Scotland is most famous for the world’s most loveable sea dinosaur, the Loch Ness Monster, or ‘Nessie’ as she’s fondly known as.
It is also famous for kilts, and who doesn’t wonder how Scottish men can still be so manly when wearing them. This was even better demonstrated by a sexy young Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart. And last but not least, the distinctly Scottish sounds of the bagpipe.
But Scotland has so much more to offer than it’s weird and wonderful quirks. It is also a fantastic holiday destination for Aussie adventurers. VisitScotland has put together a list of unexpected, but unforgettable experiences for those who seek to get to know Scotland past the obvious.
Samye Ling, Buddhist Retreat
Most travellers would not think ‘Buddhist Monastry’ when travelling to Scotland, but it is there that you will find Samye Ling. It was the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to have been established in the West, and is an experience not to be missed.
The Tibetan Buddhist monastery runs courses in mindfulness meditation and is set within the remote valley by the river Esk. What better place is there to clear you’re mind than surrounded by such natural beauty, away from all the hustle and bustle.
Munro-Bagging (conquering mountains)
There are 282 Munros (mountains over 3000ft high) in Scotland. Originating from Hamish Brown’s book Hamish’s Mountain Walk in 1974, the term ‘Munro-bagging’ became popular.
The book documented his exciting four-month self-driven journey round all the Munros. Although reading is a fantastic hobby, experiencing it yourself is even better!
The North Coast 500
Covering 500 miles of the coast of the Northern Highlands, get ready for the ultimate Scottish road trip. With stunning beaches, beautiful coastline views and delicious food and drink stops, it is the best way to see Scotland.
Take your time and explore without the rush of itineraries and take in the country at your own pace. So get your driving playlist ready, stock up on snacks, and hit the road Jack!
Touch Down on a Beach Runway
Like something straight out of a movie, Loganair operates flights from Glasgow and Benbecula to Barra, landing on a beach. Traigh Mhor, a two-mile cockle shell strand, serves as the island’s runway, with planes landing next to crashing waves.
Flights into Barra do, however, have to be flexible as the runway disappears twice a day with the incoming tide. But don’t worry, the pilots watch carefully and won’t let you get washed away.
Awesome Swim Spots
Discover some of the best wild swimming locations in Scotland, with a vast selection of beautiful rivers, lakes and waterfalls. Try swimming across the Corryvreckan Whirlpool in Argyll and the Isles or the Fairie Pools in Skye.
Sticking to the magical, mythical theme that Scotland portrays, check out the Witch’s Cauldron near Clunes Forest. Lastly, make sure not to miss the opportunity to visit Loch Ness, Britain’s longest lake and home to Nessie.
Feeling brave? Scotland is home to many myths, legends, spooky stories and several old castles. One of these, Glamis Castle, is believed to be one of Scotland’s haunted castles, with stories of a ‘white lady’ roaming the halls.
The castle is over 600 years old and has been home to the members of the royal family and was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The estate covers more than 57 square km and is currently home to the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne.
Dancing at a Ceilidh
The word Ceilidh comes from the Gaelic word for ‘gathering’ or ‘party’ and are centred around Scottish dancing. A Ceilidh is a great opportunity for all you single travellers out there looking for the woman (or man) of your dreams to get up close to a Scot.
Dances include Strip the Willow, which involves couples standing in two lines, linking arms and spinning together. Dancers then work their way down the line to dance with each couple in turn.
The Northern Lights
Being on the same latitude as Norway and Alaska, visitors are likely to see the spectacular Northern Lights. Striking awe into the hearts of all who see it, witnessing this natural phenomenon is always high on most people’s bucket list.
Some of the best places in Scotland to view the lights include Wick in Caithness and Galloway Forest Park.
With so many great holiday destinations and activities, travelling to Scotland should definitely be added to the bucket list. Not only is it great for those seeking adventure, it also offers a fascinating history and heart-warming culture.
For more information on holidaying in Scotland head to http://www.visitscotland.org/