Scotland Travel Guide

I may be biased here but Scotland is one of the most unique and beautiful countries in the world. With a population of around 5,373,000 (2015) people, covering 77.93km² of land, it’s not a relatively big country. For being such a small country though, it has plenty to offer! For example, you can have epic adventures out in the wilderness and climb one of the many mountains, travel back in time in the castles and learn about the bloody history, visit iconic locations used in movies and TV, play a round of golf at the home of golf and experience the culture through food, drink and traditions. In short, there is a bit of everything in Scotland. I strongly believe that everyone should try visit the country at least once in their lives to witness how majestic it really is. A Couple of facts for you; The currency is Pound Sterling (£), The capital city is Edinburgh and ‘Alba’ is ‘Scotland’ in Gaelic. Here’s my Scotland Travel Guide.

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Go Hill Walking

Get out into the great outdoors and take on one of the many hills in Scotland. Start 'bagging' Munros and enjoy a walk out in the fresh air!

Take In The Stunning Landscapes

There is no shortage of stunning landscapes, grab your camera and capture some of the beauty that Scotland has to offer!

Go To A Football Match

Football is a MASSIVE part of Scottish life. Whether it be the National Team, Rangers... Celtic... Hearts or Hibs. You should definitely try grab a ticket for a game!

Learn About The Incredible History

From the Jacobyte uprising to the wars for independence, Scotland has seen many battles! All over the country you can learn about what has happened over the years.

Distillery Tours

For a country that is world famous for its whiskey... it would be crazy not to visit one of the many distilleries around Scotland!

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There is no shortage of castles in Scotland. During your visit, you should definitely try visit a few and have a look into the past. Some of the structures have been there for hundreds of years! Most notable being Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Stirling Castle & Wallace’s Monument.

Take a trip to Loch Ness and see if you can find the monster lurking in the depths. Even though the monster hasn’t been scientifically found, I still believe that there is something in the Loch. 

A 96 mile hike that starts in Milngavie, Glasgow and finishes at Fort William. Certainly, it takes a few days to complete but it takes you through some of the most scenic parts of Scotland including Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe.

There are so many iconic film locations in Scotland; the Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter), Rannoch Moor (Trainspotting), Doune Castle (Game of Thrones/ Outlander/ Outlaw King) and Glen Coe (Skyfall) are to name but a few! 

Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee or Stirling. Each city has something different to offer. They all have their own history and attractions so go out and explore! 

It’s not a skirt! Well technically it is but we call it a kilt. During your time in Scotland, why not try one on and see if they have your family tartan? Most importantly, if you got one, would you wear it like a true Scotsman? 

I challenge you to try Irn Bru and not enjoy it! One of the only drinks that help me cure a hangover. And, added bonus if you can find one with the original recipe! 

Scottish wildlife is so diverse. We have wildcats, deer, seals, whales, dolphins, reindeer and, above all, the highland coo! Try spot some of our gorgeous creatures when you’re out and about!

All over Scotland you can find standing stones but they are more common the further north you go. They date back to thousands of years and certainly add to the mystery of the past.

If you happen to be in Scotland during the month of August, get yourself to Edinburgh to witness the famous Fringe Festival. With thousands of performances taking part all over the city. Most importantly, the Edinburgh Tattoo! 

Haggis, neeps and tatties? Square sausage? Tattie and leek soup? Shortbread? Scottish Tablet? There are so many to choose from, be careful not to miss out on some of the most delicious meals! 

Fill up your lungs and give the bagpipes a shot! 

To everyone else in the world, Hogmany is New Years Eve. Massive street parties, counting down the bells and a nation coming together to celebrate. 

On the rare occurence that Scotland get’s the sun, it can get quite hot! Go for a nice relaxing dip in a Loch to freshen up. But be careful if it’s Loch Ness.

Fish ‘n’ chips. Sausage Supper. Steak Pie Supper. DEEP FRIED MARS BAR. Sure, you can find a chip shop in most countries but none compare to Scottish chippies! The most famous being the chip shop in Anstruther!

Scotland’s answer to Route 66! Starting & ending at Inverness Castle, drive around the North Coast of Scotland, covering 516 miles. It was named in the top 5 coastal routes in the world! 

If the T in the Park or TRNSMT festivals aren’t on, try get a ticket to the Barrowlands or the SSE Hydro to experience an unforgettable music gig! 

The second biggest sport in Scotland would be rugby and it’s becoming increasingly more popular. Probably because you can buy a pint at the game. And if that’s not a reason to go, I don’t know what is.

Discover Scotland’s dark and bloody past with ghost tours, haunted castles and spooky streets. Learn about Mary King’s close, the notorious Burke & Hare and many more dark tales and legends of Scotland.

All year round you can visit the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd. Not just at Christmas! They have been roaming freely since 1952 and it is Britain’s only free ranging Reindeer Herd! 

Have you really been to Scotland if you haven’t went to the pub for a crisp pint of Tenants? – Tenants is a Scottish lager by the way, distilled in Glasgow.

Take a trip to St. Andrews – the home of golf. Enjoy a day in the east coast town, play 18 holes then relax on the beach! 

In addition to the history and ghost stories, Scotland has a wide collection of myths too. For instance, there are Kelpies, Selkies, Fairies and Hags. As well as mythological creatures, Scotland has myths about King Arthur and other historical figures.

