If you’re looking for a destination that offers history, culture, nature and adventure, look no further than Scotland. This small but diverse country has something for everyone, from castles and museums to lochs and islands. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Scotland that you shouldn’t miss.
**Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile**
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a city of contrasts. On one hand, it’s a modern and vibrant metropolis with a rich cultural scene. On the other hand, it’s a historic and atmospheric place with a medieval heart. The best way to experience both sides of Edinburgh is to visit its most iconic attraction: Edinburgh Castle. Perched on a volcanic rock overlooking the city, the castle is a fortress that has witnessed many battles and sieges over the centuries. It’s also home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and the famous One O’Clock Gun. You can explore the castle’s history and secrets with a guided tour or an audio guide.
From the castle, you can walk down the Royal Mile, the main thoroughfare of the Old Town. This cobbled street is lined with historic buildings, monuments, museums, shops and pubs. You can see St. Giles’ Cathedral, the Scottish Parliament, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and many other attractions along the way. The Royal Mile is also the hub of the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s largest arts festival that takes place every August.
Loch Lomond is one of the most beautiful and popular lochs in Scotland. It’s part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which covers 720 square miles of stunning scenery. Loch Lomond is the largest inland body of water in Britain, with a surface area of 27 square miles. It has 30 islands, some of which are inhabited by people or wildlife. You can enjoy a variety of activities on and around the loch, such as boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, cycling and golfing. You can also visit some of the charming villages and towns along the shore, such as Balloch, Luss and Balmaha.
**Cruising Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal**
Loch Ness is another famous loch in Scotland, but for a different reason. It’s said to be the home of Nessie, a mysterious creature that has been sighted by many people over the years. Whether you believe in Nessie or not, Loch Ness is worth visiting for its scenic beauty and historic attractions. You can cruise along the loch and admire its deep blue waters and green hills. You can also stop at Urquhart Castle, a ruined medieval fortress that offers spectacular views of the loch.
Loch Ness is part of the Caledonian Canal, a 60-mile waterway that connects the east and west coasts of Scotland. The canal was built in the early 19th century by engineer Thomas Telford and is considered a feat of engineering. You can cruise along the canal and see its impressive locks, bridges and aqueducts. You can also explore some of the towns and villages along the route, such as Fort William, Fort Augustus and Inverness.
**The Royal Yacht Britannia**
The Royal Yacht Britannia was the official yacht of Queen Elizabeth II from 1954 to 1997. It sailed over a million miles around the world, carrying the royal family on state visits, holidays and honeymoons. It also hosted many famous guests, such as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton. Today, the yacht is permanently moored in Edinburgh’s Leith docks and is open to visitors as a museum. You can see how the royals lived and worked on board, from the lavish state apartments to