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half a day in glencoe using citylink questions

Hello all,
as the title says, i want to go to glencoe but am unsure of exactly where to go and what to do.

First, the bus stop to get off at on the city link website is "glencoe visitor center", is that right? They have other options also.

Second, what is the best way to spend 3 hours once i arrive at the visitor center? Say I am being picked up 3 hours later from there also (or is there another bus stop i can be picked up at? I really don't know). What's the best way to spend my time? I don't know what the main highlight is or if there is even a "main" highlight or if it's just the region as a whole.

In general, any advice is greatly appreciated.

Posted by
2238 posts

I was hoping someone would answer this with more recent experience or knowledge. When I did this using the bus, it was 2016. I did it kind of on a whim and by myself. I wish I’d done more research and been braver. The bus station and buying the ticket were easy. I thought the route was fascinating and enjoyed watching the hikers get on and off at different stops and you could see some hiking The Highlands. HOWEVER, the Glencoe Visitor Centre is not in Glencoe proper. I got off at the visitor center and really enjoyed the stop, but Glencoe proper is still 1.3 miles further up the road. I probably could have walked it, but weather wasn’t great and the area is very rural - I couldn’t see anything further up the road. I just stood by the road for the return bus.

Posted by
124 posts

so i ended up doing it so i can give advice to future people.

What you do is you ask the driver to drop you off at the bus stand next to the car park. He might say yes (this would be amazing). He might say no. Mine said no. It was annoying. Fine. So I had to walk for an hour 20 minutes to the car park from the visitor center since it's far as you said. Hitchhiking isn't a possibility since cars have no place to stop for you. After I did the walk to the car park, I did the hike and while I did I befriended fellow hikers. I started a conversation with everyone i saw. This is because I'm a nice person... and also because i knew in two hours i would be asking them to drop me off at the bus station (either the visitor center if they go that way or the mountain resort if they go the other way) later. Sure enough, i got a ride that way. So i had to walk one way and got a ride the other. In a best case scenario, the citylink driver will drop you off at the bus stand (i know some do this) to start and some other hiker will drop you off at the bus station to end.

The long walk from the visitor center to the car park is annoyingly long but the scenery is nice since you are still in glencoe and i wouldnt call it dangerous unless visibility is terrible (which it may have been on the day you went). There's room to stand on the side if a car is driving by. The only thing is that the cars go fast and while some try to distance themselves from you, others don't slow down at all.

Don't beat yourself up about not doing the hike though your post makes it seem like you didn't want to do the hike and actually wanted to go to Glencoe proper which is in the other direction (but why would you want to do that? is there anything to do there?) . The hike was nice but it wasn't unique. It had waterfalls and at the end you see some mountains with snow on them but there are plenty of places you can see both those things in the world. I wouldn't say the views on the hike are better than the ones you see simly looking out the window while driving on the road.

Posted by
6766 posts

At Glencoe you don't have to wait for the next Citylink.

Glencoe Visitor Centre is it, unless you are going walking.

Glencoe Cross Roads is more for the village, then a mile or so down the road is the next stop in Ballachulish Village.

You don't say if you are starting in Glasgow or Fort William, or where you are heading to, but there is also a local bus from Glencoe Cross Roads every 2 hours to Fort William- the N44 -

That stops just round the corner into Glencoe Village and also in Ballachulish. Look on Google maps for the bus stop symbol and street view it.

The Glencoe Folk Museum (between the cross roads and the village) is closed for re building until 2025 but there is the Flora McDonald memorial up in the village.

On a nice day 3 hours is fine, on a dreich day it could really drag, I think.

Posted by
1227 posts

EDITED: - Ha - so we all ended up posting at the same time!

Glencoe is a valley, through which passes the A82 - the main road from the south to Fort William and beyond. A number of Citylink buses pass through the valley and you can see the timetable here. I am no expert on public transport (isn31c is our expert on this forum) but it would seem there are two main bus stops. The southern one is the Glencoe ski area (near the Kings House Hotel) and the other (northern) one is the visitor centre. There is a third stop entitled Glencoe Cross Roads, which I think must be in Glencoe village itself. If you look at Google maps or similar you will get an idea of the distance between those three bus stops, but you might struggle to get a sense of the topography unless you switch to the terrain view, at which point you will see that the road goes right between some pretty high mountains.

There are many hikes that you could do in the area, but you would want to be adequately equipped for mountain walking with stout boots, hiking poles and waterproof, windproof clothing. The Walk Highlands site would give you an idea of the hikes in that area.

You could get off the bus at the Glencoe Ski centre stop and then walk (flat but then steeply downhill) following the line of the A82 road to the visitor centre via Glencoe itself, but I don't think it would be a particularly fun walk as it is a very, very busy road and you'd need to stay well clear of the road, which will involve boggy ground a lot of clambering about.

In short, I don't think it would be a particularly fun expedition to make by bus unless you just want a scenic bus ride! What you could do however, if what you are after is scenery, is take the bus from Glasgow to Fort William (via Glencoe) and then return by train. The train takes a different route - equally scenic.

You can find out more about Glencoe and the visitor centre here

Posted by
124 posts

im far from an expert on scotland transportation (you're right, the amazing isn31c is) but in a sense i am an expert on this particular situation since i just did it yesterday

so for citylink, there are three stops
1. mountain resort where the ski lift is
2. glencoe visitor center
3. glencoe crossroads which is basically where you turn to go to glencoe proper. It's pretty much where glencoe inn is.

as you said, there are many hikes, but from research, it seems that by far the most popular is "hidden valley" or "lost valley" which starts from the three sisters car park. That car park is located right in between the ski lift and the glencoe visitor center. Like google maps has it as something like a 2 hour 20 minute walk from the ski lift and a one hour forty minute walk from the visitor center. I wouldn't call it a fun walk along the road but you are surrounded by stunning hills/mounts and when i did it from 9:10 AM to 10:30 AM, it wasn't too busy at all. Ideally though, the bus driver will drop you off at the bus stand close by (again, mine didn't) and you'll get a ride from the car park out (that i was able to do)

Posted by
2238 posts

I’m glad it all worked out for you! My basic goal was to see the highlands while my husband was busy in Glasgow, as I have Scottish roots. From that standpoint, it was magical!