Visiting Scotland, for Some of the Most Beautiful Countryside to Explore
Spring and autumn/fall can be great times for visiting Scotland. That’s when seasonal changes bring bursts of beautiful colour to the Highlands and crowds are fewer at the most popular sites.
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When Visiting Scotland, Edinburgh Is a Trip to Savour
If you plan to visit Scotland, you’ll want to be sure you spend time visiting the many natural delights of the country such as the isles and highlands. Scotland is so beautiful, and it seems like a small country but the winding roads sometimes single track can make for a longer than expected trip by road.
The initial focus for many visitors to Scotland is the capital, Edinburgh, a dramatically beautiful and engaging city famous for its magnificent castle and historic Old Town. Even if you’re planning a short visit, still possible, and expected, to combine a stay in either Edinburgh or Glasgow with a brief foray into the Highlands.
From Pristine Beaches to Crumbling Castles, Scotland Has It All
This spectacular capital is enveloped by seven hills, with its famous Royal Mile framed by Edinburgh Castle and the magnificent Holyrood Palace. The famous Royal Mile climbs from a historic palace past the architectural marvel of the Scottish Parliament to the spectacular castle fortress that is Edinburgh Castle.
Enter the castle over a drawbridge across an old moat from the broad Esplanade, where the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo is held every August. An unopened casket containing Robert the Bruce’s heart lay in Edinburgh until 1998 when it was buried again at Melrose Abbey.
- Scotland is an incredible country and definitely worth a visit.
- For those who like to walk, Glasgow is a very walkable city.
- There are options to explore the highlands with guides.
- Discover destinations, and find outdoor adventures.
Some of the most exciting parts of the castle included the Prisons of War exhibition, Great Hall, Royal Apartments, and the Argyle Tower. On the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and has served as the seat of Parliament since the 15th century.
Scotland offers the best of everything, whether it’s a hike in the countryside or a stroll around one of the bustling cities like Edinburgh. Don’t travel far north of the Glasgow–Edinburgh axis to find the first hints of Highland landscape, a divide marked by the Highland Boundary Fault which cuts across central Scotland.
If you’re planning to travel to “remote” destinations on single track roads rent a vehicle with adequate ground clearance and suitable tyres. The main routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh to the highlands are usually OK but to get off the beaten track keep your eyes and ears open to avoid lengthy detours.
The Highlands is also where you’ll find the mysterious Loch Ness.
Edinburgh is known for its many alleyways, and what better way to discover them than a Harry Potter walking tour. A lot of the famous Harry Potter Places are filmed in the Scottish Highlands, such as the Hogwarts Express!
Harry Potter fans will be delighted to learn that yes, you can catch the Hogwarts Express. Made famous by the Harry Potter movie franchise, the train follows the West Highland Line over the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct.
On to Sightseeing in Glasgow
An hour’s travel to the west is the country’s biggest city, Glasgow, a place different from Edinburgh. Once a sprawling industrial metropolis, Glasgow nevertheless has an impressive architectural heritage and a lively social and cultural life.
Now the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow dates to prehistoric times on the River Clyde. You’ll find historic medieval buildings such as the Glasgow Cathedral and the old Antonine Wall, a shopaholic’s paradise with over 1,500 stores to tempt your wallet and a variety of sporting events.
Stirling Castle Is a Real Source of Scottish National Pride
Glasgow is a youthful, forward-looking place with a contemporary art scene spurred on by its famous art school, alternative music and theatre. One of Scotland’s most visited attractions, the free Riverside Museum in Glasgow gathers together the history of transportation by land and water in an eye-catching new venue.
Glasgow is, without a doubt Scotland’s most colourful city with street art. A self-guided tour is one of the many fun and free things to do in Glasgow if you’re interested in some urban culture. Glasgow is a great place also to kick off a Scotland road trip.
Is Glasgow or Edinburgh Better to Visit?
Glasgow is far more significant than Edinburgh and not as full of tourists as is Edinburgh. It’s got great shopping and loads of pubs/clubs. Glasgow is well known for its architecture and many free museums and galleries. Although Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, it does have a smaller, more compact city centre.
While in Glasgow, visitors can avail themselves of Scotland’s only underground train network. The Glasgow Subway, which is the third oldest metro system in the world after those of London and Budapest, provides a convenient way of getting around the city.
Notwithstanding the smaller distilleries just established, Glasgow has Auchentoshan, and Edinburgh has Glenkinchie. Most would like to squeeze as many distillery visits into a day as possible. Still, the tour commencement times, duration, and travel times required between the distilleries will rarely align for you.
Larger distilleries like Glenfiddich or Glenlivet run very frequent tours all throughout the day; others might have just one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Also, many distilleries don’t have late afternoon tours. For example, it’s not uncommon for the last tour to depart at 3.00pm, so don’t plan on distillery hopping well into the evening.
Harry Potter lovers can board the Hogwarts express for a day.
You might have to stay in a particular region for more days than you were banking on to get to all the distilleries on your list. Any visit to this country should include at least one stop at one of its many distilleries.
