Things to see and do
Whisky and water
Wherever you go, you’re never far away from a river, a loch or the sea itself. It also has to be said that the mist and rain are never that far away either. But when the clouds roll away, and the sun breaks through, you’ll find a breathtaking landscape that’s saturated with colour and beauty.
If you’re a whisky connoisseur, you can savour the country in more ways than one on a tour of your favourite distilleries. Alternatively, you can take in the many ancient castles and other historic sites that dominate the high ground and coastlines. As you travel the country and experience its wonders, hospitality and cuisine, you’ll soon understand why Robert Burn’s heart was truly in the Highlands.
For centuries, Scotland has been a haven for outdoor pursuits. Golf was invented here in the 15th century and you could easily spend your visit touring the famous old courses. Hunting and fishing are other important activities, and many flock here for the salmon, grouse and deer.
For those in the know, the west coast has the finest sailing in the world. With its dramatic coastline, challenging tidal systems, fascinating islands and unspoilt beaches, it is genuinely a yacht master’s paradise. If you’re not much of a sailor, you can still explore the islands using the extensive car ferry network. Mull, Skye, Lewis and the Uists provide their own unique driving experiences – your Avis car rental is the perfect companion.
When the temperatures descend, you can still get out and about – on a snowboard or skis – at one of the five winter resorts.
A tale of two cities
All of Scotland's cities have their own special character but two stand out above the rest. Balanced at either end of the 'central belt', Edinburgh and Glasgow represent two distinct aspects of the Scottish character.
In the east, Edinburgh is an ancient city that is hewn from the rock of a dramatic volcanic landscape. Once a temple of the Enlightenment and containing a wealth of neo-classical architecture, it is now the political and financial capital. It is also the home of the Queen's official residence in the country and the world-famous Edinburgh Festival.
Over in the (wild) west, the city of Glasgow reveals a noisier, brasher and, some say, warmer side to the country. Its eclectic jumble of legacy Victoriana and (post-)modernist excess provide a fascinating backdrop to the swagger and creativity of this sharp and dynamic city. Open to the world, it has a vibrant culture and contemporary art scene as well as excellent museums and shopping.
Hogmanay – New Year's Eve - is the most important holiday in Scotland. So much so, that the step from one year to the next can sometimes take as long as four days! Wherever you are in the country, you'll find some kind of party going on: from the world's largest New Year's event – Edinburgh's Hogmanay – to a 'lock-in' on a Hebridean island. See you at the bells!