10 Top Tourist Attractions in Scotland

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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Scotland

Category : Europe , Scotland

Scotland, a land of legends, a complex history and some of the world’s most lush scenery, calls out to the adventurous nature within us. Experience the place that inspired the epic movie “Braveheart”. Truly a place with something for everyone, Scotland is a small country that leaves a big impact on all who pass through. To help you organize your Scottish getaway, below is a list of the top tourist attractions in Scotland that should not be missed.

10. Broch of Mousa

Broch of Mousa

 

One of the most prestigious and well-preserved brochs in the Shetland Islands, this impressive structure is a rotund tower lined with stone internally and externally to provide the optimum strength as a defensive structure. The tower was built around 100 BC and is the only broch which is complete right to the top, including the original intramural stair.

9. Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey

 

Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136 by Cistercian monks, on the request of King David I of Scotland. This grand ruin with lavish masonic decoration is thought to hold the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce, another king of Scotland. Truly a place of legends, Melrose Abbey is one of the most historically significant architectural structures in Scotland.

8. Cuillin Hills

Cuillin Hills

 

Located on the most northern island of Skye, the beauty of the rolling peaks of the Cuiillin Hills is undeniable. These hills are made up of two diverse formations. The Red Cuiillins are a red granite formation, which are softer and more inviting in appearance. In opposition, the Black Cuillins are more harsh in appearance with sharp, jagged peaks of volcanic rock that scale the skyline and warn off those who are unwelcome.

7. Skara Brae

Skara Brae

 

Located on the main island of Orkney, Skara Brae is one of the best preserved Stone Age villages in Europe. It was covered for hundreds of years by a sand dune until a great storm exposed the site in 1850. The stone walls are relatively well preserved because the dwellings were filled by sand almost immediately after the site was abandoned. Older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, it has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” because of its excellent preservation.

6. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle

 

Stirling Castle is one of the most spectacular castles in all of Scotland. High up on the vertical rock mass of Castle Hill, it rests, defensively positioned along the steep surrounding cliffs. Experience the art, culture and status that encompassed 16th century in Scotland. History lovers will not want to miss this popular tourist attraction.

5. Luskentyre Beach

Luskentyre Beach

 

Luskentyre beach is situated on the spectacular west coast of South Harris in the Outer Hebrides. One of the most beautiful color-washed coastal areas of Scotland, its blue-green seas shimmer against creamy sands and the vibrant green hillside. Peaceful and timeless, Luskentyre Beach has been voted Britain’s best beach.

4. Loch Ness

Loch Ness

 

One of the most famous lakes in the world, Loch Ness is the second largest loch in Scotland after Loch Lomond (and due to its great depth it is the largest by volume). About a mile wide at most places it holds the legend of an infamous sea monster. The most notorious mythical creature of modern time, Nessie, is said to dwell in the lake. With an air of mystery, the intriguing area of Loch Ness should not be missed. You might even get a glimpse of Nessie!

3. Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

 

Situated deep into the highlands of Scotland, Ben Nevis is the British Isle’s highest summit. Offering stunningly spectacular views and historical malice, Ben Nevis attracts viewers, hikers and climbers alike to celebrate the tranquility of the surrounding nature. The mountain is readily accessible via a man-made path which zig zags up its south westerly face, while the rock face on the north west of the mountain is strictly for experienced mountaineers only.

2. Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan

 

Eilean Donan is a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland. Connected to the mainland by a footbridge, the island is dominated by a picturesque medieval castle. The original castle was built in the early 13th century as a defense against the Vikings. Today, the castle is one of the most photographed monuments in Scotland and a popular venue for weddings and film locations. It has appeared in such films as Highlander and The World Is Not Enough.

1. Edinburgh Castle

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Scotland

 

Edinburgh Castle is a magnificent example of Scotland’s architecture, ideology, political tact and military importance. High up on the summit of a dormant volcano lurks this dominating structure. Its presence is visible for miles in every direction. Intimidating all who would challenge them, the Scottish utilized Edinburgh Castle for all of their major battles and military strategizing. A strong standing symbol of their perseverance and struggle for independence, Edinburgh Castle is one of the top tourist attractions in Scotland.


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10 Best Places to Visit in Scotland

Category : Europe , Scotland

At first glance, the Scottish landscape is harsh: foreboding fortresses atop hills and cliffs, the desolate moors . . . But spend some time here and you’ll quickly realize Scotland has its own unique beauty: breathtaking highlands just made for hiking and strolling, craggy coastlines, monuments that are proud reminders of long-ago battles, and blue lakes and rivers just made for fishing. Scotland is a land of legends and romance, from Robert the Bruce and Macbeth to lake monsters and the tragic Mary Queen of Scots. And, yes, real men do wear skirts here. An overview of the best places to visit in Scotland:

10. Orkney

Orkney

 

Seventy islands, including 20 that are inhabited, make up the Orkney Islands, an archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Orkney residents pre-date the Romans by several thousand years, and once were part of Norway. It has some of the best preserved and oldest Neolithic sites in Europe. The pre-historic Ring of Brodgar, a circle of stone formations used in rituals, is a must-see. The islands are a good place to see seals and puffins, as well as a variety of local art in galleries and museums. The capital Kirkwall is the largest town in the islands.

