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Itinerary for Scotland help please

We have not settled on how many days at each location. We will be a week there, we are not hiking but observing travelers! We want a general sense if the cities we have listed are a good travel plan to see the Highlands. We are making a loop and going on the advice of friends who went last year though they did not go to all the places we have marked.
We realize Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc. are not in the Highlands. We hope to take this
trip fall of 2021.
Endinburg to Pitlochry, then to Aviemore. Aviemore to Inverness then to Drumnadrochit, from there to Portree on the Isle of Skye, then to Armadale to catch the car ferry to Mallaig. From there to Glenfinnan and then onto Glencoe. Glencoe to Stirling and then Glasgow.
Should we be including Oban?
Thank you very much.

Posted by
3655 posts

BlockqShould we be including Oban?

If you have a coule of days to spare then yes. One day for Oban itself and one to go to Iona and Mull.

Posted by
3712 posts

Hiking or not, that’s a lot for a week. How many hotels? Is that week including Glasgow or Edinburgh? Your itinerary with both cities is closer to a 3 week trip. Why only one week?

You’re going to have to plan it all out: the lodging, the hours of driving each day, and time for long sightseeing like Stirling Castle.

Consider 3-4 nights Edinburgh and 3-4 nights Oban or Glencoe or Ft William area.

Posted by
435 posts

I think all those places in a week is way too much. I encourage going to Oban for a full day and then another day for a trip to Mull and Iona. I think you'd need at least 2 weeks to visit all those places, and more if you're using public transport rather than renting a car. Scotland is awesome, give yourself enough time at each place so you don't wear yourself out.

Posted by
5704 posts

Even chartering a helicopter, this is too much for a week!

The weather on Skye can be inclement, so three full days here is just about enough to allow for dodgy weather and to get around on the narrow roads. Edinburgh would be rushed with only 3 days there. That completes your week!

Aviemore was one of the biggest disappointments of my last Scottish trip - Grantown-on-Spey, Nethy Bridge or Boat of Garten are nicer locations and less tacky. Inverness is a large city and if time were tight, personally, I would drop this in favour of the Highlands.

The only point in visiting Oban would be as a base to get to the islands. It’s a very average town, albeit with a great chocolate shop. It’s about an hour from Glencoe, which has stunning scenery. Glasgow is a great city and you could easily fill 2 days there.

Posted by
5669 posts

While I agree this feels like a bit much, I have done loops in the Highlands and maybe not quite as long as yours, and I've enjoyed it. But, I want to make sure that you like to drive. Because it is a lot of driving. Google maps puts this at nearly 12 hours and that's with no traffic and no stops. :)

You need to decide where you want to spend some time. Are you going to take a day in Edinburg? I would advise it. What is taking Pitlochry? Is it the whiskey? The Festival Theatre? The Explorer's Garden? Nearby Blair Castle? What is in Aviemore? Do you want to ride the steam train? Take the funicular railway into the Cairngorms? And then there is Inverness. Do you want to see Culloden? Hear some traditional music? Buy some Scottish jewelry or sweaters? Visit Cawdor Castle? Visit Fort George? Take a boat ride on the Moray Firth? At Drumnadrochit are you looking for Nessie or visiting Urquhart Castle? Or a boat ride on Loch Ness. On Skye is it just to see the scenery? Or do you want to go to Dunvegan Castle? Skye is a really big island so you can easily spend several days there. Do you want to see the painted houses in Portree? Are you a MacDonald who want to check out more than the ferry in Armadale? Glenfinnan Monument is a short stop, but the drive is spectacular. Do you want to spend time at the Visitor Center for Glencoe? Or just wander through the Glen? The Castle in Stirling is amazing, but there are other sights. Glasgow is a city full of things to see and do.

Have you found UndiscoveredScotland? Here's the feature page for Armadale. If you can identify what you hope to do on the trip besides drive past beautiful scenery where you come to screaming stop to take pictures you'll have a better idea if you can do this. For example, if you want to do the whisky tasking and not have to drive then spending the night in Pitlochry makes some sense. The same thing if there is concert or play at the theater you would want to stay there. You could then stop off at Aviemore on the way north, and try the Strathspey railway or the cable car. but spend the night in Inverness, Explore that area the next day and drive down to Portree the next with a stop to look briefly for Nessie. That is three nights already without Edinburgh. You could drive straight up to Inverness with a lunch stop and a visit in the PM. If you want to see anything in the Inverness area, you would stay another night. Then on to Portree having gained a night and a bit more time for the West.

Does this help?

Posted by
34 posts

Thank you so much for all the replies. We are still in the planning stages and thinking we will stay longer.

Posted by
21302 posts

That's excellent. More time is always good, and only a week in Scotland would be very frustrating.