Scotland’s cities are hard to beat. Each with their own unique idiosyncrasies, it makes sense to start at the Capital and venture on from there. Considered by many as a mini London in its array of eclectic activities, Edinburgh is a city of literature with a colourful past.
The tour buses are a great mode of public transport while soaking up the history as quickly as possible. A myriad of guided tours ranging from ghost to Harry Potter and literature to whisky are available too.
Food wise, you have some of the best restaurants from Michelin-starred to street food. For the best of the best choose Restaurant Martin Wishart or The Kitchin. Feel free to head to any of the pubs for recommendations — the Scots love to share their favourite places and top tips. For an unrivalled experience, make sure to visit in August for the world-famous Fringe.
Glasgow, like most cities and villages in Scotland, is just a train or bus journey from Edinburgh. As a city of music, you can always find a new live indie band or some form of desirable melody every night of the week.
The art scene is on fire with the maze of esteemed galleries — Kelvingrove, Burrell Collection, GoMA and all the trendy independent options — with a special solo self-guided street art tour serving as the cherry on top.
Foodies — don’t miss out on the famous Indian food or trusty favourites like Ubiquitous Chip. Glasgow is also one of the best shopping spots in the UK.
After painting the cities red, a trip to the Highlands equates to that perfect balance of solo serenity. Spend as much or as little time as you need, bearing in mind that the beauty becomes more overwhelming the further you venture. Hardcore outdoor enthusiasts should try their hand at Munro-bagging, reaching the summit of as many of Scotland’s major mountains as possible.
For times when you do venture into the untamed wilderness, give bothying a go. Bothies are typically abandoned croft houses or shepherd’s huts in the most remote Scottish areas used by mountaineers as a free roof for the night. Take note, as there are usually no loos or electricity — just a dirt floor, some books and maybe a fireplace. And yet, anticipate one of the most thrilling experiences out there, especially when you stumble across fellow bothyers. But first, you must find these remote hideaways!
The islands are as magical as they’re made out to be. From exploring the mystical Fairy Pools of beautiful Skye, a place praised for its mountains and picture perfect essence, to drinking your way through the likes of Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay (or any of Scotland’s famous whisky distilleries for that matter), and visiting the awe-inspiring Fingal’s Cave on the uninhabited island of Staffa (take the special boat tour), each place is a demonstrative component of what makes Scotland so special.
When it comes to accommodation, there really is something for every budget. For the ultra-swanky, boutique hotels like The Witchery in Edinburgh, citizenM in Glasgow, Bauhaus in Aberdeen and Monachyle Mhor in the Highlands provide a more personable staying experience for those going it alone.
Mhor 84 is a trendy hipster boutique motel worth investigating also. However, make sure to take advantage of Scotland’s breathtaking Airbnb scene. Benefits include gaining hyper local insight from charming hosts, a true Scottish immersive living experience and of course, priceless Scottish hospitality.
Tasting the food of a place is part of the journey. From refined to casual, there are so many renowned Scottish restaurants to choose from spanning numerous taste spectrums, which only adds to the excitement. Just make sure to cheers with some Scottish whisky or gin!
Whether French or traditional Scottish cuisine, the first-class food is humbled by the providence of the local Scottish ingredients — think Scottish salmon, hand dived scallops, seasonal organic veggies, roe deer and grouse, to name a few. Many Scottish eateries like Cail Bruich in Glasgow and Boath House in the Highlands practice traditional and urban foraging techniques in order to accommodate the most innovative of dishes. Follow your nose or the locals and satisfaction will follow!