I am beginning to plan a vacation for myself and my boyfriend for next summer. Our primary interests (for this trip) are history, hiking, and whisky. The only "must-dos" are Edinburgh and the Isle of Islay, although my boyfriend also requested we spend some time in the Highlands.
I'm having a hard time deciding on when to actually go ... I'm thinking either May/June or August. May/June appears to have the advantage of less midges in the Highlands and a slightly better potential for some sunny days. While August gives us a break from the summer heat at home and the chance to attend the Military Tattoo, but along with that comes increased crowds and costs. Thoughts?
Below is the preliminary itinerary I've put together and I welcome any comments, suggestions, etc. In particular, does anyone have a recommendation on where to stay the first Friday/Saturday? Ideally, it would be a "quintessential" Highland town with a great pub, that is located between Glencoe and Culloden.
SATURDAY: Depart PHL around 19:00.
SUNDAY: Arrive at EDI around 11:00. Settle into rental apartment located in New Town. Explore the neighborhood. Possibly hike up Arthur’s Seat. (Sleep in Edinburgh)
MONDAY: Explore sights along the Royal Mile. (Sleep in Edinburgh)
TUESDAY: Explore the National Museum of Scotland. Literary Pub Tour in the evening. (Sleep in Edinburgh)
WEDNESDAY: Pick up rental car. Explore Rosslyn Chapel and the Falkirk Wheel. (Sleep in Stirling)
THURSDAY: Explore Stirling Castle and Bannockburn Heritage Centre. (Sleep in Stirling)
FRIDAY: Explore the Scottish Crannog Centre and Highland Folk Museum. Attend the Leault Working Sheepdogs demonstration (if time). (Sleep in Kingussie or Newtonmore or ???)
SATURDAY: Explore Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle. (Sleep in Kingussie or Newtonmore or ???)
SUNDAY: Hiking in Glencoe. (Sleep in Glencoe)
MONDAY: Drive to Kennacraig via Kilmartin Glen. Ferry to Isle of Islay. (Sleep in Bowmore)
TUESDAY: Distillery Tours and/or Hiking. (Sleep in Bowmore)
WEDNESDAY: Distillery Tours and/or Hiking. (Sleep in Bowmore)
THURSDAY: Distillery Tours and/or Hiking. (Sleep in Bowmore)
FRIDAY: Travel to Glasgow. Drop of Rental Car. Spend the rest of the day exploring Glasgow. (Sleep in Glasgow)
SATURDAY: Depart GLA at 10:45.