The world’s first digital UNESCO trail is now online

Scotland is full of treasures, and there are so many unique places to visit.

We know it can be a little bit overwhelming to choose what adventure to go on next, and the team at VisitScotland have come to the rescue. They have teamed up with UNESCO to launch the world’s very first digital UNESCO Trail. Scotland is the first country in the world to bring together all its 13 UNESCO sites into one trail.

There is something for everyone – nature lovers, those who want to travel back in time through history, culture enthusiasts and science addicts. The trail includes six World Heritage Sites, three Creative Cities: Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, two Biosphere Reserves, and two Global Geoparks.

World Heritage Sites

St Kilda is a set of the islands Hirta, Dùn, Soay, Boreray and Levenis, which incorporate the breathtaking beauty of nature with diverse ecosystems. The natural habitat has developed and adapted over millions of years.

Explore the mix of old and new in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. The remarkable architecture of the Old Town will steal your heart and make you travel through time while learning about the creation of the New Town.

The monuments at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney prove that some things could, in fact, last forever. This is a testament to the skills of the prehistoric people of Orkney who built this site 5,000 years ago.

New Lanark

Even though New Lanark was founded by David Dale (a Glasgow banker and entrepreneur) and Richard Arkwright (the inventor and pioneer of industrial cotton spinning), it is best known for Robert Owen’s social reforms, such as shorter working days, an end to child labour under the age of 10, and free medical care for workers in the mill.

Did you know that the Roman Empire’s most northerly frontier is in Scotland? The Antonine Wall was one of civilisation’s most sophisticated military constructions. It was lined with 17 forts and patrolled by 7,000 soldiers.

The Forth Bridge is one of the most iconic structures of its kind in the world. Its length is 2,529 metres (8,296 ft), it’s over 100 metres high, and it was the first significant engineering structure in the world to be built from mild steel.

Creative Cities

Dundee, named the city of design, is the place where design and creativity work together to create change, not just for local communities but also for the rest of the world.

Edinburgh, the city of literature, will take you on a storytelling tour. Writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Burns, JM Barrie, Muriel Spark are linked to the city. You can even visit the café, where JK Rowling wrote part of Harry Potter.

Glasgow has won the title of city of music, which is no surprise. The city has a legendary music scene with several venues that offer something for every music taste – from contemporary to classical and Celtic to country. There are so many good record stores, and you can even make friends with the many buskers who liven up almost every Glasgow street.

Biosphere Reserves

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is a place of natural beauty and heart-stopping views. This biosphere is full of outdoor adventures and geological wonders, and it covers 5,268 square kilometres of southwest Scotland: centring on the hills and moors of the Merrick.

Head further north to find the Wester Ross Biosphere. Formed by some of the oldest geology in the world, it will give you a chance to explore idyllic beaches, lochs, pinewoods and hike some of the highest mountains in the UK.

Global Geoparks

Ardvreck Castle near Loch Assynt in Sutherland, part of the North West Highlands Geopark (Photo: Essevu)

The North West Highlands Global Geopark offers a variety of different rock geologies, and some of them are over 3 billion years old! This Geopark was also where some of the earliest evidence of life was found – anywhere in Europe. You can’t help but feel the history surrounding it.

If you want to take a journey back to millions of years ago, Shetland Global Geopark will help you discover the story of how the world was formed, not only the islands. The islands you can visit today have been on an incredible geological adventure – they travelled from near the South Pole, across the equator, to its current spot at the crossroads of the North Atlantic and the North Sea.

Ready to explore the UNESCO Trail? Head over to the VisitScotland site.