Discover the magic of Scotland on a self-guided walking, cycling, multi activity or drive and hike holiday. From the Scottish Borders through the highlands and islands, a self guided adventure is a truly unforgettable way to experience Scotland.
You will discover the majesty, history, culture and people as you travel through the Scottish landscape at our own pace. Based locally, our friendly and professional team have an unrivalled knowledge of Scotland and are dedicated to ensuring you have an unforgettable holiday.
Walking & Cycling holidays in Scotland give you the freedom to explore the remarkable Scottish countryside at your own pace. A range of self-guided walking and cycling holidays explore this majestic, natural country and lets you experience the fierce passion the Scottish people have for their homeland. Scotland has amazingly varied landscapes and the best way to experience them is by getting out there on a bike or on your own two feet! Setting out to explore Scotland this way, you can see the mountain wilderness of the Cairngorms National Park up close, lose yourself in the lochs and glens of the Highlands or see the many islands on the rugged Scottish west coast, where whisky has been distilled for centuries.
Many holiday in Scotland because of the country’s captivating history. Everywhere you go you’ll find an abundance of historic castles, belonging to prominent clans and feuding Scotsmen. Tartans and bagpipes may be a Scottish stereotype, but you don’t have to look far to see proud and unique Scottish culture on display in everyday life; from kilts worn at special occasions, poetry by Robert Burns or Highland coos grazing in the fields. Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle still stand tall over their cities, and there are still family-owned castles used as accommodation. On an adventure holiday in Scotland you can visit strongholds like Urquhart Castle and idyllic castles like Eilean Donan, the most photographed castle in the country, and on our Luxury Highlands and Isle of Skye: Rail and Hike, you can even stay overnight in a Scottish castle. While it isn’t mandatory, we always recommend a whisky tasting or two on the Speyside Whisky Trail and a meal of haggis, neeps and tatties provides great energy and delight after a day on the trails.
Scotland’s big cities
Before heading out to discover Scotland’s natural beauty, you will most likely travel through Glasgow or Edinburgh. The Scottish capital Edinburgh is a wonderful city with impressive architecture, in the medieval old town encircling the Royal Mile, and a stunning Georgian New Town. Edinburgh is famous for culture and comedy, hosting the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which is the largest arts festival in the world. Philosophers, scientists and authors have called Edinburgh home for hundreds of years, and you can find the Scott Monument, tributes to Robert Burns and the devolved government building at Holyrood when you visit Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle sits high over a city rich in history and full of museums and shopping opportunities, and the now-extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat still looms over the city.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city, located on the west coast on the banks of the River Clyde. Glasgow’s long and proud history stems from the industrial era, having made its name for shipbuilding and trade. Today, Glasgow is the cultural hub of Scotland, hosting the Scottish national opera, ballet and theatre companies. Glasgow is a UNESCO city of music and it is famed for being a city that knows how to enjoy itself. It is also the home of Macs Adventure and we love Glasgow with a passion.
The Highlands also offer many other walking holidays. Scotland is split in half by the Great Glen and you can walk across the country along this fault line on the Great Glen Way. The Great Glen is also the home of Loch Ness, so while you walk you can always keep a look-out for the Loch Ness Monster! The end of this trip is a lovely walk down into Inverness, the capital of the highlands, finishing at Inverness Castle.
Adventure in Scotland’s Highlands, Islands and Other Scottish Regions
The Highlands of Scotland are an outdoor lovers paradise. Here the lochs (lakes) and glens (valleys) combine to form magnificent scenery. The famous Scottish weather, with rain, sun and four seasons in one day also play a big part in making the Highlands a lush, green landscape, bursting with wildlife. You’ll find plenty of hills in the Scottish Highland’s, including Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in both Scotland and the UK. Situated just outside of Fort William, you can tackle this famous mountain at the end of the West Highland Way which finishes in Fort William. Another chance to climb Ben Nevis is to head up to the top before you start your Great Glen Way trips. From Fort William, you can also board the Jacobite railway, for many better known as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter universe. This beautiful journey by steam train is a highlight of our Highlands and Isle of Skye: Rail and Hike trip.
No Holiday in Scotland would be complete without a trip on a ferry to explore Scotland’s Islands. With their turquoise sea and white beaches, on a sunny day, you could easily mistake Scotland’s islands for the Caribbean. Skye is one of the best-known islands in Scotland and a hugely popular Scottish tourist destination. The island of Skye is dominated by the foreboding Cuillin mountains, and going walking in Skye reveals areas you cannot access by road, while the Isle of Skye Cycle Tour allows you to take in the whole island from the saddle.
Other famous Scottish islands include Mull and Iona on the Scottish west coast. These two popular holiday destinations showcase the wild side of Scotland, with opportunities for spotting golden eagles, dolphins and red deer. Walking on the northern island of Orkney lets you explore the Neolithic history of the island. This fascinating history is matched by the friendliness and passion of the locals on Orkney, which makes it well worth a visit. Exploring the best of the Outer Hebrides is where the scenery begins to remind you of tropical beaches. The best way to explore these islands is to embark on one of our Drive and Hike trips in Scotland.
A visit to Scotland is not complete without a wee dram of whisky. Most of the Scottish islands are recognized for their own, unique style of locally distilled whisky, but they are not alone. Speyside is one of the major whisky producing areas in Scotland and is also home to the Cairngorms National Park, a rugged, mountainous area full of Caledonian Pine trees and some of the greatest trails in Scotland. Further south you’ll find Perthshire, a region of Scotland known for its beautiful countryside and plenty of single malt whisky excellence. Walking in Perthshire offers a gentler hiking experience, but the area is incredibly beautiful. In Perthshire, you can explore local castles, visit top quality whisky distilleries and see an abundance of nature and wildlife. Try walking here in autumn as the colours are particularly vibrant.
Another region to explore is the Kingdom of Fife, on Scotland’s east coast, just north of Edinburgh across one of the famous Firth of Forth bridges. Fife is a unique part of Scotland, and a trip here offers hiking on coastal paths, amazing seafood in harbour towns, and a visit to the home of golf, St Andrews.
Booking a Scottish adventure holiday
Walking and cycling holidays in Scotland are great adventures just waiting to be explored. Scotland is known for its striking natural beauty, welcoming locals, superb walking and great food and drink. Have you tried haggis and whisky? While there is always a chance of rain when you are setting out on a holiday in Scotland, exploring by bike or on foot will unearth the real people, places and passions of this fiercely proud nation, regardless of the weather.
If you would like to discover which of our adventure holidays in Scotland would be perfect for you, get in touch with Macs Adventure, the Scottish adventure holiday experts today. Speak to our Scottish specialists to find out more about how you can enjoy the perfect trip in Scotland.
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