Scotland Travel Advice

Hi All--

My wife and I went to Iceland in 2022. 10/10 trip. Really enjoyed the dramatic landscapes, incredible nature, openness, etc. Looking to carry that focus on landscapes, nature, openness, etc. into our next trip. 

We have our eyes set on Scotland. While we do intend to spend time in Glasgow & Edinburgh, we mostly want to spend our time outside of the cities.  

For those that have visited Scotland, what would be your top recommendations of places to visit or things to see? Through my trip planning I have identified some of the more common tourist destinations, but I thought I would ask WSO for tips/recommendations. Anything would be appreciated. 

Thank you and I appreciate the help

 

Would definitely recommend Isle of Skye . While it is a bit of a journey away - home to various famous whiskey distilleries & beautiful landscapes. Weather can be a bit of a question mark but definitely an area I would look at staying for a couple of nights max. If you are looking for something a bit more mainland , Loch Lomond is not too far from Glasgow and great for hikes , trails and many more . Waterside lodges at Loch Lomond can be costly , but provide some amazing scenery & balcony views.

 

North Coast 500

Glen Etive

Loch Lomond

Visit some castles (Stirling etc)

Isle of Skye

Climb some munros (whilst not a munro, Goatfell is nice to climb up in the early hours and see the sunrise)

Go fishing around loch Katrine 

 

Definitely agree with others about the Highlands. We rented a car from Glasgow and spent a day driving around and just taking in the sights. We stopped in Oban as part of our trip and went to McGaig’s Tower and Battery Hill where you can see the whole town and the water. Plus, if you like scotch you can hit up the distillery in town.

Been to Glasgow but the weather sucked, so didn’t see too much.

Edinburgh, you’ve got the major attractions like Arthur’s Seat and Edinburgh Castle. Personally, one of my favorite sites there was this small bar called the Sheep Heid Inn, right next to Arthur’s Seat (or walking distance at least). Oldest pub in Scotland and one of the oldest in the world (since 1360). Been multiple times and it was always really low key and nondescript. Nice, chill place for a beer.

Love Scotland. People are all friendly and welcoming. Have a great time.

 

Definitely try and go to Oban and Fort William up the west side of the country. Stunning views and there are always little B&B’s to stay in on the road. Isle of Skye is great to see and would be a definite miss.

As someone else commented, if you’re a golfer go and visit st. Andrews. I’ve been many times and there’s something that always makes me want to go back.

The upper highlands near Inverness are cool to see as well. Look up the N500 for the road journey around the very north.

 

If you're looking to climb but not for too long - Try out Ben Ann, definitely the best climb to date! Should do a return within 2 hours and absolutely stunning views.

 

I would definitely recommend the West Coast. Try get some of the NC500 done if you can. Glen Coe, Ullapool, isle of Skye, Mallaig. If you have time try visit the other Isles, Mull, Uist, Lewis & Harris. If you're into your whisky then Speyside whisky trail could be for you, and of course, plenty of golf courses around the Royal Deeside area (not forgetting St Andrews).

 
Most Helpful

We went to Scotland in 2019 and had an amazing time in Glasgow and Edinburgh, spending 3 days in each city.  Edinburgh Castle, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Camera Obscura, Glasgow Necropolis, whiskey tastings and bar hopping, including The Bon Accord in Glasgow and The Abbotsford in Edinburgh, both which I highly recommend, especially The Bon Accord.

We took a short train ride to Skipton and rented a narrow boat for 5 days to really enjoy the countryside via the canals and lochs.  Also went to Skipton Castle.  Ate a delicious dinner and probably had the best gin and tonic of my life at The Wooly Sheep.

They teach you how to handle the 40-foot long narrow boat, there's a kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms with showers all onboard.  They teach you how to open and unlock the swing gates, walk bridges and lochs.  The boat doesn't go more than maybe 7 miles an hour, so you are truly forced to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace.  You can pretty much moor/tie up your boat wherever you see mooring spots when you are ready to sleep or lock the boat up and wander around on land.  We enjoyed waking up daily to different countryside vistas of farms, sheep, horses, etc.


Those 5 days are considerably more physical than if you hired a charter with someone doing to steering for you, but damn if it didn't make for very unique views and very special memories... plus it made our daily whiskeys and Guinesses that much tastier and well-earned!!!  I was already a whiskey drinker before this trip, but I discovered Glen Scotia [from Campbellton area distilleries] at a whiskey tasting in Edinburgh and fell in love with it.


This is the narrowboat company we used:

First Time Narrow Boaters - Pennine Cruisers of Skipton

If you plan to stay within Scotland to do a narrow boat along the Caledonian, Forth & Clyde, Union or Monkland canals, I believe there is a narrowboat company called Black Prince.

 

I was in Scotland last year and am going again this month for a 2 week roadtrip. 

Definitely worth traveling through the Highlands by car, the bus can take you up to the towns but will be tricky when you actually want to go to the hiking spots.

Here's what I did in 2022 that I recommend:

-Fort William. It's a town that is close to popular hiking spots and sites to see. Near the town are spots I'd recommend doing

 1. Glencoe

2. Ben Nevis 

3. Glenfinnan Viaduct 

I took a ferry near by from a couple of places starting in the bustling town of Oban. From Oban we did the following nearby

1. Isle of Mull

From Mull you can then take a charter boat for a half day to the smaller islands of 

2. Iona

3. Staffa

If you work your way back to Edinburgh, you can finish up on a last day in Loch Lomond

My road trip that I'm about to take this month the following spots we're hitting is:

1. Inverness

2. Doune Castle

3. Ullapool

4. Isle of Harris and Lewis

5. Dunvegan Castle

6. Isle of Skye

 

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