Scotland itinerary/must-sees advice?

Travel Forums Europe Scotland itinerary/must-sees advice?

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1. Posted by Sander (Moderator 6035 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I'm going to Scotland in September and seem to be running out of time to do my own research. Was wondering if someone could give me some advice on where all to go and what all to make certain not to miss, ideally in the form of an example itinerary so I have a good idea of what's feasible and what isn't.
We'll be renting a car, and plan on driving from hostel to B&B, staying at each for two to four days to explore the area around it, hoping that we won't need to book them in advance. (I think this might be iffy, with September still being quite a popular month, or should we be fine?) This will be our first trip to Scotland. From what I've seen and read so far, we'll mostly be interested in the west highlands; maybe going as far as the northern beaches. Isle of Skye will be a must. But that's about all we know. Where specifically to go within those regions - and outside them! - is still completely up in the air. We love nature: gorgeous scenery, wild mountaintops, large waterfalls, unending landscapes through which we can hike for a couple of hours to come upon unsuspected vistas of beauty, etc. A couple of castles will undoubtedly have to feature, and some lively towns to explore would be nice, too, but both are of secondary importance.
We'll probably fly in and out of Edinburgh. Total time dedicated to the trip is two and a half weeks, but we might tuck on a few days beyond that if we have the feeling the itinerary would otherwise be getting too rushed.

2. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Scotland is one of the best countries for driving! The roads are well kept and have pull-offs at regular intervals. There is a National Rent-a-Car in downtown E-burgh near the rugby stadium. That's my choice for getting a car without having to drive through the city center to get onto the highway.

The easiest plan of attack is just to make a big triangle, either north out of Eburgh to however far you want to go (Sutherland is pretty), or west to Glasgow and up through the highlands following the lochs. There is a comfy hostel at Rowardennan, on the east coast of Loch Lomond -- one of my favorite spots. Skip the crowds on the west side of the loch at Luss. The hostel is at the base of Ben Lomond and great for hiking. There is also a small pier that juts out over the water and is a great spot to watch the sunset.

Oban is a good base for driving into the Highlands and exploring the area before going out to Skye. I usually stay at the Tanglin B&B, which has good rates and food. Most things are within easy walking distance in Oban.

Just south of Inverness is the Battlefield at Culloden, which is a good historic site, but around the corner are Clava Cairns, which warm the cockels of my archaeological heart. The cairns are about 6,000 years old, and are completely accessible to the public (or they were the last time I was there, at any rate).

North out of Inverness and into Sutherland, there is a hostel that was once a castle, Carbisdale. My brother refuses to go there again because he says he had a rough night with the ghosts, if haunting is your thing. I slept like a log, but between banging on the doors and children playing in the halls, he didn't sleep a wink. Apparently, there were no children staying at the hostel that night, so make of it what you will.

3. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hey there
Good suggestions here already, especially Loch Lomond.

I would consider myself an expert on most of Scotland, if I dont say so myself! Altho im more into Castles and History than nature.

If you want nature and scenery and hiking, you should consider Loch Lomond and Glen Coe. They are a must for any trip to Edinburgh for Scenery. And for Castles, Ill tell you a no bullshit the best castles in Scotland, but you will have to do some exploring and off the beaten path.

So for two and half a weeks - you need a few days in Edinburgh, The Castle thee is over WAY over priced and I think one of the poorest tourist attractions in the country. I tell people not to even bother going inside. The view is crap as well! Best views of Edinburgh are from Calton Hill and Arthurs Seat.

Ok, Leave Edinburgh, try and rent a car with Sat Nav. Head west to Stirling. Spend a night here, Nice castle - again over priced tho. See the Willy Wallace monument.

Head west to Loch Lomond, use Balloch as a base for food and gas as you wont find much else around. The east side of the Loch is covered by rbyslipahs. But Id say Luss on the West Side is a must. Crowds yes, but its such a cool place. See my gallery for photos. And hike Ben Lomond!

From Loch Lomond head West to Loch Fyne, stop in Inverary for seafood, head north thru Kilmartin, standing stones and castles are everywhere here. Head up to Loch Awe on the road to Oban. On Loch Awe there lies the coolest castle in Scotland. Kilchurn Castle. Hidden away in a bit of marshy land jutting out into the Loch - See gallery. Its hard to find and not well marked. You have to cross a railroad track and walk thru a bit of marsh. But well worth it!

Proceed to Oban for a night. Head North to Glen Coe. In the Glen Coe village there is a hostel. Stay there and explore for a few days. My friend owns the place. Nice guy. Theres a great pub nearby for live music.

From Glen Coe head North thru Fort William, head north west to Eillan Doonan Castle on the way to Skye. From the Castle your only a few miles to Skye now.

Cross the Bridge to Skye, head north to Portree, use this as a base for a couple of days, and head north to Uig, a small port town on the edge of the north west corner. Theres a hostel there on the right side before you round the bend to the village. Hike around here, theres a ruined castle north on Uig.

I think thats about a week and half two weeks. The rest of the time use to recover from hang overs or get lost on ur way back from Skye to Edinburgh

[ Edit: Edited on 13-Aug-2010, at 02:57 by coldwarspy ]

4. Posted by summer910 (Respected Member 1342 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Quoting coldwarspy

So for two and half a weeks - you need a few days in Edinburgh, The Castle thee is over WAY over priced and I think one of the poorest tourist attractions in the country. I tell people not to even bother going inside. The view is crap as well! Best views of Edinburgh are from Calton Hill and Arthurs Seat.

LOL, I actually quite like the castle in Edinburgh. Over-priced, but I had a good time exploring it.

Definitely agree that the view from Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat is fantastic - Sander, you should definitely climb up Arthur's Seat, it gets better the higher up you go!

And I recommend a whisky tour, if you like whisky.

When in September are you going?

5. Posted by Barbara S (Budding Member 11 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

One of my favourite roads in Scotland is the A82 up Loch Lomond to Crianlarich, then on to Fort William via Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, Ballachulish bridge and Loch Linnhe. Through Fort William to the Great Glen and on to Inverness. The scenery is stunning all the way!!

6. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

downtown E-burgh
That's an expression you'll not hear in Scotland ! !

7. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

ha Im gna use it today and see how it goes down

8. Posted by melliset (Inactive 15 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Well! I would like to give a short and simple advice. Edinburgh is the largest tourist destination in Scotland, and Glasgow is the second largest tourist destination after Edinburgh. Both these places are the host of museums and attractions. There are a number of attractions along the 'royal mile' in Edinburgh, which includes Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Our Dynamic Earth , and more such places. At Glasgow, you can visit the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Science Centre and the Kelvingrove Museum. Both the cities are also good for shopping.

9. Posted by Sander (Moderator 6035 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

A bit belated (my life got even busier than it was already when I posted this thread; I'm rather glad I asked for advice and didn't try to do all my own research), but definitely very heart-felt THANKS! for the excellent advice in this thread, particularly rbyslipahs and coldwarspy! I still don't really have a good grasp of what all we'll end up seeing, but there's some kind of structure in my head now, and I'll simply refer to your posts from day to day as I'll be making my way around. :)

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