There are literally hundreds of good reasons to choose to Scotland as your vacation destination so you’ll understand my concern when I was asked to compile just FIVE for this blog post! Well, you may call it cheating, but I’ll call it creative thinking when below I have listed five categories under each of which there could be dozens of other reasons, but you get the idea…
1. Scottish Festivals and Cultural Events
Whether it’s a traditional Highland Games event where kilted competitors toss the caber or dance a Highland Fling to the tune of the bagpipes or the stunning celebrations of seeing in the new year at Hogmanay, Scotland knows how to put on a show! Nowhere is this more apparent than during the month of August at the Edinburgh Festival where the city comes alive with street entertainment, theatre, musical, visual arts and comedy events. Not forgetting of course the internationally renowned spectacle of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which takes place to the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle itself.
2. Scottish Scenery and Wildlife
If the aim of your vacation to escape the hum-drum of life then there is nowhere better in the world to get close to nature! One of Europe’s last remaining wildernesses, the Scottish Highlands, islands and coasts are a landscape lovers haven – rolling hills, unspoilt golden bays, shimmering lochs and heather-strewn glens in abundance. And these landscapes, the invigorating air and the chilly coastal waters provide perfect unspoilt habitats for some wondrous wildlife from the red squirrel to roaming wild deer, from circling eagles to nesting puffins and from tiny seals to magnificent whales.
3. Scottish Castles
From castellated baronial manor houses to imposing fortified towers, few countries can offer the vast array of contrasting castles that Scotland has to boast. Eilean Donan Castle, on a tidal island in the glassy waters of Loch Duich has become a Scottish Icon in itself having appeared in many films, most notably Highlander. The dramatic ruins of Urquhart Castle near Inverness on the weather-beaten shores of Loch Ness offers an excellent look-out point for some nessie-spotting whilst Dunottar Castle, reputedly Scotland’s most haunted fortress clings to cliffs near Aberdeen overlooking the wild waters of the North Sea. Possibly most famous however is the stunning Edinburgh Castle, once the royal seat for Scottish Kings and Queens; perched atop a volcanic rock in the heart of the city the castle offers stunning vistas and is still home to the Scottish Crown Jewels to this day.
4. Scottish Food and Drink
With its rich rural and coastal landscapes it is not surprising that Scotland produces its own quality foods such as beef, local game and the freshest of seafood. Traditional Scottish dishes are hearty affairs such as Aberdeen Angus steak, Cullen Skink, (a thick seafood broth), and Abroath Smokies (haddock smoked over woodchips for a distinctive flavour). Not to mention Haggis, not a wild-animal as some cheeky locals will have you believe, but minced offal and oats cooked with onion and seasoning and served encased in a sheep’s stomach lining – perhaps not everyone’s ideal dish but should be tried at least once during your stay! And of course if it’s a cold night there is no better a way to warm up by an open fire than with a nip of Scotland’s Water of Life – a “wee dram” of Whisky.
5. History, history and more history
The castles mentioned above are, of course, a stark reminder of Scotland’s turbulent past but there is so much history besides. Why not visit the Scottish Borders to see the famous abbey ruins of Melrose Abbey, where Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried or the intriguing Rosslyn Chapel whose intricate carvings have been connected to the Knights Templar, freemasonry and the Holy Grail, most notably in Dan Brown’s the Da Vinci Code. In Stirling you’ll find the towering Wallace Monument and the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, history that was brought alive in the 90s movie Braveheart whilst at Culloden Moor you can remember the infamous battle between Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Highland armies and the English forces. And if this centuries-old history isn’t quite old enough for you then you can always travel to the Scottish Isles where you’ll find the beautiful Callanish Stones (Isle of Lewis) dating back to 3000BC or head to the Isle of Orkney to see the Neolithic dwellings of Skara Brae (predating the Egyptian Pyramids) the ancient tomb of Maes Howe and the Ring of Brodgar all built long before Stonehenge.
Scotland is a truly spectacular destination and the above five pointers are just the tip of iceberg – for further suggestions for your own voyage of discovery through Scotland ask your adeo Travel vacation expert and they’ll be happy to help.