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Honed by long competition with its English neighbors, buoyant Scotland has survived encroachment, brass-monkey weather and invasion by stand-up comedians. Its people are feisty, opinionated and fiercely loyal. The countryside is a beautiful tumble of raw mountain peaks and deep glassy lakes.
Like a fine single malt, Scotland is a connoisseur's delight - an intoxicating blend of stunning scenery and sophisticated cities, of salt-tanged sea air and dark, peaty waters, of wry humor and generous hospitality.
SCOTLAND TOURS AND TRAVEL:
EDINBURGH Tours, Travel and Activities
Scotland's capital has a magic that seldom fails to captivate visitors. Modern sophistication melds with staunch tradition from both ends of the social spectrum to create a unique whole, built in noble stone in the most spectacular of settings. It is no exaggeration to describe it as one of the most lovable, and livable, cities on the planet.
Exploring Edinburgh on foot is a delight, and is always punctuated by views: the majestic castle clinging to its volcanic crag, Arthur's Seat like a chunk of the Highlands dropped into town, or the glimmering Firth of Forth.
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GLASGOW Tours, Travel and Activities
Glasgow is the most Scottish of cities, with a unique blend of friendliness, urban chaos, black humour and energy. It boasts excellent art galleries and museums, as well as numerous good-value restaurants, countless pubs and bars and a rollicking arts scene.
Although Glasgow lacks the instantly inspiring beauty of Edinburgh, it's one of Britain's largest, liveliest and most interesting cities, with a legacy of appealing Victorian architecture and several distinguished suburbs of terraced squares and crescents.
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SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Tours, Travel and Activities
Rugged, remote, romantic and rare - Scotland's famous Highlands and Islands make up one of Europe's last great wilderness areas.
Return to an era when Sunday was sacred, explore a Stone Age village, spend time with the local wildlife or meet the people that history has failed to humble.
While the Highlands and Islands are part of Scotland and share some common history with their southern kin, the ethos north of the Highland Boundary Fault is distinct.
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SUGGESTED ITINERARIES: SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
Dark and deep, Loch Ness stretches for 23mi from Fort Augustus almost as far as Inverness. Its bitterly cold waters have been extensively explored for Nessie, the elusive Loch Ness monster. Although some visitors claim to get lucky, most have to be satisfied with a visit to the fascinating Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition in Drumnadrochit.
The Isle of Skye boasts one of the greatest concentrations of scenic splendor and variety in Britain. Visitors flock to Skye to experience spectacular mountain walking and climbing.
FESTIVALS IN EDINBURGH
They don't call Edinburgh the Festival City for nothing. The peak party time of the year is August, when the sun warms into something worthy of the name, the city explodes with arts events and the streets fill with a cosmopolitan melange of visitors high on a heady mix of culture and single malt.
And if you're hardy enough to brave the Scottish winter, you'll be rewarded by the fullest-bore New Year celebrations you're ever likely to see.
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