Scotland is a visually breath-taking country, with its lush rolling hills, glistening lochs and striking, medieval castles. Whether you want to hike rugged terrain, explore ancient Old Town Edinburgh, or stay cosy and sip whisky in a local distillery, you won’t be disappointed. Here we’ve compiled a list of our favourite must-do activities whilst you’re in Scotland.
Climb Arthur’s Seat
Approximately one mile from the city centre of Edinburgh lies Arthur’s Seat. The rocky, grass-covered mound which spans 250 metres high, is what remains of an ancient volcano. The climb up takes anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes, and can be strenuous at certain points, but the view makes it well worth the effort. On top, you’re rewarded with a sweeping, panoramic sight of the city, Holyrood Park, and the ocean.
Explore the Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye
Crystal-clear waterfalls framed by a breath-taking stretch of rugged, mountainous terrain; this is the sight that attracts travellers from all over to the Fairy Pools of the Isle of Skye. Situated in Glen Brittle, the Fairy Pools are dotted along a 1.8km walk. Swimming is allowed, but be sure to bring your wetsuit!
Wander through ancient castles
With well over 2,000 castles having been built on Scottish soil, its no wonder that they’re well-known for them. But what makes Scottish castles mesmerising, is the surrounding scenery; more often than not, castles were built high on mountain tops and cliffs, with views over the ocean and lochs. Let your imagination run wild as you traverse the cobbled fortresses, picturing knights on horses and damsels in distress. Highlights include Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Culzean Castle and Stirling Castle.
Visit the café where Harry Potter was written
From her favourite window seat on the third floor of The Elephant House, J.K. Rowling would gaze out at Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriar’s cemetery and George Heriot’s School. A mysterious and gloomy view, which evidently inspired her highly-acclaimed work. The (now) famous café, dubbed as the ‘birthplace’ of Harry Potter, is a must-see for any wizard fans. The Elephant House has also been frequented by Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin.
Taste your way through whisky distilleries
It’s no secret that Scotland is home to some of the world’s finest whisky. In total, there are 6 regions that produce scotch; Highland, Lowland, Campbeltown, Speyside, Islay and Islands. Consequently, the different regions play a large part in influencing the varying tastes of Scotland’s whiskies. Top picks for distilleries to visit include Bruichladdich, The Macallan, Glenmorangie and Highland Park.
Step back in time in Old Town Edinburgh
Old Town Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rightly so. Dripping in history, the medieval layout of Old Town remains preserved to this day. The Royal Mile (or main street) runs directly from Edinburgh castle, with small wynds (narrow alleyways) flanking from it, in the traditional herringbone structure. St. Giles Cathedral is a must-see, as is the deep chambers of vaults beneath the city. Old Town Edinburgh is also home to a collection of shops, cafés, restaurants, bars and night clubs.
Go fishing on a loch
Whether you’re out to catch a rainbow trout or Nessie, there are plenty of freshwater lochs and rivers to choose from in Scotland. Hire a boat, or try fly-fishing for trout, salmon, and pike. If fishing isn’t your thing, why not hire a canoe?
See the northern lights in Tobermory
Located on the Isle of Mull, Tobermory is a quaint Scottish town, well-known for it’s iconic colourful buildings situated along the harbour. Additionally, it’s one Scotland’s finest places to catch the northern lights. The best time to see the lights is on a clear night in autumn and winter, as the skies are darker, creating a perfect blank canvas for the aurora borealis.