Scotland stirs the senses with a heady brew of epic scenery, deep-rooted traditions and cultured cities. The Highlands are home to some of Europe’s wildest landscapes, sparsely populated and scattered with lonely castles, while Scotland’s coasts and islands sustain wildlife including puffins, seals and whales. Look beyond the tartan and shortbread clichés and you’ll find that modern Scotland is also a progressive and forward-thinking nation, with historic ties to both Britain’s Celtic fringe and the Viking lands of Scandinavia.
Scotland’s two biggest cities maintain a healthy rivalry: Edinburgh offers the more obvious touristic appeal, with its bewitching old town and packed calendar of festivals, but Glasgow’s impressive Victorian architecture, foodie scene and proximity to the west coast all count in its favour. First time visitors to Scotland will likely want to tick off the big name destinations like Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye, while those with more time to explore can venture deeper into the Highlands or explore remote island groups such as the Orkneys and Shetlands.