Fairy-tale castles, shimmering lochs and rolling highlands are just some of the evocative sights that await in Scotland. The country has a complex and fascinating history, coupled with an incredible sense of national pride. From city slickers to country folk, the Scots are more than happy to bombard you with stories about local legends, family tartans and centuries-old whisky-making techniques.
Things to do in Scotland
Nowhere captures the grandeur of Scotland like Edinburgh. Magnificent Edinburgh Castle is perched on the summit of an extinct volcano and towers over the city. Strolling along the Royal Mile, you’ll be lured into stores selling tartan, cashmere, fudge, whisky and other Scottish staples.
In the Old Town, cobbled alleyways and stone staircases take you to hidden pubs and cafes. Head to the New Town to admire elegant Georgian architecture, browse upmarket boutiques and stroll through flower-filled Princes Street Gardens.
Scotland may be famous for fish and chips and fried mars bars, but that’s not the only thing on the menu. Freshly-caught seafood, locally farmed venison and organic produce offer a taste of the real Scotland. Wash down your meal with a dram of smooth, single-malt whisky.
There are plenty of opportunities to escape civilisation and immerse yourself in the wild and rugged beauty of Scotland. The iconic West Highland Way can be hiked in sections and takes you past glassy lochs and craggy mountains. The hike up 1,345-metre-tall Ben Nevis climbs the tallest mountain in the British Isles.
Head to the coast and you can watch otters splashing in the Shetland Islands, spot puffins nesting on the sea cliffs of Galloway and kayak with seals in the Outer Hebrides. Mull is a world-class whale watching destination, where you can spot minke whales breaching off the coast.
Getting around Scotland
Edinburgh and Glasgow are pedestrian-friendly and well-serviced by public transport. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Scotland at your own pace, while trains are a fast and comfortable way to explore. Long-distance buses are also a good option.