One Week in Scotland | Travel Itinerary and Guide
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7-Day Scotland Travel Itinerary and Travel Guide
Isolated. Rugged. Beautiful. The vast and barren landscape of Scotland is famous throughout the world for its incredible, natural beauty. If you are taking a trip to Scotland and are wanting to experience the solitude of the highlands, as well as learn the fascinating history and culture of the locals, then this is the perfect 7-day itinerary to Scotland.
Starting the journey off in the vibrant capital of Edinburgh, this Scotland road trip takes you north through the ancient forests of the Cairngorms, along the still waters of Loch Ness and onwards to the dramatic skyline of the Isle of Skye, which is also one of the Most Scenic Road Trips in Europe. From here, we head south along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and finish off the trip in Scotland’s cultural capital, the city of Glasgow.
An adventure filled with learning the history and mythology of the land, tasting a few drams of Scotland’s whisky and marvelling at the dramatic and ancient landscape of the highlands. This 7 Day trip to Scotland is going to be a trip to remember, so let’s go!
Day One – Edinburgh
What better place is there to start this road trip than a day out in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Filled with some of Scotland’s most significant, historical buildings and stories, the capital is a buzzing metropolis that will leave you begging for more.
Kicking off our epic Scotland road trip in the vibrant, buzzing and historical city of Edinburgh, let’s begin with a sunrise at the cities most prominent attraction, Edinburgh Castle. If you walk along the Royal Mile to the foreground of the castle you will be treated to magnificent views over the surrounding city and countryside.
The castle itself is open from 9.30am on most days, so if you are an early bird you might want to head back into town to grab a bite to eat before returning to learn the fascinating history of the castle. We recommend the Hula Juice Bar, which can be found just 5-minutes away at the bottom of Victoria Street.
Once the castle is open you can take a full tour of the fascinating history and the stories it has to tell. Entrance will cost a fee and includes a free, 30-minute guided tour of the castle and the grounds. We recommend that you buy tickets online, as they are a couple of pounds cheaper than at the gates.
Visit Scotland’s Most Photographed Street
The next stop from the castle is just a 5-minute walk away and is one that you may have already visited. Incredibly photogenic and lined with quirky and interesting shops to browse, the sloping road of Victoria Street is actually the most photographed street in Scotland. Featured in movies such as The Avengers, this street is constantly bustling with tourists browsing the shops and attempting to get a photo.
If you do wish to get an isolated photo on this street, your best bet is to head here first thing in the morning, otherwise, you can visit at any time of the day and check out the shops. It is believed that this street and the tiny, quirky shops are the main inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.
It may be for this reason then that there is a full shop dedicated to the magical world, selling a huge range of HP souvenirs and trinkets. Browse the shop and decide which magic wand is the best fit for you before we move onto our next stop.
Hear the Story of Greyfriar’s Bobby
Head back to the top of Victoria Street and take the quick walk along to the statue of Grefriar’s Bobby. This small statue is dedicated to the memory of the fiercely loyal Skye Terrier, whose partner was a man named John Gray. The story of this small dog is a real tear-jerker and is the inspiration of many children’s movies across the world.
When John Gray passed away in 1858, it is said that his faithful companion spent the next 14 years of its life guarding his grave. This little dog then sadly passed away in 1872 at the old age of 16 and was forever cemented in history with the story of this love and dedication.
It is believed that if you give the dog’s nose a gentle tap it will bring you good luck, however, due to people rubbing too hard the statue is losing its coating on the nose. When you visit the Greyfriar’s Bobby be sure to protect the statue by only touching the nose lightly.
Sunset at Calton Hill
It is time to finish off your first day in Edinburgh at the city’s most stunning sunset point, Calton Hill. Situated right in the centre of Edinburgh, Calton Hill is a UNESCO Heritage Sight, complete with museums and monuments to Edinburgh’s rich history.
The panoramic view from the top of Calton Hill provides a fantastic view of the city centre of Edinburgh, as well as a view reaching as far as the sea on the eastern coast of Scotland. This is a very popular sunset spot in Edinburgh and is a fantastic way to rub shoulders with tourists and locals alike.
Relax at the top of Calton Hill and enjoy a sunset to remember to finish off your first day of this Scotland road trip. Don’t stay up too late, however, as we have another long day tomorrow!
Where to Stay in Edinburgh
There is a huge range of accommodation choices in Edinburgh, so no matter what your taste of comfort is there will be something for you. Our top recommendation, in this Scotland Travel Guide, for a mid-range and comfortable place to stay will be the Haymarket Hub Hotel, which is located just a 15-minute walk west of the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle.
