1. How to Plan Your Amazing Scottish Trip?
  2. Why Visit Scotland?
  3. What’s The Weather Like In Scotland?
  4. What to Pack For Your Scottish Trip
  5. Map Of Scotland
  6. How To Explore Scotland By Car
  7. How To Explore Scotland By Public Transport
  8. Other Useful Links While Researching
  9. Where To Ask Questions And Get The Right Answers
  10. Books About Scotland
  11. Where to Stay In Scotland
  12. Adrenaline and Adventure in Scotland
  13. Blogs and Inspiration
  14. Top Places To Visit
  15. Best Scottish Landscapes
  16. Top Hidden Gems
  17. *Bonus: Scottish Trivia By Region
  18. Comments & Conclusion

How to Plan Your Amazing Scottish Trip?

Planning your one and the only unforgettable trip to Scotland can prove hard if you're not sure where to look for information. It seems like there is an infinitude of websites and resources but having too much choice can sometimes be a bad thing!

Luckily we found a perfect solution. If you not sure where to start planning your trip to Scotland read on.

In this XXL Scottish Travel Handbook, we want to provide you with all the links, tools, secrets, and information you will need to research ideas and plan your amazing trip to Scotland. We also filled it with extra tips and tricks and advice to consider while you’re at it. We hope you will find this resource useful and helpful.

So without further ado let’s get right to it! Roll up your sleeves grab a pen and piece of paper and let’s start planning.

Too long to read?

Grab the PDF or Pin for later!


Why Visit Scotland?

 

Scotland Is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world...

It’s also the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology...

And whisky...

golf...

and castles...

Extra resources:

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24 reasons you must visit Scotland in 2017

Why Visit Scotland

38 Reasons You Should Never Visit Scotland

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What’s The Weather Like In Scotland?

Some people say that Scotland does not have a climate – it has weather and very turbulent weather at that!

It can change in an instant, so don’t let a sunny morning fool you into believing you don’t need a waterproof jacket and never let a rainy start of the day spoil your plans.

That’s why people say:

“If you don’t like the Scottish weather just wait for 10 minutes or drive 10 miles”.

A key thing to remember is that the east coast enjoys more sunshine but lower temperatures while the west is wetter but milder.

The coldest weather of all occurs in the Cairngorm mountains (the lowest recorded temperature in the UK of -27.2 C was twice achieved at Braemar!) so I’d treat these hills with respect if I were you.

Extra resources:

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Extra information on weather

Scotland's climate

Met Office North Scotland climate overview

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What to Pack For Your Scottish Trip

 scotland

Visiting Scotland can be an exciting and remarkable experience but planning what to pack can be as important as ensuring you’ve got your passport or travel tickets– well nearly.

Here is some must haves that you have to squeeze into your travel bag because you want to remember your trip to Scotland for all the right reasons.

The key is to dress in many thin layers of clothing so you can put them on or remove them as you need. Although it is not true that it rains constantly in Scotland, it only feels like that at times, an umbrella is a must.

Even in the warmer months, with average temperatures of roughly 19 C, it is advisable to bring a light waterproof jacket and a jumper for the colder nights and any rain you might experience.

In colder months, from October to April you will need a heavier sweater or coat. Waterproof and/or thermal trousers are excellent winter clothing choices for walking in the hills.

For walking or climbing sturdy hiking boots are best as paths can become boggy. On rainy days while exploring wild paths or archaeological sites a pair of wellies can come in handy.

Extra resources:

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What to Pack for a Trip to Scotland

Clothing and Supplies Tips

What to Wear in Scotland

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Map Of Scotland

How To Explore Scotland By Car

Exploring Scotland by car can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding methods of travelling throughout this beautiful country.

It is definitely the most flexible and cheapest way to travel, as you are not rushed to get back on your tour bus or have to depend on the public transport.

You can easily drive away from the most popular tourist destinations and head into the amazing Scottish wilderness.

The roads are usually clear of congestion except for morning and afternoon rush-hours in built-up areas and accidents.

Before you set off, make sure to check your route for any accidents and roadworks so you don’t get stuck for hours

Traffic Scotland - Timetables and journey planner for all bus, rail, coach, air and ferry services in Scotland

If planning to cross the Firth of Forth make sure that the Forth Road Bridge is not closed. Due to the high winds, there can be speed restriction or complete closure of the bridge.

