While our team works hard to provide interesting and well-researched travel content, sometimes it’s best to hear things straight from a guide on the ground. This includes their favorite ways to explore, unique insights into the region they work in, and the kind of tips and tricks that only a true local can provide.
Today, we will be hearing directly from one of our Scottish guides Aleman A. to pick his brain regarding the best Scottish tour experiences. From the highlands to the infamous Loch Ness to the gorgeous vistas of the Isle of Skye, let’s explore some of Scotland’s best tour offerings.
GWG: Please briefly tell us about your history as a guide.
Aleman: “I have been living in the highlands since 1995 and from 2007 I have been working as a driver and tour guide. I enjoy meeting and socializing with people from all over the world.
The Scottish highlands are not only beautiful, but also a very peaceful place to live. As a bonus, it is steeped in centuries of fascinating history to explore.”
Living in the picturesque city of Inverness, known as the capital of the highlands, Aleman is not only a certified guide but also owns an 8-seater minibus used for excursions. While the United Kingdom has a good public transport system, some of the more rural and exciting locations in Scotland can only be accessed by car, something which Aleman and his trusty people carrier specializes in.
GWG: What is your personal favorite thing to do in your city/area?
Aleman: “I enjoy hill walking and visiting the many castles which dot the Scottish countryside. From my city of Inverness it takes about 10 minutes to reach the beautiful rolling hills of the highlands.”
The Scottish highlands are world famous for its awe-inspiring scenery including majestic mountains and pristine blue lochs. A loch of course refers to a lake or sea inlet in Scottish Gaelic, and this area is home to hundreds including the world famous Loch Ness.
GWG: What kind of tour experiences do you specialize in?
Aleman: “My tours include the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, and premier Highlands tour. Visitors can also contact me to organize custom options such as golf tours, visits to Cairngorms National Park, or for their general transportation needs around Scotland.”
Considered one of the best places in the United Kingdom to enjoy nature, tours of the area include activities such as hiking, visiting medieval wonders such as Dundrobin Castle, and sampling some of the best whiskey in the world at its various distilleries including the famous Glenmorangie distillery.
Image Credit: Dunrobin Castle, jack_spellingbacon, CC BY 2.0.
GWG: How many days should guests spend in your city/area to experience most of it?
Aleman: “I would recommend spending at least 3 to 4 days in the region to allow for time to visit some of the best attractions, sample local culture, and also a bit of downtime.”
With a massive variety of tour options available, Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole deserve your attention for more than a day or two. By spending multiple days traversing these areas, you will get to really experience a taste of Britain.
GWG: In your opinion, what is the best kind of food a visitor should try if they visit your city/area?
Aleman: “Well traditional Scottish haggis is an obvious choice, and guests can also of course enjoy all kinds of classic British foods here.”
From its initial description most people might not consider haggis to sound immediately appetizing, the savory pudding is made with offal, onion, oatmeal, and traditionally cooked within a sheep’s stomach (although recently an artificial casing is frequently used instead). The taste and texture however has been described as nutty and deliciously savory, so why not give it a try as part of your Scottish adventure? Great haggis can be found all over Scotland, such as at The Haggis Box, Wedgwood, and Makars Mash Bar. While great to eat, haggis doesn't make for the best photos, so instead enjoy a look at a traditional English Breakfast down below, another classic UK dish which can be enjoyed all around the country.
GWG: Where should visitors go if they want to do some souvenir shopping?
Aleman: “There are so many shops to choose from. One I frequently take guests to see is James Pringle Weavers in Inverness.”
If you’re planning a visit to Scotland, the most sought after souvenirs include shortbread cookies, Scottish tartan clothing, a traditional Scottish kilt, and authentic whiskey. You can also opt for a plushie of the iconic Loch ness monster (more affectionately known as Nessie), and as the fictional location of Hogwarts, Harry Potter themed souvenirs are also in plentiful supply.
GWG: In terms of budget, how much should visitors set aside to enjoy their time in your city/area? (Excluding tour fees)
Aleman: “It depends on how much they want to do. There’s no limits on spending.”
Planning your budget for an international tour can be tricky. Luckily you can reach out to any of our GoWithGuide professionals for help and advice regarding exactly how much you should set aside for your adventure.
GWG: Are there any special or exclusive experiences visitors can only find in your city/area which you would recommend?
Aleman: “Loch Ness is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the highlands and I would highly recommend a visit here during your time in Scotland.”
Loch Ness is of course the famous Loch in Scotland, and perhaps the most famous lake in the world. One of the deepest in the region, its cold waters plummet down to 240 meters (788 feet), and it is the largest freshwater body in Great Britain. The lake of course is best known for the elusive Loch Ness monster, claimed by many to be a last surviving member of the prehistoric plesiosaur. While we can’t guarantee a sighting of the Loch Ness monster, a visit to this iconic lake is still very much on every Scottish traveler's bucket list.
We’d like to thank Aleman A. for sharing his insights into Scottish touring with us. If you are planning a tour of the northern United Kingdom, we have several amazing guides standing by to make your trip one to remember. Additionally, the country has many other interesting attractions to visit as well as thousands of years of history to explore.
Book your tour today to avoid missing out! Summer is always around the corner and makes for a great time to visit these ever-green isles.