Day Two – Stirling
Heading north from Edinburgh across the famous Forth Road Bridge, our next stop, in this 7 Day Scotland Itinerary, will be the heartland capital of Stirling. This historical city was once the main trading point between the northern hills of the highlands and the lowlands of Scotland.
Visit Stirling Castle
Visit the historical Stirling Castle and enjoy the stunning views of the town centre of Stirling and the surrounding countryside. Entry to the castle will cost a fee, which allows you to explore the internal structure of the castle walls and learn about the many kings and queens that once lived here.
Learn the History of the Wallace Monument
From Stirling Castle, head to the outskirts of Stirling town centre and visit the towering Wallace Monument. This beautiful structure was built in the 19th century in memory of the historically significant figure, William Wallace.
This 11th-century soldier played a huge part in the Wars of Scottish Independence and was responsible for the huge victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, where he used tactics and wit to defeat a much larger English army.
You can enter the monument itself and climb to the top, visiting the multiple exhibitions along the way, and enjoy the best view of Stirling from the top. If you do not wish to pay another entrance fee, the walk to the top of the hill is completely free and has information points along the way as well.
Find Stirling’s Best Sunset Spot
Next, it is time to head back into the town centre of Stirling and visit the ancient Church of Holy Rude. Dating back 900 years, this is one of the oldest buildings in Scotland, however, we are here to enjoy the view that lies behind the church in the graveyard.
As you walk through the peace and quiet of the graveyard, head to the highest point and discover the best sunset spot in Stirling. There is a bench here for you to sit and enjoy the stunning view of Stirling Castle and the distant mountains of the Scottish highlands. That is tomorrow’s destination, but for tonight it is time to relax and get some rest.
Where to Stay in Stirling
The best place to rest your head in Stirling that is both affordable and comfortable is at the Lost Guest House in Stirling’s town centre. This is just a short walk from the bars and restaurants of this vibrant and student orientated town.
Day Three – Cairngorms National Park
Continuing our journey north, we enter the mountainous region of the Scottish highlands and the ancient forests of the Cairngorms National Park. The main point that we will be basing our day’s adventures from will be the central hub of Aveimore.
This small village has expanded rapidly over the last few years as it is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts to base themselves and explore the surrounding countryside.
Take a Swim in Loch Morlich
Driving 30-minutes out of Aviemore towards the Cairngorm mountains, you will reach the large body of water known as Loch Morlich. This is a hugely popular spot for all kinds of watersports, from kayaking to sailing, to simply going for a swim (if you are brave enough).
It is up to you if you wish to brave the cold, fresh waters of the loch, or if you simply want to enjoy a walk along its peaceful shoreline. There is a watersports hub that lies on the beach at the far end of the loch from Aveimore, which rents out watersport equipment and even has a cafe with a view.
Take in the Breathtaking View of the Rothiemurchus Forest
Continuing past Loch Morlich away from Aviemore, you will eventually begin the climb up the winding road to the Cairngorm Ski Centre. In the winter, this is the perfect spot to come and enjoy a range of snowsports, from skiing and snowboarding, to wild ice climbing and even sledging.
The view from the car park is the main reason we are visiting today, sitting high above the ancient Rothiemurchus forest below. Park up here and you can either sit and admire the view, or if you have the appropriate hiking equipment (map, compass, and experience using them), you can head to the hills and enjoy a walk.
Taste the Local Beer at the Cairngorm Brewery
Once you have finished in the great outdoors of the Cairngorm mountains, head back into the village of Aviemore for your next stop, the Cairngorm Brewery. Situated at the northern side of Aviemore, we recommend you drop your vehicle off at your accommodation and walk to the brewery. This will allow you to enjoy the tasting sessions that are included in the tour.
The brewery tour is a paid experience that must be booked in advance. It involves a guided tour of the brewery process, as well as an in-depth tale of the brewery’s history and story by an experienced and passionate worker. The tour then finishes with a tasting session, where you can try all of the different ales and lagers that are made and bottled fresh in the brewery.
Where to Stay in Aviemore
Once you have tasted the local produce, we recommend you head to the nearest pub and have a couple more of your favourite bottles of beer at the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore’s centre. This is also our top recommendation, in this Scotland Travel Blog, for accommodation in Aviemore, being comfortable, central and not overly expensive.
Day Four – Inverness and the North
Continuing north from Aviemore, our next destination, on this 7 day Scotland Itinerary, is the city of Inverness, the final frontier before the remote highlands of North Scotland. Its a day of whisky tasting and monster hunting for us.
