Scotland is a popular tourist destination in the northern United Kingdom which contains not only famous lakes like Loch Ness, but 790 islands as well. As you can see from our map of Scotland, repeated glaciations have scrubbed the landscape, creating lakes and a craggy coastline for tourists to explore.
Scotland Map Showing the Major Tourist Attractions
This map shows Scotland and is marked with the cities and sites a tourist would be most likely to visit.
According to the VisitScotland Insights Team, 2015 was the Year of Food and Drink:
"49% of people visiting Scotland want to try local food, 30% want to visit a pub, 20% a distillery and 20% want a picnic or BBQ."
6.32 million people visited Scotland in 2013, eclipsing the 5.61 who visited England.
Perhaps it's time to consider Scotland as a destination, even if it's only for the food and cooking of Scotland.
Scotland's capital has nearly a half million people, over 60,000 of which are university students. According to Ferne Arfin, Edinburgh attracts 13 million visitors a year, a testament to its attraction as a tourist destination. The world's largest performing arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, isn't the only thing going. You'll be able to attend festivals almost continuously from the end of July to the beginning of September, enjoying film, book, television, art, blues and jazz festivals.
Glasgow is Scotland's largest city, so you'll enjoy an almost year-round festival season, a wide range of cultural activities and more museums than you can shake a stick at. Find travel information, hotels, a big map of central Glasgow and more with our guide to Glasgow.
Loch Lomond, just above Glasgow on our map, is the largest body of freshwater in the British Isles. Scotland, being small, is easy to get around in, according to Ferne Arfin, Loch Lomond is within an hour's drive for more than 70% of Scotland's population. Find out all about the lake, the Argyll Forest, the wild glens and the villages of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park by clicking the link above.
Traquair - Scotland's Oldest Continuously Occupied House
AddressTraquair House, Innerleithen EH44 6PW, UK
Traquair House, Innerleithen, Peeblesshire, is the address of Scotland's oldest house and possibly the British Isle's oldest occupied castle as well. There are more than 100 acres of woodlands, lawns, and gardens here. Mary Queen of Scots, here we come!
Isle of Skye
AddressKyle of Lochalsh, Kyle, UK
Is it the "shining jewel in the Hebridean crown"? Why not head over and find out. You'll probably end up at Kyle on the mainland section of the Skye Bridge, where there are a train station and tourist office. Cross the bridge and you'll be in backpackers heaven, with some decent hostels and lots of tours to look into.
Isle of Arran
AddressBrodick, Isle of Arran KA27, UK
A popular tourist destination, especially for hikers and bikers, Isle of Arran calls itself "Scotland in Miniature." 90 kilometers of scenic road circles the island and is perfect for bikers. Brodick is Arran's main town, with a population of just over 2000. High atop a hill sits Brodick Castle, which contains a fine porcelain exhibit.
Inverness and Loch Ness
Yes, of course, you've heard of the Loch Ness monster. It started in 565, when St. Columba freed a monk from the ravages of a sea monster and by golly, even today people swear they're still seeing it. Loch Ness is 7.5 km from Inverness; you'll find lots of tour operators willing to take you.
Inverness, once just an ancient fort, is now Capital of the Highlands. Macbeth had his castle here. If you're a bagpipe player or mere aficionado, you'll like Inverness for the Northern Meeting, a famous bagpipe festival.
From Inverness, you can easily reach Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London. The scenic route takes you to Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Sky.
"About 85,000 people visit Balmoral Castle in Scotland every year, several hundred thousand more walk the estate's open countryside, highland paths, and fells." says guide Ferne Arfin. You can even rent a self-catering cottage on the Balmoral estate. Be the Queen's neighbor. You deserve it.
AddressSt Andrews KY16, UK
You've got a village steeped in history with a castle and ancient Cathedral, good restaurants, sandy beaches, and yes, there's even golf.
Orkney is perfect for those outdoorsy types. "Happily for today's visitor - in search of wildlife, ancient and recent history, outdoor activities and a unique, Norse influenced culture - Orkney is not hard to reach year round. There are plenty of comfortable places to stay, wonderful, fresh-from-the-sea cuisine, and lots of welcoming Orcadians."