In less than 2 weeks we will take off our on first adventure of 2017! Scotland is a place that we have both always dreamt of going, so it feels surreal that it is so close to happening. Jake has Scottish ancestry so he is especially excited! We only have a week, which is not nearly long enough, but I feel like it will give us a good taste of what Scotland has to offer. Here is our 1 week in Scotland Itinerary 🙂
Day 1 & 2: Edinburgh
We will by flying one of our favorite airlines; Icelandair. After a short layover in Iceland, we will be landing in Glasgow mid-morning. We will immediately pick up our rental car from Holiday Autos, which was by far the cheapest booking site we found for Scotland. We will spend our first 2 nights in the historic and beautiful capital city of Edinburgh. There is so much to see in Edinburgh that I already know 2 nights will not be enough.
CAR RENTAL: We paid $84 for a 7 day rental on an economy car with Holiday Autos.
Stay: This Self-Contained Cabin on Airbnb ($50/night)
We chose an Airbnb in Edinburgh because it offered free parking and was much cheaper than hotels or even private rooms in hostels. I have read that driving in Edinburgh can be a little intimidating, in addition to driving on the left side of the road. I think it will work better for us to take public transportation most of the time in Edinburgh. –> Save $40 on your first Airbnb stay by using this code to sign up!
The Edinburgh Castle has been an important figure in Edinburgh since the 12th century. Over the years it has been a fortress, state prison, a residence for the king of England, and more. The castle is huge and has plenty to keep us busy for a few hours. The castle is situated on an extinct volcano too, so the views of the city should be nice as well.
After exploring the Edinburgh Castle we will probably head to the nearby Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is made up of 4 streets which comprised the main part of medieval Edinburgh. This historic area is now home to the Scotch Whisky Experience, the Writer’s Museum, an observatory at the Camera Obscura, St Giles Cathedral and the Parliament House (and much more). Not to mention all the pubs and stores which can be found.
Towering above Edinburgh is an extinct volcano named Arthurs Seat. The mountain is very flat at the top and once was a great hunting grounds for the royal family. Now it is a great place for a hike and to get panoramic views of Edinburgh below. I would like to make it up here to catch a sunrise if possible.
Like many older cities, it was easier to build upon the infrastructure that was already present. So many cities have an ‘underground city’ such as Paris, or even Portland, which we explored a few years ago. Edinburgh has a really well preserved area of a section of the city that was built over called Mary King’s Close. This area looks like it was frozen in time in the year 1600. As far as I can tell, the area is only accessibly by tour which runs about $16 per person.
Day 3-5: Isle of Skye
I don’t recall ever hearing about the Isle of Skye until I started researching Scotland. It immediately captivated me though, and I think there will be plenty to keep us busy on this beautiful isle off the west coast of Scotland. We will spend 3 nights on the Isle of Skye.
While on the Isle of Skye we plan on doing a whiskey tasting at Talisker Distillery. We will also see a lot of the unique natural formations that make the Isle of Skye really special. This includes the Old Man of Storr, the Fairy Pools, the dramatic cliffs of The Quiraing, and Mealt Falls as it billows over the side of Kilt Rock into the Atlantic Ocean.
Stay: We will be staying at this really neat eco-house we have booked through Airbnb.
Day 6: Inverness & Loch Ness
From the Isle of Skye we will return back to the main land, where we will stop at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. From there we will head northeast to the town of Inverness. We are spending a night in Inverness so that we can explore the nearby Loch Ness, famous of course for “Nessie,” the Loch Ness Monster.
Stay: The Waterside Hotel, Inverness ($55/night)
Day 7: Fort Williams, Glen Coe & Loch Lomond
We will follow the path of The Great Glen from Inverness to the town of Fort Williams. We may grab some lunch here, and hopefully we will be able to see Ben Nevis which is the tallest peak in the United Kingdom.
If you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies you may recognize this Jacobite steam train in Fort Williams as the train that transported people to the Harry Potter world. Obviously, I’m no Harry Potter expert since I have only half heartedly watched the first movie. But the train is beautiful, and you can book a ride on it certain times of year. Unfortunately it does not seem to run when we will be there. You can check the schedule here.
We will continue our drive south as we head through stunning Glen Coe. I think most of the pictures I’ve seen of Scotland have probably been of this beautiful glen! I am really excited to take some pictures and maybe have Jake fly the drone if weather is permitting.
Finally, our day will end with us traveling through the Trossachs National Park as we reach our destination of Loch Lomond. The song Loch Lomond is one of my all time favorites. This acapella version by Peter Hollens gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes at the same time!
We had initially planned on spending our final 2 nights exploring the city of Glasgow. While Glasgow looks beautiful, I had a hard time getting excited about it. I felt like my heart was pulling me to the Highlands. We usually prefer nature to cities anyways, so we decided to spend our final night on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond at this affordable guesthouse.
Stay –> Gowanlea Guest House ($49/night, breakfast starts at £5/per person)
**Note: this post does contain affiliative links, which means if you make a booking using our links we will make a small commission at no added expense to you. We want to thank VisitScotland for providing us with 2 ASVA media passes to experience some of Scotlands incredible historical sites & visitor attractions!**
Is Scotland on your bucket list too?! Let us know what you think in the comments!