Steeped in a rich and dynamic history, boasting miles of wild and unspoiled land along with friendly and hilarious locals, Scotland is a country that is hard not to fall in love with.
Though Scotland is a rather small country, it effortlessly manages to make itself, its culture, and its beauty well-known around the world. That’s exactly what it did for me. Scotland pulled me in.
I came to this vibrant country sixteen years ago. Though excited for the transition and change of scenery from my home country of Poland, I was nervous. I was afraid of failing in the country, of not integrating myself properly, and of feeling lonely and unhappy.
Despite my fears, Scotland quickly began to feel like home – while embracing the usual challenges of moving abroad. It’s quite enchanting when you feel at peace in a new country, and you never grow tired of the scenery, the people, or the culture.
Do you want to find out more about why Scotland is the most beautiful place in the world and a place to love and cherish? Here are 10 reasons to fall in love with Scotland.
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1. Has there ever been a more eccentric, creative, inventive, and passionate person than the Scottish?
Their creative spirit, pride, and eccentric humor make Scots quite a unique nation. Scots are proud people and one of the friendliest in the world. You might be surprised how chatty Scots can be, and their generous hospitality to visitors or strangers will make you feel quite welcome.
Plus, for a little country, Scotland produces some big names: writers, inventors, politicians, philosophers – you name it. From notable actors like Sean Connery, Ewan McGregor, and Gerard Butler to scientists and philosophers like David Hume and Alexander Fleming who invented penicillin. Of course, we can’t forget musicians like Paolo Nutini and Lewis Capaldi.
“Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.” – Winston Churchill
Scots, above all, are proud to be Scottish, and they will help their people out whenever and wherever they can. I once saw a group of Scots help a man who had drunkenly fallen asleep in the city centre of Glasgow on a chilly night. Scots rallied together to help get the man up and on a taxi ride back home. It’s not something you’d see in many other countries around the world, but in Scotland, care and compassion are there.
2. Scotland has some of the world’s most scenic routes.
Follow the rugged coast, breathe in the salty sea, and navigate among rolling sheep-filled mountains of the majestic Highlands, Scotland is full of breathtaking road trips.
Just imagine yourself in Scotland right now. It’s a cool, slightly overcast day, but the sun is gently popping out among the clouds. You’re driving along a narrow and quiet road. Around you are steep green hills dotted in fluffy white sheep. You roll your windows down to listen to the rhythmic stream that follows along the route. The air feels fresh and alive, and so too do you. This isn’t a rare drive in Scotland. It’s just commonplace, and it shows no wonder why the Scots love their country.
Have you heard of the North Coast 500? It’s admittedly one of the most incredible road trips in Scotland. It takes you from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, to the most northern mainland coast of the country. You’ll witness magically green landscapes, quaint villages, and picturesque lochs and castles along the way.
The Scottish coastal scenery together with legendary castles makes it a different, unspoiled, and extraordinary experience on its own.
However beautiful, the North Coast 500 is not the only scenic road to take in Scotland. Around the country, there are at least 19 other epic road trips that will take your breath away.
Another favourite is The Heart 200 Route which links together two Scottish National Park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and the Cairngorms. Similar to the North Coast route, this area is suitable for walkers, cyclists, and bikers, as well as motorists.
The advantage of The Heart 200 Route is its proximity to major cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, meaning it’s an ideal day trip or weekend getaway. Explore woodlands, the beauty of the Highlands, and incredible nature reserves as you drive along the road trip in Scotland.
3. Scottish festivals, because Scots know how to have a good time.
Home to more than 200 festivals a year, Scots are all about celebrating their culture and enjoying life to the fullest. Although Scotland is most commonly known for its bagpipe players, highland dancing, tartans, and poetry, festivals here cater far beyond those.
While you can certainly get your traditional fix at the Highland Games, featuring sports tournaments, kilts, highland dancing competitions, and all things Scottish, there is more to discover.
