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One week trip to Scotland was one of the most memorable travel experiences I have ever had. It left me not only with plenty of absolutely stunning images but with great stories of adventure. Scotland is not like any other place in Europe and it deserves exploration beyond the reach of big cities.
I am going to share with you a suggested one week Scotland itinerary. It starts in Edinburgh, goes to the Isle of Skye and back via Glasgow.
One Week Scotland Itinerary
Here’s also the map of one week Scotland itinerary you can use as the inspiration.
Day 1. Edinburgh
Arrive in Edinburgh and start your exploration of Scotland with its cozy capital. You can easily spend a day or two in this beating heart of Scotland. I fell in love with Edinburgh thanks to its medieval charm, unique stone buildings and warming chatter of the locals in countless pubs.
Among the best things to do in Edinburgh, you will find the hike to Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh castle, and of course – Scottish pubs and whiskey!
Oh, and did you know that J.K. Rowling wrote the world-famous Harry Potter books sitting in cafes of cozy Edinburgh streets? You can join one of the Harry Potter walking tours to hear the full story and visit places where Rowling took her inspiration and wrote her books.
Where to stay in Edinburgh?
- Budget: Stay in a clean CODE POD hostel with free breakfast right in the heart of the city!
- Mid Range: Get that true Scottish feel by staying in a 16 Pilrig guesthouse.
Day 2. Edinburgh to Isle of Skye
How about jumping straight into adventure by starting your drive to Isle of Skye? You can do this in different ways.
- If you have a car, you can take the A9 towards Inverness and pass the Loch Ness on the way to get familiar with a famous monster.
- Another alternative (which we took as we didn’t rent a car) is to hitchhike through to Isle of Skye. If you want to know more about how to do it right, read my post: HITCHHIKING IN SCOTLAND WORKS?
Either way, it will most likely take you the entire day to do the trip, especially if you want to stop and see things on the way.
Day 3. Isle of Skye, day 1
If you got to the Isle of Skye within a day – perfect! I suggest you start your exploration of the island with its major town – Portree.
Again, there are a few ways to go about things to see in the Isle of Skye. If you don’t have a car, you can rent a bicycle to explore the natural beauties of the Isle of Skye in a more adventurous manner. The best way to experience the island is to make a loop going north seeing Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Uig and coming back to Portree.
Day 4. Isle of Skye, day 2
If you are staying in Portree, take a trip west to see the oldest inhabitable castle of Scotland – Dunvegan castle and further to the most western part of Isle of Skye to see the Neist Point Lighthouse.
For the lovers of more adventurous holidays, there are some great hiking possibilities in the mountains south of Portree, namely the Black Cuillin (Sgurr nan Gillean) which is a popular climbing spot.
Day 5. Mallaig and Harry Potter Train
Leaving the Isle of Skye, use Armadale as your exit point. This is where you can take a ferry to Mallaig.
Why Mallaig? Very simple, this is where you can hop on to that famous Hogwarts train that took Harry Potter and his student-friends to the school of magic.
Mallaig is a small but very lovely town, so spend some time exploring it while you wait for your train. I suggest you grab a plate of fish-and-chips at Jeffy’s while you wait, it was some of the best one I had in my life.
Take a ride to Fort William on a most famous train in Europe – a Jacobite steam train. Though the experience won’t be exactly the same as going to Hogwarts, the train ride is always a fun experience and the views you’ll see out the window will not leave you disappointed.
Day 6. Loch Lomond and Trossachs
Take a bus (or drive) from Fort William down to Loch Lomond and Trossachs to explore one of the biggest national parks in Scotland. If you have a tent, you may as well stay here overnight.
Day 7. Glasgow
Catch a ride to Glasgow (should take around 2 hours) and spend a day exploring city’s numerous museums and galleries, or simply take a relaxing city walk enjoying a pie and a pint in a local brewery.
The Isle of Skye trip won’t be complete if you don’t interact with locals as they are, in my view, adding up enormously to the cultural experience. Try the famous chips and fish, haggies and of course at least some of the strong Scottish whiskey.
- For more information about things to do and places to stay in Isle of Skye, read my ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ISLE OF SKYE
- If you are planning on making Isle of Skye a bicycle trip, check out my article on what it’s like: 7 CIRCLES OF HELL IN SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
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Tell me about your travel plans! When are you going and what are you going to see?
This is great! I went to the Isle of Skye three times last month, and am going again next month. It’s my favorite place in the world, after all, and I recently wrote my own post on how to explore the island in two days, including some local hidden gems that aren’t on Google Maps and even the locals don’t know about. Scotland is definitely the country that everyone needs to visit once, although they won’t be able to resist coming back for more!
