I'm planning a trip to Scotland in 2020 for 4 people and just starting planning. We are not sure what we are doing yet, but in general we want to see castles (Doune, Eileen Donan), Loch Ness, do some Scotch tours/tastings, Highland Games, Isle of Skye (time permitting), and Edinburgh or Stirling. I could use some advice for my first problem... to rent a car or not and for how long?? So, a couple years ago, the same 4 of us did a road trip in Ireland and it was an amazing trip. However, none of us were very happy with the driving part of the trip. The car we rented was small, and we knew it so we limited ourselves to one suitcase per couple and one backpack each. It was still cramped and uncomfortable in the back seat. So this time I would like to find a better solution. One is just rent a bigger car, right? Except I remember from Ireland that the roads are very narrow and it was great to have a small car - I'm assuming that the Highlands of Scotland will be the same. My second idea was to find a central location to rent our airbnb, take the train there from Edinburgh, then rent the car once we get there and make small day trips. I'm thinking maybe Inverness, but any other suggestions would be great. This would probably take Isle of Skye out I'm guessing :( My third idea was to do a normal road trip style spending 2 or 3 nights in different locations around the country but rent 2 small cars, one for each couple. This way we wouldn't have to limit luggage and it would be more comfortable for the people who otherwise would be in the backseat. But, we would have to pack and unpack more often and there's always the chance of getting separated/lost.
Any thoughts on this? Is there another option that I'm missing or reasons why any of these won't work? Is having a bigger car that big of a deal? What would be a good central location if we choose that? Also, if we have to choose between Edinburgh and Stirling, which one is better? Any ideas or advice will be appreciated!