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Edinburgh and ???

Hi, My husband and I are from Ontario Canada and will be visiting Scotland as part of our Europe trip next June. We are planning on staying 6 or 7 days in Scotland. We have already booked 3 nights in Edinburgh and are trying to decide on where to spend the other 3 or 4 days. I have looked at these options :

  1. Fly from Toronto to Iverness, rent a car.

    Day one visit Iverness and surroundings
    Day two, drive to Pitlochy and to Stirling and stay there overnight
    Day three, drive to Glencoe, stay there
    Day four, drive to Edinburgh

  2. Fly from Toronto to Glasgow, rent a car
    Day one, drive to Isle of Skye, stay overnight in one of the villages (recommendations would be appreciated...)
    Day two, visit Isle of Skye attractions, stay overnight
    Day three, drive to and visit Glencoe and don't know if we should stay there overnight, or drive to Edinburgh

We love nature, love easy hiking, love museums, are not foodies and not fond of shopping on trips. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

suzanne

Posted by
2801 posts

Driving from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye on your first day is a long haul and you'll be jet lagged. I wouldn't do it. I'd suggest spending your first night out of Glasgow in Inveraray. In Inverarary you can visit the castle, which has beautiful gardens and a lovely museum-quality interior, and/or Inveraray Jail. Or you can go walking at the unique Auchindrain Township open-air museum, which is truly fascinating if you have an interest in rural history. In Inveraray I can recommend B&B Brambles; we've stayed there twice.

Then drive to Isle of Skye next day, either via Glencoe or via Taynuilt. The latter takes you past Kilchurn Castle (a ruin on Loch Awe) and the Cruachan "hollow mountain" hydroelectric power station--very cool if you have an interest in science. Once you reach Fort William you can drive to Mallaig and take the ferry to Skye, or drive by way of Invergarry to Kyle of Lochalsh & the Skye bridge. Near Kyle of Lochalsh right near Eilean Donan Castle I can recommend the Dornie Hotel for a meal and/or lodging. (Or you can take the small Glenelg ferry to Kylerhea on Skye.)

Once on Skye, it's an all-day drive to Edinburgh.

Posted by
662 posts

You sound like us (easy hikes/walks, not foodies, not shoppers) and we did much of this trip last year. I like alternative 1 as you'll see so much more diversity. 1) I'd do a half day in Inverness and visit Culloden (good museum). Pitlochry is VERY touristy and filled with cute little shoppie shops so I'd consider skipping it - we were disappointed. 2) You might consider driving from Inverness along the west side of Loch Ness - stop at Urquart Castle. Short stop in Fort William and then on to Glencoe. 3) Visit Glencoe and Ben Nevis and environs on the next day (really beautiful). 4) Visit Stirling Castle on your way into Edinburgh.

Posted by
2801 posts

Instead of stopping in Pitlochry, if you want a place to stop on your way southward from Inverness along the A9, you'll be passing by the pleasant town of Aviemore (which has the feel of a hiking base camp), the Dalwhinnie distillery, and Blair Castle. Any of those might be more of interest.

Posted by
205 posts

Those drives sound really long.... I think you'd "see" things but probably not enjoy them or get to spend any if much time visiting.. Instead of going all the way to Inverness, why not try to see Loch Lochmond/Glascow area and then buzz over to Stirling? The drives are not as long and it will actually give you the chance to see a Castle or two (perhaps) and also nice scenery without being stuck in your car the entire time... The roads in Scotland don't have much traffic, but the drives are long and highways usually only have 2 lanes or less.

I visited Stirling back in May- its a spectacular city. However, it also took around 6 hours to visit the Castle, the Wallace Monument, and buzz by the Kelpies in Falkirk....and that was with staying in Ingleston and not encountering traffic and going at a rather good clip to see everything.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will definitely look attentively at my itinerary. I am more and more attracted to the idea of more time in Glasgow and Skye and less time driving. Please feel free to keep suggestions coming.

Posted by
5020 posts

Both your options involve a lot of driving time. Skye is a long way to go and it takes time to look around, as many roads are single track with passing places, so you really need 3 days there to make the drive worthwhile. When I was there last June, the weather was dreadful for the entire 3 days and not just rain, but low cloud so that the hills weren't visible! June will be busy, so you will need to book accommodation well ahead.

Aviemore was a real disappointment to me - tacky and a bit like a poor man's Disney theme park. Nearby Nethy Bridge and Boat of Garten are more like the genuine article, which would be OK as you would have a car. Loch Ness is a major tourist trap and not the most attractive Loch.

For what it's worth, my suggestion would be:

Fly into Glasgow.

Visit the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park then stay there.
Drive up to Glencoe. Spend the whole of the next day exploring the Ardnamurchan peninsula, one of the most attractive parts of Scotland IMO, but without the tourist hoardes - go over on the Corran car ferry and spend a second night in Glencoe.
Drive to Edinburgh via Stirling. This day will be a long drive.

Posted by
5571 posts

I am going to second Jennifer's suggestion. Skye is beautiful, but so is all of Scotland! American's get very hung up on visiting Skye and thinking that no trip to Scotland is complete without it. It's a big Island. I stayed for a week long photo workshop one year and we still didn't get to all the different parts.

If you take Jennifer's suggestion and make sure your gas tank is full as you head over to Ardnamurchan. I loved exploring that area. Have you found Undiscovered Scotland? They have great info. Here's another useful link. I also hope that you have found Walkhighlands.

Pam