Travelling to Scotland is inspiration with a capital "I", wonder with a capital "W" and happiness with a capital "H". A dream that I have cherished for some years, a dream that was born listening to the fabulous TV series Outlander. I said to myself, "Someday I'm going to travel these great green valleys". Well that day has arrived, after 3 years of waiting, of watching plane tickets fluctuate between $1,000 and $1,500 for a summer flight. Ouch! When prices dropped, Scotland became not only a dream come true for me, but a real obsession. I wanted to see everything, do everything, and that's exactly what I did: 3 intense weeks crisscrossing the roads of Scotland, from Glasgow to Edinburgh, passing through the Highlands, the Isle of Skye and the mythical roads of the country.
Here are, in a few words and pictures, my most beautiful memories of Scotland.
Of course, Scotland's two largest cities are a must when visiting the country. Although most visitors choose this destination for its nature, great outdoors and scenic Highland routes, the major cities are not to be missed if you're interested in the country's culture.
In Glasgow, I discovered an eclectic city. Beautiful historic buildings intermingle with more or less modern structures, tourist shops and trendy coffee bars. Street musicians spontaneously come to offer free shows, to the delight of locals and tourists alike. Glasgow is a big city and walking around the neighbourhoods requires a lot of travel. Renting a bike was the best option for me. I was able to ride through several quieter streets that really showed me the undeniable Glasgow vibe.
Favourite spots: Glasgow Cathedrale, Glasgow University, Kelvingroove Museum, Buchanan Street, Glasgow Green et Clyde Promenade.
Buchanan Street / Glasgow Cathedrale – SAB Vest
In Edinburgh, it's a city steeped in history that welcomed me. During the Fringe Festival, one of the biggest music and art festivals in the world, the dark and greyish streets were overflowing with festive and colourful people: an impressive contrast. The city itself is absolutely dazzling. The great Edinburgh Castle can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. I loved the opportunity for a nature walk accessible from the city centre, the walk to Arthur's Seat was sustained, but it was so worth it. A breathtaking view awaits you at the top. Edinburgh is the perfect city to enjoy the restaurants, cafes and shops along the Royal Mile, the iconic street that leads straight to Edinburgh Castle. Virtually all of the city's attractions are within walking distance, so take the opportunity to admire the architecture!
Favourite spots: Arthur’s Seat, Royal Mile, Carlton Hill and the Old Town.
Ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel – SAB Vest / Edinburgh architecture
The hikers' paradise is in Scotland. Across the country, the choice is endless. Temperature is an important factor in this northern European country, so preparing your excursions is crucial. And even well-organised plans can suddenly take a different turn. This was the case for me on my planned hike to Britain's highest peak, the Ben Nevis. I really did my best, but the torrential rain turned me back. Luckily, several of my other excursions went very well, like the Ben Macdui, in the Cairnsgorm National Park or the one on the impressive island of Skye.
Favourite spots: Ben Macdui (Cairnsgorm National Park), Quirang (Isle of Skye), The Bone Cave (West Highlands) and Fairy Glen (Island of Skye).
Ben Macdui – GAX Top
Fairy Glen – GAX Top
You don't necessarily think about beaches when you think about Scotland. However, the country is rich in heavenly beaches with fine sand and enchanting scenery. Scotland beaches can, without any doubt, make many seaside resort jealous. There is, however, one downside: the air is fresh and the water is icy! The reality is that your swimsuit will probably stay at the bottom of your suitcase! Therefore, we made the most of our time there by taking long walks and beautiful pictures.
Favourite spots: Durness Beach (North Highlands), Achmelvich Beach (West Highlands), BettyHill Beach (North Highlands) and the Coral Beach (Island of Skye).
Durness Beach – SAB Vest
Achmelvich Beach – SAB Vest
Of all the roads on which this trip took me, none have disappointed me. Scotland is a country that I recommend to all roadtrips lovers. From east to west, the surroundings evolve, change. Over here, a big green valleys. Over there, arid mountains. Drastic cliffs and endless fields follow one another. That's what makes Scotland so unique. Its scenery is constantly changing over very short distances, offering a diversity of extraordinary views.
Favourite spots: Durness-Ullapool portion (North Highlands), Bealach na Ba (West Highlands), Uig-Quiraing portion (Island of Skye) and the Glencoe Valley.
Scotland is not known for its majestic waterfalls like Iceland is, but there are a few places that are still worth the detour for waterfall viewing. Most of the ones I've seen were crossing my path, so why not enjoy the view? Visiting Scotland is first and foremost to immerse yourself in its incomparable nature, and this nature includes magnificent waterfalls that offer the perfect break view!
Favourite spots: Clashnessie Watterfall, Mealt Waterfront and Measach Waterfall.
Clashnessie Waterfall / Mealt Waterfall
Unlike the Scotland waterfalls, visiting castles is something you don't want to miss! You can't come to this country without visiting several ones. They are everywhere. Some of them are close to the big cities, like the mythical Midhope Castle located a few kilometers away from Edinburgh. There are also several on the Highlands road. Whether they are ruins or still standing, you have to plan a budget to visit them. Not all countries allow us to visit architectural pieces of such great historical value, so don't miss this chance! Scotland's castles transport us to a fascinating past.
Favourite spots: Eileen Donan Castle, Midhope Castle, Dunrobin Castle, Urquhart Castle and Sinclair & Girnigoe Castle.
Eileen Donan Castle