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8 day Scotland Itinerary

Hi all! This is mine and my husband’s first trip to Scotland (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter!). We are flying into Edinburgh and will arrive early the morning of Aug 28 and have sketched out the itinerary below. We would live some feedback from you experts on whether this is doable. We hate sitting around and we are history buffs (also a long-time Outlander fan) and foodies, if that helps!

Day 1: explore Edinburgh, sleep in Edinburgh

Day 2: explore Edinburgh, visit Roslyn Chapel, sleep in Edinburgh

Day 3: head west to Stirling, then Loch Lomand/Trossachs area, ending up in the Dunoon area, may try to attend Gig at the Gathering

Day 4: Cowal Highland Gathering, another sleep in Dunoon area

Day 5: (Sunday) drive north to Inveraray, Oban, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Glenfinnan, sleep Fort William area

Day 6: Eilean Donan, then drive east to Loch Ness (just want to say we saw it), then Culloden, Clara Cairns, etc. sleep in Aviemore area

Day 7: explore Cairngorms (Highland Ponies?), Macallan Distillery tour; sleep again in Aviemore

Day 8: head back to Edinburgh via Pitochlery, Perth, last evening in Edinburgh

Is this too much? Too little? I am sad we aren’t visiting Skye, but I don’t think there’s time. Are the Cowal Highland Games worth it enough to make it worth our time to spend two nights in the area? Any other feedback welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
1502 posts

Quick question: 2019 or 2020?
If 2019, ave you secured any hotels yet for this beautiful journey?
Enjoy Scotland and safe travels!

Posted by
1213 posts

Sounds like a great time to me! Don't worry about missing Skye...too many there that time of year...sometimes there's not enough places to park! Look at Visit Scotland, Secret Scotland, Scottish National Trust, Historic Scotland and World Heritage web sites for some good info and great ideas for your trip. Watching Outlander I feel a little guilty for marrying a Campbell, but my own English peeps left for Massachusetts in the 1600s. Unfortunately, one of my ancestors: Ann Trask Foster did die in prison for being accused as a witch in 1692. Have a wonderful time...leave some time to just get lost. Since you are driving; you can stay in accommodations in places just outside of town and in the countryside: so may be able to find places to stay if you book early in the day.

Posted by
671 posts

In my experience you can usually get lodging even at late dates in most places, but you probably won't get cheap lodgings. Get on it now. Particularly if there is a Highland Games going on. Check booking sites to identify likely properties and contact them directly - often even the ones which show no availability have some rooms that they have not committed to the consolidator websites.

Its sounds like a great trip and you have edited it well (no Skye this time).

Posted by
503 posts

Overall, the plan looks good - day 6 will be a push. Bear in mind that the time estimates for distances are not terribly accurate. Many of the roads are only two lane with limited passing ability. As long as you don't linger too long at any one site, you should, with an early start, be able to fit it all in.