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Scotland ―the land of castles, lochs and whisky― always mesmerises tourists. Such a magical place received even more attention as media captured its beauty, such as in the Outlander series, where we explored Craig na Dun, Castle Leoch and Falkland, or the 1940s Inverness. Although the action was happening in two different timelines, the sights were incredibly beautiful, and viewers were also immersed in the culture. 

Getting around Scotland in the modern days is pretty straightforward, but you must take your time to admire nature and the architecture. The transportation system is well developed, so you can explore more daily through road and rail, and the people are friendly and helpful. So, let’s see how to have the best vacation in Scotland with some preparation. 

Choose the best time for leisure 

Scotland is wonderful, but going there to relax and get some fresh air might not always be easy due to the unexpected weather. As in the rest of the UK, Scotland’s weather can go from sunny to rainy in a matter of minutes, so you always need to be prepared with the proper clothing. 

Usually, the period from May to September is the rainiest, so you must pack a raincoat, rain boots and an umbrella every time you leave the house. Some of the best days in Scotland will be from June to mid-July when the sun sets late at night, sometimes even at 11 PM. Travelling through winter is also possible, but make sure to check the weather forecast before packing your baggage. 

Book the accommodation early on

To enjoy your vacation to the fullest, it’s best to be prepared by booking reliable accommodation in Scotland so you won’t find yourself having to sleep outside. Research companies and websites thoroughly and ensure they’re not scammers who will steal your data and take your money. Still, if you can prove you’ve been the victim, you can claim for compensation, according to

Check the travel company’s reviews and see what their payment options include, and if you seize something unusual, it’s best to avoid them. Know that even Scottish local authorities are often hit by these breaches, so take all precautions to protect your money and data. 

Consider seeing the Highlands 

You do not see Scotland without going to the Highlands at least once, which is the upper half of the region where the mountains lie. It’s best to start with the base of Inverness, from where you can begin exploring the highlights, or choose the Cairngorms National Park and the Isle of Skye.

As there are plenty of places to stay around the Highlands, you should choose one location, because they’re all considerably expanded and offer many visiting opportunities. For example, if you’re going around Loch Ness, you must see these hidden gems:

  • The Suidhe Viewpoint is the highest spot from where you can see the Loch Ness;
  • The Great Glen Canoe Trail is an ancient route that passes through Loch Ness;
  • The Affric Kintail Way is a cross-country route;
  • The Farigaig Forest is surrounded by wildflowers, red squirrels and butterflies;

Travel by train 

One of the best ways to see Scotland in its full beauty is to take the train. Many rail and tour operators provide long travels around Scotland’s countryside. The Belmond Royal Scotsman is one of the most beautiful but also a luxurious one with first-class services. The trip is unforgettable, but you don’t have to travel like rich people to see Scotland, so here are other marvellous options:

  • The West Highland Line from Glasgow to Oban or Mallaig;
  • The Far North Line from Inverness to Thurso or Wick;
  • The Kyle Line from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh;
  • The Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank;
  • The Strathspey Steam Railway from Aviemore to Boat of Garten and Broomhill;
  • The Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway from Bo-ness to Kinneil, Birkhill and Manuel Junction;

Explore all the festivals

If you want to see more of Scotland, it’s best to choose the time of travel based on when the festivals will be happening. For instance, travelling between June and August allows you to experience the Edinburgh Art Festival, where artists will expose their best creations. Partners like the National Galleries of Scotland, the City Art Centre or the Arusha Gallery will get their best pieces of history to everyone interested in discovering more about the country. Another exciting event is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where street art performers and Fringe artists can put on a show and express their creativity.

However, if you’re travelling from May to September, you can witness the Highland Games, where every town around hosts games from traditional Scottish sports, such as tug-of-war and have lots of delicious food and traditional dancing. The Braemar Gathering is such a famous event.

Make sure to try the food and the alcohol

The Scottish culinary tradition is based on essential ingredients, so expect a lot of stews, soups and porridge as traditional meals for foreigners. However, if you want to try as many diverse meals as possible, ask for Haggis, the national dish that contains sheep, oatmeal and mashed potatoes. Scotch pies are also divine, even though they’re simple meals filled with minced meat and spices.

For people with a sweet tooth, cranachan puddings with raspberries are incredible, but you should also try the Dundee cake or the Scottish tablet. Top that with the famous Scottish drink, the well-known whiskey, and you’ll be the first on the dancefloor! Whiskey distilleries are everywhere, each with a different history and recipe, but don’t ignore the craft beers and gins.

Lang may yer lum reek on your way to Scotland

Scotland is one of the dreamiest places on earth, so you must visit it at least once in your lifetime. Before travelling to Scotland, ensure you’re prepared to withstand the weather. Other than that, enjoy the unique scenery, get to know the locals and try all kinds of foods and drinks to experience the true Scottish lifestyle and have the time of your life.