Scotland is a popular tourist destination and famous worldwide for its whisky, kilts, bagpipes and the friendliness of the Scottish people. Whether you`re looking for a culinary adventure, outdoor activities, a historical exploration, or great nightlife Scotland has it all.
For a taste of traditional Scotland you can visit the Western Isles, where 60% of the population still speak Gaelic and crofting is still alive and well. The Western Isles, or Outer Hebrides, consist of 119 islands, with the most popular being Lewis, Harris, North and South Uist and Barra.
These islands are known for their white sandy beaches and rugged landscapes, making them ideal for walking and cycling. You can also take part in a variety of local craft sessions such as quilting and soap-making and sample McLeod`s famous black pudding.
Back on the mainland, a visit to the Trossachs is a must for anyone wishing to experience the breath-taking scenery around Loch Lomond. The Loch straddles the boundary line between the Highlands and the Lowlands and is the largest freshwater expanse in the UK.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park offers hill walking, canoeing, cycling, camping, golf and wildlife watching. For those who just want to take in the scenery, there`s no better place to enjoy a picnic.
Hill walking enthusiasts have no less than 300 Munros to choose from. Munros are all over 3000 feet high, with the most popular being Ben Lomond and Ben Nevis. Tackling a Munro will take you into the Highland region of Scotland, so consider a stop-off to see the famous monster living in Loch Ness.
Whisky enthusiasts will enjoy a journey along the Malt Whisky Trail, the only trail of its kind in the world. More than half of Scotland`s distilleries are based in Speyside and the trail covers seven working distilleries to give a historical overview of the region and the methods used in production. Tasting is a must and visiting in May or September, during the whisky festivals, will allow you to experience a lively celebration of all that encompasses whisky making.
For those looking to experience some time in a Scottish city, both Glasgow and Edinburgh are rich in galleries, music and theatre venues and restaurants. In Glasgow, spend the morning shopping in Buchannan Galleries before a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the city`s west end. Then, finish the day off with traditional Loch Duart smoked salmon or Shetland sea trout at Cail Bruich.
Scotland`s Capital, Edinburgh, plays home to the celebrated Royal Botanic Garden, which offers a lovely place to enjoy a picnic on a warm day. Other attractions include Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which is an annual display of Scottish and International military bands taking place each August at the end of the Edinburgh Festival. The Festival is a great time to visit the city and experience local comedy, music and poetry. The city can become very crowded during this time and using an Edinburghtaxi service is recommended for visitors, as is booking all accommodation in advance.