I’m very excited to give all of you our very first Scotland article! It took some time but we found the perfect content creator to share their story with us, the lovely Mariana Martim of Mariana Postcards. Mariana was kind enough to break her trip down by each location her and her travel companions went to. Trust me, you won’t want to miss any of this.
Some of Mariana’s favorite sites to see happen to all be within walking distance:
Location: Victoria Street
Victoria Street happens to be one of the most photographed streets in Old Town Edinburgh and it’s easy to see why! Mariana tells us, “Its colorful storefronts, cobblestones, and curved road definitely draw you in.”
Fun Fact: This street is one of JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley!
Location: Dean’s Village
A picturesque and quaint neighborhood in the city is Dean’s Village. Mariana says that the best views are at the bottom of Hawthorn Bank Lane. Just a short climb down to the edge of the river and you can are greeted with a view of greens. The edge of the river bank is lined with lush trees and shrubs that make the whole area look like a scene in a movie.
Location: Circus Lane
Mariana has a tendency to roam around quaint neighborhoods looking for exciting things. She commented, “All of the homes are so, so charming!” Hanging flower pots, brick facades, and creeping ivy with roses. She even described the area as feeling, “magical.”
Besides Glenfinnan Viaduct and Glen Coe, Mariana and her friends didn’t have a set plan for their visit to Isle of Sky. They decided to just pull over wherever they thought looked the best for an impromptu photo shoot. Mariana commented that they did do a lot of shopping. So if you follow the motto “shop till you drop” this is definitely a spot for you.
Location: Glen Coe
Mariana described Glen Coe as, “the most unreal landscape I have ever seen!” The entire area is covered in lush greenery. The landscape is dramatic and vast characterized by valleys with lochs. They also happen to have, “the cutest cows in existence.” Glen Coe is a perfect place for some hiking and is ideal for exploring more of the Highlands of Scotland.
Location: Kilchurn Castle
Sitting at the head of Loch Awe is the peak of Ben Cruachan. Visible from just about anywhere, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most photographed castles in all of Scotland. Looks aren’t all that the castle offers its viewers. It was built in the 1400s by Sir Colin Campbell the 1st Lord of Glenorchy. Mariana roamed around the grounds taking in all the rich history and transporting herself back to when the castle was at it’s prime.
Location: Glenfinnan Viaduct
Aka the Hogwarts Express. Mariana was in shock when she visited Glenfinnan Viaduct. She said it was such a surreal experience for her. This is the filming location the director used for exterior shots of the train in Harry Potter. Mariana couldn’t stop but to think of Harry and Ron flying overhead in Mr. Weasley’s Ford Anglia the whole time she was on the grounds. There is a free parking lot close by and its only short walk to see it from there.
Isle of Skye
Portree is the largest town and happens to be the capital of Skye. This is where you’ll find most of the city’s shops, restaurants, and hotels. Mariana highly recommends Isle of Sky Baking Company. She ordered stuffed bread here and said it was probably the best food that she had while in Scotland.
Location: Fairy Glen
On the West side of Trotternish at Balnacnoc (which means – the village or township in the hills) above Uig, is the Fairy Glen – a Quirang-like landslip in miniature scale.
In recent years, visitors have started to move the rocks to create spirals on the ground. Local tour guides told Mariana and all their other visitors that there are rituals that visitors do with the spiral rocks. If you walk the spirals and leave a coin or token at the end it will bring you good luck. Locals say it’s just a bunch of nonsense. Could it be true or is there a magical meaning behind it all?
Despite the chance that there is no meaning to the spirals, Fairies do play an important role in Scottish folklore. After doing a bit of research on Scottish myths, Mariana found that before every waterway or loch had a name, they had an ancient fairy that protected it. They also play a very important role in natural phenomena like failing crops, among other things. Believers said that these things would happen when someone has upset the fairies. They are known to be onlookers of human nature. Mariana has some advice for us, “before you decide to go walking into the fields or forests by yourself, beware of the faeries!”
Location: Old Man Storr
Mariana and her friends weren’t able to make it all the way to the top of the mountain, but they still enjoyed the trail leading up to the top. “There are countless trails to choose from and I don’t think you will be disappointed on any of them.” Mariana says that she definitely would love to come back to Isla of Sky and try out some different trails.
Location: Eilean Donan Castle
Right before you enter the Isle of Sky you will see this epic 13th-century castle. Countless movies have been filmed at Eilean Donan Castle and it has a rich history of its own. Mariana and her friends got here right before sunset and were able to walk around its grounds. The castle itself had already closed for the day but it was still amazing to see it from the outside in all its glory.
Location: Elephant House
If you’re a true Harry Potter fan like Mariana, then you have to visit this famed coffee shop. Elephant House even has a sign on the outside proclaiming it to be the “Birthplace of Harry Potter.” It’s more likely that Rowling started the third Harry Potter novel here and not the beginning of the series. Fans from all over are able to write a tribute to JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series in the bathrooms. Sam took advantage of this and left a little note for the writer. Sam ordered a cake and hot chocolate and said it was “super tasty.”
Location: The Dogs
Mariana decided to grab dinner at The Dogs because it was close to where her travel companions and she were exploring. They offer traditional Scottish dishes which made everyone happy. Mariana said, “We loved how the interior was decorated and had such a fun mood.”
For more adventures be sure to follow Mariana’s Instagram, @marianapostcards