And to this natural splendour, people have added some quite extraordinary buildings over the centuries. Admittedly, in the case of castles like Edinburgh and Dunnottar, they did so out of fear of foreign invaders and some equally bloodthirsty neighbours.
However, in these more enlightened times, Scotland is happy to welcome invasions of a very different kind of visitor, with the rampaging warriors of yore replaced by much friendlier tourists. (That’s for the most part at least, with the Covid pandemic having seen off the majority of complaints about over-tourism.)
So the decision by Visit Scotland and ferry company DFDS Seaways to work together on encouraging people from Germany and the Netherlands to travel across the North Sea for a holiday is welcome news.
Currently those making the trip would need to sail to Newcastle, but DFDS has plans to re-open ferry services to Rosyth, which last sailed in 2018, initially for freight but then also for passengers.
Visit Scotland hopes spreading the word about Scotland’s many castles and other attractions like Rosslyn Chapel, the Isle of Staffa and the Mull of Galloway will help persuade tourists from the continent to make the journey. Some people may also be intrigued by the idea of sailing across the North Sea itself. Such a journey comes with considerably more romance than any flight, even if it takes longer.
With a fair wind, this could be just the start of a significant new source of business for the much-beleaguered tourism industry.