Whilst driving through the remote, beautiful Scottish countryside the roads are often single track so watch out for oncoming traffic. Passing places let vehicles pass each other on these narrow roads. If a traffic builds up behind you, it is a good idea to let locals get past.

How To Explore Scotland By Public Transport

Scottish Camping
by rongorongo (CC BY-NC_ND 2.0)

Scotland by Bus?

The biggest bus operator that connects all the major Scottish cities including the remote highlands is Citylink. They will get you pretty much everywhere you want to go.

Their Explorer passes are a great option to consider when planning a tour around Scotland by public transport.

You get unlimited travel for every Citylink destination in Scotland for a different duration depending on your time and budget. You can opt for either 3 out of 5, 5 out of 10 or 8 out of 16 days.

We think that’s a super flexible way when planning an amazing itinerary with a decent value of  £42, £62 and £93.

Compared to their individual ticket prices, those are awesome savings and a great place to start planning your adventure. If you decide to go for individual tickets remember to book in advance as the remote highland buses tend to be busy and only booking in advance will guarantee you a seat.

If you’re planning to travel around a smaller location like Edinburgh, Glasgow or Isle Of Skye, Stagecoach will be your pick with the Megarider ticket that you get unlimited travel for 7 days for just 32 pounds.

Scotland by Ferry?

There are two main ferry operators in Scotland.

NorthLink operates ferries to the Northern Isles. NorthLink’s overnight motor ferry service between Aberdeen and Kirkwall/Lerwick has cabins to help you get a few winks overnight – 12 hours from Aberdeen to Lerwick, 14 via Kirkwall.

NorthLink also operates a motor ferry between Scrabster to Stromness, Orkney – 1 hour 30 minutes. Pentland Ferries also operate routes from the Northern Highlands to Orkney (Gill’s Bay-St Margaret’s Hope). Summer ferries also operate from John O’Groats.

Inter-island ferries are extensive in Orkney and Shetland, ran by the respective councils.

Caledonian MacBrayne –  colloquially known as CalMac – run ferries along Scotland’s West Coast.

CalMac’s route network connects 20 destinations in the Clyde and Hebrides, to destinations including Arran; Skye; Lewis; Harris; Uist; Eigg, Islay and more… Book in advance to guarantee car space on larger routes.

Smaller routes like Wemyss Bay-Rothesay, you just Turn Up and Go, which allows you to check your can in once you arrive at the port. Bikes are free for all you dedicated people!

There are a number of Hopscotch tickets which permit multiple journeys across a given area with or without your car. If you love public transport as much as we do – why not combine your train journey with your ferry journey with a Rail and Sail ticket? No brainer!

Argyll Ferries and Western Ferries operate sailings to Dunoon on the Firth of Clyde. Ferries also run by SPT depart from Gourock, for Kilcreggan – included in your daytripper.

A number of independent companies and councils run ferries, ie. Jura ferry and the best place to find information for these ferries is on the Traveline Scotland website.

Stena Line and P&O Irish Sea operate car ferries from Cairnryan, Galloway to Larne, Northern Ireland. There are at least 12 sailings per day – journey time 2 hours 15 minutes (Stena Line) or 2 hours (P&O)

Scotland by Train?

Trains connect all 7 of Scotland’s cities.

The extensive network also connects a number of smaller towns and villages. The network is densest within the Central Belt; the City of Glasgow has the largest suburban railway network in the UK, outside of London.

Types of train tickets

Three types of train tickets are available for most journeys in Scotland:

  • Off-peak tickets are restricted to only certain times of the day, they are not permitted for use outside of morning peak and evening peak. Please note that in Strathclyde (West Central Scotland) evening peak is not applied; it is everywhere else in the country. These tickets do not reserve seats.
  • Anytime tickets can be used all of the time. These tickets usually are a little bit more expensive than off-peak, and these too, do not reserve seats.
  • First Class tickets are usually far more expensive than the above but offer a raft of benefits like extra space, curtains, power sockets and even sometimes…free refreshments. These usually reserve a seat. However, on Abellio ScotRail trains, especially on longer distance routes, there are very little extra First Class seats.