Sounds really exciting! What would be your favorite thing to do in the Isle of Skye then? I absolutely loved hiking strange places,like Old Man of Storr, but what about you? Are you exploring by car or bicycle or maybe other mode of transport?
It’s hard to say. The Quiriang, Old Man of Storr, Fairy Pools and Fairy Glen all compete for my favorite place in the world, but then I find new places there like St. Columba’s Isle or the Cave of Gold. Next time I go I’m going to explore the 3000 year old buildings on the peninsula south of Glenbrittle. I usually go with a rental car, but sometimes I get a bus tour. The island is too big to go by foot or bike, unless you have many days. I usually only go for two or three days.
GOOD FOR YOU!
My sister and I just got finished with the outlander book and now we want to see the country. We are 53 & 62 yrs and would like to see the key places to visit. We may stay up to 10 days . any advice
Barbara, this sounds exciting. Though I mainly explored the Western part of Scotland, I can say that it is a great place to be if you wish to combine natural sights with historical ones. Isle of Skye, for example, offers amazing natural sights, like Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, etc. On the other hand, you can also see some great castles, like Eilean Donan Castle right nearby Skye. Regardless of what you choose to do, I advice you to still spend some time in Edinburgh, it is very rich in culture. And, of course, consider Lock Lomond & The Trossachs.
By the way, would you recommend the book? 😉
I can recommend the book. Read the first one in 2003 and haven’t looked back. We visited Scotland very briefly this past summer. My dad was born in Lanark. I was able to go to the church. I look forward to the day (s) ! We can come back. I want to do so much, see so much. Thank you for your info. I am compiling my list.
My favorite trips have been my trips to Scotland. I’ve been a couple of times and spent 3 weeks each trip. It still wasn’t enough time! Edinburgh was amazing and takes some time to explore. Day trips from the city are great, too: Roslyn Chapel, Melrose Abbey, Hadrian’s Wall, Alnwick Castle (Hogwarts). We did Isle of Skye as well and although we loved The Quiraing and Old Man of Storr, our favorites were the Fairy Glen (looks like it is out of Lord of the Rings ) and an 11-mile hike we took along the coast to Boreraig and Suisnish hamlets. You can see the ruins of their homes, left there after they had been violently evicted. The views were absolutely beautiful, even in the rain. I would also highly recommend not missing Glencoe and Glenfinnan. The latter has the viaduct used in the Harry Potter films. You can climb the surrounding hills to get a picture as the Jacobite Express goes past (and the engineer will usually wave). 🙂 For Outlander fans or any history buff, I would recommend Culloden as well. It’s an extremely somber visit but as I have Scottish ancestry, I wanted to go (and you can find the headstones for the various clans). I haven’t done too much on the eastern side either but have ventured further north this last time and hit the Orkney Islands. There are amazing archaeological sites there as well. Isle of Lewis was beautiful and (lastly) I would recommend a day trip that requires a drive to Oban. You get to see Staffa and Treshnish Isles, where you can view the now-endangered puffins up-close. In two trips, I haven’t managed to see Glasgow yet but perhaps I will the next time. We also missed the Fairy Pools on Isle of Skye so perhaps we’ll get that in next time too. We just traveled through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs but I’d definitely like to see more of that as well. And, by the way, I’d recommend the book as well. The whole series, really. 🙂
Wendy, this is such a valuable input! Scotland, truly, is one of the few places I would gladly come back to again and again. And next time I will surely try to get to places you recommend, especially Fairy Glen and the place where you can see Jacobite train passing by 🙂
Thanks for your article. I live in Scotland in the Borders, which is also beautiful. Although I have seen much of this lovely country, there is an endless amount of sites to see and experience. You have highlighted more to explore in the near future.
Hi Lena, Great pics! i have visited Edinburgh, Glasgow and Loch Lomond few years before but never been to Highlands. Will be visiting Isle of Skye next time 🙂
Nice shots. We’re planning a week there in October. Really enjoying your blog.
I need to get out more!
Seriously, I live in the west of Scotland and in all my years I have only been to Skye once – and it rained!
Your blog has encouraged me to spend more time travelling around this beautiful land.
Wow, I am really happy to hear that.
Don’t feel bad, we tend to overlook the places where we live and travel somewhere else.
Perfectly enjoying your posts, Lena! Dream-worthy places and hints, you’re sharing in your articles. Very much valuable. Keep writing(Inspired with your bio!)