9. Glasgow

Glasgow

 

Now the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow dates back to prehistoric times on the River Clyde. The largest seaport in Britain, it was once an important hub for shipbuilding and trade with North America. It’s a good place to visit, where you can immerse yourself in friendship, charm and music – the city hosts 130 musical events on average per week. You’ll find historic medieval buildings such as the Glasgow Cathedral and the old Antonine Wall, a shopaholic’s paradise with more than 1,500 stores to tempt your pocketbook and a variety of sporting events. Stroll the hills above the city for wonderful views.

8. St Andrews

St Andrews

 

People go to St. Andrews, a town northeast of Edinburgh, for many reasons. They go to learn: The University of St. Andrews is the third oldest in the English-speaking world. They go to play golf: St. Andrews is the home of golf and the most frequent venue in the Open Championship. They go to relax: St. Andrews is a pleasant coastal resort town. They go for history: to see St. Andrews Castle sitting on a cliff overlooking the sea and city. Or, they may go to pray: St. Andrews Cathedral was once the largest cathedral in Scotland; it’s now in ruins.

7. Inverness

Inverness

 

Britain’s most northern city, Inverness, is the gateway to the Scottish Highlands. Located at the northern end of Loch Ness, Inverness is a good place to visit in Scotland if you like to walk. Walk along the River Ness to the Ness Islands, the Caledonian Canal or the Churches Along the River. Stroll, too, through Old Town with its old stone buildings and a Victorian market where you can buy crafts. Take a walk by the 19th century Inverness Castle, but don’t expect to see the inside unless you’ve been naughty as the castle currently provides local court service in Scotland. In that case, you may want to say a prayer at the lovely Inverness Cathedral.

6. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

 

Aye, Loch Lomond is a bonnie lake. ‘Tis not wee by any means, since it’s the largest inland lake in Great Britain. The lake contains more than 30 islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest island in freshwater in the British Isles. In 2002, it was combined with Trossachs, a small woodland glen, to make the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Scenery, including seven waterfalls, will take your breath away. Outdoor activities abound, beginning with fishing, golf and easy walks and ending with camping, bicycling and climbing. Plan to visit Inchcailloch to see ancient church ruins and burial ground.

5. Stirling

Stirling

 

The wolf is an honored animal in the central Scotland city of Stirling. According to local legend, a wolf howled when Vikings were about to invade, thus alerting villagers to the attack so they could save their homes. Stirling is a good place to see a medieval Scottish town, complete with imposing fortress, 12th century castle and church where Mary Queen of Scots’ son King James VI was crowned in 1557. The Church of the Holy Rude still conducts services on Sunday. Stirling also was the stomping grounds of the legendary Robert the Bruce.

4. Glencoe

Glencoe

 

One of Scotland’s best known glens or valleys, Glencoe is stunningly beautiful in its sometimes harshness. Located 26 km (16 miles) south of Fort William, Glencoe is nestled between hills and mountains, including the pyramid-like Buachaille Etive Mor. As you travel through this U-shaped valley, be on the lookout for the monument commemorating the 1692 Massacre at Glencoe when the Argylls ambushed the MacDonalds. Glencoe is very popular with hikers and rock climbers with trails that are accessible from the road. Glencoe is especially popular with winter climbers and skiers since it’s the ski area closest to Glasgow.

3. Hebrides

Hebrides

 

If you like Scottish Gaelic literature and music, the Hebrides Islands is just the place to indulge your passions. An archipelago off Scotland’s west coast, the Hebrides are known for this culture. It is here that George Orwell wrote 1984. The windswept islands have a quiet beauty to them. More than 50 islands, including the Isle of Skye, make up the Inner and Outer Hebrides. The islands have great beaches and you’re likely to see seals and seabirds. Pack those hiking boots because the Hebrides is all about the great outdoors.

2. Edinburgh 

Edinburgh

 

Located on the Firth of Forth, Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and has served as the seat of Parliament since the 15th century. The city has oodles of things to see and do, and is the second most popular tourist destination after London in Great Britain. Of course, you’ll want to see its famous castle and Royal Mile, the main route through Old Town. Edinburgh is a city famous for its many festivals, including the Fringe, the world’s largest international arts festival, and the Military Tattoo. You may recognize the city as the setting for several movies, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Da Vinci Code.