Advance Singles offer significant price reductions and are available on the following long distance routes:

  • Glasgow/Edinburgh/Inverness-Aberdeen
  • Glasgow-Oban/Fort William/Mallaig
  • Inverness-Wick/Kyle of Lochalsh
  • Glasgow/Edinburgh-Inverness

There are a number of special tickets which benefit travellers by allowing unlimited travel within a said period.

Spirit of Scotland Travelpass

Spirit of Scotland travel passes offer unlimited rail travel throughout Scotland and also a number of benefits for other forms of public transport.

Choose from:

  • Four days unlimited travel over eight consecutive days for £134.00
  • Eight days unlimited travel over 15 consecutive days for £179.00

The pass even includes the Northern England cities of Berwick upon Tweed and Carlisle.

Train and ferry links

Every Caledonian MacBrayne ferry on the west coast of Scotland is accessible through the pass; Argyll Ferries also offer their services between Gourock and Dunoon for pass users. NorthLink Ferries to the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Buses can be travelled on for free on select Citylink, First Bus and Stagecoach routes in the Highlands, Skye, Argyll and the Scottish Borders.

Highland Rover

The Highland Rover whisks travellers off across the most splendid of landscapes in Scotland. Four days unlimited Highland travel across eight consecutive days costs a mere £81.50. It is free to travel on the following Abellio ScotRail routes:

  • Glasgow to Fort William/Mallaig/Oban
  • Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
  • Inverness to Wick/Thurso
  • Inverness to Aberdeen
  • Inverness to Aviemore

It is also permitted to travel between Oban and Mull, and Mallaig to Skye on Caledonian MacBrayne sailings. Argyll Ferries also offer their route from Gourock to Dunoon.

Bus links between Inverness and Fort William (Scottish Citylink & West Coast Motors) and Stagecoach Highland services between Thurso and the Port of Scrabster for Northlink sailings to Orkney. It’s also worth mentioning that NorthLink Ferries offer a 20% discount for their ferries to the Northern Isles.

Central Scotland Rover

Central Scotland Rovers allow users to travel unlimited for 3 days out of 7 consecutive days on Abellio ScotRail services across the central belt of Scotland and Scotland’s only underground railway: the SPT Subway.

The following ScotRail routes are included in the price:

  • Glasgow to Alloa/Dunblane
  • Edinburgh to Alloa/Dunblane
  • Glasgow to Edinburgh via Shotts, Bathgate and Falkirk High
  • Argyle Line routes to Lanarkshire (Stations East of Partick)
  • Glasgow to Cumbernauld/Falkirk Grahamston
  • Edinburgh to North Berwick
  • Edinburgh to Fife services (as far as Markinch)

* The newly opened Borders Railway is not available for travel using a Central Scotland Rover. Morning peak restrictions apply

How to buy Rovers and Travel passes?

Smaller-scale exciting tickets

There are also a number of smaller-scale exciting ticket options to choose from:

  • Strathclyde Daytrippers offer so much for so little in West Central Scotland. They cost £11.60 for 1 adult and up to 2 children and £20.50 for 2 adults and up to 4 children.

Daytripping in Strathclyde is one of the best ways to spend a day in the region. There’s unlimited travel on the train, the Subway, certain buses and certain ferries in the region. If in doubt about whether or not your service is included as part of the ticket, be sure to refer to the back side of your ticket. A full list of operators is provided here.

Daytrippers can be bought on the day or in advance from staffed railway and bus stations. It’s just a case of rubbing off the year, month, date and day on the day of your travels.

Tickets must be used on the day displayed on your ticket or else it is invalid, and no refunds or replacements will be issued once expired.

More here: 10 Ways to Make Use of the Strathclyde Daytripper Ticket

Tickets are valid after 9 am on weekdays, all day at weekends and on public holidays.

  • Glasgow Roundabout is a day ticket valid for use on trains and the Subway in the Greater Glasgow area. Over 110 railway stations are included in your ticket.

Much like the Daytripper ticket, tickets are valid after 9 am on weekdays, all day at weekends and on public holidays. The price is £6.60 for adults and £3.30 for children.

