Looking for quick tips to plan your next trip to Scotland? Check out the top things you cannot miss, our itinerary and some practical info and let you be inspired in plan your travel!
Top Things that you cannot miss in Scotland
1. Skye Island .. a paradise for nature lovers!
We have seen here some of the most beautiful cliffs and landscapes ever seen and here below the spots that you cannot miss:
a) The wild and suggestive cliff of Neist Point with its Lighthouse
b) Quiraing, a pleasant walk of 2 hours in a wonderful scenario..where the mountains meet the sea
c) Kilt Rock, a waterfall falling down from a cliff
d) To climb The Storr, the highest point in Skye Island; you need approx. 3hours to climb this mountain and come back but from here the view is speechless! The most famous point is The Old Man of Storr, a monolith high 55 meters!
e) The picturesque village of Port Tree
f) The beautiful Dunvegan Castle and Gardens
g) In Skye island you can also observe the typical Scottish cow (called Hairy Coo ...super sweet!),the typical Scottish Blackface sheeps and the beautiful Puffins but only in June and July
2.The luxuriant and relaxing nature in the Central Highlands. The highlights in this area are:
- Loch Lomond (the perfect base to explore the lake is Balmaha): lovely the one hour circular cruise in the lake from Balmaha and unmissable to climb the Conic Hill for an amazing view on the lake;
- the mountains landscapes that you can observe just driving in the panoramic route from Balloch (A82+West Highland Way) to Glencoe (from here there are several walkings and do not miss to see the Three Sisters as well as the Ben Nevis - the highest mountain of Scotland-near Fort William).
If you are around, it deserves a visit the impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct where one of the Harry Potter film has been shooted (the train is visible from the view point approximately at 10.45 -15.10 - 19.45)
3 .The breathtaking and wild nature in the North coast: cliffs, beaches, lighthouses. You can observe these incredible landscapes just driving and stopping in the costal route from Durness (Route 500). In particular, do not miss Cape Wrath, Faraid Head, Smoo Cave, Dunnet Head, John O' Groats, Duncansby Head, Whaligoe Step.
In June - July you can observe on the North Coast the Puffins. From John O' Groats you can evaluate also a 1day tour to visit Orkney Islands
4.Scotland is famous for its majestic and beautiful castles and fortress! Some of them are fascinating ruins (in particular Stirling Castle, EileanDonan Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Fort George, Tantallon Castle); others are perfectly furnished fairytale castles (Dunrobin Castle, Duff House, Holyrood Palace).
5. Have some relax in the Fife Region: wheat fields, cliff paths (we have chosen the walking from Elie to St.Monans Windmill), the picturesque little town of St. Andrews with the awesome ruined St. Andrews Cathedral (do not miss to climb up the tower for a wonderful panorama).
6. the vibrant Glasgow: the second bigger city in Scotland! Nearby Glasgow do not miss Stirling Castle!
7. if you visit Scotland a brief stop on Loch Ness is mandatory! An interesting point of view on the lake is the ruined Urquart Castle. Just 40minutes by car from the lake it deserves a visit Fort George, a majestic Fort on the sea!
8.Edinburgh: the vibrant heart of Scotland!
Top Things to do and see in Edinburgh and in the nearby:
a) Wandering in the Royal Mile.. the vibrant heart of the city
b) The beautiful Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Queen, when she is in Scotland .
c) To climb the Arthur' seat, the highest hill of Holyrood Park for a wonderful view on the city
d) The Majestic Edinburgh Castle
e) The awesome St Giles' Cathedral
f) Nearby Edinburgh...The suggestive Tantallon Castle (1 hour by car from Edinburgh):the ruins of a castle overlooking a cliff . If you have time it deserves a visit also: Craigmillar Castle, Seton Church, Dirleton Castle and Gardens, Linlithgow Palace.
For more details, see the dedicated post for the Top Things to see in Edinburgh and
9.last but not least: Scotland is famous for Whisky. We suggest to visit a distillery to learn how the whisky is done. We have chosen Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery. The entrance cost is included in the Explore Pass and it is near the awesome Elgin cathedral, a very suggestive and well preserved ruined Cathedral built in 1200.
10. Just outside Scotland..Hadrian's Wall:the northern frontier of the Roman Empire.
Our 2 weeks itinerary in a nutshell (approx. 2800km) and some practical info (we visited Scotland at the end of August /beginning of September 2018)
Hotels and B&B are quite expensive and limited in Scotland (especially in some areas) thus it is advisable to book them even 6 months in advance or more.