Try the Local Produce at the Tomatin Distillery
No trip to Scotland is complete without trying its world-famous produce, Scotch Whisky. As you head north from Aviemore, the first distillery you encounter is the remote and rugged Tomatin Distillery.
Out of all the whisky tours we have done, it is here that our favourite has been. This is partly due to the raw and unaltered process tour you receive, unpolished and more realistic compared with others, but also because of the history and remoteness that the distillery enjoys.
As you walk around the dusty and rugged process, smell the ingredients and imagine what life would have been like working here in the 19th-century.
The tour finishes as per usual on distillery tours, with a tasting sample of the finished product of the distillery. If you are driving you should obviously not taste it, however, if you bring a hip flask you can decant it to try later.
Marvel at the Castle of Inverness
Upon reaching the small city of Inverness, the most prominent feature you will see is the red-stone Inverness Castle that sits on the banks of the River Ness. This castle is not open for public admission, however, there is a viewing platform at the top that is accessible to the public.
With increasing pressure from the public to open the castle to visitors, this may well change in the coming years.
Hunt for the Loch Ness Monster
As we swing west and begin our journey along the banks of Loch Ness, now is the perfect time to keep your eyes peeled for this mystical beast. In case you haven’t heard, the Loch Ness Monster is a fabled sea monster that is believed to hide in the depths of this sea loch. With many reported (yet mostly all debunked) sightings over the years, no one truly knows if this giant exists. Maybe you can catch a glimpse of the monster and go down in history?
Snap a Photo at Scotland’s Most Popular Castle
The most photographed castle in Scotland is our next stopping point on this Scotland road trip. The castle of Eilean Donan sits at the meeting point of Loch Duich, Loch Alsh, and Loch Long, and has been the set of multiple Hollywood movies, such as James Bond.
The history of the castle stems back to the times of the Vikings when this area was used as a stronghold to defend against Viking invasions. Today, it is a very popular tourist attraction and can be rented out for special occasions such as weddings.
You can explore the grounds and internals of the castle with a paid admission, or you can admire the view of the castle and the surroundings for free from the car park at the “All the Goodness” coffee shop that lies on the other side of the bridge.
Where to Stay in Skye
For tonight we will be heading on to the small harbour town of Portree on the Isle of Skye, ready for a bright and early start tomorrow. We recommend the cheap, cosy, and central accommodation of the Portree Hotel.
Day Five – Isle of Skye
As the small town of Portree comes to life, we recommend you pack a hot drink and head down to the colourful harbour to watch the world come to life. Fishing boats will begin to head in and out and the mornign sun will slowly bring the world to life. A very peaceful spot to start off an exciting and busy day.
Get Lost in the Fairy Glen
Driving north onto the Trotternish Peninsula of Skye, our first stop is just outside the small village of Uig at the mystical Fairy Glen. We recommend driving along the northern coast of the island and admiring the coastal views all along this route. The roads are small and winding, so take your time and enjoy the view.
The Fairy Glen is situated just outside Uig and can be reached by either driving or catching a local bus. There is limited parking, so you may need to catch the bus if you are not early.
The Fairy Glen is named after the magical and other-worldly landscape that it has and not to do with any fairy folklore. This dramatic and sweeping glen is actually the result of an ancient landslide that happened here thousands of years ago.
When you visit the Fairy Glen we ask that you are conscious of where you walk and do not venture from the path. The footsteps of the thousands of tourists that visit this beautiful part of Skye every year has had a devastating effect on the natural landscape. In order to prevent further erosion, it is important to stick to the path and DO NOT move rocks or stones.
Leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but memories.
Drive the Dramatic Quiraing
As you drive back towards the eastern coast of the Trotternish Peninsula, there is a shorter route that takes you across the mountains instead of around the coast. This route is only open during good weather conditions and is not suitable for large vehicles.
The Quiraing is another example of an ancient landslide shaping the dramatic landscape of Skye. Once you reach the sharp drop of the Quiraing pass, park up your car ad take the quick walk across to the viewpoint. Take care here as the path is slippery and the drop is steep with no safety barriers.
Climb to Visit the Old Man of Storr
Our last stop on the Trotternish Peninsula, and the Isle of Skye, is the hike to see the Old Man of Storr . This pretty trek, although only 45-minutes to an hour-long, is pretty demanding, as it ascends steeply up the mountainside.
