Scotland is a country in north-western Europe, the second largest of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom, covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain. It shares a border with England to the south (stretching 60 miles or 96 kilometres), and is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest. Aside from the mainland, the country is comprised of more than 790 islands. Its capital and second-largest city is Edinburgh, which used to be the hub of the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century, making Scotland one of Europe’s commercial, intellectual, and industrial powerhouses. Meanwhile, Glasgow, the country’s largest city was once one of the leading industrial cities of the world. Its administrative language is English, while Scottish Gaelic and Scots are the recognised regional languages.
What to see & do
Scotland is popular for its stunning natural landscapes and dramatic sceneries not just in its Highlands, but also in the Lowlands, islands, and the flat lands of the North-East as well. It is also notable for its architectural significance and rich history and heritage dating back thousands of years. Visit the beautiful Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, with its grand Victorian cathedral allure, home to an eccentric variety of exhibits; the historic Edinburgh Castle, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland, which served as a royal residence and as the British army's main base in Scotland; Royal Yacht Britannia, which was the floating holiday home of the British royal family during their foreign travels from the time of its launch in 1953 until its decommissioning in 1997; and Mount Stuart, home to the family seat of the Stuart Earls of Bute, of the glorious 19th-century stately homes in Britain.
How to get around within Scotland
Scotland’s transport system is modern and effective, with high-quality roads, railway, and bus links, managed and regulated by Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government's department of transport. Getting around urban areas and intercity and towns, both major and minor, is best done by public transport, primarily by bus and train. Trains are one of the fastest ways to get around and journey times are often the same as by road, while buses are cheap, although slow and the least comfortable. However, it is recommended to rent a car if you are planning to tour around the country, as some remote parts of Scotland have poor or no public transportation. The Highlands, islands, mountains or rural areas are also best reached by car. The Traveline Scotland website is one’s best guide for public transportation in Scotland. While getting around by air transit is possible and also the fastest way to reach most of the islands, it’s not economical if your destination is within short routes. Loganair operates the majority of Scotland's internal flights.
How to get there
There are a number of airports located in Scotland, offering a wide selection of direct European flights from most major cities in Europe and more long-haul routes from the farther side of the world. There’s Aberdeen International Airport, Edinburgh Airport, Glasgow International Airport, Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, Inverness Airport, and Dundee Airport. Several UK domestic flights operate to Scotland, including British Airways, bmi regional, CityJet, Eastern Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, and Virgin Atlantic. Other ways to get in are by train (Scotland’s railway system forms part of the National Rail system due to its seamless integration with England) – both day and sleeper trains are available; by car, via the main road M74/A74 (M) motorway, linking Scotland and England and runs Glasgow to the English border north of Carlisle; by bus via the operators like National Express (main), Megabus, and Citylink; and by boat, from Europe via DFDS Seaways and from Northern Ireland via Stena Line, P&O Irish Sea, and Kintyre Express.