scotland_22 by [carlo cravero] via Flickr Creative Commons

Visa regulations are the same as in the rest of the UK, with nationals of the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand able to enter for a stay of up to 90 days visa-free on production of a current passport. EU citizens may enter visa-free and stay indefinitely. Citizens of other countries should check with their nearest UK embassy or online as to current visa requirements.

Health and Safety

No specific vaccinations are required for a vacation in Scotland, although the usual inoculations such as tetanus should be updated if necessary. Tap water is safe to drink and food is prepared hygienically. The main risks to health involve winter sports activities, mountaineering, and trekking in remote areas, and care should be taken in the Highlands during the rutting season, as stags have been known to attack humans. The iconic, horned, and extremely hairy Scottish cattle may look cute, but can be irritable at best and bad-tempered at worst so it is best to keep a distance.

Personal safety in Scotland involves common sense when out at night or in crowded places. Pickpockets and bag-snatchers operate in tourist areas and on crowded buses and trains, although violent attacks on visitors are extremely rare. Most inner city areas pose no threat, even at night, although caution should be used at pub, club and bar closing times as fights can and do break out.

If you’re hill walking, essential equipment is a compass, a map, a flashlight, waterproof clothing, and a good pair of walking boots. Make sure your cell phone is charged, but be prepared that they may be no coverage if a problem occurs. Let locals know your route and when you are expected back, as the mountain weather can change in an instant. Between May and September in the western coastal regions, mosquitoes can make life uncomfortable unless you’re well-covered with insect spray.

Click here for History and Culture in Scotland