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Cairn O'Mount, Angus Glens


Sustainable & Responsible Tourism in Scotland

Find out what responsible travel means to Scotland and how you can plan and enjoy a responsible trip.

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What is sustainable or responsible tourism?

Sustainable tourism is holidaying in an eco, green and environmentally friendly way.

Responsible tourism is considering the wider impact your trip could have on the country you're visiting, and the world.

Your choice to travel responsibly can help:

  • protect the landscape
  • boost the local economy
  • and provide funding for new and innovative projects

How Do I Take a Responsible Tourism Holiday?

When you're planning your holiday...

1. Choosing a destination

Consider where you want to go and when.

Popular places - visiting off-season

Scotland is home to many iconic and famous landmarks and locations, which can prove really popular. If you want to visit these places, consider travelling outwith any peak summer months - spring, autumn and winter are all quieter. The weather is more changeable in these seasons, but we still get plenty of sunshine and there are lots of outdoor activities that benefit from windy, rainy or snowy days!

Hidden gems - visiting in summer

If you are travelling during summer, why not consider visiting some lesser-known places this time? We've got plenty of ideas for places off the beaten track which will still give you an amazing experience.

2. Deciding how long to stay for

There are many benefits to staying longer - you can enjoy more of Scotland, but you can also take your time, savour the experiences, and be more flexible with your plans. Having extra time means you can choose to come back again on a quieter day or have that extra travel time to go further.

3. How you'll travel around

Transport has a big impact on how sustainable you are.

Scotland's public transport options are great for travelling around the country, even to our most remote locations. There are electric cars, frequent train services, buses, coaches and a wide network of cycle and footpaths.

Find out more on travelling by:

4. Where you'll stay

Snuggle into an eco-friendly glamping pod, or enjoy the outdoors with a camping break - there are lots of sustainable accommodation options in Scotland.

6. Support local communities

You can help give back to local communities by shopping and supporting local. This allows small businesses to flourish by keeping money in the local community, but also gives you the chance to learn more about local people and cultures.

You can:

  • Book local accommodation overnight
  • Use local shops for souvenirs
  • Eat in a local pub, café or small restaurant
  • Visit local community museums and galleries
  • Take a guided tour of the local area

Check out our map of Scotland to find a local area to explore.

7. Respect the landscape

You should always be respectful of the landscapes and communities you visit.

We ask everyone to tread lightly and consider how their behaviour impacts each other and Scotland.

Your right to explore

You can explore most of Scotland's outdoor land thanks to the Outdoor Access Code, as long as you behave responsibly. This is known as access rights and is unique to Scotland.

Read more about the Outdoor Access Code.

Your safety

Although our scenery is stunning, Scotland's outdoors are often wild and rural too. It's important to be safe and prepared with the correct clothing and equipment.

Read more on safety outdoors in Scotland.

Looking after the landscape - treading lightly

We need to look after each other, the wildlife and the landscapes.

Read more on how to tread lightly in Scotland.


If you want to make a bigger contribution, you can choose to dedicate your holiday to looking after Scotland and learning more about responsibility. Try a conservation or volunteering holiday where you can learn all about Scotland's landscapes, what you can do to help restore and protect them, and give back to communities in the process, all through eco-friendly tourism activities.