7 Scottish destinations that will make you feel like you’re abroad

With travel anywhere but the UK still a bit of a cloudy issue at the minute due to the pandemic, getting away abroad without any fuss this year might still be a wee while off.

Thankfully, with the staycation scene booming and Scotland’s excellent tourism industry opening up once again, it’s the perfect excuse to get out and discover the hidden gems waiting to welcome you.

And don’t worry if you’re pining for that skiing trip or that golden beach holiday, our wonderful wee country has plenty of locations that mimic that feeling of being abroad that could be just the ticket.

Discover the Northern Lights in the Isle of Coll (or any island in the Outer Hebrides) instead of Scandinavia

The islands of Scotland are ideal for a bit of stargazing and spotting the Northern Lights
The islands of Scotland are ideal for a bit of stargazing and spotting the Northern Lights

With no street lights, the Isle of Coll is the perfect place to escape light pollution – so much so it’s even been named as a Dark Sky community (one of only 22 worldwide).

The tiny island, which lies just off Mull’s West coast, is beautiful to explore in the daytime and at night, offers one of the best places in Scotland for stargazing and, in autumn and winter time, the Northern Lights, meaning you don’t have to travel to Scandinavia to see them.

Skiing in Glencoe instead of the Alps

Those looking to get on the piste can enjoy the oldest skiing resort in the UK at Glencoe, which has a lot of variety for those looking for different challenges.

With plenty of red runs and some challenging black ones, you’ll find plenty of excitement if you’re more experienced on the slopes.

There’s also accommodation on offer and lessons for beginners for those looking to make more of a trip of it.

Paddle in crystal clear water on Luskentyre instead of the Maldives

The beautiful beach at Luskentyre
The beautiful beach at Luskentyre

Aquamarine waters needn’t be the sole preserve of tropical islands, in fact, there are some incredible beaches around Scotland’s beautiful and rugged mainland and island coastlines that will easily rival the best these places have to offer.

Luskentyre Beach on the Isle Of Harris is regularly named as one of the world’s best.

Climb Ben Nevis instead of the Himalayas

Ok, so we might not have anything of the scale of that most famous of mountain ranges, or indeed anything that would compare to Everest, but Ben Nevis is as close as you’ll get to it in Scotland, with plenty of challenging climbs for even the most experienced of climbers.

Don’t worry there are plenty of other even more challenging Munros for those looking for something that little bit extra such as Sgùrr Dearg and the Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Looking for a drink-oriented holiday? Forget the south of France, head to Speyside

Speyside is a whiskey fans dream
Speyside is a whiskey fans dream

Scotland’s national drink is just as exciting as France’s wine industry and has a similarly rich history.

In Speyside, you’ll find just over half of all the country’s distilleries and loads of places to sate your first for not only the Cratur but also the knowledge of how it is made.

You’ll also find the place where casks are made and repaired (The Speyside Cooperage), the stills are produced (Forsyths) and of course, where you can enjoy drinking it.

Seek out golden sand beach at Loch Morlich instead of the coast of Spain

Hundreds of sun-worshippers flock to the beach at Loch Morlich
Hundreds of sun-worshippers flock to the beach at Loch Morlich

Sun-seekers and beach lovers may think the Costa Del Sol or the islands of Greece are the ultimate holiday destination but Scotland can more than hold its own when the sun shines.

The beach at Loch Morlich is a hidden gem that not only has golden sands and beautiful blue waters but is also surrounded by the scenery Scotland is famous for – how is that for the best of both worlds?

Looking for stunning scenery and ethereal unspoilt landscapes? Swap Iceland for Skye

Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye came out top for second in the UK for stargazing
The Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye.

Iceland is known for its epic, ethereal and other worldly landscapes but closer to home, the Isle of Skye is equally as magical, memorable and mesmerizing.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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