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Scotland

United Kingdom
Isle of Skye showing tranquil scenes, a river or creek and mountains

Tour a whisky distillery, travel to the Scottish isles, climb the tallest mountains in Britain and go looking for the mythical Loch Ness monster.

With tall granite peaks, rocky coastlines, canals, lochs and cliff-top castles, Scotland is filled with stunning scenery. Spend time in the major cities to see another side to the country, which has world-class galleries and museums, fascinating historic monuments and a range of cultural events.

Many visitors make the capital city Edinburgh their first stop. Stroll along the Old Town’s Royal Mile up to Edinburgh Castle. Here you can see the Crown Jewels that were used in the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots in 1543, when she was just 9 months old. See Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, at the National Museum of Scotland. Browse the shops along Princes Street, the city’s main thoroughfare. Come in August for the Edinburgh Festival, the largest arts festival in the world.

An hour’s drive to the west of Edinburgh is Glasgow. Once an industrial heartland, the city has been transformed into a leading cultural center. Explore its many museums and galleries including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Glasgow Science Centre and the Glasgow Police Museum. Visit George Square in the heart of the city to see its statues and monuments.

Beyond the cities, the countryside entices with scenic walks and adventure. Climb up the 4,409-feet (1,344-meter) Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Walk along the trails of Cairngorms National Park and spot wildlife such as red squirrels and wildcats. Learn more about the legend of Nessie when you visit Loch Ness. Try to catch a glimpse of the fabled monster.

To get better acquainted with one of Scotland’s most famous exports, whisky, follow the Malt Whisky Trail between Inverness and Aberdeen. Visit working distilleries and sample distinctive malts.

Scotland is also known for its many ancient castles that dot the landscape. Go to Aberdeen City and Shire for the Castle Trail. The route takes in 17 castles including Dunnottar Castle and Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of Queen Elizabeth II.

If you have the opportunity, visit Scottish islands such as Skye, Bute and Mull. Enjoy their wildlife, beaches and villages.

Popular cities in Scotland

Arthur\'s Seat showing a castle, a city and a sunset
Edinburgh
Known for Castle, Shopping and Tour
The capital of Scotland combines ancient architecture and fascinating history with a vibrant cultural scene and world-famous festivals.

Reasons to visit

  • Royal Yacht Britannia
  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre
  • National Gallery of Scotland
The SSE Hydro showing mist or fog and night scenes
Glasgow
Known for Friendly People, Shopping and Theatre

Reasons to visit

  • The SSE Hydro
  • University of Glasgow
  • Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
Aberdeen which includes night scenes, a square or plaza and a city
Aberdeen
Known for Friendly People, Shopping and Business
A gateway to the Scottish Highlands, this city is filled with ancient architecture, modern museums and blooming gardens.

Reasons to visit

  • University of Aberdeen
  • Union Square Shopping Centre
  • His Majesty's Theatre
Dundee featuring a small town or village and a river or creek
Dundee
Known for Friendly People, Dining and Museum
Explore a city built on a jute empire, with magnificent Victorian architecture, beautiful North Sea beaches and an extinct volcano offering fabulous views.

Reasons to visit

  • V&A Dundee
  • Dundee Science Centre
  • Discovery Point
Urquhart Castle which includes a lake or waterhole and a ruin
Inverness
Known for Friendly People, River View and Walking
Inverness has all the attractions of a major city, including quality museums and heritage sites, as well as a perfect placement for Highland exploring.

Reasons to visit

  • Inverness Castle
  • Urquhart Castle
  • Eden Court Theatre
Isle of Skye showing tranquil scenes, a beach and a pebble beach
Isle of Skye
Known for Dining, Poolside Bars and Island
From mist-shrouded mountain peaks to plunging sea cliffs and moss-carpeted valleys, this windswept Scottish island is a place of wild, rugged beauty.

Reasons to visit

  • Talisker Distillery
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Fairy Pools