Scotland is famous around the world for its castles, of which there were thought to be around 3000. Many have been restored, others have been incorporated into later buildings, some stand ruined, while others have disappeared altogether.

Ranging from small towers to sprawling country mansions, there are castles of all shapes and sizes. You can learn more about Scotland's castles here.

There are more than 140 breweries in Scotland, producing real ale, craft beer and mass market brews.

Come and explore the hundreds of beers they produce between them, from light to dark, traditional to experimental.

We've put together handy guides to Scotland's major cities to help you get the best out of them.

Detailing the best places to stay, they take the guesswork out of planning your visit.

Whether you're looking for hotels, bed & breakfasts, self-catering cottages and apartments, campsites or hostels, there's a wide range of accommodation available across the country.

Stretching from the Borders in the south to Orkney and Shetland in the far north, and from the rolling hills of Fife in the east to the rugged islands of the Outer Hebrides in the west, there are a wealth of areas each with their own distinctive character and charm.

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Scotland is rich in ancient sites dating back into the depths of prehistory, with thousands of monuments, including standing stones, stone circles and cairns.

Skara Brae on Orkney is Europe's most complete Neolithic village, and is older than the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge. These early settlements were followed later by forts, souterrains and brochs.

The Picts were the enigmatic inhabitants of what is now Scotland from around the beginning of the 1st century until around the middle of the 9th century AD.

With none of their written records surviving, much of what is known about the Picts derives from the hundreds of carved stones that they left as their legacy. Read more here.

Scotland's placenames are derived from a number of languages, and while the majority are Gaelic in origin, others come from Pictish, Old Norse, Old English and of course Scots.

Population movements through the centuries, corruption over time and political developments have left a rich tapestry of descriptive names. Learn more here.

Scotland is well-served by many high-quality restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs.

With an abundance of fresh local produce on offer, whether you are looking for traditional Scottish dishes, cuisines from around the World, or a fusion of the two, there is something to suit everyone.

Renting a car is a great way to see Scotland, giving you the freedom to go anywhere at any time.

There are car hire centres at all of Scotland's major airports, with most of the major rental brands represented. Hiring a car is often the best way to get to your hotel from the airport, particularly if you are staying in a rural location.