The Best Scotland Travel Book – Our Top 37 Scottish Travel Guide Books

best Scotland book scenery

People have long been drawn to Scotland for its histories and mysteries, as well as the rich culture of literature and learning. It’s not surprising, then, that there is such an abundance of writing to aid your trip when you visit Scotland. But what does the best Scotland travel guide contain?

Some consider a well-structured Scotland guide book with important details, while others prefer beautiful prose inspired by the majesty of Scotland’s landscapes. Are you interested in exploring cosmopolitan Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other larger cities, or do you want to instead explore Scotland in its natural glory? Maybe you’re not looking to explore but just want to feel inspired by one of the most stunning places in Northern Europe.

Whatever brings you, be sure you’re never without a good book in your hand. A book, after all, is a portal to another world entirely.

In This Post

Rick Steves Scotland

Scotland is as mysterious and undefined as a haggis but not for readers of Rick Steves’ wonderfully detailed book! Steves’ best Scotland guidebook is filled to the brim with useful tips and tricks for navigating your stay.

He offers tools like helpful maps, a packing list and a guide to Scottish slang, as well as his personal favourite hidden gems, points of interest and cultural spots.

For newcomers to Bonnie Scotland, a comprehensive travel guide makes exploring the land a dream! Best of all, this useful information won’t weigh you down – the book has bible thin pages, so it’s light enough to bring along for the journey.

The Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands & Islands

Looking to reach into the heart of some of the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland? This up-to-date guidebook makes tackling the Munros and hiking trails for the Highlands a breeze.

The book is packed full of information and covers everything from where to go to see those hidden gems to practical tips and tricks for navigating travel and local events.

Scotland is historically rich, with eerie abandoned castle ruins, wild impromptu ceilidhs, wondrous Cuilin ridges on the Isle of Skye – there’s all this and more to discover.

This book even covers the North Coast 500 route! Rough Guides helps you enjoy your journey to the Highlands and Islands to the fullest.

Lonely Planet Scotland

Lonely Planet Scotland offers a truly comprehensive guide to the Highlands, Islands and Edinburgh while visiting Scotland.

They’ve been excelling at the art of travel media since 1973, and these days Lonely Planet offers guidebooks for nearly every destination your heart desires.

Their advice for exploring these beloved parts of Scotland is up-to-date and wonderfully detailed. There are tips for tailoring the trip to you, maps, cultural insights and honest reviews of nearby sights that consider all budget ranges.

Take the road less travelled all the way to Scotland in style.

The Munros: A Walkhighlands Guide by Paul Webster

Named for the Victorian mountaineer Sir Hugh Munro, the Munros are mountains over 3000ft.

All 282 magnificent peaks feature in this excellent guide – making it the best travel book for Scotland if you are an avid climber! If you’re looking to take on these mountains, this book can help you do so safely.

With helpful routes and handy tricks inside, Paul Webster’s The Munros helps you to enhance your adventure to the peaks of Munros like Ben Nevis, search for yourself and see Bonnie Scotland from new heights.

Whisky A Tasting Course: A New Way to Think – and Drink – Whisky

The much-loved liquid sunshine known as Scottish Whisky comes in many unique styles and flavours. If you have a fondness for it, consider expanding your horizons with a variety of guided at-home tastings.

Eddie Ludlow’s book helps you explore whisky flavours and aromas of all types and is the ultimate travel guide to Scotland and its whiskies.

There are excellent step-by-step whisky tastings to follow and advice for discovering more about the world of whisky. As an added bonus, this book teaches you the art of cocktails, from classics to your own concoctions! Time to sample your way to whiskey wisdom.

The Scottish Islands: The Bestselling Guide to Every Scottish Island

Looking for books on Scotland travel, with maps and information on the Scottish Islands? Hamish Haswell-Smith covers all of them, which is perfect for your dream trip to the beautiful Isles.

The book is bursting with things to see and do, from historical sites to natural wonders, both remote and breathtaking. When it comes to travel books, Scotland has no shortage but this one is a little bit special.

It is the first complete gazetteer to encompass every Scottish island. From the bustling social and cultural hubs to the uninhabited and notoriously hard-to-reach. They’re all included.

You can tell the book is a true labour of love and the author himself even painted the illustrations!


