Scotland is one of those rare countries in the world with landscapes so diverse you could travel for months and still not have seen it all!
From the highlands in the north with dramatic moors, rolling hills, rugged coasts and dazzling lochs, to the Scottish borders alongside England which boast medieval castles and manor houses, there is no doubt that Scotland is one of the world’s most beautiful and historically fascinating countries.
There is a definite and very distinctive medieval and magical quality about Scotland, and there are attractions to appeal to travellers of all ages and interests, and all budgets whether you’re after a luxury experience or backpacking Scotland.
After you’ve been inspired by this guide, check out this post on Out About Scotland for the top tips for Scotland Sightseeing on a budget.
A Destination Guide to Scotland
Regular flights and trains service Scotland, making it incredibly easy to organize travel.
When planning your trip via train we recommend TransPennine Express; unlike other companies, they don’t charge booking fees for your train tickets.
Lochs to Visit in Scotland
While there are hundreds of Scottish lakes (lochs), the most famous and most visited by far is Loch Ness, and the journey north from England leads you straight here.
Home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster, visitors to Loch Ness may have to settle for a photo opportunity with a statue of the famed “Nessie”, as she is the most elusive creature in the world!
Loch Morar and Loch Assynt are just as spectacular as Loch Ness should you be wishing to avoid tourists, however all of the lochs can be viewed at once from the peak of Ben Nevis – the UK’s highest peak.
Head to Ben Nevis during summer for the most spectacular views of Scotland. The climb can be completed easily, as can the equally as impressive Ben Macdui, located in Cairngorms National Park.
This area is in the heart of the Highlands – and you haven’t visited Scotland if you haven’t journeyed through the Highlands.
The majority of stock photos from Scotland come from this area – clans, tartan kilts, whisky, bagpipes, and the whole area has rightfully been described as an “adventure playground” for hikers, mountain bikers and sailors, however the romantic and remote scenery is enough to captivate those who are maybe less energetic!
Off the Beaten Path
Wanting to drive off the beaten path? Instead of driving straight to the lochs, take the scenic Whiskey Road through the Spey Valley.
Not only is the landscape absolutely stunning, distilleries dating back to the ninth century remain in operation (Chivas and Glenfiddich) – just remember not to drink and drive…although this may be the perfect way to end up in Loch Ness and finally discover the monster!
More a fan of rugged coastlines? Scotland has it all! Heading out of the Highlands, the three archipelagos of the Herbrides, the Orkneys (the Ring of Brodgar is the main attraction here), and the Shetlands are noticeable by their jagged cliffs and wealth of wildlife in the surrounding open sea.
Whales, dolphins, cormorants, puffins, now owls and fish eagles are amongst the native wildlife found here. Here too you can find one of Scotlands natural wonders – Fingal’s cave.
The cave is listed as the most beautiful grotto in the United Kingdom, in part due to its basalt columns which are depictive of organ pipes.
All of these islands can be reached by ferry, and some also have airfields. The Isle of Skye is a personal favourite within the Western Isles – the area is breathtaking in a very literal sense – the scenery genuinely takes your breath away, you have to remember to breathe!
Monumnents & Cities
Vibrant and bustling modern cities; both remain constructed from architecture and buildings which date back to the early 20th century. Rubbing shoulders with medieval castles, monuments and manors, cobbled streets pave the route to private homes with Georgian facades, which puts both cities well above the likes of Paris for the most romantic city in the world.
The most noteworthy national monuments and castles, depending on the region, include Tantallon Castle, Hopetoun House, Floors Castle, Mellerstain House, Traquair House, Abbotsfod House, Castle Campbell, Doune Castle, Glamis (setting for Shakespeare’s McBeth), Dunottar Castle, the Dee Valley castles which includes Balmoral, and of course Edinburgh Castle.
Best Time to Visit Scotland
Best time to visit Scotland? There’s not a wrong time – the culture and history which is one of Scotland’s main draws is not seasonal.
Spring and Autumn (fall) is a fantastic time to travel for outdoor activities, and the gold and brown colours of the countryside are really emphasized during these seasons. There are fantastic festivals during the Summer and Winter – definitely consider celebrating New Years at the Hogmanay Street Festival in Edinburgh.
Bed and Breakfasts are dotted all over the country-side, so travellers should never have any problem finding reasonable accommodation. Hostels are some of the highest quality in all of Europe, and are found everywhere!