Destination Overview Scotland

Scotland

Scotland, land of Celtic myth, history and breath-taking beauty, has countless treasures crammed into its relatively compact territory – from big skies to ancient architecture, from spectacular wildlife to superb seafood and to top it all incredibly friendly, hospitable and down-to-earth people.

Outside the ancient and beautiful UNESCO World heritage capital city, Edinburgh, and other urban centres like Glasgow, once home to the largest shipping industry in the world but now a lively city of art, culture, great dining and bars, the visitor is entranced by mountains glistening with the silver threads of icy rivers and waterfalls tumbling from highlands to lowlands. Here you’ll find villages with stations where you need to put your hand out to request that a train stops and then suddenly, around the next mountain corner, a landscape peppered with gleaming lochs and expansive vistas.

 

Scotland has some of the last significant wilderness areas left in Western Europe. Here you can see golden eagles soar above the lochs and mountains of the northern Highlands, watch minke whales off the coast of Mull and spot otters tumbling in the kelp along the shores of the Outer Hebrides. It is also an adventure playground: you can tramp the sub-arctic tundra plateau of the Cairngorms, sea kayak among the seal-haunted mystic isles of the Outer Hebrides, mountain bike on world-class trails near Scotland’s highest mountain, trek along the valley or mountain trails and balance along tightrope narrow ridges between the peaks of the great Cuillins on Skye or take a speedboat ride into the legendary white water of the Corryvreckan whirlpool.Scotland is a land with a rich and multi-layered history. A place where every corner of the landscape is steeped in the past. A deserted croft on an island shore been testament to generations past. These moors were once battlefields, caves that sheltered outlaws and rebels. The land boasts hundreds of castles, from the massive historic citadels of Edinburgh and Stirling to forbidding tower houses to the elaborate fortresses of Caerlaverock and Craigmillar. Scotland’s castles testify to an often turbulent past full of the sort of legend, intrigue and tragedy that inspired Game of Thrones, including the Red Wedding, as well as other popular series like Outlander. The battles that played a pivotal part in the building of these castles.

The nation is remembered and brought to life at sites such as Bannockburn and Culloden.
Visitors discover that Scotland’s restaurants can now compete with the best in Europe. Top-quality local produce means that you can feast on fresh seafood mere hours after been caught, beef and venison that was raised just a few miles away from your table, and vegetables that were grown in your hotel’s organic garden. Then there’s the uisge-beatha, the water of life or Whisky (no ‘e’) to top it all off. Savour a ‘wee dram’ of single-malt whisky and appreciate the rich, complex and evocative taste of Scotland.

Culturally too Scotland punches above its weight, from the poetry of Robert Burns to the modern crime fiction of Ian Rankin or even the songs of Emeli Sandé, Scotland’s cultural exports to the world are many and appreciated as much as the famous whisky, tweed and tartan. You certainly can’t beat reading Burns’ poems in the village where he was born or enjoying an Inspector Rebus novel in Rankin’s own Edinburgh pubs, or catching the latest Scottish bands at a music festival.

Museums like Dundee’s Discovery Point and V&A, Glasgow’s Kelvingrove and Aberdeen’s Maritime Museum celebrate the enormous influence of Scottish engineers, inventors, artists, explorers and writers and in shaping the modern world. Discover why, as one historian put it, this is the country that invented the modern world.

Top Destinations

Edinburgh– The capital of Scotland which holds two UNESCO designations for its medieval Old Town and its well-planned Georgian New Town. There are so many things to do and see, like a visit to the iconic castle, the world’s largest monument to a writer, Scotland’s crown jewels, world-class art, a walk through the underground to explore the city’s medieval past, climbing an extinct volcano known as Arthur’s Seat, and many more. Don’t miss having one of the world-famous whiskys while in town.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs – The beautiful shores of Loch Lomond have become legend in Scotland. Britain’s largest lake, just a short drive northwest of Glasgow, enchants with myths, dreamlike landscape, and fabulous hiking trails. One will find here the Loch Lomond Shores, home to a shopping mall with local crafts, restaurants, bike and boat rentals, as well as a farmers market. It is also home to the Loch Lomond SEA LIFE Aquarium.

Loch Ness and Caledonian Canal – Famous for its mythical monster “Nessie”, Loch Ness is part of a waterway connecting the east and west coasts of Scotland. The area with the canal and three other lochs is surrounded by the beautiful Highlands scenery, but there is nothing more scenic than Loch Ness itself, with the ancient ruins of Urquhart Castle on its hillside. One can easily drive here from Inverness.

Isle of Skye and the Inner Hebrides– The largest of Scotland’s inner islands, the Isle of Skye, is a paradise for nature lovers and ramblers. Remarkable is the diversity of the landscape, that reaches from green valleys, sandy beaches, rushing waterfalls, caves, to lonely glens. But also the other islands are in no way inferior – Iona, for example, is considered Scotland’s “Cradle of Christianity” and houses Scotland’s oldest Christian cemetery, with graves of more than 60 Scottish kings, including Macbeth.
Cairngorm National Park – Located in the Scottish Highlands, this is the UK’s largest National Park. The region got his name from the Scottish Gaelic phrase “Cairn na Gorms”, which means “blue mountains”. Rivers, deep blue mountain lakes, the Grampian Mountains, mystical moors, and dense forests have shaped this breathtaking natural backdrop. The ideal place for ramble walks or extensive hikes, watersports, snowsports, and wildlife watching.

Glasgow – Scotland’s largest city impresses with many historical sites, green parks and spaces, a large number of Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings, amazing street art, and a thriving live music scene. Next to the famous George Square and the city chambers, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is particularly worth seeing. Opened in 1901 already, it is the UK’s most visited museum outside of London. The slogan, “People Make Glasgow”, really does fit the place, as Glasgow was rates as the friendliest city in 2014.

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