1. Explore a castle

Dunnottar Castle coast Stonehaven

Scotland has lots of castles. Lots and lots of castles. We have big castles that sit in the middle of our cities. We have little crumbling castles that sit on the edge of our cliffs. And all of our castles are worthy of a photograph or two.

Visit one of our most famous castles - Edinburgh, Stirling, Eilean Donan - or check out of one our other stars - Dunnottar, Glamis or Caerlaverock.

Find a Scottish castle

2. Enjoy a ceilidh

People participate in a traditional Scottish ceilidh, Fintry Town Hall.

Scotland's ceilidhs are a fantastic celebration of all things Scottish - our music, dance, food and warm welcome. Everyone really is welcome - you don't need to know our dances, as we always talk through the steps before throwing each other around the room in a whirlwind of laughter and fun.

Ceilidhs are held right around the country - sometimes as a single good night out, and sometimes as part of a bigger festival.

Find a Scottish ceilidh

3. Take part in an event

Up Helly Aa Lerwick

We have literally thousands of events, but to truly have the perfect Scottish holiday, look for an event with a real bit of Scotland in it. In the summer, you can watch and even take part in one of our Highland games, an amazing spectacle of music, dancing and fierce competition!

Or check out one of our fire festivals in the winter months - Shetland celebrates its history in January with the Viking parade of Up Helly Aa, while at Hogmanay there are lots of bonfires and even the Stonehaven Fireballs Festival - where men throw big burning balls of fire around and then into the river!

Check out all of our events

4. Look up to the sky

Dark Sky Observatory night

We know our scenery is amazing - our forests, mountains, rivers and cities - but don't forget to also look up.

During the winter months, you can see the Northern Lights in Scotland - the amazing phenomenon when green, purple, pink and blue lights dart across the sky. Your best chance is to head north, but it is sometimes possible to see them all across Scotland if the weather and the conditions are right.

If you're out in the countryside, you could also enjoy a spectacular view of the starry night sky. We've got our own Dark Sky Park and plenty of Dark Sky Sites which are recognised as being great places to see 7,000 stars with the naked eye, thanks to the lack of light pollution.

Go stargazing

5. Get wet

Windsurfing

No, not when it rains. We've got an amazing range of watersports (plus, if it's raining you might as well…). From world-class surfing and windsurfing off the coasts to deep sea diving around shipwrecks, there's plenty to choose from. Our rivers are perfect for a wide variety of sports from kayaking and canyoning to tubing and river-bugging.

Try our watersports

6. Travel back in time

Calanais Standing Stones colourful sky

As much as we love our contemporary music, shopping and way of life, we still celebrate our roots. Whether you want to follow your family tree back to Scotland and see what life was like for your ancestors, or just want to know more about the history of Scotland, we've got lots of attractions to dazzle you.

Step back in time at our major museums - the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh has thousands of exhibits - or visit the homes and buildings where we used to live - the Calanais Standing Stones in the Outer Hebrides and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney both date back over 5,000 years.

Live our history 

7. Eat, eat and eat some more

A dish served at Seafood Restaurant

Scottish cuisine is more than haggis. Not to say that haggis isn't delicious but there's so much more to our food and drink.

We can offer you Michelin-star dining in some amazing restaurants, fish and chips by the sea, or lots of tasty samples at farmers' markets and fairs.

You can buy our produce and cook it yourself, or leave it to our chefs to conjure up delicious dishes. It's hard to find something that we don't make here - and much of it's unique to us - our seaweed-fed lamb, our Aberdeen Angus beef, and of course, our whisky.

Sample it all

8. Make some new friends

Panda Tian Tian

As welcoming as our people are, there are plenty more new friends to meet too. Our wildlife can be found all around you, in the countryside and at attractions. Meet our famous Giant Pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, or head into the Cairngorms to find 25 percent of the UK's threatened and rarest wildlife.

Get up close, watch the animals on CCTV or take a trip to an attraction to learn more about them.

Meet our locals 

9. Take in the views 

Loch Katrine from Ben Aan summit

Wherever you are, Scotland is beautiful. But there are some great spots where you can see as much of it as possible - head up for spectacular views, whether up Calton Hill in Edinburgh, the National Wallace Monument near Stirling or just up one of our 290 Munros for stunning vistas.

Go out walking