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3 wks in Scotland

Hello,
I know it’s a very broad question - but I’d love comments about your opinions about my proposed itinerary. We’re going in May. I’m from Australia and have never been to Scotland before. We’ll have a car from Edinburgh.
1- arrive Glasgow in the morning
2 - Glasgow
3 - Stirling day trip
4+5 - Edinburg
6 - St Andrews (via fife coastal path)
7-9 - Inverness
10-12 - isle of skye
13-15 - Oban (day trip Iona and mull)

I don’t want you to tailor answers to my holiday style - I just want to know your personal thoughts about my itinerary - I want to know what you would do.
“You don’t know what you don’t know”, so all comments would be appreciated.

I hope that makes a little sense.. :)

Posted by
16567 posts

I only passed through Inverness on a train because all my research indicated it was not all that interesting and best used as a base for day-trips. I assume that's why you're planning to be there for 2.5 days but just thought I'd mention it.

I think what you're planning looks very reasonable for someone with a car. You're short of time in Glasgow and Edinburgh if you like museums, but they are easy to revisit. I think prioritizing the countryside is a good plan when you have a car.

However, there are people on the forum with a lot more experience in Scotland than I have, and they'll be able to comment from the perspective of having driven around.

I'm sure you know you need to book lodgings soon. You may not know that for Skye and Oban you probably need to make dinner reservations in advance. The infrastructure in those areas seems to be lagging behind demand. If you don't make a reservation or show up at a restaurant at 5 PM, you may be buying fish and chips from a take-away stand and fending off seagulls as you eat your dinner on a bench--which won't be a lot of fun if it's raining.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks, I appreciate your comment. I didn’t know about making dinner reservations in advance.. so thanks!
I’ve heard the same about Inverness, but I thought we’d use it for a base and see what’s around.
I do love museums, so I’ll probably add another day there :)
Thanks again

Posted by
128 posts

I’m a little confused. The title says 3 weeks but you have only allocated 15 days. Are the other days being used to travel between destinations?

Posted by
4 posts

Yep, after Inverness - I’m going back to Glasgow for a conference. But I still have 2 days free in case anyone mentions somewhere I haven’t thought of :)

Posted by
128 posts

Rather than add in another stop why not increase the time on Skye by a day and also add another day to Oban?

Posted by
16567 posts

Since that's exactly how I spent my coastal/island time, I agree. Actually, I spent one of the Skye nights at Kyle of Lochalsh so I was better-positioned for traveling on to Dundee. I wanted to go to Plockton (accessible by train, though trains are very infrequent) and my travel mate wanted to see Eilean Donan Castle. There wouldn't be any reason to do that with a car. I think three full days on Skye would be great--one for the places around the Trotternish Peninsula, one for the Bella Jane boat trip, and one for miscellaneous other parts of the island.

You have to figure you won't often arrive at your new hotel in Scotland very early in the day, because there are always going to be interesting things to see along the way.

Posted by
1498 posts

In Oban, do the three island tour that goes also to Staffa. Amazing rock/island with cave, geology and puffins! A highlight of our 13 night trip to Scotland.

Posted by
3049 posts

I’d also add at least a day to Skye, if possible, maybe taking 1, or 2, from Inverness. And, boy are the roads on Skye narrow, so you’ll find their “Passing Places” necessary, when another vehicle’s coming the other direction. At least you’ll be used to driving on the left side of the road, for those roads wide enough to have a right and left side!

Posted by
552 posts

I would suggest that you make a stop between St. Andrew's and Inverness as there are a few things to see along the way. I made a stop at Glamis Palace, Scone Palace, and stopped in Dundee to tour the ship Discovery, and then spent the night in Pitlochry. On the way in to Inverness I stopped at Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, and Culloden. I only spent one night in Inverness. From Inverness I drove up to Ullapool, a very scenic drive, making a couple of stops to get out an walk and visited the Inverewe Gardens before spending the night in Gairloch. I spent two night on Skye, but I think three would have been better. From Skye I made a stop at Eileen Donan and then drove to Oban making a detour out to Applecross on the way (plus some other quick stops). I spent two nights in Oban to do a day trip to the islands. From Oban I meandered a little bit and spent a night in Inverraray before heading to Glasgow. This was a good pace for me.

Posted by
506 posts

I haven't been to Oban but I did spend two nights in Inverary. We had a car, which helped as it's a bit out of the way.

Posted by
28 posts

Just go to the North West including Skye, and Edinburgh on the way back,
2 days in Skye ( Raasay is a great place to stay)
Then Ullapool and Lochinver to see the fantastic Assynt region.
I have noticed on this forum a tendency to plan trips around cities,
Why? That is not seeing the real Scotland - the fantastic scenery

Come back and see the cities but first time see the scenery.

Posted by
4 posts

Hello everyone
Thanks so much for all the advice!
I was considering splitting my three wks between Scotland and Ireland, but I think I’ll have plenty to see in Scotland to keep us busy for three weeks. :)
Thanks for the tips! I really appreciate it! I cannot wait for my holiday! I’m excited to get a taste of Scotland

Posted by
16567 posts

I think that's a really smart decision. There's tons to see in Scotland, and it's not a country you can travel around really fast. It's also good to have some slack in your schedule so you can work around weather hiccups.