There aren’t many places like Scotland, where the ruins of ancient castles and extinct volcanoes lie only miles from a cosmopolitan capital city.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why it was named a “must see” destination in Rough Guides’ list of the “Top 10 countries” you need to visit in 2017.
With publications covering more than 200 countries worldwide, Rough Guides sifted through its catalogue of destinations to pick out the places you need to visit this year.
Scotland was pipped to the post by India, but was lauded for its rapidly evolving food and drink scene, its unrivalled scenery, and “rugged” road trips through the Highlands.
Scroll down to see what makes Scotland so special.
To begin with, Edinburgh must be one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe. The cityscape is punctuated with ancient monuments and Edinburgh castle -- built in the 12th century -- acts as its centrepiece.
The city plays host to some bizarre but beautiful events, including the Celtic festival of Beltane, which reenacts the ancient tradition celebrating the coming of summer on Calton Hill.
And in winter, visitors can enjoy the Christmas market which also has an ice rink, carousel, and a big wheel.
Outside of Edinburgh, there are rolling hills and remote villages as far as the eye can see. This is Castle Stalker which is in the Firth of Lorne, not far from the town of Oban.
'Wildlife, whisky and a wonderfully warm welcome make Scotland a perennially popular destination,' says Rough Guides.
'Somewhere deep in the country's genes, a generous dose of romantic Celtic hedonism blends, somehow, with stern Calvinist prudence.'
Glen Coe is one of Scotland's most iconic natural landmarks. It was formed by a 16km-long ice age glacier and marks the remains of an ancient supervolcano.
But Scotland is known for more than just its breathtaking scenery. Its whisky is also world class. The 200-year-old Laphroaig Distillery pictured below produces what they call 'the most distinctive single malt in the world.'
The country is also the backdrop for some of the biggest films. Harry Potter fans can follow the route of the Hogwarts Express over the famous Glenfinnan viaduct.
The lochs of Scotland are famous. This award-winning photo shows a small cottage providing shelter from a storm on the banks of Loch Stach.
Glasgow is pretty special too. TIME Magazine called Scotland's most populous city 'Europe's Secret Capital of Music' with more than 130 music events each week.
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