10 Must Visit Places in Scotland
When you think of Scotland and what makes its culture so particular, two of the first things that come to mind (and maybe even the two only things) are the kilt and the bagpipe. But there is a whole lot more to this country than just this! Try not to let the freezing temperatures and horrid weather put you off visiting on a tour. There is lots to see and do and the highlands rival New Zealand for scenery. Places you might want to visit include...
1. Scotish Highlands
The Scotish Highlands are one of the most spectacular places in the UK and the world. It is here you will be able to visit Loch Ness, this might seem like one of the biggest tourist traps in the world but if you go along with the legend of the loch ness monster and go in search of the mythical beast you will see some spectacular scenery and also get to go on a relaxing boat ride. Imagine staying in your very own luxury cabin in the middle of a peaceful wood or valley, perhaps complete with hot tub and wood burner. Choose the Scotish Hihglands for your next adventure holiday and this is all perfectly possible. Those who want to apply the theme of new experiences to their accommodation will be amazed by what possibilities await them; a stay in a lighthouse, with breathtaking coastal views, for example, is an option, as is experiencing the beauty of a converted church.
2. Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is a popular destination for tourists and if you haven't thought about visiting you might want to. From Glasgow's Queen Street station Loch Lomond is easily accessible you can catch the train to lake-side town of Balloch which is around a 40 minutes journey. You can then catch a ferry across the lower portion of Loch Lomond to small village Balmaha (one hour boat trip on the UK's largest lake!). Loch Lomond is truly a beautiful place and the expedition could be justified by the ferry trip alone, Balmaha is equally satisfying you'll see lots of highland cattle here but try to pick a sunny day to visit.
Once you start visiting castles in Scotland, it is very easy to get addicted to this activity. In Dumbarton try to visit the local fortress. Not much is left of the ancient castle nowadays, but the location over a giant rock just over the Clyde River is in itself beautiful and impressive (especially when you get good weather). Taking the train from Glasgow to Fort William (£12 for an approximately three hours long journey) can be an easy way to get to Dumbarton. Expect a long train journey through the West coast's desolated and majestic landscapes, you can also stop off at Fort William and came back to Glasgow by bus (only £5 for another three hours journey!), going through the gorgeous Glen Coe valley. Fort William is quite an unremarkable town in itself but if you indulge in the long train and bus journeys through the scenic Scottish Highlands then you will love it.
4. Stirling and Mockasin
After Edinburgh Castle, the most famous and impressive fortified place in Scotland is without any doubt Stirling Castle, just a mere forty minutes by car from Glasgow. For its long and bloody history, well detailed everywhere both in the town Stirling and the castle, for the view you enjoy from the place (even with a cloudy sky) and just for general feel you get from walking in such an old fortress, we really recommend going to visit this great place if you venture to Scotland!
5. New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde
Some places are worth visiting and become tourist attractions because of their natural beauty and marvels and some others are people magnets because of their historical value (and the cultural traces and artefacts left behind as traces of this remarkable past) and, finally, some other places cumulate the two interests, the nature-made and the man-made landmarks. New Lanark, in the Southern part of Scotland, is one of these places (and actually also one of Scotland's only five UNESCO World Heritage sites). Now just a small village and touristic site, it was founded in 1786 by industrialist David Dale and his son in law utopian theorist Robert Owen as an experimental community built around cotton mills, powered by the river Clyde, the current of which is very strong at this particular spot partly thanks to a purpose built dam. The mill does not produce fabric on an industrial scale anymore today, but the place was active until 1968. The old mills and workers living quarters might not appeal to you and you might want to opt instead for doing a long walk along the river Clyde and exploring a bit of the Falls of Clyde nature reserve. This is our recommendation anyway and might be the best choice.
Pretty, lively and stony Edinburgh! You will be immediately charmed by Scotland's capital when you arrive there and who wouldn't be? Honestly, if Disneyland decided to add to one of its parks a "Medieval Land", they would just have to take the old part of Edinburgh's city center and make a Xerox copy of it. A big towering castle, narrow streets, hidden passages, spooky and bloody (mostly true!) background stories, wannabe knights, ghosts, all the boxes are checked! And if you include great and various little shops, massive and rich museums (I went three days in a row to the National Gallery! No photos allowed unfortunately), a good music scene, colorful tartan and beautiful pubs to the lot, you end up with a great deal of a city. Though only one hour and a half away from Glasgow by bus, you could hardly imagine two more dissimilar cities. Edinburgh is extremely welcoming and is a great touristy destination in itself. Not a statement you could make of Glasgow at first sight! Yet, we believe the bigger and more populated Glasgow has more potential for a longer stay than its prettier neighbour city. Leaving aside the castle and all the medieval stuff, what will make your stay in Edinburgh extra special is the friendly people and vibe.
Glasgow might not be top of your places to visit when planning a trip to Scotland but it is still a city worth visiting. With a population of around 550,000 people there is the largest concentration of people in Scotland living here and also lots of great places to check out. If you love sport be sure to watch a football game, possibly in Glasgow which is football crazy
8. Culzean Country Park
If you are looking for a good day out with a scenic drive then we recommend checking out the Culzean Country Park. View our Culzean Country Park travel guide on what to expect.
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