Travel Update


Callanish Standing Stones

Take a Virtual Tour of Scotland from Home

Life in lockdown can be pretty challenging, which is why you might need a little escapism at the moment. We certainly do! And where better to escape to than stunning Scotland?

As you can't visit Scotland right now, we thought we'd put together a virtual tour so that you can explore this beautiful land from the comfort of your own home.

Thanks to Google Maps Street View, you can journey through Scotland on a virtual holiday. It’ll almost be like you’re visiting on a sunny day! And don’t forget some views are 360° so you can drag the image around for more.

Remember, Scotland will still be here when you're ready to travel again. The ancient rock formations, historic ruins and majestic mountains are not going anywhere. 

Welcome to Scotland!

Day 1: Explore Edinburgh

Look how quick the journey was! You’re already arriving in the beautiful and historic capital of Scotland, Edinburgh. You have all day to explore the nooks and crannies of the town. From the winding streets of the Old Town to the large Georgian streets of the New Town.

For the best views over the city centre and surroundings, check out the Edinburgh Castle esplanade and Calton Hill.

Edinburgh's new town

Day 2: Follow the east coast

Today you start driving up the east coast of Scotland. Don’t forget to take in the view as you cross over the Firth of Forth. This includes the red Forth Rail Bridge, one of Scotland’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.

First stop is the town of Falkland, a former royal burgh dating back to the 12th century. Explore its fascinating Renaissance Palace while you’re here.

You can then pop by the lovely St Andrews. It is famous for its castle, cathedral ruins, golf history linked to the Royal and Ancient club, and for being the home of Scotland’s oldest university.

Later, cross the River Tay and pass by Dundee. It is a UNESCO City of Design where you may enjoy visiting the V&A Museum and the RRS Discovery ship. Then follow the scenic route to Aberdeen via the St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve and the spectacular Dunnottar Castle.

dunnottar castle at dusk

Day 3: Discover Deeside

Royal Deeside is an enchanting area set between the east coast and the Cairngorms National Park. It is known for its high density of castles and whisky distilleries. 

There’s plenty to visit, including 16th-century Crathes Castle, and of course, the Scottish residence of the Royal Family, Balmoral Castle. (Maybe you’ll notice that if you explore the grounds on Google Maps, the little icon is the Queen herself!)

Into Speyside, whisky enthusiasts can visit one or more of the distilleries here. There are over 40 to choose from, including the famous Glenfiddich. If you have some Scottish whisky at home, it’s time to take a little sip and immerse your senses into this virtual tour. 

Slàinte Mhath! It means "good health" in Scots Gaelic. 

Day 4: Journey to Orkney

Today you head into the northern Highlands, first crossing the Black Isle Peninsula (renowned for its ale and dolphin visitors). Follow the coast to the seaside village of Scrabster, stopping along the way to admire Dunrobin Castle.

From here you’ll take the ferry across to Orkney. Admire the views of the Pentland Firth as you sail into Stromness.

You’ll then have the rest of the day to explore the capital of the isles, Kirkwall. Make sure to catch a glimpse of the 12th-century St Magnus Cathedral

ring of brodgar on orkney

Day 5: Soak up the wonders of Orkney

Take the next few minutes… Oh, we mean "all day" to explore the hidden gems of Orkney. Some of its highlights date back millennia to the Stone Age.

You may have heard about the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney”, a UNESCO World Heritage site area that comprises a group of ancient monuments. This includes the 5,000 year-old prehistoric village of Skara Brae and the mysterious Ring of Brodgar stone circle.

When you come in person, you’ll also be able to visit the Standing Stones of Stenness and the chambered cairn of Maeshowe. 

Day 6: Drive the North Coast 500

After another ferry (didn’t it go by quickly?) you’re ready to take on the North Coast 500. This is one of Scotland’s most epic driving routes which follows the northern Highlands. You’ll be greeted by sweeping sea views, rocky cliffs and beautiful sandy beaches.

On your way to the charming and whitewashed village of Ullapool we recommend stopping to visit the beautiful Smoo Cave. It is the largest and most dramatic sea cave in Britain. The pristine beaches and turquoise waters of Durness are another must-see stop on a sunny day.

harbour of ullapool

Day 7: Experience Gaelic culture on the Isle of Lewis

Today ready your sea legs as you “catch the ferry” from Ullapool all the way to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. You’re now in a remote yet lively region of Scotland where Gaelic culture and language still thrive.

