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One week after the Rick Steves Scotland tour

Hi - my husband and I have an extra week after our Rick Steves' Scotland tour ends in Edinburgh on August 30. We're thinking of taking a bus to Skye and renting a car for 2 days to tour the island, then taking the ferry to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris and booking 2 island tours there - of Lewis and Harris, then flying back to Glasgow from Stornaway and somehow back to Edinburgh (we fly home from Edinburgh on 9/6.) Does that seem like a reasonable itinerary or is it too ambitious? Or - the Scotland tour will give us a good Scottish overview - any suggestions of alternative post-tour itineraries?

Posted by
527 posts

I'd say it's a bit too ambitious. There is no direct bus from Edinburgh to Skye - only from Glasgow (7 hours) or Inverness (about 3.5 hours). So that's a day done before you really get started. There are also very few car rental options on Skye, so you'd probably need to be booking that now. If you are happy to drive then I'd suggest renting a car at Edinburgh airport (you are much more likely to be able to get an automatic transmission there than on Skye) and then doing something like;
- drive Edinburgh to Ullapool, ferry to Stornoway,
- tour around Lewis & Harris for a couple of days - probably using Stornoway as a base as there is much more accommodation there than anywhere else
- ferry from Tarbert to Uig on Skye
- tour around Skye for a couple of days
- ferry from Armadale to Mallaig and drive back to Edinburgh via Glencoe or - take the Skye bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh and return to Edinburgh via Spean Bridge, Dalwhinne and the A9

Alternatively you could just focus on Skye, or just focus on Lewis & Harris. There is plenty in both places to fill 5 full days.

Accommodation in both books up fast so you may need to plan pretty soon.
I hope this helps.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks! It's so nice to be able to get a reality check from someone "on the ground". We'll re-visit our itinerary now.

Posted by
90 posts

I would definitely not try to do Skye or Harris by public transport. You should rent a car probably best in Glasgow. If you are planning on staying on either of the islands overnight be sure to book before you go - it is very difficult to find accommodations there any more. Please remember the one lane roads on the islands and keep LEFT!