On the West side of Trotternish at Balnacnoc (which means – the village or township in the hills) above Uig, is the Fairy Glen – a Quirang-like landslip in miniature.
In recently visitors have started to move the rocks to create spirals on the ground. We were told by bus tour guides that there is some rituals involving walking the spirals then leaving a coin or token in the centre as an offering to the fairies for good luck. But were also told by locals that there is no meaning, so believe what you want?
Although there might not be any meaning to the spirals, Faeries actually do play a prominent and important role in the Scottish folklore. After doing a bit of research on scottish myths I found that before every waterway, well, and loch had a name, they had an ancient faerie that protected it! They are also important in rituals and are believed to be responsible for failing crops, etc. when someone has upset them and are known to be onlookers of the human nature. So before you decided to go walking into the fields or forests by yourself, beware of the faeries!
Location: Old Man Storr
So we didn’t actually make it to the top to see the main attraction at this location (we were running late and didn’t have enough time) but the trail itself is incredible. There are countless trails to choose from and I don’t think you will be disappointed on any of them. Definitely would love to come back to Scotland just to do all the trails on Skye.
Location: Eilean Donan Castle
Right before you enter Isle of Sky you will see this epic 13th century castle. Countless movies have been filmed here and has its own rich history.
One thought on “Scotland Travel Guide: For Harry Potter Lovers”
Love this post and all your recommendations around Scotland. I just booked a trip the first week of April arriving in Inverness first to explore the highlands and then we are planning to drive down to Edinburgh. Could you share the route you took for your trip? Any car rental recommendations? We will be in Scotland for only six full days for exploring and want to see as much as possible! Thank you! Meg