Monarch of the Glen (Shutterstock: see credit below)
Blog Words : Wanderlust team | 01 August

The Wanderlust guide to the best of Scotland

The success of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow's Commonwealth Games have woken the world up to what Wanderlust has known all along: Scotland is a great place to visit. Here’s your guide to getting there before the hordes arrive

Whether you’re after centuries-old castles or vast heather-covered glens, Scotland has something for you, preferably with a 12-year-old single malt close to hand. And then there are the islands – more than 600 – many as wild and empty as the mighty seas that lash against them.

Wildlife is plentiful too, from Scottish wildcats and mountain hares to red squirrels and magnificent golden eagles, so keep your binoculars handy. Who knows? You might spot Nessie too. 

Contemplating the highlands (Shuuterstock.com)

Contemplating the Scottish Highlands (Shutterstock)

Looking for inspiration?

Scotland has a wild emptiness like no other place in the United Kingdom, and Dan Linstead found it in droves on a sailing and walking trip around the Inner Hebrides. Close encounters with basking sharks and golden eagles were par for the course, as were rugged trails leading to hidden corners of Scotland that people seldom visit.

Lyn Hughes took to the Argyll coast and discovered plenty to keep her entertained in this sparsely-populated region – trails through glens and up hillsides, on foot or on horseback, cruises on the lochs and coastal waters, and a plethora of castles and ancient sites to explore.

And how best to get around this vast, empty land? Phoebe Smith reckons you can’t beat seeing Scotland by campervan. No matter what wild corner you find yourself in, a warm bed and a hot meal are only ever seconds away.

More information

Skye and beyond: walking and sailing in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides – Dan Linstead

Exploring Scotland’s Argyll coast – Lyn Hughes

Scotland by campervan – Phoebe Smith

Osprey catching fish (Shutterstock.com)

Osprey catching a fish near Aviemore (Shutterstock)

Walk on the wild side

Jim Manthorpe has provided you with a bucket list of endeavors to keep you active: 25 things to do in wild Scotland. Fancy a close encounter with whales or a red deer or two? Or is bagging a Munro more your scene? Jim has you covered here.

Nick Boulos discovered his inner twitcher on a birdwatching trip to Scotland, and he reckons you should too. Keep an eye out for the ospreys and golden eagles, he says.

If you really want to get away from it all, Dan Linstead suggests Knoydart Peninsula, ‘a gnarled hand, jutting out into an angry sea only reached by a two-day hike across 900m knuckles.’ Cool.

More information

25 things to do in wild Scotland ­– Jim Manthorpe

Birdwatching for beginners in Scotland – Nick Boulos

A breathtaking weekend on Scotland’s Knoydart Peninsula – Dan Linstead

Edinburgh at night (Shutterstock.com)

Edinburgh at night (Shutterstock)

Short break sensations

If it’s culture you’re after, as well as fine food and smoky single malts, Scotland can provide that too. Helen Ochyra’s short break guide to Glasgow reveals where to find the city’s finest galleries and museums, its up-and-coming areas, and the rough edges that give Glasgow its charm.

Claire Wilson, on the other hand, heads to Glasgow’s more refined sister, Edinburgh, and discovers the best way to start your long weekend in the Scottish capital.

More information

Short break: Glasgow, Scotland – Helen Ochyra

First 24 hours: Edinburgh, Scotland – Clare Wilson

Fairy pools (Shutterstock.com)

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye (Shutterstock)

Scotland’s secrets revealed

There’s more to Scotland than tartan and Scottie dogs. Like eccentric Highland railway stations with their own castles and cool camping sites offering stunning views and a little touch of Celtic eccentricity.

And don’t worry if your funds are low. We've put together a list of free things to do in Edinburgh that will delight and entertain you while freeing up cash to splurge on a deep-fried Mars Bar or two.

More information

5 little-known Scottish Highland stations you must visit – Simon Varwell

Scotland’s 7 coolest campsites – Cool Camping Britain

10 things to do for free in Edinburgh – Wanderlust Team

Glencoe Cottage (Shutterstock.com)

Blackrock Cottage, Glencoe (Shutterstock)

Readers’ Scotland

It’s hardly surprising that Scotland is a firm favourite with Wanderlust readers. Or that the Experiences section of myWanderlust is full of wonderful tales from our readers about their adventures there.

Like David Ross’s inspiring piece about sleeping under the Outer Hebridean stars on a camping trip from Barra to Stornaway. Or ATPTravels' raucous tale of whisky, whales and moon landings on the Isle Of Mull.

And who can forget Fintown Trekker’s adventures with mountain rescue workers in the depth of winter as he followed the footsteps of Donegal’s second-most famous resident – after Fintown, of course – the poet, Patrick McGill.

More information

Whisky, whales and moon landings, Isle of Mull, Scotland – ATPTravels

Wild camping in the wild Western Isles – David Ross

Winter mountaineering in Scotland – Fintown Trekker

Main Image: Monarch of the Glen. From Shutterstock.com.

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