The Scottish Islands have long been among our favourite places to visit and there are endless highlights we could mention, but for the sake of getting to the point and keeping things simple we have rounded up some of the best. From beaches that wouldn't look out of place in the Caribbean to castles fit for kings, and from distilleries that produce the most flavoursome whisky in the world to archaeological sites that will transport you back in time, here are some recommendations that will show you exactly why Scotland is a bucket-list destination.
Our Favourite Scottish Highlights
15 June 2020
Scotland's magnificent standing stones
Treat yourself to a place on our Grand Tour of the Outer Hebrides holiday and you'll come face-to-face with the 5,000-year-old Standing Stones of Callanish. Or, on our Archaeologist's View of Orkney & Shetland holiday, we'll take you to see the Standing Stones of Stenness. This country is home to some truly awe-inspiring monoliths and nothing compares to seeing them in person.
Incredible whisky in its homeland
If you're something of a fan of whisky, Scotland should be your next holiday destination. Head over to the island of Jura and you'll be in for a treat as it is home to the fantastic Bowmore Distillery, the oldest distillery on the island. This unique whisky is produced by hand – by the Maltman – and is matured in Spanish and American oak casks, which give it its distinctive flavour. Visit as part of our Islay and Jura tour, departing throughout 2021.
Brilliant beaches and clear waters abound
If you think of Scotland, you might be inclined to imagine heather-covered moorland and temperamental weather. However, if the skies clear and the sun comes out, you'll be rewarded with stunning views over beaches that transport you to tropical places and water so clear you can see myriad tones of blue. Some of our favourite coastlines? The island of Iona, Dalmore on the Isle of Lewis and Vatersay Bay in Barra.
Incredible ancient castles
A holiday in Scotland means you're never too far from a castle and there are many to choose from. Some are perched dramatically on rocks that protrude from the water, some are inland – however, they are all worth a visit, even the ruined one. On our Lord of the Glens - Heart of the Highlands trip you'll see Eilean Donan Castle,
A number of our Scottish breaks include the opportunity to birdwatch at RSPB reserves or to take a boat ride where observing seals is likely, and this is just another aspect of Scotland that we love – its abundant wildlife. To watch for birds, how about our Undiscovered Orkney trip? For a wildlife cruise to the Treshnish Isles and Staffa, you'll want to take a look at our Inner Hebrides tour.
Another highlight of Scotland is its caves. On our Grand Tour of the Inner Hebrides trip, we'll take you to see Fingal's Cave on the Isle of Staffa (pictured left). Join our Scotland's Northern Edge trip and you'll explore Smoo Cave. Recent excavations show that the cave was in use 6,000 years ago by the earliest settlers in the north. The “blowhole” and waterfall can be observed from an observation point above the cave.