Few countries rely as heavily on American tourists as Gaelic heartland Scotland does: according to the latest report published by their national tourism organization, 9% more U.S. visitors have landed in the country compared to 2019.
Additionally, Americans now make up a majority of foreign arrivals, and excluding other British nationals, they already surpass fellow Europeans and even their Canadian neighbors, who have a soft spot for Scotland and have been going for years.
The most shocking thing is Scotland is more often than not freezing cold, there is always a higher chance of precipitation, and though it has clear-water lakes and even sandy beaches, those are not exactly swim-friendly, unless you don't mind the year-round frigid temperatures.
Seeing that Americans have a professed love for all things Mexico and the Caribbean, why is it that a growing number of them are now taking long Transatlantic flights all the way to this mystical Northern European gem?
Here are five reasons why:
The Scottish-American Bond Goes Way Back
The United States and Scotland share deep historical ties and have always been brotherly nations: centuries ago, Scottish Highlanders were the ones who set sail for the New World in droves in hopes of a better life, and many modern-day Americans can trace their bloodline back to Scotland.
The U.S. is currently a melting pot, but in the early years of colonization, it was mostly people hailing from Great Britain and Ireland who settled in North America, and this partly explains ‘Yankee love' for Scotland, which many perceive as their ancestral homeland.
Heritage travel is a big thing in Scotland and an officially recognized category of their diverse tourist offer: from going on whisky-tasting tours to visiting battle sites where their forebearers fought in Inverness-shire, the list of must-do activities is truly endless.
Scotland Offers Both Nature And Gorgeous Cities
This links directly to point two on this list: whether you're big into nature or cities, Scotland will not let you down.
Edinburgh, the national capital, makes widespread usage of dark sandstone, with tall Gothic spires and winding cobbled lanes to match.
Meanwhile, Glasgow is bigger, more modern, and a highly internationalized financial center, and it's only one of three cities in the United Kingdom with a subway.
At the same time, it is the gateway to the mystical Scottish Highlands, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
With its historic walking trails flanked by towering munros and picturesque lochs (the Gaelic word for lake), sleepy stone-built villages whose chimney smokes can be spotted from a mile, and wildlife-ruled forested reserves, it is the stuff fairytales are made of.
The Highlands Are A Year-Round Destination
Speaking of the Highlands, they are a huge reason why Scotland has become so trendy with tourists in recent years. Unlike other European spots whose popularity is conditioned on weather, Scotland's mountainous North is a year-round destination.
On particularly hot summer days, the warmer temperatures help paint the meadows in various shades of green, while spring marks the start of the first Highland Games, which extend into the peak season, attracting spectators from all over the world to watch caber toss and tug o' war matches.
In autumn, the Highlands are covered in dense amber-tinged foliage, creating a dream-like setting, and right now, in winter, it's when it is arguably at its prettiest, with snow-capped mountains and pristine white landscapes dotted with frozen lochs.
Regardless of season, rest assured you will be mesmerized by the sheer beauty of this rugged terrain.
It Feels Like A Movie Scene
Set-jetting is one of the top travel trends for Americans going abroad, who constantly get inspired by some of their favorite TV shows and movies when deciding on their next holiday destination.
In this decade, we’ve seen a tourism surge in Dubrovnik, Croatia, due to its association with Game of Thrones, South Korea, where Netflix hit show Squid Game is based, and Scotland herself has spawned not one, not two, but several successful productions over the years.
Whether you’re a millennial who’s grown up watching a long-haired, Braveheart Mel Gibson face up to a tyrant English king, or you’ve spent hours on Reddit debating the Outlander universe with likeminded passionate fans, you’ve considered seeing the “real thing”, a.k.a taking a trip to Scotland at some point.
You are likely familiar with the serene, mysterious waters of monster-inhabited Loch Ness, the rugged peaks and majestic waterfalls of the Isle of Skye, or Edinburgh’s narrow medieval closes.
Everyone Loves Scotland For The Culture
Similarly, culture plays a huge part in making Scotland an attractive destination for Americans.
The U.S. is a fairly young nation, only 247 years old, but their Scottish counterparts lay claim to far more centuries of accumulated History.
There are literally breweries in Scotland that are older than the oldest building in America, not to mention dozens of gorgeous castles perched on cliff faces facing the wild Atlantic and the medieval cathedrals that dominated Scottish cityscapes.
Americans love Scotland for its ancient appeal, unique lingo, and delicious cuisine – haggis is not nearly as revolting as it sounds – and most of the time, they simply can't help being wonderstruck every corner they turn in Edinburgh.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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