Rough Guides name Scotland 2nd top country to visit worldwide

The Jacobite steam train  passing Polnish church near Lochailort on its first trip of the season on the Fort William to  Mallaig on the West Highland railway line. 
Pic Stephen Mansfield/TSPL

The Jacobite steam train passing Polnish church near Lochailort on its first trip of the season on the Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland railway line. Pic Stephen Mansfield/TSPL

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Scotland has come second in a list of top 10 countries to visit in 2017.

“Wildlife, whisky and a wonderfully warm welcome” were behind the decision by travel book company Rough Guides to name Scotland in its top ten “must see” destinations, which also includes Uganda, Bolivia and India.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon seemed delighted by the news, tweeting: “Scotland is the 2nd top country in the world to visit in 2017 according to @RoughGuides. Brilliant!”

The travel company said the North Coast 500, a rugged road-trip route through the Highlands and the country’s “rapidly evolving” food and drink scene were part of the reason for the decision.

A spokesperson added: “If you’re the type to eschew beer for butterbeer, the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book makes a great excuse for a trip.

“Hop on the Jacobite steam train (also known as the Hogwarts Express) for a magical journey over mountains and freshwater lochs, hang out in JK Rowling’s charming Edinburgh haunts, or hike out to the site of Hagrid’s hut in awe-inspiring Glen Coe.

“Getting here is simple, too, with plenty of cheap flights from Europe and refurbished sleeper trains from England.”

Scotland was beaten out of the number one spot by India.

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