Inchcolm Abbey, Scotland. This abbey is probably the best preserved monastery in Scotland. It is located in the middle of tiny Linchcolm Island, in the Firth of Forth estuary, immediately north west of the city of Edinburgh. Inchcolm Island is strategically placed in the main sea entry to southern Scotland, so it was a popular target for military assaults by the English from the late 1200's. It was eventually abandoned by the monks to become a fortress during the Scottish reformation in 1560. Today, it's a magical place and can only be reached a few times a day by boat, so the number of visitors is relatively small and you can practically have the whole place to yourself. The Island teems with wildlife, including puffins and seals. Sadly, the puffins had left for the season when I arrived, but it didn't matter; Inchcolm Abbey was wonderful.