Scotland is a historical home to witches, warlocks and warrior kings, as well as being the seat of the 18th Century European Enlightenment — French philosopher Voltaire famously enthused ‘We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization’.

It’s an inventive, literate and caring nation, having gifted luminaries like John Logie Baird, Robert Louis Stevenson and Elsie Inglis to the world.

And anyone who’s ever visited in person or been bewitched by locations on TV shows like Outlander might agree with Rough Guides’ 2017 assessment that it’s the most beautiful place in the world.

Apart from famous tourist locations like Edinburgh Castle, Caledonia also offers many attractions off the beaten path which are a little unconventional — but fascinating for adults and children nonetheless.

If you’d like a European vacation that’s out of the ordinary, here are six insider travel tips that are veritable passport to Bonnie Scotland.

Some countries have specific words or phrases that are very quintessential to their culture. In Scotland, this word is “bonnie“. Do you know what that is?
fernanda in scotland

In Edinburgh

1. Accommodation

Edinburgh’s location in the central belt makes it a brilliant base for travellers, but for something a little special, book Dean Village lodgings at Airbnb.co.uk.

This historical riverside setting bang in the city center is simply spectacular — you’ll feel like you’re living in a fairytale.

2. Flights

bonnie scotland

East coast airports in Florida, New York and New Jersey offer the most convenient connections to Scotland and the duration of a direct flight is under seven hours.

Search Kayak.com for cheap deals on flights with carriers like Virgin, Delta and Air Canada.

3. Scottish car hire

If you want to explore Scotland’s highlands, islands and glens under your own steam, you’ll need to hire a vehicle. And there are few autos that look or feel funkier than a vintage VW campervan — grab your very own at vintagevwcampers.com.

4. Stateside parking

Traveling to your US departure airport on public transport might help you save pennies, but cramped conditions don’t make it conducive to family harmony.

To reduce pre-flight stress, find airport parking at Looking4.com and travel in your own vehicle — there are early bird deals on valet and park and fly services in locations from Orlando to LA.

5. Battleground

1314 is a date that’s familiar to any true Scot — it’s when the Scottish army inflicted a crushing defeat on English forces during the First War of Scottish Independence at Bannockburn, near Stirling.

Head to the Bannockburn Visitor Centre for a thrilling 3-D reenactment of close-quarter combat and stand on the soil where a nation was forged in blood, sweat and tears.

6. Steam train

The Glenfinnan Viaduct in Inverness-shire will be very familiar to Harry Potter fans — the Hogwarts Express blasts across it in four of the franchise films.

And if you’d like to recreate this celluloid journey for real on a fully functioning vintage Scottish steam train, grab tickets for The Jacobite at westcoastrailways.co.uk. This 84-mile trip takes you from Ben Nevis to Mallaig via Loch Ness, Glenfinnan and Arisaig — simply stunning.

bonnie scotland

Edinburgh’s Castle

That’s our list! What’s on yours? Add your own Scottish travel suggestions in the comments section.