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A Scotland tour has it all—a lively, welcoming culture, prehistoric ruins, mighty castles, the finest whisky, and some of the most striking landscapes you’ll find anywhere in the world.
You can gaze over the capital city from atop Castle Rock, which holds the imposing, 12th-century Edinburgh Castle. Get a taste of the city’s past with a stroll along the Royal Mile, through the Old Town, to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the British Monarch’s official residence in Scotland.
August is a big month for the city. Edinburgh Castle plays host to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, dubbed “the most spectacular show on Earth.” Plus, you can experience the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.
To the northeast of Edinburgh, you’ll find St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf and home to one of its most famous courses. And to the northwest of the city, you can visit Stirling to see the William Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle—the residence of Mary Queen of Scots—and Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce led an army of Scotsmen in the battle for independence.
Only about an hour to the west of Edinburgh, Glasgow is Scotland’s other world-famous city. Straddling the River Clyde, Glasgow was the center of the shipbuilding industry. Here, you can visit the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, George Square, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, and Celtic Park, home to Celtic Football.
Outside the city, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Loch Lomond, the largest loch in Great Britain, and Trossachs National Park. On your way, stop at the Glengoyne whisky distillery to sip a wee dram straight from the source.
The Scottish Highlands are by turns dramatic and idyllic. The Isle of Skye offers truly remarkable views, the dark waters of Loch Ness hold the iconic mythical creature, and Eilean Donan Castle stands at the meeting point of three lochs, while charming Dunrobin Castle was inspired by the Palace of Versailles. In the Highlands, you can also see some of the filming locations from the show Outlander and behold the peak of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the British Isles.