  • Rail and Sail are integrated rail and ferry tickets that can transport people to far flung reaches of Scotland, and even to Northern Ireland. If you were to buy a Rail and Sail ticket, you would be allowed to travel by train to the port of departure and then onwards across the seas to your island destination.

Rail and Sail can be bought in the following ways:

  • Online, for sailings to Belfast, Dunoon, Rothesay and Brodick
  • By calling 0344 811 0141
  • At staffed stations
  • On the train, provided that your station has no ticket offices.

It is vital that you keep up with the service disruptions on the ferry network. You can find these on Caledonian MacBrayne’s homepage

Train ‘scenic routes’

There are a number of ‘scenic train routes’ in Scotland. They are:

  • Glasgow-Mallaig on the West Highland Line, voted the World’s most scenic railway.
  • The Kyle of Lochalsh line, which begins in Inverness and terminates at the foot of the Skye Bridge and passes some of the best coastal scenery in Scotland.
  • The Far North line, for some of the Scottish Highlands’ most remote areas.
  • Glasgow to Carlisle via Kilmarnock, for persistent lush green pastures.
  • Borders Railway, established in September 2015, to reinstate the highly sought after railway link to the Borders.
  • Glasgow-Stranraer, to visit one of the most southerly points in all of Scotland.

ScotRail is not the only operators in Scotland, there’s also the Caledonian Sleeper, Virgin Trains West Coast, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains East Coast. There are a number of preserved heritage railways in Scotland.

ScotRail offers their unique Kids Go Free ticket throughout Scotland, allowing up to two children to travel FOR FREE with an adult. Perfect for days out!

Extra resources:

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Scotrail - Scotlands Railway

Cheap train tickets finder

Getting around Scotland by train

Calmac Ferries

UK wide National Rail


Where to stay in Scotland:
Booking.com has over 6000 different properties in Scotland. You get a free cancellation on most rooms and the best price guarantee.

Other Useful Links While Researching

Visit Scotland - Official Scottish Tourist Board Offers has a comprehensive database of almost everything you need including different unusual types of accommodation, things to see and do and more.

Welcome To Scotland - Similar to Visit Scotland, Welcome to Scotland offers a complete holiday guide to Scotland including Accommodation, Attractions, Events, Eating Out and Travel.

Walkhighlands - If you looking for a little bit of outdoor action Walkhighlands has a collection of almost 2k different free walks for you to try with photos and detailed descriptions, we use it all the time.

Undiscovered Scotland - Forget Wikipedia, established in 2000 Undiscovered Scotland has the most comprehensive and detailed descriptions of Scottish locations online. Seriously if you can’t find any info about any place we bet, you will find it here.

Traveline Scotland - Useful when using public transport in Scotland, just pop in two locations date and time and this website will pull then return all possible connections between two spots combining different modes of transport including Bus, Coach, Train, Metro, Ferry and Air.

Pinterest - Pinterest is the most underrated but amazing tool when it comes to researching Scotland. It got the complete database of all amazing posts and ideas and tips when it comes to exploring Scotland. Why not start by checking out some of our boards on Pinterest .

TripAdvisor - Everybody knows TripAdvisor and it can be a great idea to check what other people think about the places you consider visiting, saying that we often find amazing places that we love but it turns out that they got low ratings, and vice-versa top rated are sometimes a letdown. So don't rely too much on others and find what you like.

Where To Ask Questions And Get The Right Answers

If you’ve been looking for ages but the answers are just nowhere to be found online, the best way out is to ask the question yourself but where?

Here are some websites you can try:

Visit Scotland iKnow Community - Our personal favourite, only here you will find most competent and knowledgeable Scotland geeks online and surely you will get the most detailed and comprehensive answers.

Scotland Weekly Travel Thread on Reddit - There’s a weekly travel thread on Reddit Scotland where you can ask Scotland related travel questions if you dare. Just don’t ask them about the Isle of Skye, they don't seem to be as much impressed with it as we are. ;)

Hi, I'm from Scotland. I've never been to Skye. Can someone tell me what the deal with Skye is? Everybody that appears in this thread wants to go to Skye. Is there a secret Disneyland there or something that I don't know about?

