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A traveller's guide: Sights to see in Scotland

22 JANUARY 2013 With Scotland's famed Burns Night around the corner – celebrating the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns – HELLO! Online explores all that this lush green land has to offer.

A fusion of tradition and innovation, green landscape and vast lakes to busy cities, it’s quite clear why tourists are so absorbed by this intriguing and unique travel destination, one of Europe's most beautiful countries... 

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MUST-DO'S:

Scottish Highlands
Search for the monster at Loch Ness
Why? Cliched it may be, but Loch Ness is the ultimate must-see. Britain's largest body of fresh water, it holds more than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. Search the deep sea waters for any sign of the legendary monster.

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Stirling
Head to the ancient castle
Why? Dating back to the 13th century, Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most significant castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. It's free to enter (unlike Edinburgh Castle) and stands 250 feet above an extinct volcano.

Isle of Mull
Experience wildlife watching
Why? Scotland is the perfect place for wildlife watching and the Isle of Mull holds its first prize spot. With a 98% success rate for sightings, prepare to encounter minke whale, porpoise, basking shark, dolphins, Risso's dolphin, orca and grey seals.

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The Cairngorm mountains
Hit the slopes for a spot of skiing
Why? Aside from just being a beautiful place to visit in the Scottish Highlands, and situated close to the picturesque town of Aviemore, the Cairngorm mountains offer fantastic skiing conditions – think black slopes for daring professionals and powdery white snow.

Edinburgh
Sample Scotland's famous drink with the Scottish Whisky Experience
Why? Festival haven and home to the Hogmanay festivities, Edinburgh may just be Scotland’s coolest city. And along with Michelin starred restaurants galore, you can also get a taste for Scottish tradition on an exciting whisky tour. Learn the story behind the beverage and try some of the world's finest brews.

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What to eat in Scotland?
While most people associate Scottish cuisine with the national dish known as haggis and neeps (innards and offal chopped up with spices and cooked in a sheep's stomach, served with mashed turnip), this is actually usually only served on Burns Night on January 25. The traditional mince 'n' tatties (mince meat and potatoes) is much more of a staple to a Scot's diet and has been enjoyed by families in Scotland for hundreds of years.

Where to eat?
Castle Terrace Restaurant, Edinburgh
Why? This is now the fifth Michelin starred restaurant that Edinburgh can add to its clad of cool cuisine. Castle Terrace is The Kitchin's sister restaurant and showcases the finest Scottish produce around.

The Boath House, Auldearn, Nairn
Why? For an authentic experience, head to one of Scotland's finest Regency Houses. This is a historic site as well as first class dining experience where red deer with crushed peas are grown on the estate and renowned as the favourite dish.

Where to stay?
Ackergill Tower, Caithness
Why? Steeped in history, the spectacular Ackergill Tower is a castle dating back to the 15th-century. It majestically presides over the North Sea and has long been Scotland's most regal hotel

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