Go see some dolphins at the dolphin centre up at Spey Bay as they swim in the Moray Firth. It’s a conservation and observation centre where you can go to learn not only about dolphins but other marine life in Scotland too! 

Scotland’s national motorsport centre. If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to catch one of many events/ championships held there!

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Aberdeen
  • Dundee
  • Stirling
  • Perth
  • Inverness
  • North Berwick
  • Fort William
  • St. Andrews
  • Callander
  • Aviemore
  • Oban
  • Stranraer
  • Falkirk
Munro Bagging
A Munro is a mountain in Scotland with a height over 3000ft. One of the best free activities is to 'bag' Munros, ultimately meaning to get to the summit. There are 282 to choose from and they are located all over the country - no excuses!
Skiing & Snowboarding
With the number of mountains Scotland has and the cold weather, it's no surprise that you can ski and snowboard. Hit the slopes in Aviemore, Glen Coe and if you are visiting in summer - Intu Braehead has indoor slopes!
Surfing
There are some great surf spots in Scotland. In the far North, you have Thurso (Scotland's surf capital) and you also have numerous spots along the east & west coasts.
White Water Rafting
There are a few white water rafting spots in Scotland, especially in Perthshire. One of the most popular companies is called 'Nae Limits'.
Go Ape!
Unleash your inner Tarzan and take a visit to Go Ape. There are 3 different locations throughout Scotland, all offering the chance to zip-line and swing among the trees!

Food & Drink

Eating out in Scotland can be relatively expensive, especially if you’re in the bigger cities. An average sit-down meal in a nice restaurant comes to around £20 with a drink although you can grab some good old pub grub for under £10 with a drink included. Alternatively, if you are self catering, you can pick up a weekly shop for anywhere between £40-£60. Although, that depends on how much you eat. After that, if you fancy a wee drink, the average pint costs £3-£5 with the price rising in the big cities. Spirits can cost anywhere from £3-£10 depending on brand, type of spirit and age! 

Accommodation

Depending on how close to the city centre you are and what time of year it is, hotels can vary from £25 all the way up to £100+. Hostels can be relatively cheap with the price increasing as the dorm size decreases. The average price ranges from around £10-£50. On the other hand, you could couch surf which is usually free and that way you could spend time with some locals. 

Transport

Public transport is the cheapest way to travel Scotland with prices varying depending on the length travel. If you’re just looking to get from A to B in the city, trains can cost £3-£15 one-way and busses £1.50-£8. In addition to busses and trains, in Edinburgh, you also have the tram service which varies from £1.50-£5. When you’re moving from one city to another, the prices increase with trains usually costing £7-£50 and busses £6-£20. Alternatively, you could rent a car or bicycle with various prices available. With that being said, I would recommend catching the Megabus with tickets costing as low as £1!

Ticket Prices

Most castles charge an admission fee which can range from anywhere between £2-£20 depending on which castle you are at. Tickets for football matches can cost anywhere between £10-£60 depending on which team, stadium, seat locations and importance of game. Guided activity tours to the country can range from anywhere btween £20-£120 depending on the length of the tour.

 Recommended Daily Budget: £60

Please Note: This is running on the assumption that you are staying in a hostel, using public transport, self-catering and only occasionally dining out.  You should budget accordingly if you plan on staying in more luxurious hotels, dining in fancy restaurants and doing a lot of tours.

1. Drink On Student Nights

Student nights are usually on Tuesdays & Thursdays and are considerably cheaper than at the weekend. In certain pubs & clubs you can even pick up basic drinks for just £1!

2. Come Prepared For The Weather

Scotland has a unique weather system where you just don't know if it's going to be sun, rain or snow. So, my advice would be to take a bit of everything when travelling Scotland so you don't have to buy a rain-jacket or jumper when you're there!

3. Visit Free Museums & Galleries

Most public museums and galleries are free in Scotland and can make for a great day out! Be sure to check out the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow!

4. Go Hiking

Hiking is one of many free activities in Scotland, get a bus out of the towns and cities to submerge yourself in nature. Experience some of the crisp fresh air and enjoy a day in the hills!

5. Couch Surf

Couch surfing can save you A LOT of money from accommodation. Not to mention, you would be staying with a local who could help you navigate and let you in on some hidden gems in the area!

6. Self-Cater

Self-catering is usually the cheapest way to eat regardless of where you are. Hit the supermarkets and buy a weekly shop to save yourself some money!

7. Free Walking City Tours

Check out when the next free city tour is online or by flyer and join the walk! It's a great way to see the city and meet people along the way!

8. Avoid Dining In City Centres

The prices tend to increase as you get closer to the city so try avoid dining in the city centre! However, there are hidden gems such as the Horse-shoe Bar on Drury Street in Glasgow.

Packing for Scotland is a challenge. Mainly because you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get! So, this is a basic list of what you should pack but if you’re going in the Winter months, I would definitely recommend packing heavier clothes and leaving out the shorts! However, it all depends on what kind of experience you want as well, there is no point in packing hiking boots if you won’t be going hiking.

  • Rainjacket x1
  • Hoody/ Jumper x1
  • T-Shirt x 5
  • Shirt x 2
  • Jeans x2
  • Shorts x 1
  • Outdoor Trousers x1
  • Trainers x1
  • Hiking Boots x1
  • Boxers x7
  • Socks x7
  • Hat, Scarf & Gloves x1
  • Toiletries 
  • Camera/ Phone
  • Travel Adapter 
  • First Aid Kit

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