Scotland’s wilds are world-class for walking, but all eight of our cities offer fine walks too. Get your boots on – even stout shoes should do – as we weave around eight attraction-packed urban hikes.

1. A tale of two rivers

Everyone knows the Clyde, but outside Glasgow the River Kelvin is less known. Kick off at the Clydeside Distillery, a dram-kissed collage of the historic and ultra-modern on the river. Work west along the old docks to Zaha Hadid’s unmistakable Riverside Museum for a transport museum fix and a cuppa. Now cut up the sleepy Kelvin before checking out Spitfires and Salvador Dali at the Kelvingrove Museum and then rejoin the river through Kelvingrove Park. After bathing in the bucolic a pint of Kelvin Pilsner and a movie tempts at the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane.

2. The Big One

Not content with its historic treasures, Edinburgh shows off with hulking 251m-high Arthur’s Seat. For the full experience set off from the Scottish Parliament towards picture postcard St Margaret's Loch in Holyrood Park. The dormant volcano towers ahead, a slice of the Highlands in the city. It’s quite a yomp, but instantly rewarded on the craggy top with views of the city, the Lothians and the Forth that had the lovers from One Day swooning. Descend to the south and savour a pint and game of skittles at the 14th-century Sheep’s Heid Inn.

Aberdeen beachAberdeen beach (Image: free)

3. Aberdeen

Kick off on surely Scotland’s finest urban beach before dropping into Footdee, a ramble of stone houses populated by artists often missed by visitors. The port’s tentacles draw you inland to the revamped Aberdeen Maritime Museum, a window into Aberdeen old oil and new green energy. Haul up to Union Street, where a grassroots campaign is striving to breathe new life into its shops. Union Street Gardens were mired in controversy, but they are coming of age in their greenery this year. They lead to the brilliant Aberdeen Art Gallery, where a rooftop café peers back over your route.

4. Discovery and design

There is only once place to start in Dundee – at the RSS Discovery. Captain Scott’s old Antarctica exploring vessel was launched in Dundee in 1901 during the city’s last golden age. Explore her historic decks before a quick sweep of the rapidly revamping waterfront. Cut north in search of Dundee Law. It’s only 174m high, but it’s a breath-taking hike that adds weight to Dundee’s claim of the finest setting of any UK city betwixt the North Sea and Tay. Descend and enjoy a congratulatory drink at the V&A Dundee’s Tatha Bar, turning to contemporary design (and Charles Rennie Mackintosh) in the shadow of Discovery.

Inverness CastleInverness Castle (Image: free)

5. Bonnie princes and weddings

Follow in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora Macdonald at Inverness Castle, which peers over the River Ness. Take in its massive ongoing rebirth, before ambling past stately riverside houses and the new Uile-bheist distillery upriver to the Ness Islands. Cross the bridges, ease by couples snapping wedding photos, and enjoy a green space that could scarcely feel less urban. Eventually all paths drive you across to the other banks. Head downriver by the often ignored bulk of Inverness Cathedral. Modern Scottish cuisine awaits at Rocpool with castle views.

6. Between South and North Inch

Legend has it that soldiers were once banned from playing golf on South Inch as it played havoc with their archery practice. Ease north into the city for your pre-booked slot to see the dramatically staged Stone of Destiny at the sparkling new Perth Museum. St John’s Kirk next door lends the city a name and a swathe of Knox’s firebrand rhetoric. George Street snakes north with its boutique shops to spruced up Perth Art Gallery. Perth’s other green lung awaits with North Inch. Keep walking north in search of the urban beavers who returned here a couple of years ago. If you see them celebrate with a pint back at Cullach Brewery’s taproom.

Stirling CastleStirling Castle (Image: free)

7. Climb to Scotland’s finest castle

Start at the wee statue of William Wallace at the Athenaeum clock tower in Stirling. Work your way up through an old town that echoes Edinburgh on a smaller scale. Head on up Spittal Street and on to Broad Street, as you climb inexorably towards Scotland’s grandest castle. Mar Place brings the 15th-century stained glass of the Church of the Holy Rude to one side and stately Argyll’s Lodging on the other. On the lofty castle esplanade Robert the Bruce beckons you in to the museums, great hall and fortifying scones of the Unicorn Café. On the way back down take the lesser-explored Back Walk as a quieter, even more scenic alternative.

8. On the trail of Carnegie

Kick off with the man behind where Dunfermline is today – Andrew Carnegie. His birthplace museum sets the scene, before you push north to take in the façade of Dunfermline Palace, once the seat of Stuart power, where Charles I was born. Ramble through Dunfermline Abbey’s massive nave and cross into Pittencrieff Park, which Carnegie gifted to the city in 1902. Locals know it as ‘The Glen’. Descend down the actual glen to check out William Wallace’s cave and make a circuit that takes in the memorial to late Big Country frontman Stewart Adamson. A statue of Carnegie steers you back east on to the High Street. Drop south and you’re at the impressive, free Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries, whose café gazes back over the abbey.