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Deciding between 2018 scotland or ireland steve's tour

Tough decision. Any thoughts on which tour to choose in autumn month? His spain tour was fantastic so we are going to sign up again.....

Posted by
2802 posts

Wow, it's really hard to advise you without knowing more of your interests. Do you have family roots in either country? Any "bucket list" locations in either country? Favorite movies or books that are set in either one?

The weather is likely to be about the same in both places, so that wouldn't be a factor in deciding.

You might look in the "Trip Reviews" section of this forum to find & compare comments from folks who have taken one or the other of these two tours.

Posted by
68 posts

thanks for response. we will be going to each country; but, one will be independently and other with tour. looks like we will take steve's tour in scotland and navigate alone thru Ireland . i was just trying to compare steves's two itineraries.

Posted by
3634 posts

I have not traveled to Ireland, but I can say that it is quite easy to travel through Scotland on your own and probably have a little broader experience than with Rick Steves. What prompted your decision for independent travel in Ireland and tour in Scotland? I am just curious....

Posted by
68 posts

my better half knows Ireland from a prior visit and she has specific follow up areas. we will therefore spend more time in those areas than would be possible with a fixed schedule. thanks for your post. it does seem that scotland may be easier to navigate alone than would be ireland.

Posted by
362 posts

Both countries are amazing, but Scotland is my favorite of the two. (Go figure. I was sure I'd prefer Ireland, but I lost my heart once I stepped into Edinburgh.) Having said that, I've never done the RS tour of either, but if I do a tour again in that part of the world I'd go back to Scotland first.

Sounds like you're going to have an amazing trip no matter what you do!

Posted by
389 posts

Having taken both of these RS tours I would vote for Ireland on your own and Scotland as the RS tour. It would be difficult to get to all the same locations in Scotland on your own whereas on the Ireland tour you are just in two locations. You could easily rent a car and duplicate the day trips made on the Ireland tour. While there are some key things to see in Ireland most of them can be experienced on your own. Scenic drives and pub culture with its traditional music are enjoyable without needing a guide to interpret. In Scotland there are many more historical sights, complex geography and history. The Scotland tour takes you to many more locations and provide more activities which would be very difficult to duplicate on your own. These are more completely understood when interpreted by a native guide. In my opinion the hotels and group meals were much better quality/ value on the Scotland tour. On the Ireland tour I think we could have found better accommodations and meals on our own.
I would begin with the Scotland tour and end with the independent trip to Ireland. Flying directly back to the US from Ireland allows you to do customs there instead of at your US destination. That is a real time saver. Also, the laid back culture of Ireland would be a relaxing way to end your trip.

Posted by
19 posts

I did a bus tour in 2016 with my sister in Scotland. Going back this spring with my husband. Cant get enough of it. Edinburgh and the Highlands are amazing!!

Posted by
64 posts

We did RS Ireland tour and a week on our own in Dublin two years ago and a RS tour and two weeks driving on our own this past September. In Ireland, I was planning to do it alone, but when I found that the RS tour was going to the same places at just a few hundred dollars more, I opted for the tour. It was a wise choice. We saw much more on the tour than we would have trying to find the places on our own. In Scotland, we did the RS tour then rented a car to see the highlands and a few other Western Scotland places that the RS tour didn't touch. As you might imagine, driving in Scotland is a challenge, especially on the narrow roads in the highlands.
Depending on your age and willingness to meet the challenges of driving on the left and finding your own way on roads often not marked well, I'd suggest the tours. Also -- GPS makes driving a whole lot easier, no matter what country your in or what side of the road you drive on.

Posted by
68 posts

thanks. At my age (undisclosed but almost to Medicare) driving in the wrong lane is almost a given.....This is also Louisiana and driving after dark in the correct lane seems optional. Thanks for the information. We have decided on the Steves' tour of Scotland and Ireland on our own with friends who have some experience with Ireland and want to see particular areas not covered by a RS tour. We should be there for a portion of the Tattoo in Edinburgh and everything I have heard from friends about Scotland is encouraging except for the Haggis.

Posted by
829 posts

I have done the 14day best of Ireland august 2014, fantastic trip. We are doing 8day heart of Ireland and 10 day best of Scotland back to back april-may 2018. Looking forward to it! Love both countries

Posted by
1010 posts

My husband and I did a two weeks - TAUCK tour of Ireland. We absolutely loved Ireland. One of the highlights was staying at the Ashford Castle, in Cong. It was fabulous. We only got to stay there for two nights though. It is the former summer home of the Guinness Brewery Family. Some people on line say it was their favorite stop while visiting Ireland. It is expensive, but it is a 5 star hotel/property. The grounds are the most gorgeous we had ever seen.