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Scotland at a Glance

Why visit Scotland? This mythical land of clans, kilts and whisky combines cultural highlights and striking landscapes. Start preparing your journey with these quick tips from our local experts.

WHY VISIT SCOTLAND?

Imagine landscapes straight out of movie sets, a rich cultural heritage stretching back generations, castles galore, villages with timeless charm and friendly locals. Or, instead of imagining, why not experience it for yourself? It’s all waiting for you here in Scotland.

As the northern part of the British Isles, it has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from the other nations. The sheer mention of Scotland evokes images of mist-shrouded hills, ancient stone circles, castle ruins and old settlements. This is where many of Scotland’s greatest stories come to life.



If you're a keen nature lover, hiker or photographer, you’re in for a treat. You’ll have to spend some time in the scenic Scottish Highlands or the numerous Scottish Isles.

Other popular natural sights include the Isle of SkyeLoch Ness, Glen Coe, the Cairngorms National Park and the dramatic North Coast 500.

As for city life, the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, boasts a variety of attractions within its historic Old Town. And in summer, you could attend one of the many international cultural festivals, including the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival

On the west coast, you'll find Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city. It is renowned for its high-street shopping, vibrant music scene, and internationally recognised museums.

As a whole, Scotland is well-known for being a welcoming and friendly nation, so it is particularly ideal for solo travellers

Thanks to the diversity of landscapes and mild weather, Scotland makes for a fantastic destination year-round. You pick your preferred way to travel, whether on a self-drive packageguided small group tour, or private itinerary, and you're in for a trip to remember.

HOW TO GET TO SCOTLAND

All Nordic Visitor tours in Scotland start and end in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Edinburgh Airport is serviced by a large number of airlines including: Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, and KLM, among others.

Scotland has five international airports: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick, Inverness and Aberdeen. You can of course customise your package to start from elsewhere if you wish. Just get in touch so we can help!

Would you rather start or end your trip in Glasgow? When you book your tour, you'll see you have extra options to start and end your itinerary in Glasgow if you prefer.

In the booking steps, you'll easily be able to add private transfers from both Edinburgh and Glasgow International Airports to your hotel in Edinburgh. This means you have an easy and comfortable arrival in Scotland. 

And for your depature, you could book your last night in Glasgow instead of Edinburgh. This is ideal if you want to discover this trendy city or just to be closer to catch an early morning flight home.

See more practical information on our Scotland Travel Guide.



GETTING AROUND

Scotland’s varied landscapes and good road connections really lends itself to a road trip. For that reason, we recommend you opt for a self-drive tour. Just keep in mind that driving is done on the left side of the road.

If you’d rather forego the driving, you could discover this rugged country by bus on a small group tour or with a private driver-guide. No matter the way you journey around Scotland, you’ll be enchanted by the scenery.

Within Edinburgh, it’s easy to navigate by foot. If you prefer a bus, tram or taxi, here’s what you need to know:

Public transport is provided by Lothian Buses and the main station is at Waverley Bridge. You can buy a single fare on the bus directly from the driver, either by card or cash. But be prepared with the exact amount as they don't issue change.

Travelling between Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport

The city of Edinburgh has a great public transport system linking Edinburgh Airport and the city centre.

The Airlink bus (service 100) runs 24 hours day, departing from the airport every 10 minutes. The journey to Edinburgh Waverley Station in the city centre takes about 25 minutes. A single fare or open return ticket can be purchased from kiosks or directly from the driver.

The Edinburgh Tram also operates between the airport and York Place in the city centre. There are departures every 8–12 minutes and the average journey time is 35 minutes. A single fare or open return for “Airport Zone” can be purchased from vending machines (with exact change or card payment).



WHEN TO VISIT & WEATHER

There really isn’t a bad time to visit Scotland, and Nordic Visitor offers tours year-round so you can pick what’s right for you.

When you travel to Scotland will depend on what you want to do and see most. Would you like to enjoy cultural events and go hiking? The summer and shoulder season are for you.

Come in JuneJuly or August for the best weather of the year and a festival-packed calendar. You could go sailing to enchanting islands, enjoy some hikes to famous peaks, and even dip your toes in the North Sea.

Months on either side of the summer, AprilMaySeptember and October, are also big favourites with visitors who would rather have a quieter time. You’ll notice there is less traffic on the roads and more availabilities at attractions and accommodation. May to September is also when you could go on a small guided group tour.

Would you rather curl up by an open fire with a dram of whisky? Then come during the winter, November to March, to enjoy a more relaxed adventure. This lesser-travelled season is still a great time to see Scotland, with moody winter lights and a magical layer of frost.

As for the weather, Scotland is renowned for being changeable, but don’t be put off. It’s not a climate that you would call extreme, meaning it’s not too hot in summer or too cold in winter. But, you should keep in mind that weather conditions are known to change quickly and often in all regions of Scotland. 



 And what should you pack for your trip around Scotland? Like other Northern European countries, in Scotland it's best to be ready for any weather. That means that no matter the season, you need a warm jumper or fleece, a waterproof jacket and good walking shoes or boots for all sorts of terrain.

Prepare for your holiday to Scotland by reading our useful packing guide filled with local tips. 

TOP THINGS TO SEE AND DO

There are countless things to see all around Scotland. Below are some suggestions for you:

  • The Old Town and Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital
  • Glasgow, with its Georgian architecture and vibrant nightlife
  • The Scottish Highlands and its capital, Inverness
  • As many castles as you can along the “Castle Trail” in Aberdeenshire
  • Loch Ness, the alleged home of the monster Nessie
  • The mythical rock formations of the Isle of Skye
  • The white sand beaches on the west coast and in the Outer Hebrides
  • UNESCO World Heritage-listed Neolithic ruins on Orkney
  • The beautiful Trossachs National Park and Loch Lomond area
  • The “Seafood Capital” Oban on the west coast
  • Eagles soaring high above the Isle of Mull

See more Scottish attractions by region.

