When I hear of Scotland, I think of bagpipers, tartan scarfs, the scenic Scottish Highlands and sheep grazing on the green meadows. Scotland, is truly a travellers’ abode. From the high ranging mountains (called Ben), Ben Nevis being the greatest, to the pristine lakes (called Lochs), Loch Ness being the largest, Scotland has it all. Here, I present 5 experiences that one should not miss when visiting Scotland.
Visit Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands
Scotland has many beautiful islands like Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull and Isle of Arran. I enjoyed my 3 days stay at the beautiful Isle of Skye. I was mesmerized by the picturesque countryside, fishing villages, medieval castles and the rugged cliffs. We drove to the beautiful Scottish Highlands and it was an unbelievable experience. I did not want to miss the opportunity to follow in William Wallace’s footsteps (from the movie ‘Braveheart’), or even Harry Potter’s, and drive around the Scottish Highlands. The steam train shown as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter Films is actually a vintage train called The Jacobite in the Scottish Highlands.
Take a Distillery Tour in Scotland
Whisky is the closest thing to Scotland in a glass. It has been produced here longer than anyone can remember and to this day it remains the country’s most famous export. Scotland has the distilleries producing the world’s finest whisky. On the guided tours to whisky distilleries, you combine the flavours of Scotland’s premier drink with a guided adventure through local legends, triumphant traditions, and soaring sights. Some tours also offer behind-the-scenes access and exclusive tastings at historic distilleries. Glenlivet, Lagavulin and Talisker are among most popular distilleries in Scotland.
Visit the Castles
One of the most enchanting things to do when in Scotland is to visit the ancient castles. Each has a history of its own. You can buy an Explorer Pass if you intend to visit many castles, this will save you from standing in the queue. The most popular one is the Edinburgh Castle, that is positioned on the castle rock and dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh. The castle is located at the end of the Royal Mile. The One O’clock Gun is fired every day (except Sunday) from the castle at precisely 1300 hrs., allowing citizens and visitors to check their clocks and watches. Not far from Edinburgh is the Stirling Castle, highlighting the luxury in the medieval times.
Get to know the Scottish
I feel the best way to dip in the culture of any country you are visiting is to try the traditional food (read Haggis for Scotland) and socialize with the locals. I have met the locals in bars on the Royal Mile and talked about the history, culture and politics. Many local tour guides are more than happy to educate you about Scotland. You would find Scots dressed in traditional kilts and playing bagpipes all around the old town of Edinburgh. Summer festivals especially in Edinburgh are a great way to get an insight into the Scottish culture. The Highland games that take place all across the region, are a unique mix of sports, culture and community.
Go to Edinburgh
Edinburgh, the medieval capital of Scotland has a historical old town and a Georgian new town with glass-studded buildings. I stayed near the Balmoral Castle, it was a perfect place to explore the old and new town. The ancient Royal Mile is walking distance from here, with the Edinburgh Castle on one end of the mile and Holyrood Palace on the other. To get the panoramic view of the city you should visit Arthur’s Seat, the highest point in Edinburgh. It is a dormant volcano which now is an imposing peak in Holyrood Park. Another iconic place for outstanding views and amazing sunset is Calton Hill, that is also topped with monuments and memorials.
All the time that I was in Scotland, I was just awed by the beauty and the history that this country beholds. Every time I look at the pictures, I want to go back to Scotland, sit by the Lochs, watch the sheep graze and drive in the highlands.
Contact Tripoetic to plan a trip to Scotland!
Author: Neha Gupta (Guest Travel Blogger)