The car park for the Old Man of Storr the noticeable area on your right-hand side as you head south to Portree. From here, there are two viewpoints for the Old Man of Storr, one around 45-minutes from the car park and a higher up one around 1 ½ hrs from the car park. If the weather is good, the view from the upper platform simply spectacular, spanning all the way across to mainland Scotland.
The Old Man of Storr is once again the result of an ancient landslide that shaped the mountainous region of Skye. Over thousands of years, the harsh climate of Skye has shaped and moulded the mountainside to form a collection the standing stones that you see today. The Old Man is the largest of the stones and gets its name from the face-like features it has that are said to resemble an old man’s.
Where to Stay in Portree
Heading south from the Old Man of Storr, the best place to spend tonight is once again in the small harbour town of Portree. We recommend spending another night at the Portree Hotel before we begin our journey south tomorrow morning.
Day Six – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs
We begin our journey south by passing through one of our favourite places in the world: the isolated wilderness of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor. As you drive through these deserted glens you are truly in the presence of giants, with towering mountains all around and a sense of real mythology about the area.
Marvel at the Three Sister’s Viewpoint
Our first stop is at the Three Sisters viewpoint, where you can get out and stretch your legs. As you walk from the car park and down the steep hill into the glen, think about how the surrounding beauty came to be millions of years ago.
The Three Sisters are the trio of mountains that lie before you on the right as you drive through Glen Coe. These are three extinct volcanoes that played a massive role in how the landscape of today was formed.
Meet the Locals at the Kingshouse Hotel
Pulling in on the left towards the grand outline of the Kingshouse Hotel, it is time to introduce yourself to some of the locals in this region. One of the most unique experiences, that you will have in your Scotland road trip awaits!
The Kingshouse Hotel is a popular stopping off point due to the herd of friendly deer that tends to spend time in this area. These deer are so accustomed to human contact that they will come right up to you to say hello.
Sadly, this comfort comes from the years of humans interfering with wildlife and feeding the deer of this area. This has happened so much that these deer are now completely reliant on humans for survival and depend on us feeding them and their fawn.
It is too late for these deer, however, please let this be a reminder as to why we should not interfere with wildlife and why we should not feed wild animals.
Find the Best View of Loch Lomond
As you reach the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, our first stop is roughly halfway down its western coast so admire the view and take care of the winding roads. At the Inveruglus Visitor Centre, just before the hydro station on your right, pull in and get out to stretch your legs. This is the spot of Loch Lomond’s most epic viewpoint, the Inveruglus Pyramid, which is also known as An Ceann Mor.
This 8-metre tall viewing platform was installed in 2015 and offers the finest view of Loch Lomond from the top. The platform has a free-to-use telescope at the top and custom fitted seats for people to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Scotland’s largest loch.
Where to Stay in Glasgow
As the sun begins to set, it is up to you whether you wish to relax on the banks of Loch Lomond or continue down to Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. It is here we will be spending the night, ready to get up nice and early for our final day in Scotland.
For your first night in Glasgow, you are once again spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. For a reliable, cheap and comfortable stay, we recommend Motel One, which is located right beside Glasgow Central Station and is perfect for getting around the city.
Day Seven – Glasgow
It’s our last day of this Scotland road trip and we are back to the buzz of the big city. Not to worry, this final day in Glasgow’s city centre is sure to be one to remember, so let’s get going!
Sunrise over Glasgow
Kicking the last day off, of this 7 Day Scotland Travel Itinerary, with our last sunrise in Scotland, it is time to discover Glasgow’s best sunrise spot: the Queen’s Park Flagpole. You can easily reach here by either catching the first train from Glasgow Central to Queens Park, or by making the 45-minute walk south from the centre.
As the smoking chimneys and towering abbeys of the city slowly come into view, the city begins to buzz into life. Chill out here for a little while and enjoy the view over Glasgow and prepare yourself for the final day of this epic one week trip to Scotland.
Take a Self-Guided Tour of Glasgow’s Street Art
Once the day has well and truly began, it is time to head back into the city centre and discover the many beautiful street art murals that are spread around the city. In total, there are currently 29 different murals across the centre of Glasgow, a list that is constantly changing and growing.
If you wish, it is possible to pay for a guided tour of the city’s street art, or you can simply follow the official map of the current mural trails and discover them for yourself.
Panoramic View from Glasgow’s Best Sunset Point
Rounding off our Scotland road trip with a bang, it is time to check out Glasgow’s best panoramic viewpoint, which is situated right in the centre of the city. Just off Buchannan Street is a small exhibition centre known as The Lighthouse. Mainly featuring the work of Scotland’s best architects, The Lighthouse has an ever-changing exhibit of different pieces of work.
