Scotland is Calling you, I can suggest the Perfect Scotland Itinerary for You. Scotland is an Incredible, Wild, Historic, Mystical Country.
Planning to visit Scotland
Great choice! Scotland is an incredible country with a deep, rich history and culture. You’ll be able to see hundreds of historic sites, abbeys, castles, sheep, highland cows, and even more stunning scenery.
Although it is a small country, there is so much to see and do, that it can seem overwhelming. But fear not, I have planned this Scotland itinerary into seven days of pure Scottish awesomeness!
Half the fun of visiting somewhere new is planning what you’ll see, do, eat and wear. Be sure to read through this itinerary and it’s accompanying posts on the Isle of Skye, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow to give you an idea of what you want to see and where your priorities are and what you want to include or exclude from your personal Scotland itinerary.
Get Prepare For Your Trip To Scotland
PACKING FOR SCOTLAND
Scotland is a gorgeous country…love it to death, but can we talk about the weather?
The weather in Scotland can be, unpredictable! I would pay no mind to any weather forecast you have previously looked at. The skies can change on a dime and surprise you for good or bad. Chances are, no matter what time of year you go that you will have rain and it will be chilly during some part of your trip. Having layers and waterproof gear is essential.
PLANNING YOUR ROUTE
This is especially helpful if you won’t have cell service or have bad service, which is entirely likely in Scotland, especially as you get to the highlands. It’s great to have an offline option for keeping your trip organized. It helps to keep all your flight itineraries, rental car confirmation numbers, driving directions and hotel addresses all in one place and looking tidy. It’s great if you have to go back and log expenses as well!
Getting To Scotland
The cheapest flights into Scotland can usually be found to Edinburgh or Glasgow, but be sure to check other, smaller airports such as Aberdeen, where some budget airlines might fly into.
Consider adding Scotland onto the beginning or end of a trip to Europe you already have planned. Getting around Europe by plane can be shockingly cheap!
If you can’t find cheap flights from your home country to Scotland, be sure to check flights to surrounding cities that may be cheaper to fly to, such as Dublin, London, Paris, or Frankfurt. Then look at buying a cheap flight from a budget airline such as Ryanair to get you to Scotland. A cheap flight from Boston to Ireland for $60 during Norwegian’s killer sale and a flight from Dublin to Edinburgh for $40 round trip.
All About Driving In Scotland
If you want to really see Scotland, you’ll have to rent a car. Coming from the US or mainland Europe, driving on the left can sound really scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips:
Think Left, Left…:
Repeat the word “left” in your mind or out loud several times before you drive and while you’re starting out. Close your eyes and visualize yourself on the left. These seem kind of silly, but they will really help as you prepare to completely flip your usual driving autopilot brain backwards!
When in doubt, follow the car in front of you.
Scotland and Europe, in general, is full of roundabouts. They are fantastic things that really help with the flow of traffic. In Scotland, they will curve to the left. Most of the time they consist of several lanes. be sure to follow the arrows or signs for which lane you need to be in. There can be anywhere from 2-6 or more exits on a roundabout and they can get pretty tricky. Just pay attention and you will be fine.
Scotland is full of narrow roads with stone walls on either side. It’s an effort, but be sure to stay in your lane and not grazing the side of the wall or hedges.
One Track Roads:
You may come across quite a few one track roads, especially on the Isle of Skye. This means that there will be one lane shared by two directions of traffic. You will see “passing places” along with all the roads where you must pull over and wait for cars to pass if you see them. Always pull over to the left. Never cross the road to pull into a passing place located on the right.
Watch for animals:
There’s nothing more magical than being in a sheep traffic jam! Just be sure to give them the right of way and pay attention. Also, look out for deer!
With all of the narrow roads, stone walls, hedges, small parking spaces and new left driving orientation, I always recommend that you get the full insurance on a rental car. Alternatively, look into your credit card as some cards, such as Chase Sapphire offer full rental car insurance in foreign countries. Be sure to bring along proof of this for the rental car company.
