Let's kick-start this new conversation space! What's your favorite destination in Scotland and why?
Orkney. We went in May of 2013 to please one of our traveling companions (Highland Park enthusiast) and it turned out to be the highlight of the trip. Skye was a very close second. Now I need to find a way to do all of Scotland's islands while bypassing the mainland!
We ended the trip in Glasgow and I know a lot of people are raving about the city these days, but none of us were thrilled with it.
Ah, you should not miss the mainland of Scotland. I love Orkney, my grandfather is from there and it indeed might lead my list. But, I also, love Perthshire. This area, that is not so far away as Orkney, Skye, or Sutherland is a gem. You can enjoy the glens, the lochs, the music, the small towns and villages very easily. I've stayed in Aberfeldy and in Dunkeld/Birnam and either make great bases. Enjoy a walk by the River Tay and then have a nice dinner in the pub sipping whisky or drinking ale while a fiddle session goes on around you.
North Berwick. There is a lot of golf in the area.
I'm torn between Inverness and the Cairngorm Mountains.
We love Inverness because it makes a great base for exploring the Highlands and it is a lovely small city, too. It has one of the best Tourist Information Offices I've ever used. There are several excellent tour companies (many of which offer tours for small groups of less than 15)so you don't have to drive yourself for day trips. And the day trips are great- cruises on the firth, or the River Ness and Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Great Glen, Glen Coe, Ft. Agustus and Ft. William, Isle of Skye, Eileann Donnan Castle, even a long day trip to see Orkney- and many others.
Aviemore is our favorite place to stay in the Cairngorms. Lovely little village with a local micro-brewery that gives tours, central for getting to several great Spey-side whisky distilleries, and lots to see and do - including a restored steam train that does round-trip rides along the Spey river so you can see the countryside and the funicular (or hikes) up Mt. Cairngorm. Additionally there is the Rothmurchie Estate that has plenty of outdoor activities- canoeing on it's lake, hikes, horseback riding, etc. Then there is the Heather Center and a reindeer preserve.
This is a hard one. I love Scotland. Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world. It's so beautiful and romantic with the castle looming high above the city. When the fog rolls in at night it's glorious. Then there's the Royal Mile, a wonderful old medieval street with great buildings and cool alleys. It's a wonderful city to wander around.
Then there is the isle of Skye, which has great walking and spectacular scenery. You can hardly go wrong in Scotland.
Aboyne, Ballater, Braemar, Plockton
I have only been to Scotland once, in 2012, but my favorite place was Orkney. I am an archaeology buff, which is why I dragged my mom there at the end of our Britain trip, but it wasn't just the Neolithic and Viking ruins that I loved, but also the Earls and Bishops Palaces in Kirkwall, and, of course, the Italian Chapel. I asked my mom her opinion on Orkney afterwards, and even though she isn't the history fanatic I am, she found it truly fascinating and was glad I had included it in our itinerary.
We are planning a trip to Ireland and then to Scotland in May. What is the best way to travel to Scotland. Our friend does not do small planes. We thought of the ferry, but what are ideas of connections from the port to main city to get car rental?
What are you calling a small plane? There are all kinds of lesser airlines that fly between the two that use larger planes.
So many, but a favorite, and probably not one of the best known, is Killin, with the Falls of Dochart. Near Loch Lomand, and a most beautiful little town. Probably been there 3-4 times. Stay at the Falls of Dochart Inn; wonderful pub at the entrance with great fireplace, excellent meals, and good rooms. One of my wife and my favorites. Google it . . .
My husband and I did this trip in reverse a couple of years ago. We picked up a car in Glasgow, did our trip around Scotland and dropped the car in Stranraer, which is s. of Glasgow on the coast. The ferry dock and car drop site are in the same area, so transportation was not an issue. We then took the ferry to Belfast, a brief taxi ride to the train station and hopped on the train to Dublin. The only glitch was that we needed the correct currency (which we didn't have) to pay for the taxi ride. But a nice young women riding with us paid for it. It really was that simple.