5. Paddle through whisky country
Scotland is serious whisky country and you can’t leave without sampling the nation’s famous spirit. But for a real experience to remember – take to the water.
Dave Craig of Spirit of the Spey offers a unique Canadian canoe trip down a stretch of Scotland’s fastest flowing river, the Spey, where distilleries dot the banks.
This is thirsty work, but luckily Dave is on hand to offer a wee dram midstream and then a private tasting by a roaring fire in his home afterwards.
River Spey by Dave Conner via Flickr (CC license)
6. Spot the “Big Five”
Stick with us here, but you don’t have to go on safari to spot the Big Five – Scotland has its very own: red deer (the UK’s largest land mammal), golden eagles, otters, red squirrels and common seals.
To tick off sightings of all five, check out new small cruise operator Argyll Cruising, who offer wildlife cruises on their seven-berth ship, Splendour.
Image by Alamy: Colin Leslie
7. Celebrate Hogmanay
The Scots don’t do New Year: they celebrate Hogmanay. This gloriously nefarious extravaganza has its roots deep in the country’s mysterious pagan past. It’s such a party that the entire country takes January 2nd off as well as New Year’s Day.
The epicentre of the action is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, which goes on for days before and after the big night.
Elsewhere look out for the Comrie Flambeaux fire festival in Perthshire and the Stonehaven Fireballs Festival, both spectacular events that kick off the new year with a serious and uniquely Scottish bang.
Explore more of Scotland with the Rough Guide to Scotland. Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.