There’s something alluring about Scotland that’s unmatched by almost any other place. Whether it’s the romantic castles or the rolling moors and misty lochs, there’s a lot to fall in love with while you’re here. And it’s no matter if you’re walking hand in hand with your love or you’re traveling solo through the rolling hills of Scotland’s countryside – there’s an air of romance that defines what it means to traverse this awe-inspiring destination.
Welcome to the land of legends and romance, from the great cultural cities in the south to the dramatic mountains and misty lochs of the Highlands. Scotland’s majestic landscape offers a patchwork of fields, woodlands and hills, dotted with settlements and cut through by shining rivers while historic castles perch beside lochs and glens to tell stories of a time before. Every turn will leave you awe-struck, as you take in bluebell woods, heather-clad heathlands, deep valleys, and mirror-like lakes. Admire the beauty of the Grampian Mountains, the North West Highlands, Skye, the Valley of Glencoe and Loch Lomond.
Go off the beaten path to the most northern point of the British mainland, John O’Groats. Board the ferry to the beautiful Orkney Islands Across the windswept islands lie relics spanning human history, from pagan stone circles to reminders of wartime tragedy. The countryside is breathtakingly majestic, and the tranquility supports a quieter pace of life. Here the hardy locals say they live ‘below the wind and above the water’.
Take a step back in time and visit Ballindalloch Castle and Garden, home to the Macpherson-Grants since the Sixteenth Century and today is one of the finest surviving examples of a classic Scottish baronial castle. From the daffodils in Spring to the Autumn roses, there is plenty to see around the Castle throughout the year. Be sure to stop in the tearoom for some true farm-to-castle treats!
Follow in the footsteps of Mary, Queen of Scots, James V, Bonnie Dundee, and the ill-fated Janet Douglas at Glamis Castle, the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372. Visit the chapel, crypt, the royal apartments, and Duncan’s Hall to get a real taste of history. Even Shakespeare has a part to play as Glamis Castle was also the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth!
Eilean Donan Castle
There’s nothing more romantic than the dramatic landscapes that accompany a drive along the north-west coast of the Scottish Highlands. Perhaps one of the most iconic sights of the area is the small tidal island of Eilean Donan, home to the stunning 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle, charmingly positioned atop. Situated where three sea lochs meet, the island is surrounded by reflections of the majestic hills and faraway snow-capped mountains – it is little wonder that the castle is a quintessential stop in the Scottish Highlands.
Of course, no trip is complete without a visit to Stirling Castle. As one of the largest and historically important castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle was considered the “key to Scotland” sitting atop 250ft high Castle Hill, at the meeting point between the Lowlands and the Highlands. The castle was once home to generations of Steward kings and queens, including Mary Queen of Scots. Today, visitors can look out from its high stone walls to the battlefields of Stirling Bridge where great medieval armies clashed to decide the fate of nations. Visitors can also tour the Great Kitchens and take in the beautifully restored tapestries throughout the castle.
Follow in the footsteps of Diane Gabaldon’s Jamie and his beloved Sassenach on an Outlander -inspired expedition through the landscapes of Scotland. Embark on an adventure full of tales of Redcoats and rugged Highlanders.
Keep an eye out on a stroll through Old Town’s winding cobblestone lanes and see if you follow Jamie and Claire to where they visited Prince Charlie and begged him to give up his fight for the throne. Visit the 15th-century walls of Blackness Castle on the shores of the Firth of Forth, the backdrop for the infamous Fort William prison. Cross the Firth to the fictional village of Cranesmuir to hear the tales of witchcraft and spells … be careful not to fall under one while you’re there.
Take a stroll through Claire’s herb garden and Geillis Duncan’s home in the 16th-century town center. Be captivated by stops at Mrs. Baird’s B&B (the Covenanter Hotel in real life) and the Highland Folk Museum. Feel the drama of the battlefield of Culloden – on the windswept moors on which Claire and Jamie were forced to part ways.
Continue to adventure through the Outlander universe and travel south to soak up the seafaring heritage of Ullapool, a fishing town on Loch Broom and home to Thomas Telford’s famous herring port. Traverse the rugged countryside and stay the night on the picturesque Isle of Skye. While staying on the island, a rare treat indeed, learn about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s daring escape “over the sea to Skye” aided by the Jacobite heroine, Flora MacDonald.
With these and many more Outlander moments, this journey is sure to have Gabaldon fans touching each stone circle they come across, hoping for a wee bit of magic.
There’s a world of possibility to discover on a trip to Scotland. With the expert advice from the travel specialists at Grand European Travel, you can carry onward over the sea to Skye and beyond to explore the romantic side of Scotland.