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7 reasons why walking is the best way to explore Scotland


 
Whether you want to visit famous natural landmarks like the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye or delve into the fascinating history of cities like Edinburgh, there is no wrong way to explore Scotland. But we believe that the best way is walking.

Apart from providing fresh air and exercise, a Scotland walking holiday physically grounds and connects you to your surroundings, ensuring a more immersive and memorable experience. Not only that, but exploring Scotland on foot allows you to exercise the country's ancient tradition of universal land access. Here are seven reasons why you should ditch the car or bus and go on a walking tour of Scotland instead.

 

7 reasons you should explore Scotland on foot on walking and hiking tours

By walking in Scotland, you're joining a proud tradition of millions of walkers and hikers before you. If that doesn't sound exciting enough, these seven reasons extolling the benefits and rewards of exploring Scotland's great outdoors on foot are sure to convince you.

 

1. Stunning landscapes and scenery

Scotland is home to an incredible variety of landscapes and environments, from the rugged mountains of the Scottish Highlands and famous lochs such as Loch Ness and Loch Lomond, to ancient woodland, rocky coastlines, and expansive rolling moorland. While each is unique, all are beautiful in their own way.

From leisurely coastal walks along windswept shorelines to more challenging terrain in the Scottish mountains, each Scottish region offers a wide range of walks and hiking trails to suit all abilities and levels of experience.

2. Discover local culture and heritage at historic sites and vibrant towns

While museums can be wonderful, nothing compares to actually visiting and exploring sites such as historic castles, Roman ruins, and ancient Neolithic villages in the flesh. You can visit medieval castles in the Scottish Highlands, journey back 5,000 years at immaculately well-preserved Neolithic sites in the Orkney Islands, and visit places that are the mythical home of giants and fairies in the Isle of Skye.

While the past is undoubtedly fascinating, present-day Scotland is also vibrant, as you'll discover in charming villages, towns and cities. In communities like Portree on the Isle of Skye or Fort William in the Highlands, you'll come face-to-face with historic architecture, traditional cuisine, and welcoming locals.

3. View native wildlife in its natural habitat

From the astonishing birdlife of the Orkney Islands like puffins and kittiwakes to land animals including pine martens, Highland cows and the majestic red deer, you have better chances to spot these amazing animals in their natural environments while on hiking and walking tours.

4. It's better for you and the environment

From helping prevent conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure to improving your strength, stamina, and energy, there are multiple benefits of walking as a form of exercise. Instead of spending the majority of your time in Scotland sitting in a car, get up and active by going on day hikes or long-distance walks like the West Highland Way, to improve your health while you're on vacation.

And walking is not only beneficial for your health and wellbeing, it’s also good for the environment. By ditching or cutting back on the use of cars, trains and planes while traveling, you're reducing the carbon footprint of your trip and practicing a more sustainable form of travel. As climate change threatens to impact on Scottish landscapes, we all need to do our part to travel more sustainably and help reduce our impact.

5. Exercise the ancient "universal access to roam" tradition

A tradition going back centuries, Scotland's access to roam rights on most types of land — both public and private — are now part of formal law known as the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, which gives people the freedom to walk, hike, swim and even wild camp almost anywhere they want.

6. Embrace slow travel

Our modern world is one of constant, rapid movement, but travel can be about slowing down and truly immersing yourself in a new place. Slow travel is a growing movement among travelers and the travel industry that encourages travelers to slow down in order to make a better connection with local landscapes, people, and culture. And the best way to do that is by taking your time and exploring on foot. Moving only as fast as your feet can take you provides frequent opportunities to stop, investigate, listen, and learn in ways that you can't if you're in a rush.

7. Make new friends or create new memories with old ones

Scotland is a fantastic country for solo travelers, but nothing beats exploring a new place with friends, old and new, and loved ones.

Going on a guided small group tour lets you travel with friends and family to share once-in-a-lifetime experiences and make new memories. But it also provides the opportunity to make new friends in your hiking group, as you spend whole days walking through amazing places and sharing experiences together. As the saying goes: if you want to go far, go together.

There are many other benefits to exploring the Scottish outdoors on a small group guided tour, from traveling accompanied by an expert group leader with in-depth knowledge of the land and history to having all the planning and logistics taken care of for you.

 

Lace up your hiking shoes, it's time to hit the trails

Convinced that walking holidays are hands-down the best way to explore this spectacular country? Check out our Scotland walking tours to figure out where you want to go for your walking and hiking tour, from the Orkney Islands to the Scottish Highlands. If you think you'll enjoy walking around Scotland, the wider United Kingdom is also a world-renowned walking and hiking destination.

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