Scotland seemed to have it all, with its rich culture and beautiful landscapes. Friendly locals will greet you as you visit rocky highlands, bustling cities, and small tea shops. You’ll almost certainly be greeted by a sheep or 10. Scotland is a place with a lot to offer, from ancient architecture in southern towns like Glasgow to beautiful scenery in the northern isles.
So, if you’re ready to explore the lush Scottish countryside, wave to highland cattle, and wander historic city streets, here are some of Scotland’s most notable features.
When you think of what Scotland is best known for, one of the first things that comes to mind are beautiful and historic castles. The country is synonymous with this wonderful and symbolic fairytale image, from well-preserved castles to understated ruins. It is estimated that the country previously had almost 3,000 castles!
As you might expect, you don’t have to travel far in Scotland to find Medieval castles. In Glasgow, you may go castle hopping and feel like you’re stepping back in time, despite the busy city life around you. Visit Bothwell Castle, which was erected in the 13th century and is conveniently accessible from the River Clyde, and Crookston Castle, which has stunning views from the roof.
Stirling Castle, a well-known edifice dating back to the 8th century built on Castle Hill, is located just outside of the city. In the 1500s, Mary Queen of Scots was crowned at this fortress.
The Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands are without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The scenery is ready for exploration via road trips, cycling, and hiking.
Discover nature at national parks such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms. Many people seek to trek Ben Nevis, the UK’s tallest peak, or travel a little farther to the beautiful Isle of Skye, where the legendary Old Man of Storr, one of the top hikes in the UK, can be found.
Glencoe is another fantastic Highlands destination, with the valley providing a superb driving route and various trailheads for exploring the area on foot. If animal viewing is on your bucket list, pay a visit to the Highland animal Park, where you may be able to observe the Scottish wildcat.
The Loch Ness Monster.
One of the most famous things in Scotland is the Loch Ness Monster, who is claimed to live in the waters of Loch Ness. The “monster” has been the subject of much discussion and possible sightings, the first of which occurred in 565 AD, and is frequently mentioned in books and films.
Visit Loch Ness and explore it by boat to become a part of the mystery. You might even catch a peek of Nessie! Dive into the legend’s history at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, which covers the monster’s timeline, bizarre sightings, and studies done in the Loch. It is only here that you can determine whether the Loch Ness Monster is a real animal or a long-running hoax.
Bagpipes are frequently connected with Scotland and are largely recognized as the country’s national symbol. The Great Highland bagpipe, which has military origins, has a long history in Scottish culture. The bagpipe, sometimes accompanied by fiddles and folk tunes, is used as street music, in taverns, and as the backdrop for celebrations and festivals.
One of the best ways to immerse oneself in local culture is to listen to traditional Scottish music. The National Piping Centre in Glasgow provides a more in-depth history of the bagpipe. The museum covers over 300 years of the instrument’s history.
Scotland is well-known for its wide range of whiskies. Visiting one of the 109 distilleries is an excellent way to sample the country’s national drink while in Scotland. The manufacturing of Scottish whiskey may be traced back to the 11th century. The tale begins with the assumption that when European monasteries began to create wine, monks began manufacturing what became known as whisky. The term “whisky” is derived from the Gaelic phrase “uisge beatha,” which meaning “water of life.” Only in Scotland is authentic Scotch whisky manufactured and aged in oak casks for at least three years.
The drink will taste different depending on every region of Scotland you visit and how it is manufactured. Islay, Highland, Campbeltown, Lowland, and Speyside are the five whisky-producing regions.
The Clydside and Glasgow Distilleries are popular places to visit in Glasgow, and Glengoyne Distillery, just outside the city, gives a countryside backdrop to its tastings. The Deanston Distillery and Glenkinchie Distillery are notable destinations in Edinburgh’s capital city.
Try Glen Ord, which was founded in the 1800s near Inverness. The Highland Park Whisky Distillery and Scapa Distillery in Kirkwall provide a good sample of the northern Orkney archipelago region.
Wool from Scotland
Wool is a symbol of Scottish tradition and fashion due to the abundance of sheep farms and the cold weather that necessitates the use of thick sweaters and blankets. Authentic Scottish wool is the ideal souvenir to enjoy both during and after your vacation. Knit sweaters, scarves, caps, and blankets are fashionable, with argyle or plaid motifs.
The Edinburgh Woolen Mill is a well-known establishment in the capital city for purchasing a range of wool things, but stores selling similar items are plentiful. If you want to try your hand at knitting your own products, the Be Inspired Fibres shop has a wide range of yarns and other supplies to get you started. Harris Tweed, Pringle of Scotland, Lochaven of Scotland, and Hawick are some other famous makers to seek for.
Oh, the Scottish national meal. Haggis is much more than just sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs. Combine it with some onion, oats, stock, and spices, cool it inside the lining of a sheep’s stomach, and you’ve got a classic Scottish pudding that’s usually served on holidays or special occasions. If you’re courageous enough, this delicious delicacy is a must-try while visiting Scotland.
It’s commonly served with turnips and mashed potatoes and is available in most restaurants around the country. Aside from ordering it at a restaurant or pub, you can also buy it from butcher shops and grocery stores.
In Scotland, haggis is widely celebrated in January as part of a Burns supper. This gathering commemorates the birthday of legendary poet Robert Burns and his love of haggis. He was so taken with it that he wrote a poem about it.
Lochs, or lakes, are a well-known natural feature found throughout the country. There are about 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland, with the vast majority located in the lush Highlands region.
The huge Loch Ness, one of the most well-known in the north, is home to the Loch Ness Monster tale. Loch Earn in the middle Highlands, north of Glasgow, has an attractive setting with great walking trails.
Visit the popular Loch Morlich in Cairngorms National Park southeast of Inverness. Stroll along the beautiful beach, canoe or kayak along the ocean, or enjoy a picnic meal.
Visit Loch an Eilein, which translates to “Loch of the Island,” for an added dose of history with your lochside visit. You’ll find castle remnants here that belonged to Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan in the late 1300s. Whatever lochs you choose to visit in the country, you’ll be treated to typical Scottish landscape and, more than likely, a castle or two.