As a Scot who has been to Skye. It's massively overrated, you aren't missing much if you've done other bits of Scotland”

“Personally I'd skip Skye, a long way for not much to see imo.”

TripAdvisor Scotland Forum - TripAdvisor again, they also provide a forum to ask Scotland related questions, you will probably get a more civilized answer then on Reddit.

Books About Scotland

Here are some good books to get you in the mood, follow links for more information and details about these books. Any one of these will make your journey even more unforgettable!

Scotland Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

Travel Guide: Scotland by DK Eyewitness

Wild Guide Scotland by K. Grant, R. Gaston and D. Cooper

I never knew that about Scotland by Christopher Winn

Nothing To See Here by Anne Wa

Bizarre Scotland by David Long

Thomas Cook’s “Drive around Scotland”

The Castles Of Scotland by Martin Coventry

The Hidden Places Of Scotland By David Garry

Where to Stay In Scotland

When looking for accommodation try some of the websites below, We also included subcategories for specific and unusual kinds of accommodation below.

Embrace Scotland - Embrace Scotland Accommodation directory with a handy built-in search and booking tools.

Undiscovered Scotland Accommodation - Undiscovered Scotland comprehensive accommodation directory.

Welcome To Scotland Booking - Welcome to Scotland offers extensive search capable list of accommodation providers.

Visit Scotland Accommodation - Visit Scotland’s list of different accommodation providers.

Stay In a Castle

If other places don't quite cut it and you just want to treat yourself. You might want to stay in a Scottish castle just check these links out for a list of places to book:

Celtic Castles - Scottish Castle Hotels - Celtic Castles list of castles with straight up and easy online booking forms.

Visit Scotland - Stay in a Castle - Visit Scotland take on a list of Castles in Scotland that you can actually stay in.

Luxury Accommodation

If you after a 5* Luxury hotels, here are some recommendations for you to browse for ideas.

Luxury 5 star Hotels - Visit Scotland Directory of 5* best accommodation in Scotland.

Good Hotel Guide - Amazing looking hotels with some great deals and discounts on Good Hotel Guide.

Scotland On the Budget

If you’re in for more down to earth but nevertheless amazing accommodation the best way to find hotels, B&B and best prices will be going on some of the most popular booking comparison websites out there:

Trivago - Most probably the biggest booking comparison website out there.

AirB&B - Offers some nice and unique accommodation if you looking for something different.

Booking.com - Another one of the most popular websites for booking online.

Scottish Lodges With Hot Tubs

This question pops up often enough for us to cover it, If Hot Tub is what sinks your ship then look here:

Visit Scotland - Lodges with Hot Tubs - Another of Visit Scotland Directories for finding unique and amazing accommodation that will tick all of your boxes.

Embrace Scotland - Lodges With Hot Tubs - Embrace Scotland Take on this one with their listing of providers.

Bothies

Basically it’s a small hut, cottage or shelter, usually left unlocked and available to passersby to use for free.

There are 81 bothies across Scotland, all of which provide refuge to many tired travellers and are usually located at wild and stunning locations. Bothies are a remarkable part of Scottish outdoor culture and well known by experienced explorers.

If you feel like sleeping in the middle of nowhere for free in Scotland check out our Beginners Guide to Bothies

Adrenaline and Adventure in Scotland

Here are some things we can think of when looking for adrenaline and adventure in Scotland!

Go Ape! - An outdoor adventure company which allows you and your kids to monkey around- in a safe environment – on rope ladders, swings, trapezes and zip lines.

Ace Adventures - Ace Adventures include some amazing activities including Paintball, Canyoning, Bungee Jumping, White Water Rafting, Canoeing & Kayaking, International, Expeditions, River Tubing & Cliff Jumping.

Adrenaline Junkies Ebook - Land, water, Air or Snow this free adrenaline junkies ebook have you covered for everything.

Blogs and Inspiration

A Collection of Scotland related blogs that will provide plenty of inspiration and ideas for not so obvious and of the beaten track spots and hidden gems.

Scotland with the Wee White Dug -  Samantha’s blog features probably the most famous Scottish westie called Casper exploring all the top spots including the best places to go with your four-legged friend.

