174km (108 miles) SW of Edinburgh; 45km (28 miles) SW of Dumfries; 166km (103 miles) S of Glasgow; 81km (50 miles) E of Stranraer; 16km (10 miles) SW of Castle Douglas

The ancient burgh of Kirkcudbright (Kir-coo-bree) is at the head of Kirkcudbright Bay on the Dee estuary. Many of this intriguing old town's color-washed houses belong to artists; a lively group of weavers, potters, and painters live and work in the 18th-century streets and lanes. What makes Kirkcudbright so enchanting isn't really its sights (although it boasts several) but its artistic life and bohemian flavor. Various festivities take place in July and August; expect to find anything from marching bagpipe bands to exhibitions of Scottish country dancing to torchlight processions. And activities range from raft races to nearby walks, from a floodlit tattoo in front of MacLellan's Castle to a puppet festival. Check with the tourist office about what will be happening when you visit.