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From Edinburgh to Isle of Skye (3 1/2 days)


We will spending 14 days in Scotland. The first 3 days we will be in Edinburgh. From there we are planning to drive to the Isle of Skye (spend 4 nights there, we will be doing a lot of hiking over there. After Skye we have other places planned).
In our way to Skye, we will be visiting some places (we have 3 1/2 days). I am not sure if we will have enough time to see different things in our way to Skye without rushing too much. I would love suggestions, if there are better sites please let me know

This is an idea of what we think we could do but if it is even worthy to visit some of these places?:

Day 1: Drive from Edinburgh to Falkirk, Sterling Castle, Dunfeld, Aberfeldy (spend night somewhere)

Day 2: Drive to Cairngorns National Park (short hike); Aviemore (spend night maybe in Aviemore) or maybe go to Inverness? Loch Ness? I feel to me this a lot in one day,

Day 3: Drive to Invergarry (stay night there)? Not sure what else to do here

Day 4: Eilean Donan Castle, arrive Isle of Skye

Is this doable? I heard there is not much in Inverness and Loch Ness is not as nicer as others.
Please all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks so much

Posted by
940 posts

Hi, Tashi,

Your itinerary is not overly ambitious, with the possible exception of day one. A lot depends on what your plans are for Falkirk. If you're planning to visit the Wheel and the Kelpies, that's the better part of half a day. If you're going on to Stirling Castle from there, then you need to be aware of closing time, which is 6:00 p.m. The last entry is at 5:15 p.m., but you should give yourselves at least two hours to explore the castle.

You may not have time to visit both Dunkeld and Aberfeldy after Stirling, so you need to pick one, and perhaps stay overnight there.

Aviemore is a charming little town, which caters mainly to skiiers in winter. It would be a good place for an overnight after your visit to the Cairngorm National Park.

On day three, were you planning to travel to Invergarry by way of Spean Bridge or Inverness? I'd recommend not staying in Invergarry. It's basically an intersection with a few scattered B&Bs. If you're travelling by way of Spean Bridge, Fort Augustus, which is about seven miles farther north, would give you a better choice of accommodation, as well as places to eat.

If you're travelling to Skye by way of Inverness, then you'd be better off spending the night there. There's a myriad of accommodation, as well as places to eat. It's not as bad as some posters here would have you believe. Unfortunately, no one seems to obey the litter law in downtown Inverness, so the road from McDonald's to the Eastgate Mall (High Street) is often heavily littered.

On your way to Skye, you'll be travelling down the west bank of Loch Ness. As you've noted, it's not as nice (read: scenic) as many other Scottish lochs. It's wide, and it's deep, and there may or may not be a plesiosaur lurking in its depths. By the time you reach Invermoriston, which is your turning off point for Eilean Donan, the Seven Sisters, and Skye, you'll have seen more than enough of Loch Ness.

Please make sure that you have arranged accommodation for your nights on Skye. It has become the second most popular tourist destination in Scotland, and there is limited accommodation for the number of visitors who go there.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday!

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Mike,

Thank you so much for your advise. I think we are going to skip Falkirk. I heard that Sterling is not as nice as the Edinburgh castle. Will read more about Dunkeld and Aberfeldy and decide.
We are going to try to book something in Pitlochry, Aviemore and Fort Augustus
Your information has been so helpful to us. Greatly appreciated
Yes, we already have the place in Skye, that was the first place we booked.

Thank you so so much,

Posted by
2732 posts

Since your main goal is hiking, you have lots of latitude to adjust your time. On a day when you didn't feel like getting up early, take a shorter hike -- that sort of thing.

Aviemore is more of a base for outdoorsmanship than a town to visit on its own. The TI office is one of the largest, best equipped that I've seen. The main street has shops selling camping gear, boots, all-weather clothing, etc.

You'll see Loch Ness from your car and you can decide according to how your time is going whether you want to stop. Urquhart Castle has walking tours a few times a day (included in the entry fee) and costumed interpreters.

Eilean Donan Castle is extremely popular; every bus tour stops there and every photographer tries to set up a shot without other tourists in it, LOL. It was built in the 1920s-30s so is not an actual medieval castle, but hey, the location is spectacular. For a commanding view of where the three sea lochs come together, take the small road up the mountain behind the Dornie Hotel (which, BTW, is a nice no-frills place to stay and also has a good pub/restaurant that's popular with locals).

Posted by
939 posts

Here's what I would do:
Day 1 - Edinburgh
Day 2 - Edinburgh
Day 3 - day trip to Glasgow, sleep in Edinburgh.
Day 4 - drive to East Neuk and tour town. Drive to St. Andrews and sleep there for two nights.
Day 5 - St. Andrews
Day 6 - drive to Culloden and tour area. Drive to Inverness for two nights.
Day 7 - Inverness
Day 8 - drive to Portree and sleep there.

Posted by
18746 posts

The East Neuk is an area of (fairly) small towns/villages. It's not in the same direction as Skye. My research indicated that the most attractive East Neuk towns accessible by bus (I had no car) would be Astruther and Crail, and I was happy that I hopped off the bus in those two places. However, I think spending time in that way is not something most 2-week visitors would choose to do. In addition, I believe the OP is trying to plot a 3-1/2 day route from Edinburgh to Skye.