Kathleen Jamie is a Scottish essayist and poet with an astounding affinity for the world and all of its most beautiful elements.

Seeing Scotland through her artist’s eye in this wonderful new essay collection is truly magical. The acclaimed author gazes into the past to explore her own memories, history, the natural world, and more.

Jamie’s talent for nature writing and literary dept is undoubtedly apparent here, in one of her most quietly gentle works.

Feel yourself come un-tethered and fall headlong into some truly splendid, illuminating essays exploring what reconnects us to our home and our past.

Insight Guides Pocket Scotland

Looking for a compact and concise Scotland travel guide book while you’re on the move? This is it!

Covering Edinburgh, Southern Scotland, Glasgow, Central Scotland, The Highlands, and The Inner Hebrides, this guide by Insight Guides is expertly focused on the most popular parts of Scotland.

Excellent itineraries featuring historical and cultural spots, maps, tips and lots of useful information – it’s all here. With practical details in a compact, all-in-one guide for travel in Scotland, you can embark on the perfect trip at a moment’s notice.

Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland

If you’re travelling to Scotland, you may plan on learning a thing or two about the country’s favourite spirit – whisky.

Clay Risen’s book takes a deep dive into the history, science and diversity of the water of life. It also includes a practical drinker guide designed to help you pick the perfect whisky for you.

Plus maps of Scotland’s whisky regions, profiles of the makers, tasting notes and more!

Readers will be more than satisfied with this informative page-turner. Discover a world of knowledge and enjoy a wee dram.

Tall Tales and Wee Stories

Praise for the marvellous Billy Connolly! A true Scottish treasure through and through.

This stellar book encompasses the highlights of an incredible 50-year-long career. Full of absurdity, silliness, seriousness and spitfire, Tall Tales and Wee Stories bring together the very best of Connolly’s storytelling.

Sometimes the best books about Scotland are not about the land itself, but about one Scotsman’s time in the land. This book is a hilarious, energetic and inspirational celebration of a beloved Scottish icon. There are even illustrations and an introduction from the man himself.

Scotland (National Geographic Adventure Map)

Practical and durable – these are the best words to describe National Geographic’s Scotland Adventure map. It’s an excellent functional travel tool that can save time when you’re out in the Scottish wilderness.

Is your visit all about golf, local culture, or ‘Munro bagging’ (the act of tackling one of Scotland’s many impressive peaks over 3,000 feet)? Whatever it may be, this map can get you there.

For those travelling to Scotland and looking to rough it with a hike or wild camping, this map is perfect. Its durable synthetic paper allows you to navigate Scotland through rain or shine (probably rain). The paper is also super tough and tear-resistant.

Alongside your Scotland tour guide book of choice, this map is the ideal travel companion!

Fodor’s Essential Scotland (Full-color Travel Guide)

Looking for the best Scotland travel guide book that covers places to get inspired, fantastic activities and useful tips? This book has all you need to get you on your way.

The book covers all the best locations in Scotland. Including St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, Aberdeen, Inverness, Speyside, Skye, and the Highlands, just to name a few!

Over 40 maps, details on local histories and cultural insights, tools to help you plan your visit, recommendations for sights, restaurants, nightlife and more!

It’s handy, compact, and helps you simplify the planning of your trip so you can just sit back and enjoy it.

Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country

A Sunday Time Best Seller from one of Scotland’s favourite comedy icons.

Legendary comedian Billy Connolly delights readers with reflections on his life and the roots that tether him to this little corner of the world. He really ponders what it means to him to be Scottish and invites you to wonder, too.

If you’re a fan of Connolly’s distinct brand of humour, you’re sure to have a good time reading this book. This is an ideal literary companion to carry with you while on road trips through Scotland.

Lonely Planet Scotland’s Highlands & Islands (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Scotland’s Highlands and Islands is a travel guide that gets straight to the point. It’s the perfect trusted travel companion.

The journey to Scotland is made that much simpler with maps, reference images, insider tips and plenty more to help you find your way.

There’s plenty to discover in Scotland, and with the help of this handy guide, you can see it all. Covering the West Highland Way, Central Highlands, Skye and the Western Isles, The Great Glen and Lochaber, Shetland Island, Orkney Islands.

Ready for adventure?

Book Lovers’ Edinburgh: A Guide and Companion

Literary lovers – this is the perfect book to take you through the winding, cobbled Edinburgh streets.

