Scotland is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for a number of reasons that include ancient castles, charming villages, friendly people and haggis, neeps and tatties! It’s a place where you can see some of the most iconic sites in the world – Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness, and the Scottish Highlands to name but a few.
If you’re planning to visit Scotland this year, here are four must-visit places we think you should include in your itinerary in 2024.
1) Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders, steeped in historical significance, served as a crucial route for soldiers traveling between Edinburgh and London. As a result, this thoroughfare has witnessed numerous skirmishes. Nestled amidst the Scottish Borders are picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, farmland, and captivating views of The Cheviots in England along the southern border.
This area is popular with enthusiasts of hill walking and horse riding, with an extensive network of 380 kilometres of waymarked horse riding routes.
Additionally, the region boasts the splendid ruins of the Four Border Abbeys: Melrose Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, Dryburgh Abbey, and Kelso Abbey. These awe-inspiring ruins are must-see attractions for anyone exploring Scotland.
Notably, the Scottish Borders holds the legacy of Sir Walter Scott, the renowned author and poet, who once called this area home. Visitors have the opportunity to explore his residence, Abbotsford, and pay homage at his final resting place within the confines of Dryburgh Abbey.
2) Dumfries and Galloway
Lonely Planet named this region one of the top places in the world to visit last year- however, this region is still on our must-visit list.
Nestled in the charming southwest of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway often goes unnoticed by tourists. This hidden gem boasts a rugged coast, lush woodlands, and a rich tapestry of Gaelic and religious history. It's has sparked inspiration for countless artists and writers.
This delightful region is home to Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town. For those fortunate enough to visit in the fall, the annual Wigtown Book Festival is a must-see.
If you're keen on immersing yourself in local Scottish charm and straying from the typical tourist trail, be sure to include it in your travel plans!
Aberdeenshire is somewhat of a hidden gem- and that’s exactly why we love it. If you’re looking to get off the beaten track, explore castle ruins, go hiking in a national park, and have beautiful countryside all to yourself- Aberdeenshire should be on your list of places in Scotland to visit.
Aberdeenshire is home to some of Scotland’s most spectacular castles; including Fyvie Castle, Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle, and Castle Fraser. You can see all these castles and more on The Castle Trail, a self-guided driving tour.
A fun time to visit is in September, when the Braemar Highland Gathering- Scotland’s most famous Highland Games- is on. The Royal Family attend this event each year!
Orkney is a fantastic island north of the Scottish mainland.
Picture this: an archipelago of more than 70 islands, surrounded by awe-inspiring towering sandstone cliffs, stunning white sandy beaches, and crystal-clear water.
If you're into history, we recommend exploring the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Skara Brae is the star of the show - it's Europe’s most complete Neolithic village.
Other must-sees include the Ring of Brodgar, a Neolithic henge and stone circle, and the Standing Stones of Stenness.
Orkney is also one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
If you're up for a Neolithic adventure and maybe a dash of aurora magic, Orkney should be on your bucket list for 2024!
Do you plan on visiting any of these places in Scotland this year?