There is lots of lovely scenery, gardens, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities and also a couple of whisky distilleries you could visit. It depends on the timing of the tours, and whether you choose simple tours, or the more detailed tours and tastings which distilleries offer that can go for two or three hours.
The Coast of Scotland
Scotland’s most memorable scenery is on the jagged west coast, stretching from Argyll all the way north to Wester Ross and the looming hills of Assynt. The grand splendour of the Highlands would be bare without the islands off the west and north coasts.
The ideal compromise might be a trip spent discovering the stunning Scottish highlands or the magical islands dotted around Scotland’s coast. Admire the stunning coastline as you drive right beside the ocean for most of the day’s journey.
Spring and Autumn Are the Two Seasons Most People Visit Scotland
You might also consider heading out on a boat to see the coastline from another angle. There are lots to do and see, including national parks, dolphin-sighting on Moray Coast, shopping, dining, visiting historic castles, and simply free-roaming the majestic vistas of the area.
With longer and warmer days, spring or summer would be the most comfortable time to admire the dramatic coastlines. Highlights are the coastal views and a feeling of “being away” from it all for a while.
Scenery includes rugged coastline, beaches, rural farmland, marshland, rivers, forest, lochs, and Munros. Look for deer around Lochranza and enjoy a bird watcher’s paradise by walking just about any of Arran’s long beaches. There is a wide range of seabirds, including sea eagles often spotted along the coastline.
- Mary, Queen of Scots was crowned at Stirling Castle.
- Visiting Scotland is a once in a lifetime trip.
- Shetland is a group of around 100 islands.
- You can do a boat tour on Loch Ness.
Go dolphin spotting where it is estimated that around 130 Bottlenose dolphins live off the Moray Firth coast. With our rolling, rural hillsides, clear coastal waters and lush, fertile lands, Scotland produces some of the best, and most sought after, natural produce in the world.
Famously known as the land of fairies, Isle of Skye is brimming with nature, beauty, and fairytales. The iconic trip on the ferry crossing over to the Isle of Skye is an absolute must if you’re on a visit to the highlands.
It’s beautiful in autumn when the leaves are turning golden.
Whether you’re in the Highlands, the Shetland, Orkney Islands, or the Isle of Skye, you’ll notice that you’re more exposed to the elements. These places are on the more remote and wilder side of the country. I’d spend 2 full days on the Isle of Skye if you want to explore that area, especially with children.
It’s challenging to find the right words to describe the rugged beauty of the Scottish countryside, the friendliness of its people and the power of countless looming castles to transport you straight into the past. Autumns are the best for people who would like to spend more time in the countryside.
The Lochs Travel Tips
Whether you are looking for city, country or loch-side accommodation, or only looking for things to do and places to see during your holiday, come and experience the best of what Inverness and Loch Ness offer. Explore the 754-foot-deep lake on a Loch Ness trip from Inverness keeping an eye out for the legendary monster, hike around the lakeshore, and visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, once one of the country’s largest castles.
Many visitors head to Scotland’s most famous loch to glimpse its favourite Loch Ness monster, but that’s not the only reason you should visit. The most famous is Loch Ness, but the Great Glen also includes the smaller Loch Lochy and Loch Oich.
There Are over 130 Distilleries in Scotland
Think of Loch Ness, and you’ll probably picture the mythical monster that, according to legend, has made this 23-mile-long loch home for countless centuries. The largest body of water in Scotland’s Great Glen, Loch Ness is part of a waterway connecting the east and west coasts of Scotland.
While a sighting of the friendly monster is far from guaranteed at Loch Ness, the area will do little else to disappoint. But Loch Ness is not necessarily the most beautiful loch here in Scotland.
Get off that typical tourist trail at Loch Ness and, instead, head to Cairngorms National Park or Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park for epic views and outdoor adventures. The lochs, hills and wooded glens of the Trossachs and Loch Lomond are the most easily reached and as a consequence busier than other parts.
What's the Best Way to Travel in Scotland?
The easiest way to travel around Scotland quickly and cheaply is by train. Passengers can enjoy the rugged Scottish scenery from their seats, taking in sights like the Glenfinnan Viaduct. There are also lochs and glens visible from classic routes such as the West Highland Line.
If you’re looking for the biggest lake in Great Britain, then stop at the beautiful Loch Lomond. Loch Lomond is an excellent first stop on tour from Glasgow along the Western Highland Way through the Argyll countryside to Fort William.
Located only 45 minutes drive from Glasgow, Loch Lomond is the largest loch of Scotland. You’ll find mountains, forests, and glens all around you as you make your way around Loch Lomond.
This country is home to stunning scenery, breathtaking lochs, castles, waterfronts, and plenty of culture surrounding you in museums and city shops. In the early 19th century, the Caledonian Canal connected the lochs and provide water route across the country from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea.
West Lothian is a hugely underrated area to explore.
Spring is a beautiful time of year to visit Scotland for the clean, fresh air, the mountains, lochs and countryside in all their scenic splendour. Summer is another excellent time to visit Scotland due to warmer weather and abundant cultural festivals.
Summer is mild and pleasant, making it a popular time for visiting Scotland. In the summer, you’ll also find the days are long, which means you’ll have plenty of time for exploring.