Scotland also offers a wide range of cultural and nature-based activities. Why not try one of these popular activities below?

Food & Culture

  • Visit one of Scotland's local distilleries to get a taste of its "water of life"
  • Photograph castles and learn about the way of life of ancient clans
  • Sample traditional Scottish cuisine such as haggis, porridge and black pudding
  • Learn about Gaelic culture and the megaliths on the Isle of Lewis
  • Viking heritage and island life in the Shetland Islands
  • Follow in the footsteps of your favourite Harry Potter or Outlander characters
  • Experience a traditional afternoon tea
  • Go to a local festival or attend typical Highland Games in summer

Nature & Adventure

  • Stroll along the dramatic beaches of Scotland's north coast
  • Spot wildlife like deer, red squirrels, seals, eagles, and even basking sharks
  • Sail to the islands of the Outer Hebrides
  • Lace up your boots and hike striking mountains of the Isle of Skye
  • Walk along the majestic Glen Coe valley
  • Take on Scotland's and Britain's highest peak, Ben Nevis
  • Swim in one of the many lochs, or taking a boat trip

With Nordic Visitor you can add optional activities and day tours, either at the time of your booking or on location during your stay. Your dedicated travel consultant will be able to advise you about available activities, timings, what's doable in your itinerary, and more. 

If you would like to include more activities into your Scotland holiday, we recommend booking a package that includes more time at each overnight location (for example, with two or more nights at the same accommodation). You can also send a us a request to customise a tour for you.



POPULAR ITINERARIES

Scotland is a country full of possibilities. Whether you want to stay for a long weekend or explore every crook and nook for weeks on end, you’ll be enchanted by its culture and landscape.

You’ll pick what suits you best, and for that reason all our itineraries are designed to be flexible. This way you can stay longer in certain destination, or add day tours and activities.

To help you make the most of your time in Scotland, see our helpful itinerary suggestions below with themes to match. 

From April to October

4–5 days: Start in Edinburgh, taking time to explore the capital city. Then you could head into the rugged Scottish Highlands for a day or two of adventures. This is a great way to get a taste of Scotland.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / Whisky / Privately guided / Outlander Tours / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Culture & History / Scottish Heritage

6–8 days: Start in Edinburgh before heading up into the Highlands. You’ll have a bit more time to explore further afield, like the famous Isle of Skye. Or instead you could go hiking in the national parks or follow in the footsteps of Outlander characters around the country.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / Guided Small Groups / Whisky / Privately guided / Outlander Tours / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Culture & History / Scottish Heritage

9–10 days: Start in Edinburgh before setting off on a tour around Scotland’s mainland. You’ll see the east coast, before visiting castles and whisky distilleries in the Highlands. You could spend some time on Skye or discover the wilderness of the Isle of Mull.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish HighlandsGuided Small Groups / The Isles / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Culture & History / Scottish Heritage

11–13 days: On top of all the classic stops to see in Scotland, including Edinburgh, Loch Ness, and Skye, you could expand your itinerary. Sail across to the Orkney Islands to learn about Scotland’s Viking heritage, or explore the Outer Hebrides to immerse yourself in Gaelic culture. You would also have time to take on one of the world’s top road trips, the North Coast 500.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / North Coast 500 / The Isles / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Scottish Heritage

14–20 days: With 2 to 3 weeks, you really get to see all you want to see. Take a complete tour of Scotland including the Highlands, Orkney Islands, North Coast 500, Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Skye. You could also add to your itinerary some highlights of the west coast, including the Isles of Mull and Iona.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / The Isles / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Culture & History / Scottish Heritage

21+ days: Journey around all of Scotland, from the capital Edinburgh to the northern Shetland Islands. You’ll see all the top highlights of the country. Or you could also tailor an existing itinerary to spending more time in the locations that interests you most.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / Shetland Islands / The Isles / Castles & Royalty / Culture & History / Scottish Heritage

From November to March

5–7 days: Start in Edinburgh, taking time to explore the capital city. Then head into the rugged Scottish Highlands for a day or two of adventures. This is a great way to get a taste of Scotland.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / Whisky / Privately guided / Honeymoon & Romance / Castles & Royalty / Culture & HistoryScottish Heritage

8+ days: Start in Edinburgh before heading up into the Highlands. At a more relaxed pace, you’ll have time to see the highlights of the Isle of Skye. Or you could also tailor an itinerary to your liking, so you can spend time in the locations that interests you most.
Self-drive Tours / Scottish Highlands / The IslesPrivately guided / Honeymoon & RomanceCastles & Royalty / Culture & HistoryScottish Heritage

Scotland and Ireland combination tours

With Nordic Visitor, you could take on 2 road trips of a lifetime in 1 go. We offer combination tours of Scotland and Ireland to give you a chance to experience both these Celtic nations at once.

Scotland and Ireland complement each other so well thanks to their shared heritage, history and cultures. Travel to both to see what makes them similar and what makes them unique.



We recommend a minimum of 10 days for this, so you can have enough time to get a taste of both countries. Spend the first 4 to 10 days driving around the rugged Highlands and islands of Scotland. Then follow that up with another road trip around Ireland to take in all the jaw-dropping coastal landscapes and historic landmarks.

As Nordic Visitor specialises in both these fantastic destinations, we can offer tailor-made itineraries that combine the best of both. Make your dream Celtic holiday a reality!

Need more help with your Scotland itinerary? Get in touch with us to start planning your trip.

 

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