We value your privacy

We use cookies to enhance your browsing experience, serve personalized content, and analyze our traffic. By clicking "Accept All" you accept this and consent that we share this information with third parties and that your data may be processed in the USA. For more information, please read our .

You can adjust your preferences at any time. If you deny, we will use only the essential cookies and unfortunately, you will not receive any personalized content. To deny, .

Find Our Latest Deals for Scotland Here

Vacations in Scotland: Castles, Palaces, Highlands

When you think of Scotland, is it the dreamy lakes (lochs), the endless meadowsHistorical ruins,  or majestic castles that come to mind? Or do you love exploring the gothic and historical big cities of  Glasgow or Edinburgh? You may even think of the movie/novel Outlander which takes place in and around the highland city of Inverness or Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express Train that chugs along the picturesque trestle in the highlands. Did you know you can have a similar experience on the Jacobite Steam Train? Why not spend your next vacation in Scotland? The country in the north of the British Isles may not have the best reputation in terms of weather - but there is always a lot to see.

vacation in Scotland is recommended to everyone because of the beautiful nature, its wild romance, and the many historical sights. While in the British Isles, why not check out England and make a city trip to London?

General Information for a Vacation in Scotland

What can you expect when vacationing in Scotland? First of all: lots of nature. In an area of ​​around 30,115 Sq. miles you can immerse yourself in the landscape with Nordic flair. Less than 5.5 million people live here. Remember to exchange money before your trip. In Scotland the pound sterling is used to pay. A GBP is worth approximately $1.22 USD.

Scotland is the land of historic castles, traditional highland games, and beautiful lochs (lakes). But also away from the hidden fortresses and castles in the mountains, the world-famous whiskey distilleries and the dark and menacing lakes, which are called Lochs here, there is plenty to see and experience. In addition to the north of the British Isles, Scotland includes several archipelagos. Along with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.

When you reach your vacation destination in Scotland, you need to turn the clock ahead by 5 hours from Eastern Standard Time. Scotland is on Greenich Mean Time. The landscape of your vacation destination is characterized by long coastal regions, deep lakes, raging rivers, the impressive Highlands and many smaller islands. More than three quarters of the area is used for agricultural purposes.

Arrival to Scotland

With the plane you can reach Scotland. You'll more than likely fly into one of London's major airports and transfer to a smaller domestic flight to Edinburgh, Inverness, or Glasgow.

Do you fancy an unusual journey? Then book a ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle. You have to plan about 14 hours for the crossing. The English city of Newcastle is about an hour's drive south of the Scottish border. You can take your car with you. You can also get to the British Isles with your own car through the Euro Tunnel . If you are traveling in a car or mobile home yourself , please note that traffic is on the left.

Weather, Climate, and Best Travel Time for a Vacation in Scotland

Scotland has a temperate oceanic climate. The mild temperatures on the west coast of the country - measured against the northern location - are due to the Gulf Stream, on the east coast it is significantly cooler.

Be prepared for changeable weather conditions during your vacation in Scotland. Extreme temperatures are not to be expected. In midsummer, in July and August, maximum temperatures of 68 degrees are reached. In winter, the average temperature in the cooler east of the country is around 37 degrees. Snowfall is also to be expected in the Highlands at this time of year.

Since the days are very short in winter, the best time to visit Scotland is between April and September. In addition, many of the accommodations, attractions and parks will be closed from October. The most consistent weather is achieved in the months from May to September.

The Culture of Scotland

Scotland is known for its cuisine, which - apart from the classic fish 'n' chips and British breakfast - differs greatly from English cuisine. Mainly fish, meat, cereals, and wheat-products are served.

A real specialty is Haggis . The ingredients may seem a bit strange, but you should definitely try it. Haggis consists of sheep offal that is cooked in the sheep's stomach together with onions and oatmeal. And of course you will also taste the traditional whiskey of the country, the Scotch.

Accommodation in Scotland

Vacationers in Scotland spend their trips in both hotels and holiday homes. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness or the tourist stronghold of Fort William offer a wide choice. Hostels are a cheap, good alternative.

However, hotels are scarce in the high season, especially away from the big cities, so you should take care of them in advance. In addition, you don't waste your valuable vacation time driving from one "No vacancy" sign to the next.

Car Hire in Scotland

Of course, Scotland is best explored with a set of wheels. You can get a small car with fully comprehensive cover for a whole week for just $120, which is just $60 per person. But beware - there is left-hand traffic!

