From the small villages by the shore where you can have the freshest fish, to the infinite coast of the island of Skye, Scotland will surprise you from the minute you set foot in the country. Amazing natural landscapes will grab your eyes and heart and the simplicity of the Eilean Donean Castle will grant you the opportunity for a postcard photography. Home of the best whiskies in the world (like Talisker and Oban) and country of golf, you have the chance to visit places like St. Andrews and see the best greens in the world (and perhaps test them!). If you are travelling by car, it is worth stopping by the many lakes (lochs) that this country offers, starting from Lochness (home of the famous monster!) and getting to the lesser famous but even more beautiful loch Lomond.
Discover now the 10 tips that will make you wish to book a flight to Scotland
A trip to Scotland might discourage at the first time as it seems remote and you might not be sure of what you will see and experience.
And here we are to help you and show you why visiting Scotland is always a good idea.
Friendly people, the stunning Edinburgh (you can read more in our blog post here) but also breath-taking landscapes, gorgeous mountains and unforgettable tiny villages on the lakes (lochs).
Good for all year round travel, it offers its best at spring. Especially with blue skies and warm sunshine, and of course a bit of luck!
1. Small villages by the shore
The coasts of Scotland are full of small and tiny fishermen’s villages to stop by for a picture and, with a bit of time, a fresh seafood meal at the local pub.
Especially on the western side, the coastline is really fragmented and will unleash all its beauty if you take the time to drive along the myriad of lakes (lochs) – you can start with the famous Lochness in the hope of seeing the famous monster or head towards Loch Lomond, less famous but probably prettier than Lochness.
As always, our suggestion for a road trip is RentalCars – they offer great rates with reputable companies across the world.
You can decide if to buy the insurance for your vehicle directly from them and have the peace of mind of a broker with great prices.
If you are travelling to the western side of Scotland and desperately looking for endless landscapes, silence and a bit of nostalgic loneliness, then the Isle of Skye is definitively the place for you. Take a couple of days to properly travel around and enjoy the slow pace.
Get lost in stunning landscapes and stop your car by the side of the road to enjoy moments of pure peace like the one in the picture above.
3. Eilean Donean Castle
If you are on your way to Skye, make sure you reserve some time to visit the Eilean Donan Castle.
A stunning fortified structure built back in the 13th century and still standing in the middle of the Scottish vast and almost deserted landscape.
We recommend booking your visit at the Eilean Donan Castle in advance as often plenty of tourists are visiting it and buses are stopping by.
4. Kinloch lodge (Skye)
If you made it to Skye and have a bit of room for a treat, have a look at Kinloch Lodge and book a night + dinner here.
We have been here at Easter a couple of years ago and after I heard of it on a plane magazine, the lodge is simply marvellous and the restaurant is gorgeous, probably the best you can find on the island of Skye.
Definitively not for stretched wallets but an experience you would hardly forget.
Scotland is worldwide famous for its incredible whiskey and if you are into it, you should definitively book a tour at one of the distilleries to learn a bit more about it.
It is good fun and you will have the chance to learn a lot about the difference in flavours and help you navigate your tasting sessions across the country.
Scotland produces fantastic bottles, so the choice can be really hard. I would recommend building your itinerary to ensure you can include one, either the closest to your way or a specific you wish not to miss.
Just make sure you book your tour in advance, as sessions and places are often limited (we actually could not visit Talisker because we did not book in advance, so this is not the standard “book in advance” recommendation!).
If travelling South from Skye to eventually get your plane back to Glasgow, do a detour through Glencoe as this is a place that cannot be missed.
Mountain scenery of a secluded and desolated beauty, it is a fantastic drive across the country.
To have an idea of what to expect, go back to James Bond (didn’t we already talk about Sara’s passion for James Bond when we were blogging about Rio..?!) and this time put Skyfall on play. The final scenes are shot right here.
After Glencoe, the small and tidy, colourful town of Oban is another stop I would strongly recommend to plan.
A perfect place to end your day after a long, exciting drive, with a great choice of restaurants for dinner and a distillery right there for tasting sessions or buying.
Because yes, there is no better souvenir from Scotland than a good bottle of whiskey.
8. North East Coast
Cannot make the west coast and only travelling to Edinburgh?
No panic, there is an easy tour on the close north-eastern coast definitively worth for those just staying in the capital for a long weekend.
Head north towards St Andrews, there is a wide and stunning coast perfect for outdoor activities and lovely tiny towns you can stop by for lunch or dinner, or even for the night.
Check out The Ship Inn in lovely Stonehaven.
9. St. Andrews
Travelling a bit further, St Andrews is also a fantastic destination easy to reach from Edinburgh.
Home to one of the oldest universities in Great Britain, it is also worldwide recognised as ‘home of golf’.
And if you love it, this is, of course, your chance to play in the famous ‘Links’.
For both sporty and lazier ones, also make sure you pay a visit to the cathedral, as its ruins by the sea are simply breath-taking (photo above).
10. Landscapes, landscapes and landscapes..
A final recommendation: when travelling to Scotland, do take your time.
The beauty of this trip will be about long drives across desolated stunning landscapes, that will make you stop every now and then.
Having proper time to enjoy and retain them is part of the experience.
Watch out for local pubs and bed and breakfasts on your way to stay as much as possible with the locals and close to the breath-taking nature.
Edinburgh is fantastic, but Scotland has so much more to offer that it would be a pity to miss it.