Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are the three most visited Scottish destinations, but are by no means the only places to visit when planning your Scotland excursion. Many Americans possess Scottish heritage and can identify with the Scots. For visitors seeking a much more thorough immersion in all matters Scottish, the following destinations should be kept in mind.
Bring out the highlander within you by heading to Inverness, just 90 minutes northwest of Aberdeen. The area is best known for Inverness Castle, where pipe bands enthrall summer visitors. The red sandstone castle, built in 1836, overlooks the River Ness and is situated on an 11th-century defensive structure. It is the latest in a string of castles to occupy the property for the last 1,000 years. Oh, and the castle is haunted by various members of Scottish royalty, likely angered by their English overlords.
Beyond the Inverness Castle, local sites of interest include the River Ness, the Titanic Museum, St. Andrews Catheral and Eden Court Theater. Golf lovers will enjoy a visit to the Castle Stuart Golf Links, home of the Scottish Open. The stunning Falls of Foyers are not to be missed with its cascading falls. The falls flows into the River Foyers itself leading to Loch Ness, home of a certain aquatic creation of renown.
Just 75 minutes north of Edinburgh is Dundee, a city of historical importance. Its name is derived from two Celtic words — dun means "fort" while dee means "fire." Fort Fire would be the appropriate English name for this seaport city founded in the 12th century.
Visits to Dundee should include stops at St. Mary’s Tower, a church built more than 500 years ago and the city’s oldest building. It is a century older than Claypotts Castle although parts of ruined castles remain in the area that predate the tower by a century or more.
Its Australian namesake has nearly 40 times its population, but the residents of Perth, Scotland, don’t seem to mind. The Scottish city is located in the center of the country and sits on the banks of the River Tay. Sir Walter Scott ascribed "The Fair City" appellation to Perth nearly 200 years ago, a nickname that has stuck.
St. John’s Kirk is the most significant structure in Perth, a church that was constructed during the late 15th century. The original settlement dates to the 12th century and the church itself contains numerous artifacts including a candelabrum that is more than 500 years old. Other historic sites include Scone Palace, the Branklyn Garden, the Black Watch Castle & Museum, and Elcho Castle.
Isle of Skye
The largest and most northerly island in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides is the Isle of Skye. Its year-round cool climate and abundant precipitation provide an atmosphere that some describe as "moody" and others as "enchanting." May is its driest month with high temperatures averaging in the mid-50s, just five degrees below its summer highs.
Skye is prized by nature lovers for its series of bays and peninsulas that dominate the island. The isle is dominated by numerous towns and villages, and is home to Stein Inn, an 18th century pub. No visit to Skye is complete without a visit to Dunvegan Castle, seat of Clan MacLeod, one of the most powerful clans in medieval Scotland.
Your Scottish Adventure
No doubt that your visit to Scotland will include spending time in its largest cities. You now know that there are numerous places to travel across the country including the four destinations mentioned here. Certainly, your vacation will include several rounds of golf, but when not hitting the links you have numerous castles, forts, pubs and local hang outs to visit, rounding out your Scottish excursion.
Daniel Banner is a professional blogger that shares the advice and information on the best golf courses and golf tours worldwide. He writes for Golf Digest Scottish Tours, where you can create your custom Scottish golf package and golf trip.