Read more about the article Isle of Skye – United Kingdom
Isle of Skye - United Kingdom

Isle of Skye – United Kingdom

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Largest of the Inner Hebrides

Onto another of the great islands of the United Kingdom archipelago itself. The Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides. Coming from such an exuberant green, mountainous nature and incredible landscapes in the highlands region of Scotland, to this rather eerie landscapes, with such a variety of green and brown colours of the ground, almost no trees and so empty. A very beautiful place, fascinating scenery truly unique and worth every kilometre we did, enhanced by its characteristic coastline of peninsulas and bays radiating out from the mountainous core dominated by the Cuillin Hills.

The nearest “major” city to Skye is Inverness, where we did our base in the nearby and drove for a full day tour of the island. Driving to Skye was part of this great trip, passing through some of the most spectacular landscapes in Scotland and the world famous castle of Eilean Donan, our second time here by the way. The island size might not look big, however the longest distance is around 100 kilometres from edge to edge. I could not imagine any other way for really enjoying the island than by having your own transport because of the many places and spots to admire such as dramatic mountain landscapes, nature, views, villages, harbours, coastline and ancient prehistoric Iron and Bronze Age settlements.

A day is well more than enough for completing the entire circle without any rush giving you plenty of that extra time you will appreciate for stopping everywhere out of your original plans. Believe me when I tell you this will happen much often than you though. At every turn of the road a different landscape, a different view, and every time getting better and better. The good side in coming here during the summer months is the extra long hours of daylight you will have. Being that north, towards the end of June having sun at 23.00pm is normal, therefore that we could enjoy of an over-extended day! (more…)

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Read more about the article Inverness – United Kingdom
Inverness - United Kingdom

Inverness – United Kingdom

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The capital of the Highlands

It’s been many years like to try and make memory, but it’s always a good idea to return to places we can not hardly remember! Back then, perhaps year 2010, reaching Inverness was the farthest city in a huge Scotland road trip we did: Glasgow, The Forth, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Huntly, Dufftown, Elgin, Inverness, Fort Augustus, Fort William, Glencoe, Oban, Loch Lomond and who knows how many more in between. That was an incredible trip, the most beautiful ever anywhere withing the United Kingdom. But ever since, we’ve kept returning to Glasgow as a base for visiting other places, or just simply for revisiting the city itself as was the case only 2 weeks before this trip to Inverness.

Our plan was very different in any case: a road trip through the Isle of Skye. But, where’s the nearest airport? You’ve guessed it, Inverness. I will take nevertheless this chance for creating a nice travel guide for what is becoming at giant steps such an important tourist destination in Scotland. After all, who does not want to tick the checkbox in their travel bucket list, the Loch Ness? Well, while most of the people’s desires is this, let me tell you that Loch Ness, while being beautiful, cannot be compared to the most secluded and off-the-beaten path anywhere else through Scotland. Believe me when I tell you there are incredible places out of this world much more worth than Loch Ness itself, and what’s best in all this? Your main gateway to such incredible landscapes is right here! Inverness: The capital of the Highlands.

As for the city itself, it is really small when compared to the great Scotland cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to name the biggest, but it’s nothing more beyond the riverside, its castle and a charming yet tiny medieval old town. (more…)

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Read more about the article Glasgow – United Kingdom
Glasgow - United Kingdom

Glasgow – United Kingdom

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Second City of the British Empire

A very long pending city for returning. With this, it’s the third time and once more I have to say how much I loved it. How beautiful and elegant, and so much to see and do that a weekend comes even short. It was also about time for a proper revisit and therefore, creating this well deserved guide for the city in the blog. Still, don’t blame me for not having created the London guide yet! (face-palm)… Keep checking in the near future as I promise you it is due to come and will be fully packed as are the guides for Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Naples or Brussels just to name a few of the ones I keep returning very frequently.

Now onto what really matter here for now: Glasgow. To start understanding a little bit of the city and its incredible importance back in its heydays, we have to return few centuries ago, and not to the Roman times because over here, all that was built back then was the Antonine Wall which together with the Hadrian’s Wall farther south, were the northernmost frontiers of the Roman Empire, keeping it separate from the Celtic and Pictish Caledonia. It’s from the 17th century where the city started benefiting from the international trade, manufacturing and invention. At the turn of the 18th century the city was described to be only second to London for its beauty, cleanliness and planning; a city at the time of only 12000 inhabitants. Soon after with the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution the city’s expansion was unparalleled. Take a map, and see the city’s urban planning, then you have the answer right away: the perfect city with the perfect orthogonal urbanism filled with the finest architecture of the era. Georgian, Victorian and then art-nouveu. To this last style, I will soon return to explain.

The 18th century also saw Glasgow’s port, created on the nearby Firth of Clyde expanded to become what is still today the largest and most important in the United Kingdom. Back in the time it was a major hub for the transatlantic routes and international trade especially tobacco, sugar, cotton and goods. Over half of the British tobacco was traded in Glasgow alone. (more…)

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Read more about the article Fort William and the Highlands – Scotland
Fort William and the Highlands - United Kingdom

Fort William and the Highlands – Scotland

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One of the Greatest Train Journeys in the World

Back to the place we were few years ago, Fort William, but finally on this occasion we prepared very well in advance and pre-booked everything in order to enjoy what we really wanted and pretty much the reason for coming back here: taking the Jacobite Express and visiting Eilean Donan castle. Although for many of you (including myself some years ago), it might sound more familiar if I name the train instead as the Hogwarts Express. Familiar now? That’s right, this is the same train used on all of the Harry Potter movies. The same locomotive, carriages and absolutely the same route with its distinctive Glenfinnan Viaduct.

A note in here, as I was wrong when I first came to know this railway some years ago and which perhaps you wonder on the same mistake, the Jacobite Express is a much older runner than even when the first Harry Potter book was being conceived. It’s a historic railway line that is nowadays mainly open as a tourist destination using old carriages and steam locomotives. So definitely no, this is not a new railway done for the movie, instead, the movie is based on a real railway.

The best and easiest way to reach this place is flying to Glasgow where we took a rental car and drove all the way up to Fort William in the Scottish Highlands. Since it’s a route we already did on our Scotland road tour some years ago we were not looking this time too much on stopping around for sightseeing and enjoying the views. Instead we drove quite directly to the hotel, had lunch and left straight away for Eilean Donan castle, another 60 miles away from Fort William. Should you be a first time visitor in Scotland then be prepared to calculate plenty of time as you will want to stop everywhere along the way to enjoy the spectacular views and nature. And yes, even if you do not drive, this all can be done by bus and by tour.


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