When planning a vacation, all things aside, you want a place that will leave you in awe, marvel at its splendor, and is worth remembering. Very few destinations satisfy all the aforementioned, but Ireland and Scotland are two of them.
Both of these Celtic nations have every ingredient for the perfect vacation – friendly locals, historical archaeological attractions, rugged coastlines, breath-taking scenery, and wonderful nature. Yet, Ireland and Scotland are two different destinations with distinct traditions and cultures. Yet, if you have the money and time to go to only one, choosing may be a dilemma.
Ireland and Scotland each have many things to offer, places to visit and food to enjoy, but which one should you visit first?
The Emerald Isle does not fail to leave its visitors in awe of its diverse culture, history, and other offerings. Ireland is rich in jaw-dropping scenery, has very helpful and friendly locals and famous pubs coupled with fascinating nature and attractions.
Getting Around Ireland
Although the island of Ireland is large it has a relatively small population. Nevertheless, it has a large, modern airport that has flight connections to Europe and North America. Situated at the heart of the city, getting to Ireland is not a problem. especially if your itinerary is limited to the country’s major cities like Galway, Cork, and Dublin.
Renting a vehicle will be desirable if you plan to visit rural places and sceneries. Getting around town by bus can also be an adventure. However, if you do not drive, there are tour packages that you can avail of that will take you to places that are not accessible by the country’s public transport.
Some say that traveling in Ireland is expensive, then again, traveling and vacations usually are. It all depends on where you go and how you budget your funds.
However, if you do your homework, your hard-earned vacation money can go a long way.
For example, instead of drinking beer in a touristy pub, look for where the locals hang out. Likewise, you can research and look for museums that are operated by the state, as they are free of charge, as well as free walking tours.
Where to Go
Ireland has diverse attractions that could make your trip worthwhile. Here are some of the notable places to visit on the Emerald Isle.
Aside from Dublin, this city may be worthy of your consideration. Considered as the food capital of Ireland, you can indulge yourself with their different cuisines and learn more about the country’s traditions and culture.
If you are in for the thrills, this 66-foot long, 98-foot-high rope bridge might satisfy that craving. Ranked among the best tourist attractions on the Emerald Isle, the bridge links the small island of Carrick-a-Rede to the mainland.
Murder Hole Beach
If you are fond of nature and beaches, then this place is for you. Arguably the best beach in Ireland, this tourist spot is not short on wonderful sights like rugged cliffs and wonderful caves.
Scotland has been on the rise when it comes to drawing tourists every year. This is because they have beautiful cities, mysterious sites, rugged islands, and phenomenal road trips. In addition, compared to Ireland, Scotland is a relatively cheap vacation alternative.
When it comes to accessibility, Scotland has a fair share of pros and cons. If you are in the city, transportation is not a problem as the train network and buses are very well connected.
However, if you are planning to go to rural areas around the country, public transportation might not be the best alternative. Instead, you should consider renting a vehicle to enjoy the scenery in far-flung areas. An alternative to car rental would be booking guided tours.
Your budget can survive Scotland with proper preparation and research. For instance, when you want to save money with accommodations, you can rent a cottage at Skye, or you can pack a tent and camp almost anywhere in Scotland.
When it comes to food, eating at restaurants in Scotland can be expensive but as an alternative, you can buy groceries and do your own cooking.
When it comes to scenery, most require very minimal entrance fees and most of the museums are free.
Places to Explore
Scotland should not be underestimated when it comes to attractions. Whether in cities or rural areas, you will have your fill of places that will make your visit a memorable one.
Edinburgh is a timeless European city that boasts endless fun, shopping, walking, and dining. Even a simple stroll is already a treat as you see brightly colored buildings block by block.
Isle of Skye
Considered the biggest and most beautiful island of Inner Hebrides, the virgin Isle of Skye is amazing and unbelievable. Stand atop the mountains and listen to the flowing streams and you will surely understand what “the beauty of nature” means.
Scotland has their castles too and the most unique is Edinburgh Castle. Standing on top of a hill, a visit to this wonderful fortress gives you a view of the entirety of Edinburgh.
Ireland Or Scotland: Which one?
Understandably, choosing between Ireland and Scotland can be difficult, but here are some things you might want to consider.
When it comes to natural scenery, Scotland has the edge over Ireland. Their varied offerings and short distances will give you the most out of your hard-earned vacation days.
Budget-wise, Scotland is also more affordable, especially if you consider camping and prepping meals yourself. However, if you are into experiencing European cuisine, Ireland is the best choice as it is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants.
Aside from the above-mentioned, both countries have equal offerings in other aspects. It all comes down to your personal preference and budget.