Adventures Around Scotland -  Susanne is a Scottish travel blogger and writer who is passionate about exploring Scotland's lesser known gems and showing a different side of my country away from the typical tourist trail.

Love From Scotland -  Living in the lovely city of Edinburgh, Smige likes nothing more than bagging a Munro or planning a road trip to Scotland‘s remotest corners.

Life Of Gibbers - Emma’s creative space to showcase her travels. Features best of Scotland as well as abroad.

The Chaotic Scot - Kay’s invite you to enter into the world of vibrant, high-quality images, descriptions which will make you feel like you’re there, blurbs of history which transport you through the centuries, and sporadic attempts at humour.

Love Exploring Scotland -Dawn-Marie is Ayrshire based travel blogger stepping out of the comfort zone and helping others through My Peak Challenge 2017 and this Just Giving page where she supports Bloodwise Charity. Awesome!

Travels With A Kilt - Meet Neil. Neil is a travelling Scotsman and man in a skirt ;). Also a travel fanatic, nothing makes him happier than seeing new parts of the world and broadening his horizons.

Finding Scotland - Melissa is a Glasgow-based travel blogger and great photographer that loves nothing more than packing her bag and discovering new places to visit in bonnie Scotland.

Robin McKelvie - Robin is a travel writer, blogger and expert on Scotland. He contributed to around 40 travel books and blogs regularly for a multitude of Scottish web sites.

Traveling Savage - Keith or The Traveling Savage explores every corner of Scotland from the highlands and islands to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and the Borders with a pen in hand and a fire in the belly (which could be partly from the whisky)

Laretour -  Laura is “part time” travel blogger and book lover who loves to wander & enjoy the simple things.

Must See Scotland - Johanna & Gilbert, Must See Scotland is no-hype, tell-it-like-it-is website lots of information with some “Quite Lengthy Pages”. Still amazingly straightforward, honest and as entertaining

Funky Ellas Travel -  Nicola is a Scottish travel writer and blogger based in Fife. She loves to find things that are a bit different, unusual and a bit funky

 

Top Places To Visit

 

Best Scottish Landscapes

1. Quiraing

There's no doubt it's one of Scotland's most remarkable places to visit. Standing on the northern peninsula of the Isle of Skye, it leaves you with unforgettable and unmatched impressions that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

2. Queen's View

Queen Victoria, following her visit to the area in 1866, stopped here to admire the stunning views of Loch Tummel and Schiehallion. It's one of the most iconic panoramas in Scotland.

3. Glencoe

Glencoe is probably Scotland's most famous and scenic Highland glen. Visitors from all over the world flock here year after year, inspired by the sheer scale and grandeur of its surrounding mountains.

Everything about Glencoe A To Z

4. Torridon

The Torridon area includes 46 Munros which makes it the most spectacular mountain scenery in Scotland. It's a real magnet for traveloholics!

5. Old Man of Hoy

One of Britain's most spectacular natural pieces of "art". The Old Man of Hoy is a 450 ft (137m) sea stack off the island of Hoy in the Orkney Islands. Perhaps Orkney's most famous landmark, get there quick as it's only 250 years old and may well collapse soon!

6. Cuillin Hills

The Cuillin Hills are counted among the most spectacular peaks in Scotland. Admire them from Sligachan, Elgol or Glen Brittle. You can't escape their presence on the Isle of Skye- but who would want to!

7. Scott's View

Situated in the Scottish Borders, Scott's View is a fabulous place to sit and soak up the scenery. It has fantastic views of the Eildon Hills and the valley of the River Tweed.

8. St. Kilda

Described as "the island on the edge of the world" St. Kilda is situated 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, deep into the Atlantic Ocean. The highest sea cliffs in Britain are found here and they will leave you breathless.

9. Conic Hill

Conic Hill is situated beside the village of Balmaha, overlooking Loch Lomond. It gives a grandstand view of the loch, it's islands and the surrounding mountains as far south as the Isle of Arran.

Scottish Scenic Routes around Loch Lomond

10. Arthur's Seat

Hike up to Arthur's Seat for fabulous views of Edinburgh! One of seven hills in Edinburgh, Arthur's Seat was formed when a volcano erupted 350 million years ago. Not many cities in the world have a volcano at their centre!

