FAM Report: The Highlands of Scotland
This month’s FAM report is by Sandra Nelson, CTA, Travels by Sandra Nelson
A Hiker’s Paradise
Traveling in the Scottish Highlands is different from the typical traveling in other parts of Scotland. This FAM report is about a true Highlands visit…for the independent traveler.
Transportation and Accommodations
First, my arrival. I prefer to travel Delta. My flight routes have been:
Duluth (DLH) to Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)
MSP to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
CDG to Aberdeen (ABZ)
I have made this trip four times in the last four years. I do this route and also use Amsterdam (AMS) versus Paris (CDG). Nice big airports with plenty to do. I will say Amsterdam is more appealing to me, but the price point has been better lately via Paris from my location in Maine.
The Highlands of Scotland consists of vast spaces of fields, mountains, and quaint towns that crop up everywhere. It is rich in history at every turn!
I am very pleased with rental cars from Enterprise, Alamo, and National. Service is fantastic in Aberdeen. The walk up the hill to get your car is approximately 300 yards once you pick up your keys. I would suggest making sure your car is not a low-riding automobile. There is so much sightseeing to do in the car that you do not want to be low on the ground. If your clients are not comfortable with renting a car, I would suggest using a touring company, such as Globus.
The signage is in miles, not kilometers. You will think the speeds are crazy, but we clarified that, yes indeed, the speed limit is in miles. Side note: If you see something is 60 kilometers away, this may take you two hours or more, due to the many winding roads.
You can stay in Aberdeen or Elgin if you are looking for a more populated area, or Ballater if you wish to really experience the locals. The Hilton is the largest spot for hotel service in Ballater. There are many more accommodation options in Aberdeen or Elgin.
The Top Places to Go
Choosing the top three must-see/must-dos will be difficult, but I would say
- Balmoral Castle (www.balmoralcastle.com)
- Dunnottar Castle (www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk)
- Royal Lochnagar Distillery (www.discovering-distilleries.com/royallochnagar)
I have personally visited—and, to be honest, loved—each and every location for different reasons! The rich history is simply amazing!
My Experiences (i.e., More Reasons to Send Your Clients!)
In addition to the top three must-sees, I recommend the following spectacular sites for your clients:
Braemar town is a beautiful town with developers investing large amounts. Fife Arms has 14,000 pieces of art, mixing history and modern art!
Edinburgh Castle is the city’s #1 visitor attraction. I will be visiting it in the near future because I am taking a small group on the Globus Britain Sampler, which features a trip to Edinburgh! One of Edinburgh’s landmarks to recommend is the Wallace Monument.
Unique Selling Points of the Area
One unique selling point is that this truly is for all people: families, couples, or mature travelers. But it is not for someone who wants beach parties! Rather, the ideal visitor to the Highlands is interested in history. The rich history is never ending!
Another selling point is the people! They are incredibly friendly. They make me want to return again and again.
I will say that the local food is tasty everywhere! The Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar is more upscale. But for a mom-and-pop experience, Gordon’s Tearoom is family-run and is one of the village’s oldest establishments. In Ballater, India on the Green is delish.
But, truly, I have not been unsatisfied anywhere in the smaller towns. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are absolutely everywhere!
Scotland is an amazing country!
Thank you, Sandra!
To learn more about Scotland, be sure to check out our all-new Northern Europe Destination Specialty course.
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