One of Scotland’s most renowned festivals is its annual New Year’s celebration Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. It’s the biggest winter celebration in all of Europe and it brings fireworks, performances, street parties, and more to the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
A few other notable festivals are the Up Helly Aa fire festival on the Shetland Islands, the Glasgow and Edinburgh Film Festivals, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the world’s largest arts festival happening every August.
If you can experience a festival when you visit, you’ll quickly see why it’s easy to fall in love with Scotland.
4. Scotland is home to amazing literary writers and poets.
Scotland produced dozens of acclaimed writers, poets, storytellers, and artists. It’s a true gem for literary lovers.
Edinburgh itself is home to storytellers, poets, writers, the first UNESCO World City of Literature, and the gorgeous hidden Writers’ Museum. So, could there be a better place for a book lover than Scotland’s capital city?
You could even plan a trip around Scotland based on some of your favourite books set in the country. How incredible would that be?
Hermitage Castle is an epic place to visit despite all the scary rumours floating around about intrigues, tortures, murders in this oppressive place. The most haunted countryside castle, the most seductive Scottish destination…though most will hear no evil. This site uses affiliate links and I
Travel across Highlands from Edinburgh to Inverness with the train. Historic cities, enchanting castles, scenic hikes and foodie destinations. This 12 day/11 nights Scotland by train itinerary includes visits to charming towns and villages and each town has a story to tell and is a pleasure to explore.
Explore the stunning locations of the National Trust for Scotland. From majestic castles to breathtaking landscapes, discover the rich history and natural beauty of Scotland. Plan your visit today and immerse yourself in a world of heritage and adventure.
5. The Scottish wild is incredible.
People joke that you can experience every type of weather in a single day in Scotland. The beauty of its unpredictable weather, however, has granted the country a mystical ambience when exploring its vast forests and flowing waterfalls, and trekking upon its vibrant green grass.
Wild places in Scotland mean freedom, tapping into the unknown, and letting your senses run wild – no pun intended. Scotland is truly a place to reconnect with nature. Hike, meditate in a forest, swim in the chilly sea, kayak along a tranquil loch, or rock climb and see Scotland from a new perspective.
There are places with no sight of people or houses or even petrol stations nearby. Travelling in Scotland can offer a unique mindful travel experience to any traveller willing.
Though it’s easy to slip away in nature, I do have some favourites. The perfect places to get away are Northern Highlands and Hebrides Islands. From whale watching around the picturesque Isle of Mull, Highland deer stalking in Deeside, and walking through an ancient forest in Perthshire, there is something for every nature lover.
6. Castles are everywhere in Scotland.
Scotland is like a fairy-tale. Stunning castles are resting among misty mountains, painting their reflections upon scenic lochs, or beautifully standing tall in a Scottish town or city.
As an Edinburgh local, I never tire of the view of Edinburgh’s Castle sitting proudly on the top of the volcano – effortlessly dominating the historic skyline. It’s the most visited attraction in Scotland for a reason.
Also in Scotland, you can lay your eyes on the most often photographed castle in the world, the Eilean Donan Castle located on the mainland close to the Skye Bridge. You’ll quickly see why it’s so often photographed.
For another great reason to fall in love with Scotland, you can stay in a castle when you visit! Feel like a royal or have a close interaction with a ghost – the choice is yours! When staying in a castle is not an option, a simple visit to some craggy ruins, ancient abbeys, or castles with a romantic aura will surely suffice.
7. Scottish food is not just haggis and shortbread.
British food, in general, tends to get a bad rap. Okay, there’s British food, but then there’s Scottish food, and it’s a lot more than deep-fried Mars bars, haggis, and shortbread treats. While each of this is tasty in its own way, there is an entire culinary world in Scotland to devour.
If you have no dietary restrictions, let your tastebuds run wild in Scotland. Try Scottish smoked salmon, black pudding, tattie scones, oatcakes, culin sink – a soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions.
