Hello, I need your opinions and suggestions. Our plan is to fly into Edinburgh and then drive to Glencoe for two nights. Then we will either go to Mull and Iona for two nights total or spend those two nights on the Isle of Skye. From there we will spend 2 nights in Inverness, one in St Andrews and three in Edinburgh. So, the big question is which islands? And do you have a favorite place to stay on the one you suggest? My husband and I love history, ruins, castles, churches and pretty nice accommodations. We will do some walks to destinations and views but aren't huge hikers. Thanks for your help. Oh, we will have a car and we are going in early Sept.
My choice would be Mull and Iona. All three islands, four if you include the island of Great Britain, have much to offer, but Iona on its own is pivotal to Scottish history if you are into history.
Although I've only been to Skye, the island deserves more than 2 nights. So I'd select Mull and Iona as they seem more in-line to driving to Inverness.
We spent one full day on the Isle of Skye (2 nights). We saw so much and really enjoyed it. I have not gone to the others, so cannot compare. However, I do think you can see much of the Isle of Skye in a day. We drove the Trotternish Peninsula (and happened upon a man working with his sheep like in the one man one dog competitions) , hiked to the Fairy Pools, had dinner at a pub (where two young men were playing traditional Scottish music for beers) and visited Portree. While we could have found lots to do with a second day, we did not have that available. I would have hated to miss the Isle of Skye simply because there are more things to do and see than you can accomplish in one day. We chose it over Mull and Iona because seeing the Eilean Donan castle was important to me. It is right before the Isle of Skye. I am sure all the island are worth a visit. I would read up on them all and pick the one that captures your interests the most. (as we did.)
I would go to Mull and Iona. First of all it's closer and you'll get there faster. Secondly, it is beautiful and it's less crowded. You may as well accept the fact that you'll be returning to Scotland anyway, so you can do Skye on your second trip! ; )
I would suggest that you also visit Staffa and see Fingal's Cave. I stayed in Tobermory, which I really liked and did the long--hour and half drive to Fionnphort. There I was able to take a boat tour that took us to Staffa where we had a decent amount of time to see the Cave and see the island. They then took us to Iona and I explored that for the rest of the day. I was back in Tobermory by 6:30. Watch this PBS Nature episode on the Eagles of Mull. Also, on Mull there is a wonderful castle, Duart. You see it from the ferry. And when you are at the castle, you can understand the strategic value of the location. You feel an urge to look for Viking Longboats!
We just finished visiting both. There is a lot more to do on Skye than there is on Mull unless you are really into the wildlife viewing. We enjoyed Mull and Iona, but we probably won't return there, whereas we always visit Skye whenever we go to Scotland. Another consideration - no ferry fees to visit Skye.
I visited both on my trip, but I had more time than you, and I did a large circle tour leaving Edinburgh, stopping in St. Andrews, then heading north up through the middle, and stopping to do some family research then going to Inverness. From Inverness I went to Skye, then back down to Mull and finished in Glasgow. The difficulty I see with a tour that includes both Mull and St. Andrew's is that they are on opposite coasts, and it will add a lot of driving time. So, my question is, do you really want to spend a day stopping in St. Andrew's, which is actually quite a small place, or could you steal that day, and use it to either go to Sky from Inverness, or to Mull instead? I think you would enjoy either place, so maybe your decision will come down to which makes more sense as a driving route?