Ready to take your dream vacation and wander the bonnie moors of Scotland?
Scotland vacations are like no other trip. The sheer number of things to do there are endless.
Whether you want to soak up some culture, explore historic gardens, or follow the paths of Scottish heroes like Rabbie Burns, Bonnie Prince Charlie, or Robert the Bruce, there’s a Scotland vacation out there for you.
Read on to see some of our ideas to help you get started.
Rural Life: Highlands and Islands
Ready to explore the majesty of the Scottish Highlands and Islands?
Dive deep into the history of the Scottish clans, crofts, and craft whiskeys and head north into the heart of Scotland.
The Scottish Highlands and Islands are deceptively large, taking up most of the country but only inhabited by a sparse population.
There’s a lot to do, though: self-guided tours, bus tours, or a combination of both will let you experience the country like you never would otherwise.
Rent a car and drive the famous North Coast 500 to experience the glory of northern Scotland. You’ll see the drama of the rugged mountains as they meet the wild cliffs of the coast.
Not keen on driving hundreds of miles?
Take a walk through the northwest Highlands and explore some of Scotland’s most famous islands.
You can set up camp in the small seaside town of Ullapool, take the ferry over to Lewis and Harris, and experience one of the only places where Gaelic is still spoken.
Hoping for a relaxed, classic trip on a coach?
Book a bus tour of the central Scottish Highlands. From Bannockburn to Culloden to the shores of Loch Ness, the central Highlands offer the breathtaking views people all over the world come to see.
City Life: Edinburgh and the Borders
Edinburgh is the glorious capital of Scotland, the seat of both the Scottish government and a historical center of royal power. It’s one of the few parts of Scotland where you’re encouraged not to rent a car, making it perfect for those who’d rather take a stroll.
Edinburgh is home to world-class national museums and galleries with wide-ranging exhibitions featuring Scotland and it’s connections to the world. Plus, all museums are free, saving you an extra expense.
Edinburgh is also heaven for foodies.
Traditional Scottish cuisine can be found everywhere, but the city also boasts emerging culinary trends and a few Michelin star restaurants that are among the country’s best-kept secrets.
The best part? Visitors to the capital enjoy all the trappings of a European city at traditional Scottish prices – cheap and cheerful.
Be sure to escape to the country during your trip to Edinburgh too.
Most people will want to rent a car or take a bus tour, but either way, it only takes a few minutes to find yourself a world away from the hubbub of the Royal Mile.
The Scottish Borders are the best day or multi-day trip from Edinburgh. Only an hour or two away, the region boasts pristine countryside, beautiful cottages and gardens, and the sweetest B-n-Bs in the country.
Visit Abbotsford House in Galashiels, the home of Sir Walter Scott, or Thirlestane Castle, one of the oldest and finest castles in the whole of Scotland.
Epic Scenery: Adventure Tours
Are you an avid outdoors person? See why Rough Guide readers named Scotland the ‘most beautiful country in the world’ in 2017 with one of the many adventure-focused Scottish vacations.
It doesn’t matter what adventure you’re looking for – you can find it in Scotland.
Head to Glen Coe, the mountains that loom over Fort William in the Scottish Highlands, to enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding with keen Scots and visitors from all over the world.
Did you know there’s world-class surfing in Scotland?
From Moray to the North Coast 500, you’ll find waves that rival the perfect swells of the Pacific. Visit in the winter to make the most of Scotland’s little-known surfing destination.
Ben Nevis is the pinnacle of Scottish climbing. Combine it with a trip to Glen Coe for the ultimate climbing adventure. Afterwards, don’t forget to wind down in the evening with a dram of whiskey – many of the country’s best distilleries are located nearby.
The Cairngorms National Park is Scotland’s playground, and many people from all over the country spend summer and school holidays tucked away in a snug cottage.
The Cairngorms are also a great place to enjoy a walking tour of the wilderness, or if you’re an adrenaline junkie, a mountain bike tour.
Off-the-Beaten Track: Rabbie Burns Country
Ayrshire is the home of the famous Scottish poet and national hero Robert Burns, better known as Rabbie Burns.
Scotland’s greatest gift to the arts was born here and used the landscape and people as his inspiration. It won’t take you long to why.
From the scenery to the unique accent, Ayrshire is a delight for literary types too.
One of Ayrshire’s main appeals is that it isn’t often frequented by international guests. But that’s only because they’re so drawn to the typical Scottish vacations – St. Andrews, Edinburgh, and Inverness.
Those who do venture to southwest Scotland will find spectacular beaches, beautiful rolling hills, great country houses, and world-class golf courses.
Spend a week enjoying what Ayrshire has to offer as a tour group or on a self-driving tour.
Scotland Vacations for Everyone
Whether you live for a good museum or like to feel your heart beating like a drum, you’ll find that there are Scotland vacations for everyone.
There’s no bad place to go in the most beautiful country in the world.
What are you waiting for? See what makes Scotland special on your next vacation.