By Amanda Little
Each country is filled with amazing sights and new wonders that some of us couldn’t even imagine. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what to see first, what you can’t miss, and what you may want to pass on. So, to those traveling to Scotland, these are our top picks.
Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, has earned the reputation of being one of the world’s most beautiful cities, so it's made it right to the top of the list of must-see cities. The city itself is a work of art. Its architecture, new and old, ranges from lofty and modern to stoic and breathtaking.
Edinburgh's festivals showcase their skill, talent, and ingenuity, and everyone has a chance to enjoy them. During the busy summer season, you can find thousands of shows in hundreds of venues, very often unique or unconventional, and occasionally sold out, so know which ones you want to see before you go!
Alongside an amazing array of festivals, there are plenty of crowded pubs, swanky restaurants, all-night parties, beer-fueled performances, and more. Taking Edinburgh by night offers a different and true view of Edinburgh, and should not be missed by anyone who likes to party.
Next up is Glasgow, Scotland’s second largest city. Glasgow takes it down a notch from Edinburgh, flaunting Victorian-styled buildings that speak of old money, trade, and stories. Among these stoic relics, trendy bars, 5-star restaurants, and live music scenes thrive, giving a modern breath of life into the city to blend the two time periods together.
If you’re looking for a shopping destination on your trip as well, Glasgow is the place for it. Everything from the height of Italian fashion to homey thrift stores, Glasgow has something for everyone. There are also beautiful museums here complimented by stunning art galleries. On display is a mix of industrial heritage and modern pieces.
Regarded as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness rests in the mountainous region and is separated from the rest of the country by the Great Glen, an ancient fault line used to create the amazing Caledonian Canal.
The beautiful coastal city hosts a variety of caslte ruins, cathedrals, port restaurants and pubs, and offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking through the raw wilderness of the highlands. In Inverness and the surrounding port towns, you can find everything from towering trees to Victorian footbridges.
For those looking for adventure, look no further than the soaring peak of Ben Nevis, which towers a little over 4,400 feet above the town. Not only is this behemoth of a mountain, rife with hiking, climbing, and scrambling trails, the highest point in Scotland, it is also the highest mountaintop in all of the UK. Making your way to the top is no easy feat, but those who persevere are rewarded with some of the most amazing views over the Atlantic coast, as well as the Grampian Mountains as they stretch towards Glencoe.
Many know Loch Ness only as the home to the notorious monster supposedly dwelling within its waters, but the lake’s shores support spectacular ruins of one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart Castle. For those looking for history, a relaxing trip out on the 754-foot deep lake, or those looking to catch a glimpse of the sea monster, Loch Ness is the place to be.
The Isle of Skye is one of the most visited of Scotland’s Hebrides Islands, and for good reason. Make sure you’ve got your camera for this excursion, because the isle provides some of the most alluring landscapes of western Scotland. Made up of sandy beaches, towering mountains, and windswept moorlands, hikers and rock climbers head here for the Cuillin Hills Mountain passes, which some of the best coastal views in all of the UK. Those visiting during the low season can even enjoy the vast stretches of countryside all to themselves.
There are many ways to travel through Scotland. Driving is a pleasure as the highways offer wonderful scenic views and railway system is very convenient, stopping in all towns throughout Scotland.