From ancient monuments and heritage sites to pristine landscapes and jaw-dropping entertainment, Scotland has plenty to offer travellers.
Each reflecting the Spirit of Scotland, this is the go-to list of Scotland’s diverse but delightful must-visit attractions, events, activities and adventures.
Edinburgh – the Festival City
The Edinburgh festival is bursting with events and celebrations. Home to 12 major annual festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the world’s biggest arts festival – you can try your hand on stage in an open-access performance…. if you dare.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival
Celebrate Scotland’s national drink with thousands from around the world at this epic five-day whisky event in stunning Speyside, home to some of the biggest names in Scotch whisky.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Televised and watched by an avid global audience each year, the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is a magnificent spectacle to experience live, showcasing bagpipers, marching bands, visiting musicians, fireworks and more in the grounds of historic Edinburgh Castle.
North Coast 500
Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the NC500 covers never-ending back roads, wide meandering tracks and beautiful bends through Scotland’s finest northern Highland scenery, taking in stunning beaches and delicious dining stops along the way in the ultimate Scottish road trip.
St Andrew’s University
It’s where Will met Kate and it’s located in the historic town renowned as the global home of golf – what more enticement could a visitor need for St Andrew’s University?
Follow the Viking Festival
Held over two weekends, the Follow the Vikings Roadshow & Festival will showcase Shetland through Viking-inspired activities such as fire-breathing, beach raids, fierce re-enactments, banquets and clambering aboard the longships used in the smash TV series aptly named, Vikings.
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Scotland’s Castle Trail
Home to more than 300 castles, stately homes and ruins, Aberdeenshire is Scottish castle country. Visit 19 of the country’s most dramatic fortresses on Scotland’s Castle Trail, check out royal bolthole Balmoral Castle or head south to the allegedly haunted Glamis Castle.
Trawl the Craft Trail
Visit the workshops and studios of Scotland’s thriving arts and crafts sector in Orkney and Shetland, browsing authentic artisan jewellery, pottery, textiles and blown glass, often created using traditional techniques.
Marvel at Mother Nature
See nature at its very best in Scotland. “Whether you opt to ‘bag a Munro’ (climb one of the country’s 282 mountains over 3,000 feet) or witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights; Wick in Caithness and Galloway Forest Park are favoured spots from which to seek out the night sky in Scotland.
Epic adventures – fly to the beach at Barra or take a nippy wild dip
Make like Indiana Jones and fly from Glasgow or Benbecula to Barra, Traigh Mhor – a two-mile cockle shell strand which serves as the island’s runway, and disappears underwater twice a day… or get your brave on and go wild swimming at Port Charlotte on Islay, a swimmer’s paradise with seals, sea otters and crystal clear water, or at the mysterious Fairy Pools in rugged Skye.
Dance with a Scot at a Ceilidh
Get up close and personal with the Scot of your dreams at a ceilidh, where dances include the Strip the Willow – a unique form of couples’ line dancing.
Isle of Eigg
Situated south of the Isle of Skye, the Isle of Eigg this year marks 20 years as a fully sustainable island, generating almost 100% of its electricity using renewable energy – it’s also home to 130 bird species including breeding raptor species.