If you’re thinking of heading to Scotland sometime soon, you’ll obviously want to make sure you get the most out of the experience. Scotland is a vast land with so much to do and see, so if you’re going to be visiting for the first time, it pays off to do a little research first.
Pro Tip: Get the most out of your trip to Scotland by renting a car. This way, you can explore the country at your own pace. Remember to check online and get an international driving license online or from your local auto club.
Although an international driving permit is not required if you have a valid driver’s license in English, carrying an international driver’s license (IDP) is a good idea because the document is recognized internationally. You can easily apply for an IDP through the International Drivers Association.
Spend Time Exploring Edinburgh
First of all, it makes sense to start your journey in Scotland’s biggest city. Edinburgh is the capital and what many would regard as the country’s cultural hub. It’s also where the Scottish parliament sits and the home to the biggest festival in the country, the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There’s so much to do, see and explore when you’re in Edinburgh, so at least give yourself a couple of days in the capital if you can.
Visit the Highlands and Loch Ness
It wouldn’t be a true trip to Scotland without visiting the Highlands. That’s where you see the true beauty of Scotland and everything it has to offer. If you’re going to do that, make sure that you have a strategy and you know which parts you want to travel to. Lots of people head to the areas near Inverness and visit places like the famous Loch Ness. If you get lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the fabled monster.
Head to the Isle of Skye by Ferry or Car
If you’re going to get the most out of your trip to Scotland, you’ll definitely want to take the opportunity to head to the Isle of Skye. It’s one of the most picturesque and beautiful places you’ll find anywhere in Europe, never mind Scotland. It’s a trip that you certainly won’t regret and won’t forget in a hurry either. There are a couple of ways to get to the Isle of Skye; you can take the Ferry from Mallaig to Armadale or drive over the bridge between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin.
Visit Some Famous Movie Shooting Locations
Thanks to its stunning landscapes and incredible old castles and buildings, Scotland has long been considered a great shooting location for international television and filmmakers. If you want to get closer to some of the shows and entertainment you love, you can do that while also exploring the beautiful landscapes of Scotland at the same time. You can visit the Outlander castles or some of the many Harry Potter shooting locations. There are plenty of options out there.
Head to Some of the Famous Distilleries
One thing that Scotland has always been known for and associated with is its distilleries. Scotch whiskey is generally considered the best in the world, although the Irish might have something to say about that. Nevertheless, you should definitely take the time to visit some of Scotland’s best distilleries if you’re a whiskey drinker. Glenfiddich Distillery and Laphroaig Distillery are two of the very best, but far from the only ones in Scotland.
Go Hiking in the Glen Nevis Valley
If you enjoy walking and getting active in the great outdoors, you should definitely take some time to appreciate and enjoy the Glen Nevis Valley. Here, you can walk all kinds of trails and take part in challenging hikes or more gentle ones, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for. This is also where you’ll find the UK’s highest peak, Ben Nevis.
And Don’t Forget Glasgow
One part of the country you definitely shouldn’t overlook is Glasgow. It’s Scotland’s second city and as such, it often gets overlooked by people who choose to visit Edinburgh instead. They’re both great cities and very different cities, and that’s precisely why you should take the time to visit both of them if you get the chance while you’re in Scotland. There are plenty of cultural highlights, and this is where you’ll find Scotland’s true sporting culture too.
There’s no shortage of great things you’ll find to fill your time with when you’re in Scotland. But it’s useful to have an itinerary in place. That doesn’t mean that you should try to do everything (there’s enough here for multiple future trips), but it gives your trip the structure it needs.