Scotland, the U.K.’s northernmost country, is a land of mountain wildernesses such as the Cairngorms and Northwest Highlands, interspersed with glacial glens (valleys) and lochs (lakes). Its major cities are Edinburgh, the capital, with its iconic hilltop castle, and Glasgow, famed for its vibrant cultural scene. Scotland is also famous for golf, the game first played at the Old Course at St Andrews in the 1400s.

Language: English and Scottish Gaelic.

Visa: Generally not needed for stays of up to six months. Not a member of the Schengen Zone.

Currency: Pound sterling.

Currency Exchange: Check your credit cards as some have free/cheaper exchange rates compared to getting cash at the airports. ATMs widely available; credit cards widely accepted, though not in all restaurants or B&Bs.

Tipping: Not expected unless table service is provided, then £1 for a round of drinks.

Electricity: Canada’s electrical supply and electrical outlets (sockets, wall plugs) are the same as those found in the United States. The electrical supply is 120 Volts and 60 Hertz (cycles per second). Remember to grab a universal power plug adapter converting from EU, UK, CN, AUC to North American like this.

Transportation: Air, Rail, Bus, Ferry, Car, Public Transportation, Taxis, Walking & Cycling.

Things to remember: If you’ve never been to the Scottish Highlands and islands before, be prepared for an encounter with the dreaded midge. These tiny, 2mm-long blood-sucking flies appear in huge swarms in summer, and can completely ruin a holiday if you’re not prepared to deal with them.

High Season (Jul & Aug)

  • Accommodation prices 10%–20% higher (book in advance if possible).
  • Warmest time of year, but often wet.
  • Midges at their worst in Highlands and islands.

Shoulder Season (May, Jun & Sep)

  • Wildflowers and rhododendrons bloom in May and June.
  • Statistically, best chance of dry weather, minus midges.
  • June evenings have daylight till 11pm.

Low Season (Oct–Apr)

  • Rural attract­ions and accommodation often closed.
  • Snow on hills November to March.
  • Gets dark at 4pm in December.
  • Can be very cold and wet November to March.