Scotland is located in the north west area of Europe, and is among the members making up the United Kingdom. It is told that Scotland was established in the year 843 AD, with a preliminary history marred by violence and war with England as well as the Vikings. For centuries, war raged on with England. It wasn’t until 1603 when Scotland’s king, King James VI, gained the throne of England that the bitter conflict ended. Then, in May of 1707, the Scottish and English governments joined together, shifting all political power in Scotland to England, thus giving birth to the UK. Throughout the 1700′s saw in Scotland an Enlightenment, with tremendous economic and industrial growth and the creation of major trading centers such as Glasgow. Presently, debate is brewing on whether Scotland should become autonomous from the rest of the UK, and so in 2014 a major referendum is scheduled on the issue of independence for Scotland.

de_0014_scotland - Summer mountain country view


Scotland has an impressive array of attractions, from castles, to national parks, to major cities. Here are a few of the major attractions:

  • Edinburgh Castle: Arguably Scotland’s most famous iconic landmark, the castle was built in the 1100′s, and houses artifacts such as the country’s Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny, as well as the entire National War Museum. The castle is open year round, with guided and audio tours available.
  • Ben Nevis Mountain: Stretching over 4,400 feet above sea level, this mountain is the highest peak in all of the British Isles. Located on the west side of the country, near the town of Fort William, Ben Nevis is famous for its natural beauty, and its hiking trails and rock climbing with an annual 500-competitor race to the summit every September.
  • The City of Edinburgh: Within this beautiful capital city of Scotland is an impressive number of things to see and do. For example, be sure to visit St. Mary’s Cathedral with its world famous Gothic architecture; Camera Obscura And World Of Illusions, the city’s oldest tourist attraction, displaying mind-bending optical illusions; and Gilmerton Cove, a subterranean maze of rooms and tunnels underneath the city that to this day has experts baffled as to its origins and purpose.

de_0015_scotland - Edinburgh Skylines building Scotland UK

Local Food & Drink

Scotland boasts a wide array of delicious foods and tasty beverages sure to satisfy your cravings any time of the day. For instance, Haggis is a historically classic staple of Scottish meals, even today. The dish consists of diced sheep’s heart, lung and liver, fried up and served along side potatoes and turnips. Also, the seafood menu is inviting, consisting of crab, lobster, salmon, oysters, fried and battered cod (fish and chips); all fresh from the nearby sea. You can even combine haddock and shellfish, mix it in a broth of cream and potatoes to get a dish the Scots call Cullen Skink. Scotch Pie is a favorite among the Scots. It’s a pie containing spiced mutton. For breakfast, porridge (with salt sprinkled on top) is still a norm, as is the square sausage–another breakfast item that’s a square-shaped slice of fried beef or pork stuffed in a roll.

For beverages, Scotland is well-known for its beer and whisky. Regarding beer, the country is especially known for their ales, with a prosperous boom in recent times for the micro-breweries. For whisky, the country boasts over 100 different distilleries, making the drink Scotland’s biggest source of export. Also unique to the area is a soda pop called Irn Bru, touted as a hangover remedy, and outselling even Coke! Other soda drinks available are Red Kola and a liquorice-flavored drink called Sugarelly.

de_0013_scotland - White sandy beach of Vatersay, Outer Hebrides, Scotland


Scotland is quite a safe place to visit. However, there are a few precautions you will want to take during your stay. For example, when hiking in the mountainous regions, be sure to pack appropriate clothing (warm, waterproof items) as Scotland’s weather can change dramatically and without warning. When driving through the country, many rural roads can be a challenge due to the many sheep and cattle that frequently cross these narrow roads. So, pay attention! Also on these narrow rural roads, Scotland utilizes what are called Passing Places. These are designated lanes which are used to pull over into should a car behind you wish to overtake you, or an oncoming car need to squeeze by you. Finally, in an emergency, there is no 911 in Scotland. Instead, dial 999. When in a major city at night, be careful when in or around the bars and nightclubs, be sensible, and avoid confrontation with drunk people. Also, when on public transportation at night, such as the trains, there are usually uniformed civic workers called Tickets Examiners ready to assist you in case of a problem. However, sometimes there is not a Ticket Examiner, thus if you have an emergency, call 999 or the British Transport Police at 0800-40-50-40. There are also emergency alarms on all trains. Overall, Scotland is a safe place with a rare incidence of crime toward tourists.