Wed. Jun 19th, 2024
Sunrise at Quiraing on the Isle of Skye - Scotland is beautiful but you'll need more than one trip to see it all
Sunrise at Quiraing on the Isle of Skye – Scotland is beautiful but you’ll need more than one trip to see it all (Image: Getty)

When visiting Scotland for the first time there can be a lot to take in, from the scenery and historical sites to the people and the language.

Though most people will have a wonderful time, there are some things they probably wish they knew before they got here.

So with that in mind, we asked you our readers what they thought, here is what they said.

1. Don’t be afraid to go in winter

This should be pretty obvious but if you can handle the weather, Scotland is beautiful all year round.

As one of our users said: “We arrived into Glasgow the Friday night before Christmas, the town was alive!! People celebrating, Christmas Markets, it was wonderful walking around taking it all in.”

2. Travel by train rather than by car

Travelling by train is a great way to see the country
Travelling by train is a great way to see the country (Image: Getty)

This was a popular suggestion with one person stating that trains are better for “seeing amazing views from the windows”.

3. Don’t be afraid to integrate yourself

It might seem obvious but this is a suggestion from many, with all adding that not always just doing the tourist thing can have its benefits and that Scots are so welcoming.

One follower advised: “You have the learn all the words to at least one song and sing all the way through. There is no getting out of it”

While another added: “Eat the haggis and drink the whisky. Repeat.”

4. Plan ahead – you don’t want to miss out

As there is so much to see and do, planning ahead was a key tip for many.

One user wrote: “You need to schedule ahead, we missed out on the island of Hoy because we didn’t plan ahead.”

5. Be prepared for the weather

You might want to bring clothes for every occasion
You might want to bring clothes for every occasion (Image: Getty)

As Billy Connolly once famously said, in Scotland, there is no bad weather, just the wrong kind of clothes.

Many were happy to follow this advice adding that it might be smart to pack for all types of weather, even in summer.

One person joked: “Don’t bother with an umbrella. Useless in the wind”

While another added: “When it‘s warm and the sun is shining brightly, and there is no cloud in the sky, and no wind at all, and you see blinking warning signs that tell you “Heavy rain” Believe it. Just believe it.”

This leads us to our next tip.

6. Dress appropriately

Taking the right clothes is important, never try to go hiking in flip flops even on a sunny day.

One person wrote that you should take good walking boots and a good raincoat, and that warm clothes are “essential”.

Another added: “In June our first stop was Prince street in Edinburgh to buy heavy sweaters. We were unprepared for the weather. A mere fleece would not do.”

7. Don’t assume you’ll understand everyone

Local dialects, Scottish words and phrases and of course the accents mean that it might be hard to catch what everyone is saying. Don’t be afraid to ask people to slow down.

As one follower points out: “Even though you think you speak the same language, you really don’t.”

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

This is a good one, most people in Scotland will be happy to help and we are usually very welcoming and patient.

“People are warm, friendly, and helpful,” writes one of our Scotland Now readers.

“Don’t do the touristy things, ask the locals,” advises another.

One person wrote: “They will share stories and take you places you never imagined. Every person we spoke with was truly amazing and wonderful. The beauty extends far beyond the landscape. Be nice and be present.”

9. Plan to come back – you won’t see it all in one trip

This is important, Scotland is bigger, busier and more wonderful than you think.

“The people are wonderful. The country is beautiful,” One person writes. “You definitely need to add more time for your visit!”

While another fellow traveller added: “That there is no way one visit of Scotland is enough, there is never enough of Scotland”

Other suggestions included booking a longer trip and not trying to do everything on your first trip here.

But our favourite has to be: “Take your time and don’t rush. Scotland has been here for thousands of years, so you can always come back.”

10. You’ll find it difficult to leave

And finally, be prepared for a strange kind of sadness when you leave, even the natives feel this when they go elsewhere. It just makes coming back all the better.
As one user points out: “I wish I had known that I would cry like a baby when my holiday was finished and I had to leave.”

While another added: “Be aware you may never want to leave.”