Rich in history, Scotland is a beautiful place to travel in Europe. On the northern tip of Great Britain, Scotland only has one, 60-mile land border, with England. The rest of the country is surrounded by water – the Atlantic, the North sea, the North Channel and the Irish Sea – which provides a lush landscape to enjoy.
The people are friendly and welcoming to tourists, making a vacation in Scotland ideal for all ages. Here are some ways to enjoy Scotland:
Drive the Coast:
One great way to experience Scotland is to rent a car and drive north up one coast, cross over the Highlands and then head south down the other coast. There are numerous small towns and villages which really let you experience Scotland like a pro. Oban is a delightful, small town on the west coast. There is plenty of shopping right along the bay, and overlooking Oban is the majestic McCaig’s Tower.
Off the Beaten Path:
If you want to leave the car behind, make sure to check out Steall Waterfall, which is in the Highlands, near Fort William. You’ll drive part way in, but take comfortable hiking shoes, because the last 3 miles, you must hike in. Steall Waterfall is spectacular, and well worth the time and effort it takes to get there.
A major Highlands attraction is Loch Ness. Loch Ness is the second largest loch in Scotland, with a surface area of 21.8 square miles, but due to its depth, it is the largest loch by volume. At its deepest point, Loch Ness is 755 ft deep. Loch Ness has become famous due to the alleged sightings of The Loch Ness Monster. While unlikely you’ll see “Nessie”, it’s fun to look for her as you drive along the loch. There is a gift shop where you can purchase tourist souvenirs.
Get Your Golf On:
The biggest attraction on the east coast is the birthplace of golf – St. Andrews. Established in 1552, the Old Course is in St Andrews, and is a must-see for even a casual golfer. For those that don’t mind the price, a stay in the Old Course Hotel is truly luxurious.
Explore the Ruins:
St. Andrews has more to offer than just golf though – the ruins of St. Andrews castle is just north of town. The ruins date back to 1549, and overlooks a beach called Castle Sands, and the North Sea. St Andrews Cathedral is another must-see. You can wander around the grounds and get a feel for how truly majestic this cathedral must have been during its prime. There is a small fishing village just a short walk away, and while there, you can enjoy fish & chips.
Live Like Royalty:
When speaking of Scotland, Balmoral Castle must surely be mentioned. The Balmoral estate is vast – it covers 49,000 acres! It is more than just a castle – Balmoral is a true working estate. In addition, the grounds and the ballroom are open to the public between April and the end of July, and close as Queen Elizabeth arrives in August for her annual stay.
There are castles, too numerous to list, and many are open for public viewing. The mist rising from the rolling hills, the highland cattle, the numerous flocks of sheep, and the open friendliness of the citizens make Scotland a great place to vacation for young and old alike.