11.  Assynt

Assynt in the far North West Highlands of Sutherland, Scotland. It is famous for its landscape and its remarkable mountains.

12. Gruinard Bay

Backed by towering cliffs and with amazing sea stacks, Kearvaig Bay is a spectacular white sandy beach.

13. Glen Docherty

Glen Docherty is a valley in Highland and is nearby to Kinlochewe and Càrn Beag. The A832 road runs through the glen to Loch Maree

14. Duncansby

The Stacks of Duncansby are some of the most impressive in the British Isles. The Great Stack is over 60 m high and rises above the summit of the adjacent cliff.

15. Loch Garry

There is really nothing that can prepare you for the 'Map of Scotland' shape formed by the shoreline of Loch Garry.

Top Hidden Gems

 

Parallel Roads, Highlands

In a quiet valley, 18 miles to the north-east of the Highland town of Fort William is a geological phenomenon that is unique in Britain.

Glen Roy and its side valley are marked by three strange roads that circle the glen. From the distance, they appear man-made but they are entirely natural, formed as lake terraces around a now long-gone lake that existed during the last ice age.

Electric Brae, Ayrshire

Electric Brae, south of Dunure in Ayrshire, is a site where it appears that the laws of physics don't apply. On this part of the A719 cars appear to roll uphill. This is actually

On this part of the A719 cars appear to roll uphill. This is actually an optical illusion – the road runs downhill but because of the surrounding landscape it appears to be going uphill. It was so named back when electricity had been newly discovered and any strange phenomenon could be described as "electric".

Kagyu Samye Ling, Dumfries and Galloway

The biggest Buddhist Temple in the West and, luckily for us, located in the peaceful valley of Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway. Founded by two refugee Tibetan monks in 1967 has host famous people who have made the trip to this temple include John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. The Monastery you can see on the photo

Founded by two refugee Tibetan monks in 1967 has host famous people who have made the trip to this temple include John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. The Monastery you can see on the photo was open in 1988 and all the work was done by members of the community which consist 200 people. Under the direction of

Under the direction of Sherapalden, resident artists and craftspeople produced all the images, carvings, paintings and decorations.

Secret Buddhist Temple In Scotland

The Fortingall Yew, Perthshire

In the graveyard of the small Perthshire village of Fortingall stands a yew tree which many believe is the oldest tree in Britain. It has been estimated to be up to 5000 years old, although the latest dating evidence suggests it is between 2000 and 3000 years old. A local tradition has it that Pontius Pilate was born underneath its branches. It is said that

A local tradition has it that Pontius Pilate was born underneath its branches. It is said that Pontius Pilate's father was serving in a Roman Legion based here when Pontius was born. Oh, well it's a good story anyway!

Little Sparta Trust, South Lanarkshire

Little Sparta is a lovely 5-acre garden hidden in the Pentland Hills at Dunsyre, 24 miles from Edinburgh. Created by artist and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay, the garden consists of about 275 works of art including many of Finley’s "garden poems". The Arcadian garden includes concrete

The Arcadian garden includes concrete poetry in sculptural form, polemic, and philosophical aphorisms, together with sculptures and two temples. It is a wonderful place for a peaceful walk.  Little Sparta will reopen in June 2017.

The Dunmore Pineapple

In Dunmore Park, one mile from the village of Airth in the vicinity of Falkirk, stands a folly ranked as "the most bizarre building in Scotland". A "folly" is a building built primarily for its decoration, a 45-feet high pineapple made of stone. This huge royal dockyard was

his huge royal dockyard was founded in 1761 by the 4th Earl of Dunmore and today it's owned by the Landmark Trust and can be rented as a holiday home.

See also: The Finest of Falkirk

Meikleour Beech Hedges, Perth and Kinross

Outside of the village of Meikleour in Perthshire is the world's largest and tallest hedges (they are mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records). The hedge follows the A93 for more than 600 yards and it's now more than 85 feet high.

It was planted by Jean Mercer and her husband Robert Murray Nairne in 1745. Local tradition says it is so high because the hedge is growing towards heaven as so many of the men who planted it was killed in 1746 at the Battle of Culloden.

