Edinburgh Castle, Image Credit/Julia Solonina/Unsplash
The thought of Scotland takes you to the image of lonely castles, tartan-kilted Highlanders, skirling bagpipes, golf, Highland cattle, and breathtaking scenery. It is an accurate preview of what tourists will see here. You’ll visit castles and fabled battlegrounds, follow in the footsteps of legendary kings and queens. Or walk in the literary trails of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns.
Scottish solitude is marked by heather-covered moors, secluded beaches, and romantic mountains with their deep glens and lakes! No matter where you go, you’ll find plenty to do in vibrant cities, historic towns, and remote moors and islands.
A new Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) system for non-visa nationals will be introduced soon. The new entry permit will be required by 2025 to travel to the UK from Italy.
Edinburgh Castle and Royal Mile
Founded in the 13th century, the Edinburgh Castle provides breathtaking views of the city as well as a journey through Scotland’s turbulent history. The highlights of the castle include the spectacular Crown Jewels, the famous Stone of Destiny (the Stone of Scone), and the 10th century St. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh. The castle gates are guarded by bronze statues of legendary heroes William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.
The Royal Mile descends the steep escarpment to the elegant Palace of Holyroodhouse, another of Edinburgh’s most well-known landmarks. The Royal Mile, adorned with brick townhouses and historic landmarks, is also abundant in small shops, kilt-makers, tearooms, museums, and cafés. One of Scotland’s top attractions, the National Museum of Scotland, contains everything from medieval artefacts to art and science displays.
Robert Burns’ Country
A trip to Scotland isn’t complete unless you visit at least one or two sites associated with the country’s most famous poet Robert Burns. Begin from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, on the edge of Ayr. The poet was born here and spent much of his childhood. Burns-related landmarks include monuments and gardens dedicated to his life and time in Ayr, a collection of his most celebrated writings, and the 16th-century Auld Kirk, where his father is buried.
Also, visit Robert Burns House in Dumfries, where he spent the last four years of his life. The house is now a museum exhibiting Burns-related mementoes, painting a vivid portrait of his life. His resting place is not far from St. Michael’s Churchyard.
Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest lake, is just a short drive northwest of Glasgow and has been dubbed “The Queen of Scottish Lakes” by Walter Scott. This lakeside of Scotland is also a favourite day trip from the city, with an abundance of trout, salmon, and whitefish which attracts anglers. The site is perfect for water sports and boasts plenty of open space for hikers. Boat trips, lakeside walks, and longer hikes up Ben Lomond (3,192 feet) with spectacular views across the Trossachs National Park are always tourists’ favourites.
Loch Lomond Shores is the most recent addition to this area. Consisting of a shopping mall selling local crafts, a farmers market, restaurants, bike and boat rentals. The Loch Lomond SEA LIFE Aquarium is a huge attraction here. This family-friendly attraction features Scotland’s giant shark tank and also displays native marine life. If the weather permits, pay a visit to the roof as well.
Fort William and Ben Navis
Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain, is best explored from the town of Fort William. Located at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal, the root of this coastal town can be traced back to a 17th-century fort. The West Highland Museum, explores the history of the fort. While also housing large collections of paintings, Highland costumes, and weaponry.
Running the West Highland Line over the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter film franchise. Taking the Jacobite steam train is a must.
Because of its impressive sight, Ben Navis draws many a-hikers, both novice and experienced. The ascent, completed in approximately 2.5 hours, is well worth the effort for the scenic views that stretch as far as 150 miles across the Scottish Highlands and all the way to Ireland.
The Northern Highlands
There is something mystique about the Scottish Highlands that comes from their rugged, untamed landscapes and their long, violent, and romantic history. In Britain’s largest area of picturesque natural beauty, these mountains and rocky shores are equally loved. Mountain bikers, hikers, and those who enjoy golf, sea kayaking, white-water rafting, and gorge-walking all enjoy what this area offers.
Peppered with charming little villages and towns with accommodation and dining options. The top attraction here is the coastal village Dornoch with its cathedral and castle ruins. Also, stop at John o’Groats, overlooking the Pentland Firth, where a much-photographed sign proclaims it to be Britain’s northernmost point.