5 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Scotland

Although global travel restrictions to protect public health are still in place around the world, it doesn’t hurt to plan your future itinerary. And for people locked indoors, looking at places with beautiful countryside and lots of clean air is probably top of their list. If you’ve been eyeing Scotland as a possible future destination, we can’t blame you. Here are some of the most important things you need to know before visiting this country.

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Scotland is Not a Part of England

Politically, culturally, and economically, both Scotland and England are separate countries that are part of the United Kingdom. Never call a Scottish person English, as the Scottish people are extremely proud of their cultural identity and heritage. The Culture Trip advises playing it safe by simply assuming that every person you meet while in the country is Scottish. In relation to this, you should also never ask if their money is real or not, as Scottish legal tender is accepted across the UK. Furthermore, don’t even think about asking anyone what they wear under their kilt, as this is tantamount to asking whether or not they wear underwear, a topic best left between close relationships. Respect Scottish culture and tradition and you’ll find that they are a very welcoming people.

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Be Prepared for Scottish Food

Scotland is famous for having some of the best produce in the world, with many of the world’s top restaurants ordering from the country. However it is also home to some of the “stranger” dishes you may encounter. Do try haggis, Scotland’s national dish made of sheep’s offal. Many of the best restaurants have their own versions. If you’re feeling brave, and not on a diet, you can even venture to try a deep-fried Mars Bar – a caramel chocolate bar dipped and fried in batter. Depending on who you ask, it’s either culinary sacrilege or pure genius.

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It’s the Land of Picturesque Hikes

Europe’s gorgeous, natural terrain has inspired some of the greatest stories and mythologies of the last thousand years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Scotland where you’ll find some of the most picturesque hiking spots in all of Europe. Bring your walking boots, as there are plenty of places to explore. Encompassing 50 rivers, 22 lochs, and larger burns, Trossachs National Park is considered by Gala Bingo to be one of the top spots in Scotland for hiking and dog walking. Try Conic Hill if you want a quick nature hike with superb views of Loch Lomond. For a trip back in time, go for the Glen Ogle Trail, a historic hike that will have you walking across disused railways and stone viaducts. No wonder Wanderlust calls Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park a walker’s paradise.

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Expect Fickle Weather

While you won’t necessarily see rain every day, it would be prudent to expect it and come prepared. Don’t just pack for the cold, pack for rain. Raincoats and boots would be ideal if you’re planning to go on hikes. But if you’re mostly staying in the city, at least have your own umbrella. With that being said, Scottish weather is notoriously fickle, and you might even experience every type of weather on certain days, so be prepared.

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New Year is a Three-Day Affair

Hogmanay is Scottish for the last day of the year. It’s one of the most unexpectedly wild and fun New Year celebrations on earth. On the first day of Hogmanay, thousands of people march the streets of Edinburgh, each bearing torches and walking through the capital to the sound of traditional pipes and drums, culminating in fireworks at midnight. This signals the beginning of what is pretty much a days-long street party, which includes Loony Dook: the Scottish tradition of dressing up in silly, funky outfits and taking a dip into the River Forth together. If you are planning to have a wild time, this is the time to go.

14 thoughts on “5 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling to Scotland

  1. Being a British territory it’s also common knowledge in the Turks and Caicos islands that the Scotts and Brits are not the same. Interestingly, the closest I’ve come to Scottish food are Jamaican dishes influenced by Scottish traditions as they were once a colony of Scotland. “Manish Water” for example. Excellent read.

  2. oh Scotland is next on my list as soon as they open the airport for intl travel. The country is gorgeous to say the least.

  3. Totally agree that this is a good time to plan future travel. Actually, now it seems that for many of us we’ll value travel even more – because we’ll probably travel a bit less. So it’s about our most desired destinations. And Scotland happens to be make its way to the top of my list. The landscape is absolutely stunning up there!

  4. I’ve never been but I know a friend from there and I would love to visit one day. Honestly, I’d love to try their food too! The scenery is breathtaking from what I’ve seen.

  5. Thank you very much for a great post about Scotland. It’s such a beautiful country with breath-taking scenery. We visited Glasgow and Edinburgh, but we would love to explore the Isle of Skye. Scotland happens to be on your list for this autumn, if we won’t be able to escape to the Caribbean.

  6. Thank you for this awesome post! I have always wanted to do the NC500 route in a campervan. We climbed Ben Nevis a few years ago and fell in love with Scotland 🙂

  7. Definitely some great information here. Also, most certainly makes me want to travel to Scotland. I’d be willing to go anywhere at this point though haha. Love the post though, always good to get some insight on places other than here.

  8. Traveling to Scotland is one of my biggest dream in life because of is very beautiful and calm nature. I loved this one and still looking forward to travel to Scotland someday.

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