Scotland makes for one of the most iconic regions in the United Kingdom, having a land surface of 78,772 square kilometers and a population of 5.2 million.
Scotland is packed full with romantic lochs (that’s lakes if you don’t speak “Scottish”), sky high epic mountains, cultured cities populated by a fiercely proud people and rugged coastlines, all these features making for Scotland to be a truly incredible traveling destination, if it ever was one.
Every day spent in Scotland will make for a unique experience, whether you’ll be savoring a glass of scotch on the rocks or quaffing smoked salmon, enjoying a single malt in the glens or tracking the Jacobite army at Culloden battlefield, or experiencing the life of blue bloods at Stirling castle, Scotland has much to offer its visitors.
If you’re a culture buff, you’ll have the time of your life trailing Harry Potter while visiting the genuine Hogwarts Express, or visiting local craft breweries sipping an original Scottish ale during an awesome music festival, or laughing your arse out while attending a stand up comedy at world famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
If you’re an ancient history aficionado, don’t worry, as you can literally travel back in time, some five thousand years ago whilst visiting the burial tombs and neolithic settlements at Orkney, a site listed on UNESCO’s world heritage catalog. Or, why not, immerse your soul into Scotland’s colored past at forts and citadels, the likes of Finlarig or the Eilean Donan Castle.
Despite its relatively compact “size”, Scotland is the definition of a strong essence kept inside a tiny bottle, if you’re familiar with that saying, and I bet you are lad.
For urban dwellers, Scotland’s largest (and equally famous) cities, i.e. Glasgow and Edinburgh will provide you with a taste of the old continent, boasting exceptional art galleries, traditional “Scottish” (read English) pubs, though the locals will strongly disagree, innovative restaurants, stylish boutiques, hip hotels and chic cocktail bars, though Scotland is all about scotch for social drinkers. And, why not, maybe a pint of that black stuff, landlord (Guinness if you’re not familiarized with the lingo).
Beyond its beautiful and vivid cities, Scotland is also harboring delightful abbey towns, remote Highland communities where the Gaelic language is still alive, epic coastal villages, all these places being able to entice travelers with their scenic walks, picturesque buildings and a warm and welcoming people. The only trouble you’ll have in Scotland is the language, as English doesn’t seem to be the lingua franca on these lands.
A crash course in the Scottish dialect will definitely help you with getting around in Scotland, prior to your arrival, if you know what I mean. Scotland is also home for a bunch of eccentric festivals, things like porridge making competitions and classic Highland games, including hammer throwing and caber tossing.
For outdoors enthusiasts, Scotland is a dream come true, being a place where adrenaline junkies will feel like a Muslim visiting Mecca. You can test your nerves and courage climbing the Glencoe ice falls, go down the rapids in Perthshire or trek along the outstanding views and dramatic glens of West Highland Way.
If you’re into sightseeing, Scotland is the place where you can admire the elusive wild cat in the world famous Cairngorms National Park, or you may go salmon fishing on the Tweed River, whale watching in Orkneys and finally, tee off at Saint Andrews.
Last but not least, if you feel lucky enough, you may very well seel out Loch Ness’s “Nessie”, the famous and mystical monster-resident which whether it exists or not, it manages to attract tens of thousands of visitors year after year.
As per food and drinks, don’t forget Scotland’s famous haggis, porridge, smoked salmon, cullen skink and the country’s most famous export, the scotch whiskey.