You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road, but either way, we’ll both see the best of Scotland. In the lowlands, you can sample the laid back bohemian culture of cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh, known internationally for its annual Fringefest, the world’s largest art festival. Or soak in the courses at St. Andrews, the most expansive public golf course in Europe — did you know Scotland is where golf originated?
Scotland’s majestic highlands, however, are the scene-stealers. In the past, their misty cliffs and blue lochs have provided inspiration to everyone from novelist and playwright Sir Walter Scott to Danish auteur Lars Von Trier, who used this otherworldly landscape as a set for his 1996 masterpiece Breaking the Waves. The Highlands are often considered the most romantic part of Scotland, a magical place full of medieval castles and untouched glens, where red deer graze in the hills and eagles roam the skies.
There is also incredible biodiversity throughout the country, from dolphins who frolic off the Moray Coast to the wild birds that roost in the sparsely populated islands and stretches off its coastline. Of course, no trip to Scotland would be complete without a shot of Scotch, which should be easy to find with 98 active malt distilleries. But don’t forget to eat first: proving there’s more to Scottish cooking than haggis, make it a point to dine on local favourites like poached duck eggs, Shetland salmon, Angus beef, and wild partridge with pear sauce.