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Scotland

Continent: Europe

Ideal Duration: 3 - 5 days

Best Time: May - September Read More

Currency: Pound Sterling (GBP)

Budget: Expensive

"An amalgamation of culture, nature and music"

Scotland Tourism

Scotland, a part of the UK, is located in northwestern Europe and is one of the most important countries in the continent. When one thinks of Scotland, the chequered kilts and bagpipes come to mind. However, there is a lot more to the country. From the lush green highlands to the coastal blue waters, from fine Scotch whiskies and brilliant food, you can experience all. Scotland also has a long history, and its magnificent castles can vouch for that.

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Best time to visit Scotland

May - September is the best time to visit Scotland

The best time to visit Scotland is during Summer (June to August). The period from June to August is the warmest time of the year in Scotland. The Spring (late March to May) and Fall (September and October) seasons are also a beautiful time to travel to Scotland. The clear skies and extended hours of daylight are ideal for sightseeing and other tourist activities. However, there is no significant difference in the weather conditions of Spring and Summer. Spring, in particular, is a splendid time to visit the Highlands. However, travellers planning to visit the Highland regions between May and September are advised to find out in advance about the intensity of Midges in their areas of the visit. Autumn is a relatively popular season for travel owing to the Highland Games. October is also the perfect month to consider if you wish to spot the beautiful autumn foliage. Towards the end of October, lots of public places and sites begin to shut down due to the snowy, winter conditions. The cold conditions continue until the end of February and make this period a little tricky to travel in. The public places and businesses become completely operational towards mid-March. The first half of November, in particular, is a splendid time to experience Scotland's beautiful autumn foliage. The weather conditions are incredibly pleasant during these months. Mid-October onwards, lots of public places and sites close due to the snowy, winter conditions. The cold conditions continue until the end of February and make this period a little tricky to travel in.

Regions in Scotland

Scotland is divided into many traditional counties as well as 32 modern unitary authorities. The major areas are the South West, the Central Belt which houses famous cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, the highlands like Loch Ness and Great Glen, the northeastern part including Aberdeen, Hebrides, Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Good weather through the year. Beaches as well as highlands. Deep, traditional roots. Friendly people. Brilliant local cuisine.

What's Not So Great?

Quite expensive. Difficult for vegan eaters. A little traditional in its mindset.

For Whom?

Adventure lovers. Couples. Trekkers. Peace lovers. Gourmets.

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Currency of Scotland

Scotland uses Pound Sterling like the rest of the United Kingdom. The three national banks in Scotland issue their sterling banknotes and they circulate along with the Bank of England notes. Though Scottish banknotes are accepted in the UK, it is tough to exchange them outside the UK, so it is better to spend them during your stay. One can easily use American Express, Visa Cards or MasterCards for their transactions. There are a lot of ATMs available in the country, so cash accessibility is never a problem.

Exchanging Money in Scotland

Money can be easily exchanged in banks, hotels and foreign exchange bureaus. The exchange bureaus are open for long, but they have high commission rates. One can also exchange the currency at the airports.

Nightlife in Scotland

Scotland is well known for its nightlife and attracts a lot of tourists to the bustling life after dusk. The numerous music festivals in the country provide a brilliant nightlife throughout the year where people dance and scream their hearts out. There are a few casinos in Edinburgh and Glasgow which are worth trying out. Alea Glasgow is one of the most popular ones with games like Long Bar, Read Lead Bar and Iso Bar. When in Glasgow, Sub Club and Cube are the most popular clubbing places where the top DJs of the world come to perform. In Edinburgh, the major nightlife districts are around Broughton Street, Leith Walk, Cowgate and George Street.

Shopping in Scotland

Scotland offers a broad range of souvenirs and memorabilia to buy while on your trip. The perfect souvenir is a kilt, the traditional outfit of the Scottish which costs around GBP 300. 
How can one leave Scotland without buying whiskies? Single malt whiskies are a must buy when here. There are many duty-free shops which sell them.
Look out for tiny shops in the street if you want unique jewellery, pottery or fashionable clothing. Numerous fairs and flea markets are organised here throughout the year.