Staffin Bay Dinosaur Footprints, Isle of Skye

Staffin Bay, located in the north of Skye, is one of the few sandy beaches on the island. Sheltered and quiet, Staffin Bay will provide a peaceful and tranquil day out for everyone.

At An Corran, close to Staffin Bay, there is a geological formation which you can see dinosaur footprints from 165 million years ago! The bay has yielded numerous dinosaur fossils, some of which can be seen at the community-run Staffin Museum.

Fast Castle

Located 4 miles from the Berwickshire village of Coldingham stands the ruined coastal fortress of Fast Castle.

Cliffs on three sides of the castle and a drawbridge to the mainland must have it almost impregnable. The fact that it was located in the Scottish borders meant that the castle was fought over by the Scots and English many times.

Although the castle was destroyed in 1515 after the Battle of Flodden, it's colorful history continued – local legends say that it was used for smuggling and ship-wrecking.

*Bonus: Scottish Trivia By Region

Divided into 33 Scottish counties that existed till 1974.

Aberdeenshire - In 1825 John Moir Produced first ever canned salmon in Aberdeen

Angus - Montrose has the widest high street in Scotland

Argyll - Loch Ave is the longest freshwater loch in Scotland 23 miles in length

Ayrshire - Ayrshire is the only county in Britain to have 3 golf courses

Banffshire - Balvenie Castle near Dufftown dates from the 23rd century and might possibly be the Scotlands Oldest Stone Castle

Berwickshire - Is home to Britain's first suspension bridge for road traffic. Built in 1820

Buteshire - Mount Stuart was the first house in Scotland to be lit by electricity ( and first to have indoor heated swimming pool…)

Caithness - Wick airport is the northernmost commercial airport in Britain

Clackmannanshire - Is the smallest county in Britain covering only 55 square miles

Dumfriesshire - Eskdalemuir hides biggest Buddhist monastery Western Europe

Dunbartonshire - Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park was opened in 2002 and is Scotland's first national Park

East Lothian - Bass Rock is the largest single-rock gannet colony in the world

Fife - Scotland first lighthouse was a coal-fired beacon built in 1635 on the Island of May

The Hebrides -Visit to Fingal's Cave on Staffa inspired Felix Mendelssohn to write Hebrides Overture

Inverness-shire - Is home to Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Britain

Kincardineshire - Whyte & Mackay Fettercairn Distillery founded in 1824 claim to be second oldest licensed distillery in Scotland

Kinross-shire - Kinross Sunday market is the largest indoor market in Scotland

Kirkcudbrightshire - The Merrick in north Kirkcudbrightshire, is the highest mainland peak in southern Scotland at 2.764ft

Lanarkshire - Lanarkshire is Scotland’s most densely populated county

Midlothian - First ever traffic cones were manufactured in Edinburgh in 1956

Morayshire -The Moray Firth is Scotland's largest bay.

Orkney - Biggest brown trout ever caught in Britain was taken from Stenness Loch and weighed 13kg

Peeblesshire - Lyne Church 4 miles west of Peebles might just be the smallest church in Scotland

Perthshire - In the Parish Church of St Bean at Fowlis Wester there’s a piece of McBean tartan that went to the moon with lunar module pilot on Apollo 12

Renfrewshire - Ardgowan House near Inverkip was used as a military hospital during both world wars and was the first hospital in Scotland to be damaged by German Bombs in 1941

Ross and Cromarty - Tain is Scotland's oldest royal burgh with a charter dating from 1066.

Roxburghshire - East of Melrose lies Newstead Scotland oldest inhabited village.

Selkirkshire - Selkirk Bannock was invented by a baker Robbie Douglas in Selkirk

Shetland - There are over 100 islands in Shetland but only 15 are inhabited

Stirlingshire - Is home to the most bizarre building in Scotland namely the pineapple house summerhouse retreat built in 1791

Sutherland - At 3.040ft Ben Hope is the most northerly Munro in Britain

West Lothian - Blackness Castle jutting out into the fourth river was designed to look like a ship

Wigtownshire - There have been more than 70 shipwrecks along the west coast of the Rhins in the last 150 years.

Comments & Conclusion

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