The magic of boy wizard Harry Potter helped Scotland win a top spot on a list of the best 10 places to visit in 2017.
Scotland was number two, second only to India, on the list revealed on Monday by London-based Rough Guides travel organization.
Castle Sinclair, castle- Girnigeo, Noss head near Wick. /CFP Photo
The travel experts at Rough Guides said a journey along the 830-kilometer scenic road through the Scottish Highlands, known as the North Coast 500, was one of the main reasons to visit Scotland.
The journey starts and ends at Inverness Castle, one of Scotland's top visitor attractions. The rugged-road route passes through the Highlands, past isolated bothies, white-sand beaches and surf spots, say Rough Guides.
The famous Inverness Castle, in Inverness, Scotland. /CFP Photo
With 2017 marking the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book by J. K. Rowling, there was no better excuse to visit some of the locations made famous by the magical Potter films, said Rough Guides.
Events in 2017 will include tours for the upcoming 20th anniversary with Potter fans able to board the Hogwarts Express which transported school-age wizards to the famous fictional School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"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," said the guide's citation.
Built in 1855 for Queen Victoria, Balmoral Castle is the private summer retreat for the royal family, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. /CFP Photo
"Wildlife, whisky and a wonderfully warm welcome make Scotland a perennially popular destination, but in 2017 there are even more reasons to visit," Rough Guides added.
The travel company also recommends Scotland's food and drink scene to visitors, describing Glasgow as one of the best places to head for culinary experimentation and hailing the work of Scottish microbreweries.
The Rough Guides' top 10 places to visit in 2017 are: India, Scotland, Canada, Uganda, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Portugal, Finland, Namibia, Taiwan.
(Story adapted from Xinhua)