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Five days in Edinburgh, Oban, ???

My husband and I are planning approx. five days in Scotland this July as part of a larger Europe trip. We are thinking of 1-2 days in Edinburgh and then renting a car and heading west. My thoughts were to spend two nights in Oban as a base to explore the Glencoe region and Isle of Mull. We are not sure what to do with our extra day. Spend an extra night in either Edinburgh or Oban and do a day trip somewhere? A day in Glasgow or somewhere else in the west? Forget the western region all together and spend three days somewhere else? Any and all suggestions are welcome.

We are in our early 30s with no kids. We enjoy good food, good drinks, and a good day outdoors when we travel. Would like to do some touristry stuff (visit a castle, museum, distillery, etc...) but definitely more into the local culture aspect of traveling and would like to avoid major tourist traps, especially since we're traveling around peak tourist season. Thanks for the help!

Posted by
2926 posts

I'll put in a vote for Inveraray, a well-preserved Georgian planned town. The castle (modern rebuild after a disastrous fire) has a lovely interior with interesting exhibits (contrary to RS guidebook indication) and has gorgeous gardens outdoors, as well as a hiking trail on the property. And a cute flock of black sheep.

The town has several good quality woolens shops. Can highly recommend Brambles B&B for lodging and daytime food. Dinners at the George Hotel are great. 10 minutes outside Inveraray is the Auchindrain Township open-air museum with about 12 miles of walking paths.

If your drive to Edinburgh takes you south along the western shore of Loch Lomond, you can go for a boat cruise out of Luss. There's a good restaurant at Duck Bay with a commanding view of the loch; I believe it's also a hotel but can't speak for the rooms. You'll then turn east toward Edinburgh on the A811 at the big, well-marked roundabout in Balloch.

Posted by
292 posts

Personally I'd add a day in Edinburgh (definitely don't just spend one day there - two at the least), but a day in St. Andrews would be another option as your first day out of Edinburgh. You could also head a little further north to Isle of Skye, which is gorgeous, but the other consideration might be where you're heading next.

Yes, there are tourists in Scotland. But, Scotland is not a really touristy type place - even in peak season. 5 days is not much. Consider what you want to do. Edinburgh - castle, art museum, national museum, St. Gile's church, pubs, Holyrood palace, hike Arthur's seat, some literary sites. You can even take Rabbie's day trips out to other areas. Oban - you can visit the distillery, walk around the harbor, hit a pub. Oban is best for boat trips out to the isles like Staffa. If you are not interested in a boat trip to the isles, then do not go to Oban. (My opinion, of course.). You would be better served by seeing other sites like Stirling castle and hiking around Loch Lommond.

Posted by
3588 posts

If you have five days (not nights), then consider two full days in Edinburgh and three in Oban. A day trip from Oban to Mull and Iona will take a full day.

Posted by
30 posts

St. Andrews is really neat, and an easy day trip by train, then bus from Edinburgh. The town is charming and the golf course and ruined cathedral are magnificent.

Posted by
3 posts

We stayed in Oban for two nights and enjoyed our time there. We did the distillery tour, sampled the fresh fish and seafood on the docks, took a boat trip out to a little yacht club and had dinner there, and took a boat tour to see what the salmon farms looked like. We hiked after dinner and all-in-all loved our time there. The B&B we stayed in was quite nice and the sunsets were lovely. Cute town.