I must admit that my relationship with Scottish food evolved over time. In the beginning, it was hard to move from our traditional cooking to something new and, at times, weird. But then, I started to explore new recipes and restaurants, and sometimes totally new-to-us ingredients. While my family and I explore the country, we always have local food, whether it’s our favourite fish and chips or a dram of local whisky.
Traditional Scottish dishes like porridge are on our daily menu, and if I am not wrong, there are over 100 variations of this dish. Oddly enough, there is even an Annual World Porridge Making Championship, which is held every year in the Scottish Highlands and has been going on since 1996. Add that to your Scottish festival bucket list!
The unique blend of cultures and heritage also makes Scottish food more diverse and rich. You’ll find excellent Japanese restaurants, amazing Indian cuisine, Middle Eastern food, and plenty of European delights too.
If you have a chance to visit Scotland, enjoy sampling the traditional food and dining in small family-run cafes or bistros, and you will be not disappointed.
8. Scotland is a hiker’s paradise.
Hiking in the picturesque Scottish mountains is medicine to the mind and soul. Someone said that the mountain is the symbol of the biggest church in the world. Scottish mountains are not the highest but full of natural breathtaking beauty and wonderful landscapes which would take a lifetime to explore.
A bucket list-worthy experience in Scotland would be to summit Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in both Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole. Revel in the extraordinary views at the top of this legendary mountain.
9. Scotland is a not-so-typical island destination.
Imagine if Scotland was some warm and sunny Mediterranean paradise… It would be a totally different country, and it would arguably lose much of its magical beauty.
Luckily, Scotland is unique for having hundreds of charming islands but not being a sunny or tropical place. It means that the islands are unspoiled, boasting wildlife and miles of nature, and dotted in charming villages and secluded cottages.
There are more than 900 islands to explore in Scotland, and each one has its own draw-ins. See white-washed beaches on isles like Iona and Harris, indulge in folklore and the fairy-tale landscapes of the Isle of Skye, cycle around the Isle of Arran, or visit the most northern Shetland Islands archipelago.
10. Scottish beaches will surprise you.
Scotland boasts some of the most beautiful secluded beaches with fine sand and crystal-clear water. The country has both pebbled and sandy beaches dotted around its miles of coastline. There’s a surprising number of incredible beaches to see in Scotland.
On a good day, Portobello Beach in Edinburgh is packed with sun cravers and families enjoying picnics by the beach. And although there are not many people brave enough to swim in the North Sea’s cold water, this is a perfect place to enjoy the sunshine.
In Edinburgh, there are two main beaches. Portobello beach (Porta) has a 2-mile-long promenade packed with cafes and bars. Cramond Beach is much smaller but has a lovely promenade to walk or cycle along the beautiful coastline. In my opinion, Cramond Beach is more enjoyable because of its lovely walks linking with River Almond and its quaint but charming waterfalls. Having beaches in Edinburgh makes accessing the seaside on a trip to Scotland a breeze (literally).
There are so many fine beaches that you easily access with lovely seaside towns like North Berwick for the best fish and chips and ice cream and within the posh town of St. Andrews. You’ll also find many pebbled beaches on the west coast like in Largs and Dunoon.
For some of the lushest beaches in Scotland, you’ll have to head to one of the many islands, particularly of the Hebrides. Isle of Iona and Isle of Harris are two of the best destinations for the best beaches in Scotland.
Scottish says and phrases to know when visiting Scotland.
It’s hard not to love Scotland when they have so many fun ways of saying simple things. Here are some fun phrases and words to know before visiting Scotland.
Ah right pal? How are you?
This is rank! Disgusting
Nae bother! No problem!
Yer bum’s oot the windae. You’re talking nonsense.
Guid gear comes in sma’ bulk. Good things come in small packages
Haud yer wheesht! Shush! Be quiet!
Ken to know
I’m getting the messages. I’m grocery shopping.