Festivals of Scotland

Scotland houses numerous festivals that call out a number of tourists every year. Edinburgh International Festival is held for the celebration of arts and is now one of the most popular celebrations in the world. Other major festivals include The Fringe in Edinburgh, Military Tattoo festival held in the Edinburgh Castle, The Hogmanay Festival, Highland Games and Hebrides of Scotland. Numerous music festivals are also held in Scotland like Electric Fields Festival, Groove Loch Ness, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and Shetland Folk Festival. You are bound to find one or the other festival going on throughout the year.

History of Scotland

Dating back to more than thousands of years, the birth of Scotland was supposed to be in 10,000 BC during the Palaeolithic Era. It was followed by the chapters of the Roman army, Vikings, powerful monarchs, noble clansmen and various famous philosophers. The beautiful castles, fortresses, standing stones, stately homes and brilliant architecture in Scotland are an account of Scotland's long history. After being ruled by many leaders, Scotland formed a part of United Kingdom in 1707, yet the new parliament was built in Edinburgh only in 1999.

Hygiene in Scotland

One should be aware of midges, small biting flying insects, that are found in the damp areas of Western Scotland. It is better to carry an insect repellent spray. Also carry medicines for high altitude sickness, when going for hillwalking. Some major things to consider while travelling in Scotland are eating and drinking safely, staying safe outdoors and avoiding sharing body fluids.

Customs of Scotland

People in Scotland generally have a relaxed dressing style. Most tourists can explore the place in decent casuals. In case of greetings, shaking hands is the first step followed by a "Hello" or "How do you do?". The tourists should be polite to everyone. One major thing to avoid is calling a Scottish person English, as they get highly offended by this. Tipping culture in Scotland is not as much popular as it is in countries like the USA. Still, there are a few areas where tipping is practiced. For taxis, it is good to tip around 10% of the fare to the drivers. In restaurants, tipping 10% of the entire bill amount is a norm.

Tips for visiting Scotland

  • Scotland is a safe country, and the chances of encountering crime are pretty low, but it is still better to have some precautions. In an emergency situation, dial 999 or 112 to get in touch with officials.
  • Scotland's weather is also unpredictable, so it is always better if you carry extra warm as well as rainproof clothing or umbrellas with you whenever you visit.

Culture of Scotland

Scottish people hold strong to their culture and traditions, the bagpipes, haggis and kilts being the most popular ones. The Church of Scotland has the most number of followers in Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church being the second largest one. There is also a small fraction of Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs. The official language of Scotland is English, and it is widely spoken all over the country. Scottish Gaelic, the traditional language, is spoken in a few parts of the country.

Food of Scotland

Good food and Scotland are closely linked to each other. Situated in the perfect location with rural highlands, clear waters and fertile lands, the country has some of the finest natural produce in the world. When in Scotland, you must try the national dish, haggis. It is a savoury pudding that has sheep's hearts, lungs, and liver, minced with onion, spices, salt, and oatmeal. Scotland also has some of the best seafood in the world with brilliant preparations of oysters, scallops, langoustines, salmon, crabs, and lobsters. Scottish beef is known to be the best in the world, and the sizzling sirloin of the popular Scotch beef cannot be missed while here. Scottish people are also lovers of oats porridge and Scotch Pies. Vegetarian food is not hard to find, but vegan food is. Edinburgh has a few good vegan restaurants in the country.

Stay options in Scotland

For a good night's sleep in Scotland, there are many options like self-catering accommodation, budget hostels and homestays, as well as luxurious bed and breakfast accommodation. There are plenty of hostels under the Scottish Youth Hostel Association, which provide perfect budget accommodation. Camping is another favourite way to explore the highlands of the country. The most popular motel chains in Scotland are Travelodge and Premier Inn.

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