1. Loch Ness

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Scotland

 

Most travelers visit Loch Ness with one thing in mind: They want to see Nessie, the legendary lady of the lake. You probably won’t see the Loch Ness Monster, but a cruise on the lake is a fun way to search. Loch Ness is quite deep, more than 230 meters (750 feet) in some places, offering plenty of hiding places for Nessie. It’s huge too, holding more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. Take a stroll along the lake or visit quaint villages, including Drumnadrochit, home of the Loch Ness exhibition center, scattered around the lake.


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The Changing Seasons of Scotland

From its emerald green rolling hills to its treasured crumbling castles, Scotland is a photographer’s dream. Local Alistair Horne takes us on a visual journey of his homeland, and tells us why Scotland should be next on your travel list.

1. Autumn Colours

Perth-Autumn-Scotland

Autumn in Perth – Image by Alistair Horne

Fall is a glorious time to be out and about in the wild, exploring what mother nature has to offer. Scotland comes alive around October time with colours of red and yellow and this completely changes typical views into masterpieces. The Perthshire area of Scotland is one that should be seen in autumn and is a prime example of why this season is one of the best and always eagerly anticipated on these shores.

2. The Wildlife

Glencoe-Scotland

Glencoe Deer – Image by Alistair Horne

The depth and variety of animals on show in Scotland is astounding, albeit you have to be in the right place at the right time. If you are looking for deer or highland cows, take a trip to Glencoe or Mugdock Country Park respectively and you will not be disappointed! Both varieties are tame, so be careful beside them as they are more scared than you are.

Highland-Cow-Scotland

Highland Cow – Image by Alistair Horne

3. Castles and the Scottish History

Kilchurn-Castle-Sotland

Kilchurn Castle – Image by Alistair Horne

Scotland is world famous for its castles, not just because so many are in pristine condition but also because many are set against some of the most breath-taking views in Britain. With hundreds to choose from, you will be spoilt for choice to learn about the bloody Scottish history and what happened in their walls. Kilchurn Castle, first built in 1450, is a prime example of that. Overlooking Loch Awe from the top of the castle is a sight to behold and a great reminder of the tough times in the past.

4. The best driving roads

Glencoe-Road-Scotland

Glencoe Road – Image by Alistair Horne

Whether you want to explore the highlands and the rolling valleys, the craggy Atlantic coastline or dreamy islands, a drive through Scotland’s scenery is as diverse as it gets. Hours of driving can get you tired, but not when you have views and vistas like here. Glencoe, a tourist haven being only 2 hours from Glasgow is a prime example. The A82 that runs through the Glencoe valley has jaw dropping views a plenty. Give yourself a few hours to wander and explore all that is has to offer, including Glen Etive, the road used for filming in James Bond’s Skyfall.

5. The Isle of Skye

The-Quiraing-Isle-of-Skye

The Quiraing Isle of Skye – Image by Alistair Horne

In my opinion, this is the little gem of Scotland. The largest of the Inner Hebrides islands, this place typifies the beauty of our country. Dominated by the Cuillin mountain range, this is my favourite place to explore. The dramatic Quiraing picture was formed by one of Britain’s largest landslides and still moves to this day with annual road repairs needed. The view from the top after the drive is not bad, don’t you think? Not many tourists know of this spot, so when you get there, you can thank me later!

6. Famous movie scenes

Glenfinnan-Viaduct-Scotland

Glenfinnan Viaduct appears in the Harry Potter movies – Image by Alistair Horne

Scotland is brimming with scenery, architecture, roads and places used by Hollywood over the years. Pictured is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, used in four of the Harry Potter films and is a huge draw for tourists to the country. The Jacobite steam train, running from Fort William to Mallaig, which I fortunately was on last year, gives a great perspective of the Scottish west coast. The 21 arched bridge is visually stunning and is well worth a visit for any Hogwarts fanatic. You can even buy wands and glasses on board!

7. Adventure around every corner

Old-Man-of-Storr-Scotland

Old Man of Storr Adventure – Image by Alistair Horne

From the mainland to the best kept secrets on the coast, every day spent here will be worthwhile. The feeling of excitement seeing views constantly appear on the horizon will be remembered for a long time in your memory. Loch Achtriochtan and the Old Man of Storr typify adventure for me: from still mornings watching the reflection to challenging walks amongst giant pillars of ancient stone, these areas should definitely be on your list if you are an adrenaline junkie.

Loch-Achtriochtan-Scotland

Loch Achtriochtan Adventure – Image by Alistair Horne

8. Winter

Dornie-Road-Scotland

Dornie Road Winter – Image by Alistair Horne

After the bright colours of autumn, our landscape dramatically changes with the harsh white winter and cold conditions. The days are short so you need to make the most of the sunlight and experience the country in its new flesh. Wrap up well and embrace the conditions as every view completely alters, bringing a new feel about Scotland. Road-trips are even more memorable added with a touch of snow.