If possible, always choose an offer with fully comprehensive cover (without excess) and the "full/full" fuel tank policy. If you're under 25, be sure to check the fine print. There are sometimes fees for younger drivers and additional drivers that other rental companies do not have.

The Most Important Information About Scotland Summarized

  • Entry: The travel document must be valid for at least 6 months after their trip. US nationals can enter with their passport and stay for a max of six months upon each entry visa free.

  • Climate: As a rule of thumb for climate, the west is warmer but also wetter than the east. This is particularly true of the North West Highlands. In spring you can expect temperatures between 50-57 degrees and an average of 6 hours of sunshine a day. The ideal conditions for a discovery tour. Don't forget weatherproof clothing!

  • Currency: Sterling (£). ATMs are common. Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.

  • Language: The official languages ​​of Scotland are English, Gaelic and Scots.

  • Popular souvenir: A classic souvenir is a kilt or just about anything with a tartan pattern. Please note that a proper kilt costs around £300-400 and is made from heavy fabric. However, many shops only sell thin, inauthentic kilts.

  • National dish: haggis. It consists of finely chopped sheep's heart, liver and lungs and is cooked in the sheep's stomach. Today it is mostly served in plastic stomachs. It is served with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips.

  • Nightlife: It's easy to meet new people in the many bars and pubs. The Scots are very hospitable and it is not uncommon for you to be invited for a pint of beer. Of course there is also whiskey.

Where in Scotland Should You Go on Vacation?

You've decided to go on vacation to Scotland - good. The only question is which part of the country you want to visit. Of course, Scotland is ideal for a road trip - for example with a rental car or via the well-developed railway network with its beautiful routes. Various destinations are recommended for a vacation in one place.

A Vacation on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland

The Firth of Clyde is an estuary in southwest Scotland. If you spend your vacation in this region, you not only have the chance, with a bit of luck, to see seals, harbor seals, or even porpoises and dolphins in the wild, but you can also see the ruined castle of Dunure Castle, which is perched on a rocky outcrop at the coast of Dunure stands. The old pigeon tower from the 16th or 17th century, which you can see about 164 feet away, looks almost like a beehive.

Vacation Near the Legendary Highlands

The Highlands are not only a suitable vacation destination for hikers and hobby mountaineers . For example, you can spend your holidays in Scotland near Buachaille Etive Mòr in the west of the mountains. The prominent north-east face with its pyramid shape has made the 3,349 feet high massif famous - and a popular photo spot. Accommodation can be found in Fort William. There is also a large shopping street and numerous bars.

Vacations on the Isle of Skye in Northwest Scotland

A highlight in Scotland is the Isle of Skye. The island is located off the west coast of the mainland and is easily accessible by rental car. To do this, take the westbound route from Inverness via the E87 motorway . For example, you choose Portree as your destination. The picture book setting of the largest city on the island will cast a spell over you.

The "Scottish Route 66"

The north coast of Scotland presents you with incredible views of cliffs, sea and waves. To get an unforgettable impression here, you make an exciting road trip along the coast. The NC500 is often referred to as the "Scottish Route 66". Starting in Inverness, you'll pass through Blackisle, Easter Ross, Cathness, Sutherland, and Wester Ross, among others, before heading back to the Highland capital. The official promo song for the route is "I'm gonna be (500 Miles)" by the Scottish band The Proclaimers. No wonder - the entire route is 500 miles long. The cult catchy tune should not be missing as the musical accompaniment to your road trip. And now everyone: "Da d-da da, da d-da da".

Experience Scotland's Stunning Cities

Edinburgh, the Capital of Scotland

Do you prefer something more urban? Then choose one of the big cities as your destination. The number one attraction for a city trip is the capital, Edinburgh. Here you can visit Edinburgh Castle or one of the many museums. Popular are:

  • The National War Museum of Scotland,

  • The Museum of Childhood, which exhibits children's toys, and

  • The National Gallery of Scotland, featuring the work of European painters, spread over five galleries across the city.

Glasgow: The Largest City in Scotland

The largest city in the country is Glasgow. For a long time this was primarily considered an industrial location, but this image has changed in recent years. Today Glasgow is also very interesting for tourists.

Glasgow has a very special appeal for soccer fans. The rival clubs Glasgow Rangers and Celtic Glasgow are based here. Visit Ibrox Stadium in the Rangers district of the same name and Celtic Park on Kerrydale Street during your stay.