Day 1- GETTING THERE (direct flight British Airways: Florence to Edinburgh and rent the car at Edinburgh Airport (Avis – Opel Astra) booked in advance from Italy on Rentalcarshttps://www.rentalcars.com/ . If available, we suggest you a car with automatic gear, as it is easier to guide on the left )
Night in kilsyth (The Coachman Hotel)
Day2 - STIRLING CASTLE -GLASGOW
We suggest you to buy the Explorer Pass in Stirling Castle (or in the first other site you will visit included in the pass) that allow you to visit for free the majority part of the attractions in Scotland :Very convenient (approx. 50euro per person for 14days) !)
Night in Glasgow (Village Hotel Glasgow)
Day 3 - LOCH LOMOND ( picturesque village of Luss; 1hour circular cruise of Loch Lomond from Balmaha; 2hours trekking from Balmaha to Conic Hill (a couple of hours with return) for an amazing view on the lake)
Night in Balmaha (Oak Tree Inn)
Day 4: stop and driving in the CENTRAL HIGHLANDS on thescenic route A82 and West Highland Way (Falls of Falloch, Glencoe, Three Sisters panoramic point, Fort William for Ben Nevis) - GLENFINNAN VIADUCT view point (train at 10.45 -15.10-19.45)
Night in Invergarry (Ardgarry Farm)
Day 5 :EILEAN DONAN CASTLE and SKYE ISLAND (Neist Point)
Night in UIG (Vatersay House)
Day 6 – SKYE ISLAND (2 hours trekking in QUIRAING; KILT ROCK cliff and fall; 3hours trekking to OLD MANN OF STORR; Portree)
Night in Talladale, Loch Maree (Loch Maree Hotel)
Day 7 – driving in the NORTH HIGHLANDS - CAPE WRATH - NORTH COAST 500 ROUTE(Faraid Head and Smoo Cave)
Get to CAPE WRATH is not easy because there is not a very organized service and it is difficult to find info online: in fact, in summer in the sunny days, there are 2 tours per day (boat+bus: 4hours in total) but at “flexible” hours and not guarantee (usually it seems at 9 and approx. at noon): thus we get up early to arrive in Durness early in the morning and fingers crossed…Luckily, we were able to join the tour and visit this awesome and unique corner of Scotland with its majestic cliffs, the lighthouse, the seals (in June/July also the puffins), the crystal clear sea and several breathtaking views on the north coast!
Night in TONGUE (Ben Loyal Hotel)
Day 8 – stop and driving on the panoramic NORTH COAST 500 ROUTE (stops: DUNNET HEAD ; JOHN O’GROATS, DUNCANSBY HEAD ; ULBSTER - WHALIGOE STEPS)
Night in Forse (Bonnieviews B&B)
Day 9 - DUNROBIN CASTLE – URQUHART CASTLE - LOCH NESS– FORT GEORGE
Night in Lewiston, Loch Ness (Loch Ness Inn)
Day 10 - DALLAS DHU HISTORIC DISTILLERY – ELGIN CATHEDRAL -DUFF HOUSE
Night in Stonehaven - Bayview B&B
Day 11 -DUNNOTTAR CASTLE - SAINT ANDREWS CATHEDRAL (do not miss to climb the tower for an awesome 360 panoramic view on the site, the city and the coastline) - FIFE (drive on the panoramic FIFE COSTAL ROUTE and joint the 2hours FIFE COASTAL PATH from Elie (parking in CAMBO SANDS lighthouse) to ST MONANS WINDMILL)
Night in Kirkcaldy (The Strathearn Hotel)
Day 12 - HADRIAN’S WALL (http://hadrianswallcountry.co.uk)
The best way to visit the Hadrian’s wall is driving on the panoramic route from BIRDOSWALD ROMAN FORT to HOUSESTEADS ROMAN FORT and visit HOUSESTEADS ROMAN FORT (among the several spots this is surely one of the best one to see a well preserved part of the wall)
Night is Haltwhistle (Centre Of Britain Hotel)
A curiosity: Haltwhistle is really the geographic “centre of Britain”
Day 13 – EDINBURGH (Royal Mile – Gill Cathedral – Hoolyrood Palace – Edinburgh Castle)
Night in Edinburgh (Village Hotel Edinburgh)
Day 14 - Nearby EDINBURGH: CRAIGMILLAR CASTLE - SETON COLLEGE CHURCH - DILLETON CASTLE AND GARDENS - TANTALLON CASTLE - LINLITHGOW PALACE
Night in Edinburgh (Village Hotel Edinburgh)
DAY 15 – come back home (direct flight British Airways Edinburgh to Florence)
To discover more about these places and see some photos, have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Scotland dated August/September 2018 on our Instagram page @2intour
Did you enjoy our article? Read the other articles and for more photos and videos follow our IG page @2intour