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Scotland itinerary advice

My husband and I are planning a vacation to Scotland June 25-July4. It's our first trip so we are new to traveling and would love some advice on our itinerary ideas so far. We are planning on renting a car and driving. We land in Edinburgh on the 26th at noon and stay the night (Day 1). Day 2 - drive to glencoe/fort william area and stay the night. Day 3- Kyle of lochalsh/skye area for 2 nights. Day 5 - Inverness/loch ness for 2 nights. Day 7-return car and get train back to Edinburgh. Day 9 - fly home. Does our timeline make sense? It's still a very raw itinerary with only few specifics planned out. We were possibly thinking about staying 3 nights in Skye and getting back to Edinburgh a day later if 2 nights in Skye were not enough. If anyone has advice on B&B's or other lodging on the cheaper side in these areas I would appreciate it. Thanks for any help!

Posted by
1461 posts

I think it would make it easier for people to respond if you were to talk about what sorts of things you particularly enjoy doing, and particular sights you want to see. I'm a bit curious about why you plan just one night in Glencoe, then two nights in Skye, quite nearby - is there a way to consolidate?

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the reply! We like to do a lot of things out doors. We would like to do some day walks. We are also interested in seeing castles of course. We like off the beaten path types of things. Staying in Glen Coe one night is one thing I was not sure about. Originally we planned to do 3 days in Skye and do a trip to glen coe. But I figured we would be passing glen coe on the way to skye so we could just stop on the way? I didn't know if just stopping for a few hours and then continuing to Skye would give us enough time or if we should stay the night.

Posted by
1291 posts

I can appreciate wanting to get off of the beaten path, but the itinerary feels unusual for omitting Edinburgh on a first visit. The timescales do not see on to allow you enough time to see the capital.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the tip MC. We have 1 full day there and 2 half days and wasn't sure if that would be enough so I'll consider shifting some time there.

Posted by
453 posts

Erin be sure to take note that it is a good two plus hour drive from the bridge leading to Skye to Glencoe. If you are further on Skye that time will increase dramatically as travel there can be slow for a none experienced UK driver. As someone more aware than I reported, add 25% to the travel time on Skye. I would not want to miss sights at either Skye or Glencoe but a day trip from Skye to Glencoe and back to Skye seems like a lot of travel time for the driver who will not be getting to see much, it's hard to really soak in the views while touring out tht way. I'm torn by what to tell because the Glencoe area, the pass going south is unreal to see (we hiked up to the hidden valley, awesome) but I think a better use of time would be to either spend tht extra day on Skye and take in a couple of more hikes, or travel to Glencoe/Ft. William area early one morning and spend that day in the Glencoe area and then spend the night there as well as you were heading for your trip home, I dont think I would drive back to Skye due to loss of viewing time for a return trip. We had to leave Skye a day early because of hurricane winds so we got an extra day in Edinburgh, three days in Edinburgh is more than enuff and I would trade that extra day to be back on Skye in a heartbeat!!!

Posted by
1291 posts

On your time budget two full days, or as much of a second day you can spare is probably a better idea,with that night somewhere closer into the Central Belt than Glencoe. I'd suggest in the Stirling or Perth and Kinross council areas.

Posted by
5561 posts

Here's another suggestion. I think it's the breaking up of your Edinburgh time which makes it seem like you are spending so little time.

Arrive Edinburgh Airport --don't get car. Spend two nights--that gives you day one to wander around and day two to dig into some sites. I recommend hitting the Castle first. It's a lot of outdoors walking around which is good after a long plane ride.

Day 3. Drive through Glencoe, and up past Fort William. It is three hours to Fort William; four hours to Fort Augustus; 5 hours to Kyle of Lochalsh. So, you could go straight through to Skye. Or stay in Fort William or Fort Augustus. It's another half hour to Broadford which is not a bad alternative to Portree. Portree is yet another half hour. :) I've used Via Michelin to plot a route that takes you through Glencoe. You would probably want to stop in other places and then there would be a lunch break. So, add close to two hours to get to Kyle of Lochalsh and another hour and 15 minutes to Portree.
Day 4 -5 on Skye
Day 6 Skye and drive to Inverness--It's not a long drive, but it's beautiful.
Day 7 Inverness area
Day 8 train back to Edinburgh. There are trains at all hours, so you could go earlier if you felt that you missed something or later if you have wonderful weather in Inverness.

See if you can get a car that you can drop off in Inverness City Centre to save your self a trip to the airport. Or combine your visit to Culloden and or Fort George with dropping of the car at the airport.

So, that's just another way of of looking the itinerary. If I were you, I would try to have some flexibility. Having spent a week at a photography workshop on Skye and a long weekend on Skye with my sister--both with a fair bit of rain, I can say that there is not as much to do. Make sure you do outdoor things--scenery, walking etc, whenever the sunshines. :)