Our pirate tip: A real sporting treat and emotional highlight of every season is the clash between the two clubs in the legendary “Old Firm” derby. Get your tickets for this event in good time.

Highlights – The Sights of Scotland

There are some highlights in Scotland that you should not miss when vacationing in the respective region.

Fort Williams - Great Sights Close by

The highest mountain in Scotland can be found near Fort William: Ben Nevis is 4,409 feet high. The summit is often covered in fog. You can get to the top via the tourist route. Make sure you have the right equipment. The railway routes in the region are also very beautiful .

Our pirate tip: take the train across the striking Glenfinnan Viaduct. The rustic building is known to film fans from the Harry Potter series and the James Bond film "Skyfall".

On the Trail of the Loch Ness Monster

You've probably heard of the legendary Nessie, the monster in the lake. Get to the bottom of the legend with a visit to the freshwater lake Loch Ness near Inverness. Nessie fans are drawn to the town of Drumnadrochit.

The Most Beautiful Castles and Palaces in Scotland

Eilean Donan

The fact that Eilean Donan is our number 1 will probably come as no surprise, after all the castle in the Scottish Highlands is considered one, if not the most beautiful castle in Europe. You have certainly seen the small but fine castle before, as it is the most photographed spot in Scotland and can also often be seen in film and television. Eilean Donan is idyllically situated on a small island connected to the mainland by an old stone bridge. It's great to get to on a road trip through Scotland, as it's just off the A87 on the way from Glasgow to Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye.

Our pirate tip: The castle looks particularly impressive and romantic at sunset and you are guaranteed Instagram-worthy pictures.

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle wird auch als das großartigste aller schottischen Schlösser bezeichnet und darf daher auf dieser Liste nicht fehlen. Wie der Name schon vermuten lässt, liegt das Schloss in Stirling, und zwar mitten in der Altstadt auf dem "Castle Hill“ (Schlossberg), einem Hügel mit vulkanischem Ursprung. Doch nicht nur heute ist Stirling Castle als nationales Denkmal von großer Bedeutung. Früher war es aufgrund seiner strategisch günstigen Lage am Fluss Forth extrem wichtig für Schottland und wurde daher mindestens sechzehnmal belagert oder angegriffen. Außerdem hausten hier von circa 1100 bis 1685 die schottischen Könige.

Culzean Castle & Country Park

Das wunderschöne Culzean Castle liegt zwischen Maybole und Maidens und wurde erst zwischen 1777 und 1792 von Schottlands berühmtesten Architekten, Robert Adams, erbaut. Nicht nur das romantische Schloss ist einfach traumhaft, sondern auch alles drum herum: Es steht direkt am Meer auf einem steil abfallenden Felsen und wird von einem zwei Hektar großen Schlosspark mit Schwanensee, Abenteuerspielplatz und Waldwegen umgeben. Kein Wunder, dass es inzwischen eine der meist besuchtesten und beliebtesten Touristenattraktionen in der Gegend um Ayr ist und jährlich Tausende von Besuchern anzieht.

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle steht noch nicht auf euerer Liste für den Schottland-Urlaub? Dann solltet ihr das schnell ändern, und zwar nicht nur, weil das Anwesen atemberaubend schön ist. Nein, denn Glamis Castle ist der Wohnsitz des Earls und der Countess of Strathmore, Elternhaus von Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mum) und Geburtsort von Princess Margaret. Außerdem ist es auf der Zehnpfundnote der Royal Bank of Scotland abgebildet... wie könnte man da einen Besuch des Glamis Castle in Angus ausfallen lassen?

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle ist ein bildschönes, viergeschossiges Schloss in Inveraray am Loch Fyne, also etwa 95 km nördlich von Glasgow. Interessant dabei ist, dass Inveraray für den Bau des Schlosses extra abgerissen wurde und eine Meile weiter wieder aufgebaut wurde, um genug Platz für das Anwesen zu schaffen. Das hat sich allerdings mehr als bezahlt gemacht, denn das Schloss ist wirklich atemberaubend und daher auch die Kulisse für viele Filme und Serien wie zum Beispiel Downton Abbey oder James Bond 007: Skyfall. Neben dem Besuch des Schlosses solltet ihr auch genügend Zeit für die Erkundung des wunderschönen Gartens einplanen.