Glasgow has oodles of attitude, a strong urban identity, and a great music scene, while Edinburgh is the quintessential quaint, beautiful city - small enough to walk around, but large enough to offer a large variety of things to do and places to eat at. The Fringe Festival in August is a good time to see the city teeming with music, theatre, and comedic performances. For the best of Scotland’s smaller cities, Aberdeen, St. Andrews, Inverness, and Dundee are all full of welcoming locals who are happy to tell you what makes the Scots better than anyone else!
The Scottish Isles are on par with the mainland for beauty and culture. The Outer Hebrides are a throwback to a bygone era with hundreds of heritage houses and over 60 per cent of the locals speaking Gaelic . The Isle of Arran and the Orkney Islands are more populated and a tad more modern, but are still devoted to preserving their unique identities independent of the Scottish mainland.
If you’ve never had haggis before, this is time to be brave. Don’t ask what the ingredients are, and chances are you may enjoy it more than you think you will. For those of weaker wills, the Angus Beef steaks and seafood are always excellent options. Whether you’re whale spotting, whiskey tasting, trekking, hunting for monsters in the Scottish lochs, or drinking the best beer local pubs have to offer, Scotland’s magic will draw you in and keep you coming back for more.
There are very few direct flights connecting Canada with Scotland. Air Transat operates direct flights from Toronto (YYZ) to Glasgow (GLA) while airlines such as British Airways, Delta, American, United, Continental, and KLM have flights via London (LON), New York (NYC), Paris (PAR), Frankfurt (FRA), or Amsterdam (AMS). For cheap fares, book a direct flight well in advance, but for a last minute dash to the highlands, book a flight to a hub airport in Europe such as London or Amsterdam and then hop on a budget airline to Glasgow, Edinburgh (EDI), Aberdeen (ABZ), or Inverness (INV).
Coastal temperatures rarely fall below freezing, but the chilly winds will make it seem colder than it is at any time of year. The western coast gets substantially more rain throughout the year and experiences milder weather than the eastern coast’s extremes.
The tourist season for Scotland extends for quite a while from April to September with a peak period from July to August due to the school holidays across Europe, Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, as well as the Highland games. May and September are good months to visit in, when accommodation rates are slightly lower and the weather is still quite good. April or October are also good options, but are dependent on the weather during these shoulder seasons. Unless you’re heading to a ski resort or making your way to the Christmas markets in Edinburgh or Glasgow, the winters are a dull time to visit Scotland. Most tourist spots are either closed or operate for fewer hours, while the Isles are frequently inaccessible due to bad weather.