Scotland is stunning regardless if you are a Harry Potter fan or not. I am a fan of the series and therefore when I visited Scotland I had already mapped out the Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland that I wanted to visit.
While it never states where Hogwarts is actually located in the Harry Potter books, the descriptions provided (and the time it takes the Hogwarts Express to reach Hogwarts from London) match Scotland to a tee. In the movies, many scenes from Harry Potter are filmed in Scotland.
Glencoe is a village in Scotland surrounded by a scenic glen. I recognised Glencoe as a Harry Potter filming location in Scotland before I had even realised we had arrived. Driving through the valley, or pulling over for a better look around and you will feel like you’ve been dropped into the grounds of Hogwarts.
Glencoe features heavily in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie as the ground of Hogwarts (although unfortunately the film crew brought in Hagrid’s Hut so you won’t spot it here). Glencoe is also known as the most scenic glen in Scotland as you can see below.
2. Glenfinnan Viaduct
Glenfinnan Viaduct is the most famous Harry Potter filming location in Scotland. Located in west Scotland, It is instantly recognisable as the filming location for Harry and his school friends heading to Hogwarts via the Hogwarts Express. The Glenfinnan Viaduct features throughout the movie series, but most prominently in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron fly to Hogwarts by flying car and have a few mishaps with the train.
You can catch the Jacobite Steam Train crossing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct most days with a journey/opportunity in the morning and afternoon. We caught the afternoon journey; which arrived at Glenfinnan Viaduct about 20 minutes after the train left Fort William. Check the schedule so you are not disappointed. When we visited there were a number of people on our side of the track as well as the other side (on the hill in the distance) so it is a popular experience in Scotland and one I highly recommend.
3. Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel is located across from Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland (in fact you can see it from the viaduct. Loch Shiel is one of the many filming locations for the Great Lake inside the grounds of Hogwarts. This loch was used as the location for the Second Task in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as well as the final shot of the 4th film when the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students leave the school.
4. The Elephant House
The Elephant House in Edinburgh is known as the birthplace of Harry Potter, where J.K. Rowling sat and wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It is now commonly known that she actually wrote her first Harry Potter novel in other cafes as well, mostly in another Edinburgh cafe called Nicolson’s (now known as Spoon).
If you are exploring Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland, you may be interested in dipping below the border to discover Malham Cove, another famous Harry Potter filming location in England. Read: How to get to Malham Cove.