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14 Places You'd Never Believe Were In Scotland

Snow-capped mountains, palm trees, turquoise seas... Scotland really does have it all. If it wasn't for the midges, it would be pretty much perfect.

1. France? / Creative Commons

This fairytale castle might look like a French château or Bavarian palace, but it's actually Dunrobin Castle, the seat of the Earl of Sutherland, in the Scottish Highlands. It owes its continental appearance to Sir Charles Barry, who extensively remodelled the castle and grounds in the early 1800s.

2. The rainforest?

adrian moore / Thinkstock

It might look Amazonian, but this pretty gorge is actually Puck's Glen, near Dunoon, in the west of Scotland. The tumbling, rocky burn that runs through the glen is criss-crossed by pretty wooden bridges, giving it a Lord of the Rings-style charm.

3. Copenhagen?

mcdonaldkar / Thinkstock

Not quite. This is the Shore in Leith. Leith used to be a separate town but was merged with Edinburgh in 1920, even though Leithers voted 26,810 to 4,340 against the union. These days, it's usually referred to as Edinburgh's port.

4. Norway?

Keane Beamish / Flickr: op_timus

Although the Northern Lights do put on some of their most spectacular displays over Scandinavia, the aurora is also visible in northern parts of the Scottish mainland as well as Shetland and Orkney, where the lights are known as the "merry dancers".

5. The Caribbean?


The white sands and turquoise sea of the Luskentyre peninsula might look like something you'd find in Antigua, but this beach is actually situated on the spectacular west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides. This image was taken by Scottish photographer Tim Winterburn. You can buy a print here.

6. Sydney?

Flickr: opalsson

This croissant-like building isn't Sydney Opera House – it's actually the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow. The SECC recently played host to a wide range of Commonwealth Games events. Eat your heart out, Australia.

7. Malta?

Flickr: 50879678@N03 / Creative Commons

The crenellated, palm-fringed battlements of Culzean Castle look exotic, but this particular fortress is based in South Ayrshire, not the Mediterranean. If it looks familiar, that might be because it was used as the castle of Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) in the cult 1973 film The Wicker Man.

8. Venezuela?

benstevens / Thinkstock

This huge waterfall isn't tumbling from a Central American plateau: it's the 60-metre-high Mealt Falls on the Isle of Skye. The imposing cliffs in the background are Kilt Rock, a rocky outcrop with vertical basalt columns said to resemble a pleated kilt.

9. The Alps?

Flickr: ben-kreunen

This sunrise shot was actually taken from the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles and a popular destination for climbers. The other peaks in view include Bidean nam Bian, a long ridge on the south side of Glen Coe. Its name means "pinnacle of the mountains".

10. Vienna? / Via Creative Commons

These pretty red-and-white houses might look like the sort of picture postcard backdrop you'd find in Austria, but they're actually Ramsay Garden, a block of private apartment buildings situated right next to Edinburgh Castle. They were built in 1733 by a poet and wigmaker called Allan Ramsay the Elder.

11. Italy?

Drimafilm / Thinkstock
Juliane Jacobs / Thinkstock

Almost. This is the Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm, a small uninhabited island in Orkney. It's also referred to as the Prisoners' Chapel, as it was built by Italian prisoners of war held on the island during World War II.

12. India?

Khrizmo / Thinkstock

This is actually Logan Botanic Garden in Dumfries & Galloway, at the southwestern tip of Scotland. The area is warmed by the Gulf Stream, making it the perfect place to cultivate southern-hemisphere plants like eucalypts, rhododendrons, and Chusan palms.

13. Peru?

StevanZZ / Thinkstock

It's actually Glencoe, one of Scotland's most famous and arresting locations. Like parts of the Andes, Glencoe was formed by an ancient supervolcano, which left a huge crater when it erupted in the Silurian period. It was carved into its current shape by glaciers during the last ice age.

14. Winterfell?

doisneau / Thinkstock

It might look like a CGI set from Game of Thrones, but this is actually Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress on a well-defended headland near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Its Scottish Gaelic name is Dùn Fhoithear, or "fort on the shelving slope".