Whether you’re a city slicker or nature lover, Scotland has it all – and then some.
The bustling cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow draw in tourists from all around the globe to sample that famous Scottish hospitality, but more often than not, the countryside is where the magic happens.
Those looking to explore the fabulous terrains of rural Scotland would be foolish to miss out on the gorgeous area of Fife. Yes, it’s the golfing capital of the world, but there’s so much more to Fife than caddies and hole-in-ones!
We explore the Fife towns you simply can’t miss out on next time you’re in this neck of the woods.
Where is Fife, Scotland?
Picture-perfect fishing villages, chiselled coastlines, evergreen forests, aquamarine lochs, mystical castles, secret bunkers, and, er, puffins – Fife has it all.
The kingdom of Fife can be found in the north-east region of the country, just on the left shoulder of Edinburgh city, tucked comfortably into the eastern peninsula, bordering the Firth of Tay. It makes up approximately 1,325 square kilometres of the country’s east coast.
As well as being one of the golfing hotspots of the world, Fife is made up of several quaint little towns brimming with history and culture, and can be a magnificent place to spend a couple of days, especially as a time-out from the busyness of nearby Edinburgh.
Getting to Fife is a simple affair. For those flying in from overseas, you can land in neighbouring Dundee or Edinburgh and be on the stomping grounds of Fife in less than an hour (it’s a 40-minute car journey from Dundee airport and a 42-minute car journey from Edinburgh airport).
And it’s well worth a visit!
Fife Towns: The Best Places to Visit in Scotland’s Fife Region
The following areas make up the beautiful land of Fife and all hold their own unique and memorable magic.
Want to feel like you’ve been whisked all the way back to Renaissance-era Scotland? Well, Falkland will do that.
Scotland has a strong correlation with all things royal, and Falkland is no exception. In fact, it is home to the famous 16th-century royal residence, Falkland Palace, which is fully restored to resemble that of its Renaissance heyday, and was home to Mary, Queen of Scots.
Sat at the foot of the Lomond Hills, Falkland offers up its traditional stone-built village, immaculate palace gardens, country pubs, tea rooms, independent shops, and a great hiking trail to the summit of West Lomond (home to the Bunnet Stane and John Knox’s Pulpit rock formations, which are worth a visit in themselves).
As for the palace, yes, of course, you can visit, so why not drink in the mystery of this stunning castle and its grounds, which feature an orchard, a living willow labyrinth, a giant chessboard, and the world’s oldest tennis court?
Local restaurants include The Bruce Inn (best name ever, no?!), The Covenanter Hotel, and The Stag Inn (ideal for those who want a trad British pub lunch!).
Oh, and fans of Outlander may recognise the village centre of Falkland, as it was featured in the hit show!
The former capital of Scotland, otherwise known as Dunfermline, can be found in the West Fife area and is famous for being a beautiful blend of modern and old-fashioned charm.
This coastal town is known for its stunning Charlestown harbour, which boasts some of the most beautiful sunsets in Scotland, and is a popular pit-stop for those crossing the Forth Bridge to South Queensferry.
As for Dunfermline itself, those who love nothing more than quaint cobblestone streets and fishing cottages will feel right at home here. And again – this area, like many others in Fife, has appeared on our silver screens in hit shows such as Outlander.
There’s plenty to do in Dunfermline – especially for foodies. Why not stop off for a spot of fine dining at the award-winning Canmore House Bar & Restaurant or tantalise those tastebuds with a dram or two at the Red Lion country pub?
St. Andrews may be a household name for golf fanatics, but it’s worth a visit, even for those who don’t fancy a round or two!
The postcard-worthy St. Andrews is one of Scotland’s many elegant and vibrant coastal towns, as well as being home to the country’s oldest university.
Owing to its golfing and academic status, St. Andrews can be one of the more populated pitstops on your Fife towns itinerary, but don’t let that put you off. You can spend the day exploring the ruins of St. Andrews Castle, St. Andrews Cathedral, and the ancient rock carvings of the rumoured Pagan site, Dunino Den.
Also, because of its water-based location, St. Andrews is a great spot to indulge in some watersports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, sailing, and more, or just taking in the beautiful white beach of West Sands.
As for eating and drinking in St. Andrews, enjoy some local eateries such as the Mediterranean-themed restaurant, The Bridge, or if you want to wrap your teeth around something more local, the One Under Bar – a traditional Scottish pub.
If ‘picturesque’ is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. East Neuk has so much beauty to offer and is arguably the best Fife area for puffin spotting.
As well as being seriously scenic, East Neuk is known for its art and cultural festivities and is never one to shy away from celebrating the local music, art, and heritage scene. Oh, and it’s a foodie haven!
Because of the bounty of the local area in terms of fresh produce, many of the restaurants are teeming with locally sourced ingredients that likely will have been picked/plucked/caught that very morning!
Fife in general is a great location for scenic clifftop trails, and East Neuk is no exception. So, for those who love working up an appetite by way of a hike, dust off those boots and take in the jaw-dropping sights these trails have to offer.
Those sharp clifftop winds can certainly put a chill into even the most seasoned walkers, so after your adventure, you’ll no doubt want to pop in somewhere local and enjoy and drink and a bite to eat over an open fire – and there’s no shortage of places to do just that.
Some of the local eateries include The Rockies Restaurant, Chip Ahoy, or the Michelin-star restaurant, The Cellar.
Read More: East Neuk of Fife: A Visitor’s Guide
Formerly a royal burgh and parish of Fife, Cupar runs adjacent to the River Eden and was once known to be a busy, bustling market town. However, it’s now renowned as a peaceful Fife hotspot that is brimming with beautiful 17th-century buildings and Medieval charm.
Lovers of National Trust locations will want to put aside a morning to visit the Edwardian mansion better known as the Hill of Tarvit. Also, while you’re in that neck of the woods, why not pay a visit to the nearby Scottish Deer Centre?
Wining and dining can certainly be done in Cupar, Fife, with local restaurants such as The Boudingate, Number 10, and Ostlers Close Restaurant serving up delicious, hearty eats.
Located on the north side of the Firth of Forth, this east-coast seaside town sits between East Neuk and Kirkcaldy, and is a well-loved local holiday destination, owing to its sandy beaches and promenade.
Those who want to indulge in a spot of golf, but don’t want to face the high tourist footfalls of St. Andrews can enjoy the variety of golf courses found in Leven. Also, there’s a particularly fab swimming pool for those who can’t resist a dip (but aren’t brave enough to face the chilly Atlantic waters!).
Leven is also ideal for those who enjoy the Great Outdoors, with a variety of scenic locations including the Letham Glen woodland valley and Silverburn Park.
Feeling peckish? Enjoy a bite to eat at local eateries, Agenda, Standing Stane Restaurant & Bar, or Base Pizza & Pasta Grill.
Fife Towns FAQs
Fife isn’t home to any cities, per se, but its three main towns are Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, and Glenrothes. These three locations predominantly make up the Fife landscape, with a few smaller towns, such as St. Andrews, dotted around these towns.
Fife is made up of the following areas:
– North-East Fife area
– South & West Fife area
Fife is one of the many areas of Scotland that boasts extraordinary scenery and is known as the golf capital of the world, meaning there are many scenic reserves to enjoy.
But if we had to pinpoint one area we at Voyaging Herbivore have a soft spot for, it would absolutely be East Neuk.
It’s neither. Fife is a council area made up of several towns and small villages.
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