Once you have browsed the multiple exhibitions, head to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit and climb the spiralling staircase to the top of the tower. Here you can head outside into the narrow balcony and walk around the circular tower to admire the beauty of the city centre from all directions.
This is our favourite place to admire the sunset or late evening in Glasgow and is the best place not only to finish off your final day in Scotland, but also be the last destination on this One Week Scotland Travel Itinerary.
The 7 Day Scotland Travel Itinerary – Summarised
Day 1 – Trip Starts in Edinburgh | Edinburgh City Tour
Day 2 – Edinburgh – Stirling | Stirling Castle | Wallace Monument
Day 3 – Stirling – Aveimore | Cairngorms National Park
Day 4 – Aveimore – Inverness | Castle of Inverness | Scotch Whiskey Distillery Tour
Day 5 – Isle of Sky | Old Man of Storr
Day 6 – Three Sisters Viewpoint | Loch Lomond & The Trossachs
Day 7 – Trip Ends in Glasgow
Tips and Recommendations for Your Scotland Road Trip
Before you set off on your Scotland adventure, following this 7 Day Scotland Travel Itinerary, here are some tips and Travel Hacks that you should know to make your One Week Trip to Scotland a little smoother.
When to Visit Scotland
Scotland is a country that is famous for its weather (or more specifically, lack of GOOD weather). As you head north to the mountainous region of Scotland, the humid Atlantic winds precipitate easily over the highlands and rain is a very common occurence. On average, it rains in Scotland 250 days of the year.
That being said, the period of time when it is LEAST likely to rain is during the late Spring months of May and June. During this time, the warmer weather begins to show and the native bugs have not quite come out to bite yet. It is for this reason that we suggest that Spring is the best time to visit Scotland.
What to Pack for Scotland
As mentioned before, Scotland is famous for its rain, so the most important item of clothing you pack is a good waterproof jacket (and possibly trousers). As for temperatures in Scotland, it rarely ever reaches above 25 degrees Centigrade, so warm clothes are recommended. The average seasonal temperatures can be found below:
Spring (March, April, May) – 5-10 degrees C
Summer (June, July, August) – 15 degrees C
Autumn (September, October, November) – 5-10 degrees C
Winter (December, January, February) – 0-5 degrees C
The best way to pack for this variation of temperatures is by packing plenty of light clothing that can be worn as layers. This will allow you to layer up or strip off as necessary.
How to Get Around Scotland
If you are touring the highlands of Scotland and plan on sticking to this One Week Scotland Travel Itinerary, then the only real way to navigate these remote regions is in a private vehicle. There are transport links connecting most of Scotland, however, these will not be adequate for reaching remote locations and will take much longer than by private vehicle.
Renting a Car
The first and cheapest method of transport we recommend is to rent a car for the duration of your trip. Cars can be rented from a number of different UK based car rental companies, such as Hertz or Europcar. A car rental will cost you roughly £10-30 per day, depending on the cover and vehicle you choose.
Renting a Motorhome
If you wish to be a little more adventurous and save money on accommodation then a motorhome might be the best choice for you. Motorhomes are hugely popular when exploring the highlands and there are therefore plenty of companies to choose from.
We have personally used the motorhome rental company Bunk Campers and can recommend them as friendly, cheap and reliable. A campervan will cost you from £45 a day and will vary depending on your choice of van and the season in which you book it.
If you are visiting Scotland and only have limited time to explore its amazing history and scenery then this 7 Day Scotland Travel Itinerary is perfect for you. There is so much more to see and do in Scotland and you could spend months exploring the bonnie lands, yet still have room for more.
There is no doubt that once you set foot in the highlands of Scotland and feel the fresh breeze, you are going to fall in love with the beauty of Scotland. It will only be a matter of time before you are back again for more, and when you do, you will be welcomed back with open arms.
We hope you found this 7 Day Scotland Travel Itinerary, to be of help to you, as a reliable Travel Resource for planning your Trip to Scotland. Don’t forget to Pin these images, and save this One Week Scotland Travel Itinerary, for future travel planning.
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Gemma and Campbell are two Scots on the run from a 9-5 lifestyle. After years of planning, they finally quit their jobs and set out to find their place in this beautiful world.
Currently in Australia, they are living in a camper van and touring the epic Australian coastlines, which shows just how much they love adventure travel. They love promoting this kind of travel to their fellow wanderlusters on their blog.