Stornoway is a lovely small town that you’ll enjoy discovering. The real gem of the Isle of Lewis is on the west coast and worth the detour. Walk among the spectacular Callanish Standing Stones, an impressive collection of Neolithic stone circles.

Day 8: Explore the Isle of Harris

Harris is actually part of the same isle as Lewis. Although it has two names, the Isle of Lewis represents the northern part of the island, and Harris the southern area.

Explore the village of Tarbert and take in the scenery as you follow the “The Golden Road” all the way to Rodel. We recommend exploring the beautiful medieval St. Clement’s Church and going for a walk on Luskentyre Beach.

And yes, we hear you asking if Harris Tweed bears any relations to this island? It does, in fact this traditional tweed has been handwoven here for generations. You can visit the outlets for a genuine, timeless souvenir.

beach on isle of Harris

Day 9: Hop over to Skye

Here you go on another ferry all the way to the iconic Isle of Skye. Today you focus on the breathtaking Trotternish Peninsula. Enjoy a walk up to “The Old Man of Storr” rock pinnacle and see the beautiful Kilt Rock waterfall.

Other highlights of the area include the Quiraing and the Fairy Glen. You could also spot dinosaur footprints at the An Corran Beach at Staffin. But best leave some fun for when you visit in person, right?

Day 10: Discover the Isle of Skye

You have another full day on Skye. It’s one of the highlights for many visitors to Scotland as there is so much to witness and experience here. Make sure to stop for a wander around the scenic village of Portree with its colourful harbour.

You could also head west to take in the Black Cuillin Hills and walk by the mystical Fairy Pools. Why not taste the local whisky at Talisker Distillery? Or visit the home of Clan MacLeod, Dunvegan Castle?

quiraing on skye

Day 11: Travel to Loch Ness

Today's journey is from Skye to the famous Loch Ness. We always recommend a stop at Eilean Donan Castle on the way. It is one of those iconic castles in Scotland!

You’ll soon arrive by the shores of Loch Ness, a vast lake that you may know because of its elusive monster. Here you can visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition or explore the Urquhart Castle ruins.

Day 12: Marvel at the majestic glens

This morning you get to witness the beauty of Scotland’s most famous valley, Glen Coe. You can simply take in the scenery or go for a walk or hike.

Later, you have two driving options, but as you’re home, you get to enjoy both! First, you drive through Balquidder, where you can stop at the grave of Rob Roy. You’ll then pass by the village of Killin to admire the beautiful Falls of Dochart.

The longer scenic route is via the seaside town of Oban and onto the historical valley of Kilmartin Glen. It has some incredible Bronze Age and Neolithic remains. Don’t forget to stop along the way by the charming village of Inveraray.

valley of glen coe

Day 13: Visit the Trossachs National Park

Today takes you back to the starting point of your Scottish adventure, though not without passing some truly stunning places as a last hurrah. Going through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park will bring you stunning views of fields, mountains, and many lakes.

And you’ll have so many stops and activities to choose from.

You could go on a boat tour onboard a steamship on Loch Katrine or visit Deanston Distillery. You won’t want to miss Doune Castle, featured in a number of famous films and TV shows. Spend some time visiting Stirling Castle and stop to take a photo of the Kelpies.

Day 14: Head home

Unfortunately, your time in Scotland is over. You have the rest of the day to explore more of Edinburgh or Glasgow at your leisure before returning home.

But fear not! Your virtual time in Scotland isn't over if you don't want it to be. You can discover more about this spectacular country by reading about the best times to travel to Scotland or the best castles to visit.

Or perhaps you'll take this time to start planning your trip to Scotland in person, to see, smell, and experience all of these first-hand. 

When you're ready to make this trip a reality, get in touch. Our local Edinburgh-based travel experts will help you tailor a tour to fit your interests. 

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Post by: Camila

 Camila grew up between the French Canadian and Chilean cultures, before moving to Scotland in 2012. When she’s not travelling or writing about travels, Camila loves to read, run, and puzzle. Her favourite destinations have been Reykjavík, Copenhagen, Estonia and Cape Town. 

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Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.