Due to the reasons we list below and others, now is the time to visit Scotland. With attention-grabbing scenery, a deep history and distinct culture, there are plenty of reasons why planning a trip to Scotland is a great travel decision to make. With summer being the best time to experience this corner of the United Kingdom, planning a last minute trip here is the best way to use any leftover vacation you might have.
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Scotland has never been as affordable as it is now
There’s nothing I love more when traveling than enjoying amazing value. Due to recent events, the pound has dropped to 30 year lows against most world currencies. What this means is that everything from tours to hotels is now on sale. It would be a shame to pass up an opportunity to enjoy the best of what Scotland has to offer at cut rate prices, yes?
Outdoor recreation opportunities are everywhere
The Scottish Highlands provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to experience the simple but powerful beauty that has made this region famous worldwide. From clear and cold highland rivers to moody lochs, those into fishing will have a chance to catch Atlantic Salmon, Pike and Skate in unforgettable surroundings. The highlands are also an incredible place to take a road trip to enjoy the incredible scenery, or a bike trip if you’re feeling more adventurous. I did some biking there a few years ago, just remember to still keep an eye on the road!
Kayakers will love what they find along Scotland’s lengthy coastline; in places like Arisaig, they’ll have a chance to paddle between skerries (small rocky islands), interact with whales and dolphins, and discover isolated, white sand beaches which need to be seen to be believed. I spent a morning kayaking in Arisaig and it was a serene experience, I was taken back as well by how white some of the sandy beaches were.
A culture with deep roots
There are few countries more proud of their heritage than Scotland. With a fierce sense of independence and a cohesive identity, the culture here is distinct from what you’ll find elsewhere in the United Kingdom. With over 60 Highland Games taking place across the country every year, chances are good that you’ll have a chance to witness the sports, dances, music, and pride that make this nation great during your trip here. If you’re in Edinburgh and it’s on, go to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Be sure to take in the experience, it’s incredible.
If you are more interested in contemporary culture, be sure to check out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as it is the largest alternative arts festival in the world. Additionally, this city’s celebration of Hogmanay will make your wee New Year’s Eve party back home seem tame by comparison. If you can’t make it to the biggest party of the year, any night can be fun. Scotland has a great pub culture and I’ve had a few good nights meeting interesting characters and sharing stories over pints.
Scottish food and drink: equal parts unique and fascinating
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that British cuisine and Scottish cuisine are identical. They aren’t. Scotland has a number of dishes that stand out from the crowd, with Haggis being chief among them. A pudding that is prepared by mincing together a sheep’s heart, liver and lungs together with oatmeal, onions, and spices, and then cooked in a sheep’s stomach, it is surprisingly good for those brave enough to try it.
I was keen to try Haggis while there and was not disappointed. It tasted and looked completely different than what one would envision when they hear the ingredients. If you like black pudding in your Scottish breakfast, you’ll love Haggis. If you are not that adventurous, try a bowl of cullen skink instead. A fish chowder made from haddock, potatoes and onions, it is a perfect accompaniment after a long day of exploring.
Finally, you might think that your heart will seize up if you try a Deep Fried Mars Bar, but hey, you only live once. After a long night out on the town in Edinburgh or Glasgow, take the opportunity to enjoy this greasy but sweet dessert. Regardless if you try any of the above, do be sure at the very least to have a full Scottish breakfast, you can’t go wrong.
Some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet
I’ve been to Scotland several times before, and I can personally say that the Scottish are incredibly friendly. The vast majority of people I encountered made me feel as if I were a friend within a few minutes of interacting with them, and their razor-sharp wit had me laughing throughout each visit to Scotland that I made over the years.
If you are ever in need during your stay, don’t be afraid to ask a local for help, as most will do everything they reasonably can to help you. I remember the first time I arrived in Edinburgh, I really didn’t know where I was going and was exhausted from the long trip. I was sitting on my bag along one of the main streets confused and people actually came up to me and asked if I was lost and needed directions; I’ll never forget that and I’ve never experienced it since.
Easily accessible from anywhere in the world
Scotland has many direct air connections from major air hubs all over the world. You can reach Edinburgh from cities such as New York City, Toronto, and Abu Dhabi, and from numerous European centres. Visitors from elsewhere can fly to Scotland by connecting through London Heathrow or Gatwick, making it simple to get here from anywhere on the planet with British Airways or another respectable international airline.
Anything I missed? Let everybody know about them in the comments below!