If you’re a fan of TV’s Outlander, have seen Braveheart countless times, find bagpipe music blissful and whisky runs in your veins, you’ve either got Scottish roots for real, or secretly wish you had.
According to readers of Rough Guides, Scotland’s legendary lochs, gorgeous glens and windswept castles make it the most beautiful country in the world in 2019.
And when you add dramatic history, delicious food (haggis anyone?) and locals who know how to party like no one else on earth, it’s a heady and eclectic mix.
So if a family vacation to bonnie Scotland is on your to-do list, here are five tartan travel hacks.
- Highland tours
One of the best ways to witness the beauty of the Scottish Highlands in comfort and convenience is by booking a bus tour with an operator like Highland Experience Tours.
There are lots of different excursions to choose from, but if you or your kids are Harry Potter fans, The Jacobite Experience is a must.
After a day on the road soaking up sights, you’ll board the Hogwarts Express (known in real life as the Jacobite Steam Train) and blast across the Glenfinnan Viaduct which famously featured in the film franchise — outstanding!
Dundee in Scotland’s north east is currently enjoying a revival which has caught the attention of international publications like Lonely Planet and the Wall Street Journal — both of which have named the city a must-see destination.
Much of the attention stems from the recent opening of the awesome V&A design museum, an angular masterpiece from architect Kengo Kuma which sits astride the riverfront like a spaceship.
But Scotland’s coolest city also boasts bijou bars, excellent restaurants and parks a-plenty for kids.
- Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city and its center is jaw-droppingly scenic — one side of main thoroughfare Princes Street is bordered by expansive gardens and a craggy castle which sits atop a dormant volcano.
If you visit in August, attending the Fringe is almost mandatory — it’s the world’s largest Arts festival and you’ll see everything from street acrobatics to avant-garde mime and sidesplitting comedy.
And the Fringe festival program always features lively kids shows, so there’s something for all the family.
Gleneagles hotel near Auchterarder in rural Perthshire might be Scotland’s most famous — and it’s almost certainly the poshest.
This five-star hotel complex contains sumptuous suites, a well-appointed spa, Scotland’s only restaurant with two Michelin stars, a shooting and fishing school and three world-class golf courses.
Naturally, it’s pricey to stay here — so either splash out for a memorable single night stay or simply visit and make use of the amenities for a few hours.
Scotland’s two main airports are Glasgow and Edinburgh, but Edinburgh is the largest and best-connected.
You can fly directly to Edinburgh from New York’s JFK, but if you don’t mind a layover, you’ll find flights from most US airports.
Finally, whether you’re departing from Orlando, Florida or Ontario, California, finding airport parking with Looking4.com keeps your vehicle safe while you’re away.
That’s our list! Share your own Scottish vacation tips in the comments section.