With travel anywhere but the UK still a bit of a cloudy problem by the minute due to the pandemic, going abroad without any issues this year could still be a tiny bit of a stretch.

Luckily, with the booming holiday scene and Scotland’s excellent tourist industry reopening, it’s the perfect excuse to get out and discover the hidden gems that await.

And don’t worry if you fancy that ski trip or that golden beach vacation, our wonderful little country is full of places that mimic that feeling of being abroad that might be just the ticket.

Experience the Northern Lights on the Isle of Coll (or any island in the Outer Hebrides) instead of Scandinavia

The islands of Scotland are great for a bit of stargazing and seeing the Northern Lights

With no street lights, the island of Coll is the perfect place to escape light pollution – so much so that it’s even been designated a Dark Sky community (one of 22 worldwide).

The small island, which sits just off the west coast of Mull, is stunning to explore day and night, offers one of the best places in Scotland for stargazing and, in autumn and winter, the Northern Lights, which means you don’t have to travel to Scandinavia to see them.

Skiing in Glencoe instead of the Alps

Those looking to hit the slopes can take advantage of the UK’s oldest ski resort at Glencoe, which offers great variety for those looking for different challenges.

With many red runs and some challenging black runs you will find plenty of excitement if you are more experienced on the slopes.

There are also accommodations on offer and beginners courses for those looking to do more.

Paddle in crystal clear water on Luskentyre instead of the Maldives

The beautiful beach of Luskentyre
The beautiful beach of Luskentyre

The aquamarine waters needn’t be the only reserve of the tropical isles, in fact there are incredible beaches around Scotland’s beautiful and rugged mainland and island coasts that will easily rival what these places have the best to offer.

Luskentyre Beach on the Isle of Harris is consistently voted one of the best in the world.

Climb Ben Nevis instead of the Himalayas

Ok so we may not have anything on the scale of the most famous of mountain ranges, or even anything that compares to Everest, but Ben Nevis is as close as you’ll get in Scotland , with plenty of challenging climbs for even the most experienced climbers.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of other even more difficult Munros for those looking for something a little more, like Sgùrr Dearg and the Inaccessible Pinnacle.

Fancy a holiday over a drink? Forget the south of France, head for Speyside

Speyside is a whiskey lover's dream
Speyside is a whiskey lover’s dream

Scotland’s national drink is just as exciting as the French wine industry and has an equally rich history.

In Speyside you’ll find just over half of all the distilleries in the country and plenty of places to get your fill of not just Cratur but also how it’s made.

You will also find where the casks are made and repaired (The Speyside Cooperage), the stills are produced (Forsyths) and of course, where you can drink it.

Look for the golden sandy beach of Loch Morlich instead of the Spanish coast

Hundreds of sun worshipers flock to Loch Morlich beach
Hundreds of sun worshipers flock to Loch Morlich beach

Sun seekers and beach lovers may think the Costa Del Sol or the Greek Isles are the ultimate holiday destination, but Scotland can more than cope when the sun is shining.

Loch Morlich beach is a hidden gem that not only has golden sands and beautiful blue waters, but is also surrounded by the scenery that Scotland is famous for – how’s that for the best of both worlds?

Looking for stunning landscapes and ethereal unspoiled landscapes? Swap Iceland for Skye

Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye ranked second in the UK for stargazing
The Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon in Glen Brittle on the Isle of Skye.

Iceland is known for its epic, ethereal and worldly landscapes, but closer to home, the Isle of Skye is just as magical, memorable and fascinating.

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