Edinburgh is a beautiful city - and the beauty is apparent from the moment you step out of the train station. You are transported through time to an age where the simple things in life need to be appreciated. The perfect blend of breathtaking architecture set amidst nature, it is all that you see and more.
We found a lovely garden home through Air BnB (strongly recommend finding homestays / country homes rather than hotels to stay in Scotland). Our host was extremely welcoming where the entire house was made extremely comfortable to entertain guests. She even made sure we had enough supplies to take care of midnight munchies (we were 7 friends traveling so there were quite some of those).
Edinburgh offers something for everyone - for culture we went on tours for the Edinburgh Castle and the popular "spooky" Adam Lyal tour of the city. For city view & nature, we trekked up Calton Hill - a surprise find when we took a gamble on a suggestion from a local - which still was mostly untouched by throngs of tourists and offered a bird's eye view if you climbed up 300 stairs of a lighthouse situated on the top of the hill. Btw, this is also the highest point of the city. For gluttony & debauchery - we stuffed ourselves with fish & chips and Scottish breakfast while sipping on Guinness and some single malt.
The capital of Scotland. Another very historic city. It’s very easy to orientate yourself in the city centre. There are High Street and Princess Street. Princess Street is the shopping street, you’ll have the shops on the one side and a park and some small historic monuments on the other. High Street is the “tourist” street leading from the Palace of Hollyroodhouse to the Edinburgh Castle.
At first, this city looked like it forgot that the medieval period was over. Or like someone just dipped it in a giant vat of molten medieval grey and brown and pulled it out. Fresh, dripping, and thriving in the 17th century. Things here seemed like a miniature version of the London monuments – the castle, the cathedral, the galleries. I know it’s not fair, this is one of the pitfalls in the business of wanting to see new sights and it takes immense skill and learning to stop comparing. By day four I started to see the uniqueness, appreciate the story of the Scots and understand where they are coming from – the shadow of the British.
Glasgow was hurried, smoky and dusty on the Friday morning that I arrived. Locals jostled to get to work amidst the weekend shoppers on Style Mile. Yes, you heard me – Style Mile :) While I giggled at the parallelism of this name with Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (though they are miles away from each other in spirit, pardon the pun), I was also immensely happy to be among the Scottish locals. THIS is what I really needed – something to strongly anchor in my head that regardless of either being a tourist or seeing a zillion of them, life goes on as normal and we are all the same at the end of the day. It was refreshing!
It is the largest city in Scotland. A city with history ,it has a character of its own. A little different from the metropolitan cities elsewhere but also similar in a lot of ways. It reminds one of a bygone era and at the same time keeps them in the present.
Source Lighthouse - overviewing Glasgow
Author Maciej Żytniewski from Galway, Ireland
Glencoe was one of the much awaited spots for us to visit. We rented a car and drove the 115 miles from Edinburgh. And that was our best decision! Scotland is best enjoyed on the road. The road trip itself seemed like a ticket to heaven, but when we got there we were treated with a peek at Hogwarts Express bridge - all Harry Potter fans amongst us were overjoyed. Glencoe also happens to be where a good part of 5th Harry Potter movie was shot. We stopped over a couple of times along the route to enjoy a hot cuppa and the view :) The entire to and fro was a day trip from E'burgh to Glencoe.
Ahh the drive to Inverness from Edinburgh to meet dear Nessie - again, Scotland is best enjoyed on the roads! Inverness is a beautiful tiny town attracting tourists for being home to many Lochs (or Lakes) around the highlands including the famed and mysterious Loch Ness Monster.
Day One there we went up to Urquhart Castle (or rather the ruins of ti) set on the banks of Loch Ness. Lounged around the sprawling lawns in front of the castle after a quick tour of the ruins. While the ruins itself wouldn't take you more than 45-60 mins to cover, we ended up spending over two hours there simply because every point of the Castle offered a breathtaking view.
Day Two we drove further high up to Isle of Skyye - there are multiple viewpoints / tourist spots ther. We had shortlisted Neist Point and Fairy Pools. We did a mini trek up to the Fairy Pools, and there are no words to describe how that experience was. I think it remains my favorite place in Scotland. But because the weather was still quite wet, and it took us much longer in the drive - we had to skip Neist Point altogether.
Day Three was of course a tour of the distilleries - we picked Glenfiddich and Benromach. First a well known fairly organized and commercial tour, while the latter being a much smaller (smallest distillery in Speyside region they say) more intimate tour. Both tours were quite fulfilling with animated guides and some great tasting tips.
This was a good place to explore the town and the general atmosphere . I bought some stuff here and it was also a stopover in the journey for changing trains. A walk through the streets, a visit to the castle and a bit of peeping into the daily life of the place and some memories to cherish for future. It was a fun experience and little things combined which stay etched in memory for a long time.