Scotland’s Top 13 Experiences

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From whiskey tours to border abbeys, Scotland offers terrific experiences that should be on every traveler’s list. Here are Fodor’s top picks for a memorable trip.

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Prehistoric Monuments

Around Scotland, haunting structures like the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis provide an intriguing glimpse into the past. Sights are scattered across
the landscape, but Orkney claims a large concentration.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Seaside Towns

The country’s jagged coastline and many islands create scenic settings for towns such as Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, with its colorfully painted houses.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Isle of Skye

With the misty Cuillin Mountains and rocky shores, Skye has few rivals among the country’s islands for sheer loveliness. Links to Bonnie Prince Charlie add further allure.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s The Northern Highlands and the Western Isles Travel Guide

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Glencoe

The wild beauty of Glencoe’s craggy peaks and deep valley provided the background for a tragic massacre in 1692. Today the area is popular for outdoor activities.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Around the Great Glen Travel Guide

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Whisky Tours

From Speyside to Islay, whisky distilleries offer tours and tastings of Scotland’s signature drink. Their often-spectacular settings are an added bonus.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Loch Lomond
and the Trossachs

Its clear water, plus access to Edinburgh and Glasgow, make Loch Lomond a coveted retreat. The Trossachs’ lakes and hills are the essence of the Highlands.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s The Central Highlands Travel Guide

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Glasgow

An urban renaissance has brought great shopping and nightlife to complement the city’s rich architectural heritage and museums like the Kelvingrove.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Glasgow Travel Guide

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Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital charms with its Royal Mile and Old Town, and events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Fringe keep areas like the Grassmarket lively.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Edinburgh and the Lothians Travel Guide

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Castles

Whether in ruins or full of treasure, castles dating from the medieval period to Victorian times are among Scotland’s glories. Dunnottar overlooks the North Sea.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Seafood

From salmon to oysters, the superb fish and seafood from rivers, lakes, and the sea are treats to savor. Delicately smoked fish is a specialty, served hot or cold.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Border Abbeys

The towering ruins of the region’s great medieval abbeys, such as red-sandstone Melrose, retain echoes of their past grandeur and recall Scottish history.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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Jacobite Steam Train

The famous trip from Fort William to the coast at Mallaig offers spectacular views of mountains and lochs, as well as a ride over the twenty-one arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Around the Great Glen Travel Guide

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Golf

The home of golf, Scotland claims some of the world’s most challenging holes but has courses for all levels, many in beautiful settings by lakes, hills, or the ocean.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Scotland Travel Guide

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