A curious land for many, Scotland attests to the Celtic culture, heritage and pride that it is known for. Visiting Scotland is a chance to step back into the Medieval era when turmoil was spread across a country divided by clans and an on-going war with England.
Within a week you can get to grips with all that Scotland has to offer, which for a tiny country, is a lot.
What Scotland lacks in size, it makes up for in scenery; you’re never far from the Highlands, where snow-peaked mountains meet eery valleys and countless lochs. Home to castles, whisky, fish and chips and kilts – Scotland serves up all the cliches you’d need to feel satisfied.
Did I mention the Loch Ness monster?
Explore the Magical City of Edinburgh
The capital of the country, Edinburgh is a city steeped in history that can be found in every nook and cranny. From the castle that stands proudly on a hill to the tiny alleyways that lead you to open onto courtyards, Edinburgh’s charm lies within its ancient streets.
Whether you are looking to visit during summer or winter, the city is alive with bagpipes, whisky and stories, some of which are more gruesome than others. To get stuck into it, spend some time in the old town, where ghosts linger in the background and cosy bars line the streets.
Places you cannot miss in Edinburgh;
- Holyrood Abbey
- Arthurs Seat
- Edinburgh Castle
Hire a Car to See the Highlands
Despite being a well-developed country, getting from one place to the other in Scotland is challenging. With most of the interesting attractions lying way off of the train line in the mountains, the best way to see the beauty of this country is to rent a car.
Coasting from Edinburgh or Glasgow, within a matter of hours you’ll be in the centre of the Highlands. Rolling hills are only to be interrupted by lochs (that’s the Scottish word for lake), castles and a train that could only be the Hogwarts Express.
Driving up to the Highlands will take you to the west coast of Scotland. The most beautiful part of the country, the west coast is where you’ll find beaches that could be mistaken for the Caribbean, however, once you dip your toes in – you’ll know you are still in Scotland!
The Highlands is a haven for the adventurous. In winter, you’ll find ski slopes and chilly walks and, in the summer, there are endless hiking trails that get to the heart of Scotlands natural landscape. If you are lucky, you might see a Highland coo, or two!
Learn about the National Spirit
As the saying goes, “Ireland invented whisky but Scotland made it.” In short, we take our whisky seriously. No matter where you travel in the country, you’ll be within reaching distance of a distillery.
Each region of Scotland has its own distinct flavour, if you want to learn more about the spirit, you could tailor your trip around Scotland to make sure you are in a region that best suits your taste buds.
The whisky business keeps it local; the only thing that is not from Scotland is the casks, which are traditionally imported from America. However, in more modern experimental days, casks can be taken from Madeira and rum casks.
Most distilleries are strategically placed next to a river or loch that the freshwater is taken from – some distilleries bottle and sell their water too! While on your whisky tour, you’ll learn about the importance of the land that surrounds the distillery too.
Distilleries you cannot miss:
- For novice; Glenlivet
- For the curious; Talisker
- For veterans; Ardbeg
Visit Scotland’s Iconic Castles
Scotland’s castles illustrate the country’s history and its turmoil with its neighbour. Some castles set iconic scenes in history that have been recaptured by films such as the iconic, Braveheart – although, try not to mention that too much to a Scottish person.
Castles serve as a rich and cultured part of Scotland’s heritage that has been handed down through generations. Interestingly, not many of Scotland’s castles are open to the public as they are private homes – many are still owned by the families who have owned them for centuries.
However, some are now owned by the National Trust of Scotland who has preserved them in a way that allows you to walk through Medieval doors in the footsteps of well-known names such as Mary Queen of Scots and Robert the Bruce.
Iconic Scottish Castles you can enter:
- Blackness Castle
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Stirling Castle