Planning a trip to Scotland

From hill to glen and loch to isle, Scotland is an elemental landscape of craggy castles, warm pubs, sparkling lakes, sophisticated cities, prehistoric sites, bonny villages, heavenly whisky, and unforgettable vistas.

Whether you come for the cutting edge culture of Edinburgh or Glasgow, or the gorgeous isolation of the lonely highlands, to take a whisky tasting tour through Speyside or to play the hallowed courses of golf's homeland, Scotland is best explored by car, its people's kindness best experienced in family-run B&Bs.

Why Scotland?

Hollywood would have you believe that Scotland is full of strapping lads (such as Mel Gibson or Liam Neeson) in tartan kilts hiking among high hills and loch-filled glens dotted with woolly sheep (while bagpipers play haunting tunes set to Robert Burns poetry), and stopping every now and then for a bit of haggis.

In some respects, these images do reflect the Scots’ way of life, or at least their history. This country is indeed proud of its heritage, and local political parties are constantly striving for further autonomy from the English.

On the other hand, Prince Charles is more likely to wear a kilt these days than the average Scotsman, and it’s unclear whether anyone actually enjoys eating haggis, Scotland’s answer to “mystery meat.”

A clearer picture of modern Scotland emerges in the industrial and agricultural center of Glasgow and particulalry in its capital city, Edinburgh, a bustling university town with a lively arts and cultural scene.

Edinbugh is also the gateway to the Scottish Highlands, the heart of which is Inverness, near the lake home the most famous Scot of all (apologies to Sean Connery): the Loch Ness Monster.

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Glasgow - Glasgow is an industrious city, a Victorian-age commercial and industrial powerhouse with a happening locals arts scene and an all around peppier pace than its rival Edinburgh...

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in December 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.