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Scotland

Photo by John Haslam

Scotland destinations

Aberdeenshire, Angus and Moray

Around Scotland

Central Scotland and Fife

Edinburgh and the Lothians

Glasgow, the Clyde and Loch Lomond

Scotland’s Highlands

Scotland’s Southern Uplands

Scotland

Scotland, a fiercely independent little country on Europe’s fringes, is so packed with history and charm that exploring it is well worth a few weeks of anyone’s time. Many potential visitors will already be familiar with the classic Scottish set pieces before they arrive: tranquil lochs, heathery glens, hilltop castles, brooding mountains, idyllic beaches, pretty coastal villages, and homey pubs with fine local whiskies. These are all easy to track down too, but of course there’s far more besides, particularly in Scotland’s two great and very happening cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Edinburgh, the country’s capital, has the edge for beauty, thanks to its hilly topography and coastal location. Meanwhile far larger Glasgow is the better place to really experience big-city Scotland with fewer outsiders; you’re more likely to mix with Scots here. Both have plenty of good museums and some lovely countryside in their immediate surroundings – the Lothians in Edinburgh’s case; Loch Lomond, Argyle and the Trossachs in Glasgow’s.

Between the two big cities lies the Central Belt, a commuting region with few attractions, while south lie the Southern Uplands. This hilly agricultural region borders England and has historically been passed between the two nations fairly regularly. Warfare has particularly left its legacy in beautiful ruined abbeys, but this is also the heartland for the lowland culture that has come to dominate Scotland today. So while the region tends to be overlooked by visitors it has lots to offer, particularly to cyclists of all types – the roads are lovely and several mountain bike centres have been developed in local forests.

On the other, northern, side of the Central Belt, the city of Stirling provides a hub for Central Scotland where the landscape transitions from the Lowlands become the Highlands: from gentle Perthshire hills to proper mountains in the Cairngorms. As a pivotal spot, it’s hardly surprising that Central Scotland has had more than its share of battles, with Bannockburn probably the most famous for the role of Scotland’s most celebrated king Robert the Bruce, though the outlaw William Wallace (“Braveheart“) fought in these parts too.

Just east of Central Scotland lies the Kingdom of Fife, Scotland’s sunniest peninsula and best known for the presence of St Andrews where golf was famously invented. Just north lies the rather depressed former industrial city of Dundee which provides a gateway to Angus with its lonely glens and Pictish treasures.

This landscape leads seamlessly into Aberdeenshire – the agricultural hinterland of the dour oil city of Aberdeen – which is most famous for the many scotch whisky distilleries in Speyside. The river Spey heads north from here and joins the sea at the Moray coast, a region known for some of Scotland’s prettiest coastal villages and beautiful sandy beaches, particularly at Findhorn.

But in landscape terms these areas are just a prelude to the real mountain drama just west in the Scottish Highlands. Here the Cairngorm National Park is just the beginning of a vast area of deep bleak glens (valleys) and inky lochs (lakes) that’s only lightly inhabited and extends all the way to the northern most points of Scotland’s mainland – a good five-hour drive away. The mountain town of Aviemore is the key centre in the Cairgorms, while its mail rival is Fort William to the west. The latter provides a hub for Ben Nevis (Scotland’s highest peak), the dramatic Glencoe valley and the Great Glen, which famously contains Loch Ness and which leads to Inverness, the self-proclaimed capital city of the Highlands and gateway to Scotland’s far north.

But Scotland’s Highlands don’t really stop in the north and west, instead the lochs simply get larger until landmasses become islands, of which Scotland has many. A large number Scotland’s islands are close enough to the shore that they are connected by frequent ferries or even by bridge, as is the case in Skye, a particularly scenic, large and popular island. Other islands require ferries of several hours or more to reach – particularly the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland – and provides a remoteness that makes discovering their prehistoric treasures and experiencing their intriguing slow-paced traditional life even more rewarding.

What it Costs

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Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’€™t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in €

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
Free
€ =>Tickets less than €15 per person
€€ => Tickets €15- €30 per person
€€€ => Tickets €30 per person

Sleep — Out of town/rural
€=> Rooms less than €60 for a double
€€ => Rooms €60 – €100 for a double
€€€ =>Rooms €100 for a double

Sleep — Large Cities
€ => Rooms less than €100 for a double
€€ => Rooms €100 – €150 for a double
€€€ => Rooms €150 for a double

Eat
€ => €5- €10 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€ => €10 – €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
€€€=> €25 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

Shop     
N/A => Not applicable

Tours
€ => Tickets less than €25 per person
€€ => Tickets €25 – €50 per person
€€€ => Tickets €50 per person

 

Background

This section of the website will be developed shortly. Why not let us know what you’d like to see covered?

Trip Ideas

Scotland in 6 or 7 Days

This 6- or 7-day scenic driving tour runs counter-clockwise around central and northern Scotland and keeps driving to a minimum, but provides an excellent taster of the country’s finest assets. That means inspiring landscapes, outdoor activities, castles, landscaped gardens, wildlife, distilleries, historic attractions and two vibrant cities. There’s a also bit of flexibility along the way if one or another option doesn’t appeal.

The tour starts and ends in Edinburgh, but it would be as easy to finish in Glasgow by doing the tour in reverse from there.

DAY 1
Without question one of Europe’s most attractive cities, Edinburgh is worth a day or two of anyone’s time. With a seemingly unending series of hidden corners to explore, it’s a great place to just wander fairly aimlessly, but for a solid introduction to Scotland’s capital take in the capital’s highlights which include the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, the National Musuem of Scotland and the New Town.

DAY 2
Stop off at Deep Sea World, essential if you’ve got kids with you, en route to the Perthshire and Cairngorms itinerary, which leaves rolling lowland hills behind to head deep into the Scottish Highlands around Cairngorms National Park.

DAY 3
Follow the Cairngorms & Moray itinerary from the Highland centre of Aviemore, past a clutch of whisky distilleries and to the pretty coastal village of Findhorn.

DAY 4
Follow our Great Glen itinerary, which visits the moving Culloden Moor battlefield and Clava Cairns, an ancient stone circle before following inky Loch Ness along the base of the Great Glen to the highland activity hub of Fort William.

DAY 5
Follow the Fort William to Iverary itinerary, which tours Glencoe, Scotland’s most famous valley then takes scenic backroads to the attractive sea loch around Inverary.

DAY 6
After an early start for the 90-minute drive through beautiful Argyll countryside and beside attractive Loch Lomond, you can see Glasgow in a day. Highlights include its eclectic Kelvingrove Museum, a Botanic Garden and a series of grand and bustling central streets that were built when Glasgow was a powerhouse of the British Empire.

DAY 7
Follow the Trossachs & Stirling itinerary to visit the region that captured the imagination of Scotland’s first tourists: Victorians who flocked to the wild but elegantly proportioned Trossach Glen. Sights of national importance around the city of Stirling round off the day.

If You Only Have Six Days …
Skip Day 7 of this itinerary or skip Glasgow. Instead, on Day 6, take your time travelling around the scenic countryside: visit Inverary Castle; stop at viewpoints along Loch Lomond, then head east to the Trossachs and explore explore the area around Loch Katrine by foot, bike or boat or visit the Go Ape adventure playground at Aberfoyle.