There are lots of great travel books on Scotland, with many focusing on the cultural hub of Edinburgh, Scotland. But Allan Foster’s book does something a little different by inviting readers to look at the city through the lens of literature.

Edinburgh has a long history featuring countless literary legends. This incredible guide walks you through the old haunts of beloved writers like J.K. Rowling, Robert Burns Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

True bookworms will be delighted with the variety of writers to appear in this literary treasure hunt. Are you a fan of Muriel Spark? Ian Rankin? They – and many, many more – await you on your exploration of the city.

Scottish Island Bagging: The Walkhighlands guide to the islands of Scotland

This wonderfully detailed book mainly focuses on the ninety-five Scottish islands which welcome visitors. Although it also discusses the forty-two other, more remote, islands.

Helen and Paul Webster have put together this Scotland tour book to help you get the best out of your island experience. There’s such a massive range of activities to explore – with this guide, you won’t miss a thing.

Whether you want to look for wildlife, sample new foods, go hill walking and climbing, or discover historical sites and stories, Scotland’s enchanting isles have it all.

Find exactly what you’re looking for in the pages of Scottish Island Bagging.

The Last Hillwalker: A sideways look at forty years in Britain’s mountains

The Last Hillwalker is a stunning reflection on the nature of our connection to wild places in the modern world.

Bestselling author John D. Burns manages to capture his own love for the Scottish Highlands while offering up endless knowledge. Anyone with a similar connection to the wild glens and singing hills of Scotland will resonate with this memoir-style narrative.

Every word is steeped in passion, humour and humility. Reading Burns’ tale of exploring and growing to understand nature, Scotland, and himself is a joy from start to finish.

Outer Hebrides: The Western Isles of Scotland: from Lewis to Barra (Bradt Travel Guide)

From the experienced journalist and writer Mark Rowe comes this comprehensive, full-sized guide to the Scottish Western Isles.

The book covers the islands of Lewis, St Kilda, Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula, Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay. It is packed full of detailed background on everything from geography to art, architecture to wildlife, and everything in between.

Curious minds with a love for far-flung places will adore discovering this wild and beautiful part of the world.

If you’re looking for one of the best Scotland travel books for the Western Isles, Rowe’s guide is a strong contender.

Wild Guide Scotland: Hidden places, great adventures & the good life

Unsurprisingly, Scotland is one of the fastest-growing adventure destinations for holidays in Europe!

Kimberley Grant explores in her guide to Scotland all the hidden gems nestled near the typically busy tourist spots. Not only that, she delves into more remote regions that the unknowing visitor to Scotland might miss.

This guide will embolden you to embark on an adventure as you are travelling around Scotland. With over 800 wild swims, lost ruins, ancient looming forests, and secluded beaches, you’ll find no shortage of things to discover.

101 Amazing Things to Do in Scotland: Scotland Travel Guide

Travel secrets and handy tips!

This useful all-in-one guide takes all of the guesswork out of planning your days on your trip to Scotland. Whether you’re here for a short time or an extended stay, you’ll want to make sure you enjoy each day to the absolute fullest.

Want to try authentic haggis and whisky? festivals? enchanting historical sites?  stunning architecture? Get the inside track on Scotland and all it has to offer with this handy guide.

The Scottish Bothy Bible

Geoff Allan has put together the first-ever complete and comprehensive guidebook to the Scottish bothies!

These quaint structures can be found scattered around Scotland and were historically open to anyone to use for free. Generally by people working on the estate, like gardeners.

A unique and often overlooked hidden network of bothies can be found on some of Scotland’s most breathtaking landscapes.

With this excellent guidebook, you can discover them all! With detailed directions on the best approach routes and notes on their histories, you too can experience the joy of bothying.

Scottish Bothy Walks: 28 Walks to Scotland’s Best Bothies

Geoff Allen sure does know his bothies!

On the back of Allen’s earlier book, The Scottish Bothy Bible, comes this companion photo travel guide. Inside are 28 of the most enchanting bothy experiences.

The bothies act as reference points for the wonderful walks, both single-day and multi-day, which Allen aims to guide you on. If you want to search for bothies like a pro, this book can help you do it.

The route descriptions are very detailed. Each one contains plenty of information on the bothies, points of interest you may encounter, and detailed maps to keep you right.

