If this is going to be your first time in Scotland, get ready to take it all in. When you think Scotland, you may think whisky, rain and men in skirts… it is all of that and so much more.
Known for its whisky, you should know that there are five whisky regions in Scotland (Lowlands, Highlands & Islands, Islay, Speyside and Campbelltown) and each offers its own bouquet of fragrance and taste. So if you like your whisky, try to taste one from each region and savor the difference.
Despite the abundance of whisky, the in-official drink is Irn Bru, a bright orange soft drink. If soft drinks aren’t your cup of tea, try Irn Bru sweeties, sorbet or cakes instead.
And they have craft beers all around Scotland too. If you fancy trying a couple different ones, you should ask if you can order a flight of beers. This flight usually contains several small glasses of different ales, stouts and lagers from various breweries and should give you an idea of what brewing in Scotland tastes like.
You haven’t been to Scotland if you haven’t tried the Haggis, its national dish. If you’re not the adventurous type, opt for the veggie ones.
In Glasgow and Edinburgh, the number of vegan options is incredible. So whether you are vegan or not, you should definitely try at least one vegan dish during your trip.
Even though Scottish lochs can be unpleasantly cold, take your shoes and socks off at least once, to feel the water play around your ankle. A lot of the water you see in Scotland comes straight from the mountains (and from the rain of course), and it is very special to connect with nature in this way. If you want a warmer Loch, try Loch Ard, it is shallower than many other lochs and thus one of the best places for wild swimming in Scotland.
Feel the Scottish music with the sound of majestic bagpipes, or a fiddle accompanied by a small flute. The best way to feel the rhythm of traditional Scottish music is by attending a ceilidh, a traditional Scottish dance event where you dance in couples or small groups.
Rain. That’s all I can say. When you visit Scotland, you will definitely get some sort of rain. But, you will also experience a very warm welcome. Talk to your B&B hosts, chat to shop owners and restaurant staff, ask for local’s advice and tell them what you’ve loved about their country so far. If you can’t understand someone, just ask them to talk a bit slower or repeat.
If you plan to drive in Scotland. Be warned, it can be quite intimidating. The narrow roads, especially single-track roads are the most thrilling to drive.
Now that you’ve tried a few different whiskies, it’s time to learn more about how it’s made! There are many whisky distilleries in Scotland and no matter which region you choose to spend most of your time in, there’ll surely be a distillery near you.
To get up close with the Scottish Highlands, you’ll have to hike in them! Real hiking junkies can come to Scotland for munro-bagging. A munro is a Scottish mountain higher than 3,000 feet and there are 282 of them. While you might not fit all of them into your trip, it is worth including at least one in your itinerary to get a bird’s eye view of the mountains. If you’re not into hiking for the views, you’re in luck, because some of the best views can only be seen from aboard a ferry or a train!
There are also many castles in Scotland, there’s even a Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire, the region with the most castles. Make sure to visit a ruined castle and another well-maintained or restored castle.