Backpacking is an emerging market within the tourism sector. Despite its growth limited research has been conducted in Scotland, or even Europe, in relation to this form of travel. Qualitative data were gathered utilising a combination of interviews and focus groups to help achieve the aim of understanding backpackers’ motivations for visiting Scotland. It emerged that the primary push factors were escape and knowledge seeking. Both of which can be related to the optimal arousal theory; those seeking escape as experiencing over stimulation in their normal lives, and those who were seeking knowledge as experiencing under stimulation. Pull factors for visiting Scotland included: Scotland's scenery, positive word of mouth recommendations, geographic location, genealogy, the English language, job opportunities, outdoor activities and tangible aspects including cultural and natural features. Results suggest that the backpacker market is highly heterogeneous regarding motivations and there is a necessity for more research in this area so that backpackers’ needs are fulfilled which will help facilitate destination loyalty.