Also – discover beautiful photographs of the bothies inside!

The Official Outlander Colouring Book

These days colouring isn’t just for kids. It’s a calm, therapeutic activity that people of all ages love to spend their time doing.

Art and history lovers will delight at the creative and inspiring images, just waiting for you to breathe life into them.

From lush landscapes of the highlands to depictions of 18th-century clothes and armour. Beloved characters to tartan kilts. Each of these whimsical illustrations brings out the artist in us all.

Watch black lines and blank spaces come to life with colour by your own hand!

The Golf Lover’s Guide to Scotland

The beautiful game of golf was born in Scotland. So it’s no surprise that Scotland also houses some of the world’s finest courses, drawing golf lovers worldwide year after year.

No two golf greens are exactly the same, just as no two golf games are exactly the same. That’s what makes the sport so adored and lasting.

Michael Whitehead’s guide sets out to provide golfers with all the information they need to get the best experience out of Scotland’s favourite courses. From practical guidance on cost and yardage to fun tips on how to play the best game.

Insight Guides Pocket Scotland (Travel Guide eBook)

A pocket guide that will actually fit in your pocket!

This excellent guide to Scotland from Insight Guides offers readers information in a compact, concise and convenient package.

There are lots of great places to discover inside. From classic tourist spots like Edinburgh Castle and Glencoe to lesser-known treasures like Smoo Cave and the mysterious little islands of the Inner Hebrides.

There are also plenty of mustsee attractions, valuable practical information, helpful tips and inspirational photography.

What makes this guide extra handy is that it is a Kindle edition. So, by downloading the app you can have all this in your pocket, at the ready!

Orkney: A Historical Guide

History is alive and well on the Isle of Orkney. Just 20 miles North of the Scottish mainland lies this little island, the history of which is rich and complex.

With Scandinavian cultural echoes and eerie stone structures, there’s no shortage of well-preserved remains which paint pictures of the island’s past. Home to relics of the Stone Age, Iron Age brochs, Vikings, and the Second World War – to name but a few.

Caroline Wickham-Jones has for years worked tirelessly on Orcadian sites. In this updated edition of the best-selling book, she brings readers along on her explorations.

The Traveller’s Guide to Sacred Scotland: A Guide to the Legends, Lore and Landscape of Scotland’s Sacred Places (Traveller’s Guides)

Few guides to the mysterious land of Scotland take such great care to delve into the country’s less-trodden historic sites.

Marianna Lines’s guide for travellers covers some unusual yet unmissable treasures. Think fairy folklore, locations related to Arthur and Merlin, the haunts of bards and poets, and plenty more.

The cultural, spiritual and historic past of Scotland is woven like a tapestry, with stories intermingling throughout the ages. This book brings you along for the journey while also introducing several spots of special importance, as directed by the Scots themselves.

Spirit of Place: Scotland’s Great Whisky Distilleries

Who better to add to the world of literature on Scotch whisky than author Charles MacLean? A true connoisseur and whisky expert through and through.

This unique piece of writing presents an impressive expanse of knowledge while painting a vivid portrait of Scotland’s beloved distilleries. Spirit of Place explores the 50 greatest distilleries in the country and is the ideal read for those who love a wee dram.

The book also covers the ingredients, traditions and practices that have kept Scotland the world leader in exquisite whisky. Inside are 250 stunning photographs of the nearby landscapes in all seasons, the buildings and even the craftsmen who make it all happen.

Highland Retreats: The Architecture and Interiors of Scotland’s Romantic North

Scotland is an old and elegant land, home to much culture and visual beauty. Some people like landscapes, some love wildlife, and some – like author Mary Miers – adore architecture and decoration.

This unique book is endlessly witty and full of beauty. Miers chronicles the astounding architectural wonders of the highlands.

The building’s exteriors mirror Britain’s most stirring, inspiring and lovely landscapes in their designs. While the insides host modern comforts and lush London and Parisian furnishings.

This fascinating account of the architectural presence of the Scottish shooting lodge in the Highland, from lavish to modest, is a true gem. Full of knowledge and stunning images, this book should be enjoyed from both a social, historical and architectural point of view.

Outlander’s Guide to Scotland

The Outlander TV series, based on Diana Gabaldon’s beloved book series of the same name, is an epic story of love and history. Since its beginnings, this story has swept viewers along to the rolling hills and wild craggy castles of Scotland.

