A Note From Greg: “I Love Europe! Great Britain is one of my favorite places (possibly because of the James Bond connection)… and I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland.
After reading this new post by my friend Katie, my desire to head North of England has increased tenfold.
So, who’s joining me in Scotland?”
While many people go to Britain and get no further than the capital, there is so much more to explore outside of the bright lights of London.
In less than five hours, whether by rail or road, you can hop over the border from England into Scotland, a place of superlatives where you’ll find some of the most jaw-dropping vistas, coasts, countrysides and cityscapes in the world.
Here’s are just some of the most breathtaking places to visit in this tiny country…
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With its friendly atmosphere and quaint cobbled streets, Edinburgh sometimes doesn’t feel like a city at all.
And, because it’s so hilly, there are plenty of places to enjoy the views.
No trip would be complete without climbing up to the castle – just don’t time your visit for 1pm because the guns, which were originally meant to help sailing ships in the Firth of Forth check their chronometers, still boom out every day at that time.
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Not far from Edinburgh city center, you’ll find Newhaven, which was once a separate fishing community.
Nowadays, the urban sprawl means it has pretty much merged with other modern developments.
But, the pretty lighthouse still remains here and you can stand on the pier and gaze out at towards the Firth of Forth.
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One of a clutch of tiny Islands in the Firth of Forth, Cramond Island is reached by a causeway at low tide.
Here, you’ll find the remnants of World War Two outposts, with a long row of pyramid shaped concrete posts to the north which make for an unusual subject for photographs.
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Set just in front of Parkdean’s Grannie’s Heilan’ Haime holiday park, Embo beach in the Highlands boasts one of the most stunning sweeps of white sand in the world.
Get up early and you might be lucky enough to see the mist creeping over the rocks on the shoreline.
It’s incredibly atmospheric at dawn but just as beautiful at other times of day.
You can walk on the criss-cross of paths which take you through the sand dunes and you might even spot bottle nose dolphins playing just off the shoreline.
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Around a 20 minute walk from Glasgow’s city center, Clyde Auditorium is worth the stroll and a city landmark.
Designed by world-renowned architects Foster and Partners, it looks like a giant armadillo and, depending on the time of day, the shapes throw interesting shadows across its curved roof.
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The Duke’s Pass
On the A821, The Duke’s Pass sits between Aberfoyle and Callander and has to be one of the most scenic roads in the world.
Once a tiny track only passable on foot and horseback, it reaches heights of more than 800 feet.
You can drive through forest tracks where you might be lucky enough to spot deer, buzzards, red kites and eagles.
At the highest point, there’s a car park and viewpoint where the wooded glens of the Trossachs are laid out beneath you.
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Sitting at the western end of Loch Tay in Stirling, Killin is the sort of place where stunning scenery greets you with every turn.
If you drive along the south side of the loch, you get gorgeous sunsets over Glen Lochay, while the west end of the village sits around the Falls of Dochart, which are crossed by a narrow stone bridge.
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The Isle of Sky
This island got its name from the old Norse for skya, or cloud island, because the Cuillin Hills are often covered in atmospheric mist.
It’s only 50 miles long, but Sky is covered in every type of scenery from richly-hued moors to soaring mountains, mirror-like lochs and huge cliffs.
It’s pretty impossible to find a bad viewpoint here.
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While Scotland has more castles than you can shake a stick at, the ones which lie in ruins are often the most photogenic and ethereal. The approach to Dunnottar Castle is simply spectacular.
You can walk from the nearby town of Stonehaven, looking back over Stonehaven harbor from the town’s war memorial before reaching the dramatic castle itself.
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A long linear village in the Highlands, Achiltibuie offers up beautiful vistas across to the Summer Isles, one of which recently went up for sale for 2.5 million Pounds.
But, even if you can’t afford you very own island, it costs nothing to take in the views.
Scotland may be small, but it’s crammed with so many beauty spots that it’s no wonder this country is dubbed Bonnie Scotland.