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Scotland Travel Guide

From towering mountains and mysterious lochs to historic castles tucked-away in the Highlands, Scotland is filled with experiences waiting to be discovered. This small, but mighty country harbours some of the friendliest and most down-to-earth people who welcome visitors with open arms. So, whether you're a lover of the great outdoors or a history fanatic, we can assure that Scotland has it all.

The Highlights

  • Edinburgh

    Scotland’s capital is romantic, glamorous and is most certainly dramatic. Complete with a backdrop of spires and castles, rolling hills and Arthur’s Seat looking out towards the sea – Edinburgh is impossibly handsome. Here you will find traditional style pubs and taverns, quirky shops and plenty of hidden corners that are calling to be explored.

  • Stirling Castle

    Forget what you saw in Mel Gibson’s iconic film ‘Braveheart’ that reenacts the battle for Scottish independence. A visit to Stirling Castle offers an authentic slice of history and presents commanding views from the top. History-lovers will enjoy walking through the vast Great Hall and marvel at the many relics and artefacts that played a significant role in shaping the history of Scotland.

  • Callanish Stones

    Erected in the Neolithic era, no one really knows how the Callanish Stones came to form one of the most complete rock circles in Britain. What we do know, however, is that this mysterious formation is worth your time and attention when travelling through Scotland. Located by Loch Roag overlooking the surrounding rugged terrain, this is an incredible place for history buffs to visit.

  • Glasgow

    Glasgow is the modern hub of Scotland and offers a lively bar scene to keep you entertained plus trendy boutiques to rival the likes of those in Edinburgh. Spend your days exploring the Glasgow Cathedral, the Riverside Museum or the Glasgow Science Centre and more. At night, take time to get acquainted with indulgent Scottish cuisine and the Glasgow food scene.

  • Orkney

    This is your chance to explore dramatic landscapes and towns steeped in rich Viking history that delivers on every level. Explore the Maeshowe tomb, the mysterious Skara Brae Neolithic village and the Ring of Brodgar. With its amazing vistas and vast landscapes at your fingertips, Orkney is certainly not to be missed.

  • The Isle of Skye

    Make your way along the meandering coastal roads to the Isle of Skye where unforgettable views can be found at every turn. Focus your camera lenses on the postcard-worthy good views and soul-stirring Scottish scenery. This gem of Scotland and the largest of the Hebrides Islands and exemplifies the beauty of the region.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    June to August

    While Scotland is known for its cooler temperatures, over the months of June to August, this is known to be the warmest time of the year. Visitors should note that rainfall is still frequent and is to be expected. Visitors will enjoy the extended hours of sunlight – particularly in June and July however, this is when Scotland is crammed with visitors. During August when the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is in full swing, it is recommended that visitors pre-book all activities and accommodation in advance. The warmer months are ideal for visiting the many hiking trails across the Highlands as the weather will be less aggressive.

  2. Low Season

    October to April

    Low season in Scotland (over the months of October to April) is characterized by a significant drop in temperature, and many rural attractions will be closed. A large number of outdoor activities may be limited as there will be snow in some parts of the country. Over the low season, visitors will benefit from lower flight or hotel prices and will enjoy fewer crowds at the main sights or attractions. Visitors can partake in the famous Hogmanay celebrations on New Year’s Eve and watch the streets come alive with burning fire sticks that weave through the streets.

Scotland Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Scotland:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Scotland or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
  • Sustainable Tourism in Scotland

    Visit Scotland
    Visit Scotland, the nation's tourism board, has created and published a responsible tourism plan for Scotland. The plan includes actions that the organization itself will be taking, as well as how they will help local tourism businesses ensure that tourism is carried out sustainably and has a positive impact on the country.

    Scotland's Outdoor Access Code
    Scotland is famed for its scenic highlands and great outdoors. As a result, responsible enjoyment isn't just a practice in Scotland, but it is written into the nation's laws. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code is a set of rules for responsibly enjoying the outdoors and the code is based on 3 key principles; respect the interests of others, care for the environment, take responsibility for your own actions.

    Sustainability in the City
    There are plenty of opportunities to experience Scotland's epic cities sustainably. Edinburgh, the capital city, was voted the UK's Greenest City in 2019. Some reasons for this include its many charging points for electric vehicles, zero-waste event and festival venues, and a wide variety of eco-friendly hotels. Meanwhile, Glasgow, which translates to 'dear green space' in Gaelic, also employs an efficient recycling program, renewable energy schemes, and the installation of energy-efficient LED street lights.

FAQs about Scotland

  • Do you tip in Scotland?

    There isn’t much of a tipping culture in Scotland, but it is recommended to leave a tip of 10-15% in a restaurant. Make sure you check if the service charge has already be included in the bill. In smaller, family-run restaurant, tipping is not customary, but a few extra pounds would not go astray.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection can range in quality, but you should have no problem with day-to-day tasks like emailing or surfing the web. WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common. There are many pay-as-you-go mobile data plans available.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Yes. Scotland boasts exceptionally clean water and is safe to drink. Bottled water is readily available.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Yes, credit cards are widely accepted throughout Scotland. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction charges.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Along with common public holidays such as New Year’s Day, Christmas and Good Friday, Scotland has the has Early May Bank Holiday May 6, Spring Bank Holiday May 28 and August Bank Holiday on August 6.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Public toilets in Scotland are generally quite clean. It is customarily free to use public toilets, however, when at local cafes and restaurants, they commonly request that you purchase something prior to using the facilities.