Burrowed beside long-dormant volcanoes and reigning over green moorlands, Edinburgh (or Ed-n-bruh in Scots speech) is known for more than its staggering landscape. The Athens of the North, as Edinburgh is sometimes nicknamed, also claims a cast of near-mythic characters: Rebel leader Sir William Wallace (aka Braveheart); the tragic Mary, Queen of Scots; the Enlightenment thinkers David Hume and Adam Smith; "James Bond" actor Sean Connery; and prolific wordsmiths Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and J.K. Rowling – are all woven into this very old yet very relevant city.
Just a few decades ago, Glasgow was a gray, gritty city of dank pubs and homely slums. However, the same dogged Glaswegians that survived years of deterioration kindled a cultural rejuvenation in the '80s and '90s, fanning the flames of urban renewal throughout the city. Today, Glasgow offers a high-intensity clubbing experience; an exceptionally vibrant art community; a live-music scene, which has discovered the likes of Franz Ferdinand and Snow Patrol; and numerous places to shop that range from the Barras Market and vintage shops to the jewelry at Argyll Arcade and designer stores.
Nothing is perfect, but the stunning scenery that makes up the Scottish Highlands comes pretty close. The more than 11,000-square-mile region north of Glasgow, Scotland, is a living exhibit of Mother Nature's greatest magic, featuring a diverse array of geographical offerings that leave travelers with unbridled awe. Sky-high peaks, miles-long lochs, rugged coastlines with wild tides and unspoiled, evergreen glens all call the Highlands home. In addition to its massive mainland, the Scottish Highlands encompass four clusters of equally engrossing islands located miles off the north and west coasts, taking off-the-grid travel to a whole new level.
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