Why Visit Scotland

Scotland is a unique and special spot on the map that is just bursting at the seams with amazing things to see, do, visit and experience on your holiday here. A trip to Scotland is guaranteed to be a memorable one.

No matter what you decide to get up to when you visit Scotland, you'll make memories, experience once in a lifetime opportunities that you can find only in Scotland, and you can tick off all those bucket list items. From foodie extravaganzas, and encounters with our elusive wildlife locals, to embarking on educational tours, and venturing on a freeing road trips around our most scenic corners.

Here are just some of the exciting things you can do here, but the adventure doesn't stop there!

  1. Explore a castle Stonehaven

    Dunnottar Castle

    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. Did you know some of our most iconic castles and stately homes have featured in blockbuster films and world-renowned TV series?

  2. Enjoy a ceilidh Fintry Town Hall

    A traditional Scottish ceilidh

    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.

  3. Take part in an event Shetland

    Up Helly Aa, Shetland's Viking Fire Festival

    © VisitScotland / Luigi Di Pasquale

    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!

  4. Look up to the sky Loch Trool, Glentrool

    Stargazing at the Bruce's Stone in Dumfries and Galloway

    © Visit South West Scotland / Ben Bush

    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.

    Uncover more of Scotland's landscapes.

  5. Make a splash Tiree

    Tiree Wave Classic Windsurfing Competition, The Isle Of Tiree

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    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.

    If you prefer to keep your feet dry, look for more outdoor activities.

  6. Travel back in time Isle of Lewis

    The Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis

    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.

    Research your Scottish ancestry

  7. Eat, eat and eat some more Pitlochry

    Dining at Saorsa 1875

    © Perth and Kinross Council / Craig Stephen

    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.

  8. Make some new friends Edinburgh Zoo

    Giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo

    © The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

    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.

  9. Take in the views Glenfinnan

    Glenfinnan Monument

    © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins

    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.

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