My husband and I are traveling to Scotland this summer and are wondering if public transport would work for our schedule. We are flying into Edinburgh - staying 5 nights then on to Falkland for 1 night, Glencoe for 2 and Isle of Skye for 4 before flying back out of Edinburgh. Would you recommend public transport or renting a car? If renting a car...any tips on first time to drive opposite of the states would be greatly appreciated. 😊
Do not try to do Skye on public transportation. There are no trains here and the buses are entirely based around commuting and school times. I would definitely recommend renting a car to see the Highlands and Skye. You will be able to get to places the buses don't go to, and you will have much greater flexibility. If you are coming from the States you will find the roads very narrow with basically no 'shoulder'. On Skye there are some roads that are 'single track' which means traffic in both directions shares the same piece of road, with 'passing places' to allow the traffic to flow. I suggest you have a look at some You Tube videos to check out driving on the left and also the single track roads. You might also want to rent an automatic transmission to give you one less thing to think about. Some people have a 'post it' note on the steering wheel or dash board to remind them to keep left.
If you stick to these destinations you should rent a car or take a tour. Keep in mind that Glencoe and the Isle of Skye are some of the most visited destinations in Scotland, other places are equally beautiful and much less crowded.
5 nights in Edinburgh is way too long if you have only 12 nights for Scotland. 3 nights should be enough for a first trip.
Do you have a special reason for going to Falkland? I wouldn't rate it among the top sights of Scotland.
You can see a great deal of Scotland without renting a car, travelling by trains(and ferries and buses), but you have to choose your destinations accordingly(not Glencoe and Skye).
Thank you for your suggestions - I believe we will rent a car as we already have accommodations for these locations. A post-it is a great idea as well as the videos😊 We originally planned on only 3 days in Edinburgh but got a much better flight so extended it a couple of days...might do a couple of day trips from there to see something different on those days. Thanks again for your help
Make the non-driver navigator. It makes a huge difference if you are not trying to read all the signs as well as watch the traffic and keep left. I often drive solo and wish I had a navigator. Single track roads have their special rules. Here's a link about them. If you google single track roads in Scotland you'll find more suggestions. The major thing to remember is to stay on the left. Even if the passing place is the right, you stay on your left and allow the oncoming car to pull left into the passing place. Don't forget to wave! It's just a simple lift of the fingers on the steering wheel. :)
I would strongly recommend not getting the car until you are ready to leave Edinburgh. Parking is horrendous and you can easily get around with public transit there. Or use a taxi in a pinch. The bus day fare is quite reasonable.
Agree about not getting the car until you are ready to leave Edinburgh. Renting at the airport means it will be easy to get onto the Motorway; no navigating through city streets. However, you have to go through a few roundabouts leaving the airport campus, so I highly recommend asking the rental agent (the person in the parking lot who puts you into your car) which signs to follow to get onto the Motorway in your desired direction. The signs are not necessarily self-explanatory for non-locals.