7 Days Scotland Itinerary
Now that you’ve done all you can to prepare for getting to, driving in and packing for Scotland, it’s time to talk about where you’ll be heading! I’ve arranged this trip to begin and end in Edinburgh, where most flights will take you to in Scotland, but you can start this itinerary from anywhere on the map, or skip, add, change direction and alter to your heart’s content!
Day 1: Edinburgh
Edinburgh will most likely be your starting point on your journey around Scotland, if it’s not, feel free to skip ahead! Edinburgh is a beautiful city full of rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food! You could spend weeks wandering the streets of Edinburgh, but I’ve planned for two days here, so get busy!
Here is a quick list to get you started:
- Edinburgh Castle
- Elephant House Cafe
- Victoria Street
- Calton Hill
- The Royal Mile
- St Giles Cathedral
- Scott Monument
- Grass Market
Day 2: Edinburgh & St. Andrews
Spend the night in Edinburgh, wake up and explore the city for about half a day. Finish up your Edinburgh list:
- Hike Arthur’s Seat for sunrise
- Holyrood Palace
Now that you’ve finished up seeing Edinburgh, head to St. Andrews, known as a golf mecca and home to St. Andrews University which was founded in 1413, making it the 3rd oldest university in the UK, following only Oxford and Cambridge.
St. Andrew’s Cathedral: Once the largest church in Scotland, St. Andrews Cathedral was a place of pilgrimage for Catholics during the medieval ages. It is in ruins now, but you can climb St. Rules tower and take in the views from the top.
St. Andrews Links: Even if you’re not a golf enthusiast (I certainly am not), take a stroll along the cart paths and appreciate the famed course for its beauty and views.
When you’ve had a taste for St. Andrews, begin your drive to Inverness. On your way, consider stopping at
Blair Castle: This beautiful castle was just featured on an episode of Victoria and it’s right off the motorway, so stop if you have the time!
Day 3: Inverness
Known as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness is an ancient city with a long history. Home to Shakespeare’s infamous Macbeth and the stage for the Jacobite uprising and final defeat, Inverness will allow you to connect with the past like nowhere else.
You should be able to see all of this in one day, but you can stay one more night here and finish in the morning because you’ve got a big drive ahead of you tomorrow to the Isle of Skye. Here is a quick list:
- Culloden Battlefield
- Clava Cairns
- Loch Ness
- Urquhart Castle
Day 4: Inverness And Drive To Isle Of Skye
Finish up anything you missed in Inverness and begin the drive to the Isle of Skye. I prefer taking the northern route because it is the highest north that you will get in the highlands. If you’re there in the spring you will get a beautiful show from the purple heather blooming on the rolling hills. Just before you get to the Isle of Skye, stop at:
Eilean Donan Castle
Take your time getting to Skye, but try to arrive before dark as you’ll be driving on one track roads at times, which can be tricky come nightfall, and riving over the Skye Bridge is something you’ll want to do in the daylight.
I recommend staying in Portree for the night as it is the capital of Skye and has great food and accommodations. This will be a great location for everything you’ll be doing tomorrow.
Day 5: Isle Of Skye
I Highly recommend getting up at sunrise for your day on the Isle of Skye. The sunrise views just cannot be beaten! Here is a quick list of what to do:
- The Quiraing (catch the sunrise here!)
- Kilt Rock
- Old Man of Storr
- Neist Point
- Dunvegan Castle
- Fairy Pools
- Flora MacDonald Memorial Grave
You’ll probably want to spend another night on the Isle of Skye since you’ll have a really full day and you don’t want to drive out of here at night!
Day 6: Isle Of Skye And Drive To Glasgow
Wake up and finish anything on the Isle of Skye that you missed yesterday and start your journey to Glasgow. On your way there, stop at Glencoe and take in the beautiful scenery.
Day 7: Glasgow
Spend half the day exploring Glasgow. Then head to Stirling Castle and back to Edinburgh!
I hope you fall in love with Scotland as much as I have and I hope this perfect Scotland itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip! I’m always happy to help with trip planning. Connect with me on Facebook if you need help!