Fans of the books and show can now walk the same paths as characters Claire and Jamie. With this guide, fans are invited to explore the most interesting sights interwoven into the story.

This is a fun read full of passion and energy. So many of the places featured in the guide are beautiful and fascinating in their own right, but it is especially unusual to have them so expertly connected through this tale of historical drama.

Photographing Scotland: A photo-location and visitor guidebook

Here’s one for the photographers among you!

There is no denying that Scotland is beautiful, enchanting even. From towering mountains to eerie islands, crumbling castle ruins to crofts and peel towers, there are endless unique sights just waiting to be captured.

In this wonderful photo location and visitor guidebook, both classic views and hidden gems are featured. It’s a comprehensive guide which also offers techniques and handy tips for how to get the most out of every image.


A glorious pictorial record of the Outer Hebrides, as depicted in The Lewis Trilogy. This book was created through the combined efforts of best-selling author Peter May and photographer David Wilson.

With prose and images expertly interwoven, readers are invited on a journey through history to the lands that so inspire May and his work. The book follows the protagonist, Fin Macleod, describing island life and all the joys and perils it entails.

A fascinating read that will make you fall in love with the truly spectacular beauty of the land.


Best-selling crime author Ann Cleeves is known for her novels featuring Detective Jimmy Perez. Cleeves takes much inspiration from the book’s setting, Shetland, and in this companion to her novels, fans of the stories can learn more.

Vivid, strange and evergreen, the beauty of Shetland is captured in the illustrations of Cleeves’ companion text. This book lets you discover more about one of the most remote places in the United Kingdom.

From sheltered beaches to bleak hilltops, meadows bursting with wildflowers to crumbling rocky hilltops – there’s beauty all around.

Join Cleeves on her exploration of a year in the life of Shetland. Discover the festivities, the past, the flora and fauna, and everything in between!

The Most Beautiful Villages of Scotland

If you’re looking for the best guidebook for Scotland and its charming villages, this might be the book for you!

Flooded with enchanting images of villages and villagers, young to old, there is plenty of beauty to take in. There are 35 villages featured in the book, all of them lovely and nestled near seaside ports or ruins of abbey, even castles.

This is less of a “sit down and read the book” and more of a “sit down and dream” book. Dream of falling headlong straight into the images.

It is the type of book that stirs wanderlust and reminds us that there is always something new to see. Even in the smallest, most quaint Scottish village.

How the Scots Invented the Modern World

Books about Scotland often have a lot to say about what you can discover when you visit, but what about all the things Scotland has done to change the rest of the world for the better?

This is a truly fascinating non-fiction book about the impact that Scotland has had on the world.

Learn about the Scottish Enlightenment period, where the modern philosophical and political teachings we know today were conceived. The incredible individuals who benefited from the social programs of education and did brilliant things. Even famous names like David Hume and Adam Smith are great minds and philosophers!

Of all the books you could suggest to a history buff travelling to Scotland, this text by the historian Arthur Herman comes highly recommended!

A Course Called Scotland: Searching the Home of Golf for the Secret to Its Game

Travel to Scotland with a quest to tee off on Scotland’s best golf courses.

This book follows Tom Coyne’s excursion to Scotland, the birthplace of golf. With a history of golfing behind him, Coyne sets out to play on some of the oldest and most famous courses. Over 100 legendary links feature on his journey.

With humour and insight, storytelling and history, this book gives us a compelling travel adventure.

For lovers of golf and Scotland, this is the book for you.

Sea Room: An Island Life in the Hebrides

Sea Room is a true celebration of the natural world, heritage, and the mystery of Scotland’s islands. This unique narrative flawlessly blends nature writing and memoir.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to inherit uninhabited islands, the answer lies here. At just 21-years-old the author Adam Nicolson was gifted islands in the Scottish Outer Hebrides from his father, which kickstarts an incredible journey.

These small, eerie, uninhabited islands are bursting with life, from birds to flora and fauna. In the book, Nicolson discusses the importance of these islands to him, as well as exploring the nature of owning land and the morals behind it.

Weaving lyrical prose with scholarly reflection, this book is unique and utterly beautiful. Pair it with the best Scotland travel guide, and you’ll be set for your entire trip.

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