Scotland is one of those countries that once you go, you can’t quite get it out of your head. The country offers many destinations for everyone to enjoy, from breath-taking landscapes to a vibrant city nightlife, activities are not only endless, they ar also incredibly fun. In today’s travel issue we are giving you our top five Scotland recommendations for when the pandemic is over, I guarantee you will be left wanting more.
Disclaimer: if you are planning on going during the COVID-19 pandemic, please check the country’s travel restrictions.
No list of Scotland would be complete without Edinburgh. This city is perfect for a short weekend trip when your time is limited, and the fact is, if you only have time to visit one place in Scotland, well, this is your place to go. The capital boasts beautiful organic medieval architecture in Old Town and contemporary architecture in New Town, making it a perfect tourist destination. While you´re there, you don’t want to miss the majestic Edinburgh Castle, a fortress that stands atop the entire city. If you’re a history geek, this is the spot for you. If you enjoy hanging around in nature, then you can´t miss going on a hike to Arthur’s Seat. This volcano sits 251m above sea level and offers 360-degree views of the entire city, perfect for an Instagram picture. If you’re more of an indoor cat, this city has many museums and delicious pubs for you to eat like a real Scott. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Scott Monument and if you can spare it, take advantage of the free walking tours where you can learn all about the town’s past and the spooky secrets it hides. And let me tell you, some of them are pretty ghostly and mysterious.
“I was sick and tired of everything when I called you last night from Glasgow.” I think it’s fair to say that if you're an ABBA or Mamma Mia fan, you know these lyrics by heart. To be honest, this is all I needed to visit this enchanting city located on the River Clyde on Scotland’s west coast. In recent years, Glasgow has grown exponentially, specifically as a cultural destination. This city is perfect to explore a variety of themed museums such as The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel, The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (which includes a bust of Queen Victoria), the Scottish Football Museum, the Tenement House (a National Trust for Scotland property), the Glasgow School of Art, and many more. If you’re a theatre lover, I recommend visiting the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre or attending a classical concert. Either way, you’re guaranteed a good time. Glasgow will suit you well if you enjoy walking outdoors, breathing the fresh air, and being part of a very lively community. Don’t forget to take a picture outside the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral to show your friends and family.
3. Loch Ness
Located in Scotland’s highland council area, Loch Ness is the lake with the biggest freshwater volume in all of Great Britain. The main reason people decide to visit this spot is not only because of the beauty of the area but also because of the Loch Ness monster’s famous legend. Sightings of the monster have been reported throughout history and believe it or not, many people still believe in this legend and go to the loch in hopes of catching a glimpse of the creature.
There are plenty of ways in which you can reach this unique highland. The hardest one, in my opinion, is to drive there by yourself. If you don’t know the route, I highly recommend taking a day tour, which you can take from Glasgow or Edinburgh. These tours not only offer a visit to Loch Ness, but they also provide several stops along the way to get a better look at the mountains of the country. When you arrive at the lake, you can take the ferry that will give you a tour around the lake or take an excursion to the castle in the middle of the loch. Whatever you decide, I’m sure it won’t be hard to enjoy yourself while you’re there.
Another attraction that is worth doing is riding on the famous Jacobite steam train. It is essential to notice that this train only operates from April to October due to climate factors. This train ride has been described as the best railway journey in the world. The journey takes you through the highest mountain in the United Kingdom, Ben Nevis, and passes next to one of the deepest lochs in Great Britain. The views you’re able to see are mesmerizing. You can take the train from Fort Williams, the largest town in The Highlands, finish your route in Mallaig, the end of the line, and then go back to Fort Williams, where you can stay on a selection of good hotels. When you arrive in Mallaig, you’ll have about an hour and a half to enjoy the fishing port and maybe grab something to eat before returning to the train.
However, one of the main reasons this train is incredibly famous is the resemblance it has to the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter films. The route this train takes is the same one you see in the movie. Many fanatics take this train to experience the magical Hogwarts Express, and some even dress as characters from the film. While you’re aboard, the experience gets even better; you will be able to purchase original Harry Potter souvenirs inside the train’s store as well as some sweet treats from the movies like chocolate frogs or Bertie Botts beans. Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, the views offered in this train ride through the beautiful Scottish Highlands are one of a kind. I should point out that it is crucial to make a reservation with a lot of time in advance, otherwise, you won't be able to get a train seat. For more information, look up the official West Coast Railways webpage https://westcoastrailways.co.uk/