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02/08/2014 08:52 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2014

Scotland Really Is A Place To Love, Here Are Some Reasons Why

It's hard not to love Scotland, especially this week, when the country became the 17th in the world to legalize gay marriage.

Scotland is a small country packed with wonders, both natural and manmade, and a culture that's vibrant and welcoming. If you're not already smitten with Scotland, these 22 reasons should leave you convinced.

1. In addition to mainland Scotland, the country includes about 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
scotland islands

2. It's estimated that there were once about 3,000 castles in Scotland. The Castle Trail takes you to 17 of the castles still standing today.
craigievar

3. Up Helly Aa is Europe's largest fire festival.
up helly aa
It's a tradition harkening back to the 1880s and is now held annually in Shetland.

4. Edinburgh's Old Town will transport you to medieval times.
old town edinburgh

5. And its New Town offers both neoclassical architecture and chic, modern boutiques and bars.
princes street edinburgh

6. Much of Aberdeen was built from granite. Sometimes it sparkles in the sun!
aberdeen scotland

7. Loch Ness is a must-see. Will you spot its mythical monster?
loch ness scotland

8. The Isle of Skye is kind of magical...
isle of skye

9. Because Irn Bru has a cult following.
irn bru
Sometimes it's referred to as Scotland's "other national drink."

10. Scotland has five distinctive whisky-producing regions and dozens of distilleries. Scotch whisky lovers, rejoice!
scotland distillery

11. Scots have some of the best spirit in the world.
scotland fans cheering

12. Hogmanay is the greatest New Year's celebration ever.
hogmanay
The celebrations get so rowdy that both Jan. 1 and 2 are bank holidays, so the revelry has ample time to carry on and everyone has a chance to recover. Celebrations are held around Scotland, though Edinburgh takes the cake for being the wildest.

13. J.K. Rowling partially penned Harry Potter at this Edinburgh cafe.
the elephant house
The Elephant House claims to be the "birthplace of Harry Potter."

14. Glencoe is totally breathtaking.
glencoe scotland

15. Scotland has a badass Disney princess, Merida of the clan Dunbroch.
disney brave

16. Scottish food names are very entertaining. Ever tried cock-a-leekie soup or rumbledethumps? How about some Haggis?
haggis

17. The Corryvreckan Whirlpool is the third largest whirlpool in the world.
corryvreckan whirlpool

18. The Broch of Mousa dates to the Iron Age and was build around 400-200BC. It's quite old.
broch of mousa

19. Want to see something even older? Skara Brae village is prehistoric.
skara brae

20. St. Andrew's Links is considered to be the home of golf.
st andrews links

21. Braveheart isn't historically accurate, but William Wallace and Robert the Bruce were definitely real.
william wallace

22. Still need a reason? Well, the official animal of Scotland is the unicorn. No other country can beat that.
scotland unicorn

Why do you love Scotland? Let us know in the comments!

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