There’s more to Scotland than what you might gather from popular culture or from the movies (“Braveheart,” “Trainspotting,” “Rob Roy”). While filmgoers may already be familiar with some of Scotland’s iconic sites and attractions, thanks to the many films that have been shot here, nothing quite beats seeing it for yourself.
Once in the land of tartan, visitors will discover a region rich in culture and history and long on breathtaking scenery. With so much from which to choose, it can be hard to winnow down the must-sees on your next cruise or on a longer stay.
Here’s our list of the top six things to see and do in Scotland:
Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Spend the day at Edinburgh’s iconic castle and then return that evening for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, one of Scotland’s greatest staged events. Thrill as the British Armed Forces, Commonwealth and military bands from around the world perform military tattoos with precision against a backdrop of lights and fireworks. The Tattoo performance takes place every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August as part of the Edinburgh International Festival and has never been canceled due to inclement weather.
Loch Ness cruise
Will you be the one lucky enough to spot this shy monster of the deep? Some cruise lines offer live sonar to improve the odds of spotting shy Nessie so choose wisely. Depending on your time frame, opt for a longer cruise that will include a stop at the 13th-century Urquhart Castle and a journey down the Caledonian Canal, a striking feat of early 19th-century engineering.
Stunning. Striking. Unforgettable. One visit to Scotland’s most picturesque glen and you will know why people have described it and the surrounding mountains in such grand terms. Depending on the season, Glencoe is a perfect place for long hikes (bring a jacket even in summer as it gets chilly) or a popular ski area.
An arts festival like no other, the Edinburgh Fringe transforms the city for three weeks every August with hundreds of performers showcasing their theater, dance and musical talents. In 2016, the Fringe offered up 50,266 performances ranging from comedy and cabaret to children’s shows and spoken word and everything in between. Visitors to Edinburgh Fringe can expect to see performances from unknown artists as well as award-winning thespians and musicians.
Isle of Skye
Like much of Scotland’s countryside, the Isle of Skye can aptly be described as rugged, but this island epitomizes the Highlands and its majesty. This small island is home to rugged mountains, soft beaches, bright green hillsides and Dunvegan Castle and Gardens, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. While here take a tour of the Talisker Whiskey Distillery and then head off to Fairy Glen to catch a glimpse of these magical creatures. Depending on how long you spent at the distillery, we bet you’ll see one!
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum
One of Scotland’s most popular (and free) attractions, this Glasgow museum boasts an impressive collection of art, historical artifacts and natural history. Thanks to a recent refurbishment that has allowed it to house approximately 8,000 works of international significance, it is worthy of a full day’s exploration. It’s truly fun for all ages.
— Cruiseable news services