Come wander the city life and highlands of Scotland as we dive into this country’s rich and beautiful culture. We’ve partnered with Keryn Means of Walking On Travels to help us plan our own adventure with only five days to do it too.
Scotland is a land of myth and mystery, and for good reason. We love those sexy accents, kilts that show off a man’s knees, mist-covered moors, and just admit it, you want to try haggis, if only to brag to your friends. While we can’t promise you will love haggis, we do know that you will fall in love with this country in as little as five days. Hiking, castles, Scotch, driving on the opposite side of the road – what’s not to love? But where do you start when planning your dream trip to Scotland? You want to see the city sights and head into the Highlands. How do you do it all with only a few days? Have no fear, we have you covered.
Day One: Edinburgh, Scotland
Fly into Edinburgh and get moving. Grab a coffee and slice of cake at Lovecrumbs right near Edinburgh Castle. Hop in a City Cab (yes, there is an app- search City Cabs) and head to Arthur’s Seat. Start hiking to shake off that jet lag. You will thank us when you get to the top and see the view.
Walk back down to Holyrood Palace and tour the Queen’s local digs in town. Just make sure you can, because if the Queen or any members of the royal family are in residence, you are out of luck. You’ll have to stare longingly at the palace from the gate and enjoy a cup of tea and scones from the café. They are quite good, so it’s not all bad.
Walk up the Royal Mile, grabbing a bottle of Scotch at Cadenheads Whisky Shop and Tasting Room (yes, you can do a tasting to know which to buy) and end with a tour of Edinburgh Castle. Grab dinner at The World’s End, and crash hard. Chances are you haven’t slept in over 24 hours if you flew over from the States.
Day Two: Linlithgow Palace and Oban
Time to get out of Dodge! Grab a rental car and start driving west. Just outside of the city you will come across Linlithgow Palace, a Renaissance relic that is somehow still standing. Walk the bones of this palace, marveling at the size of the kitchen fire place and do a little waltz through the ballroom. The view from the ramparts is quite impressive, too. If you have a few minutes, walk the High street in town to get the sense of another city in Scotland. Edinburgh can be daunting, especially for non-city dwellers. Linlithgow is a bit more manageable.
Continue driving onto Oban, where you will spend the night in town or just outside of town at one of the many hotels, B&Bs or rent a farm house to hang with the Highland “coos” (cows). Check out the Oban Distillery. You can buy Oban Scotch in the States, but grabbing a taste where it was made is a worthwhile experience. Enjoy some fish and chips for dinner, walk the harbor and soak in that salty sea air. Tomorrow you are hiking the Scottish Highlands.
Day Three: Glencoe and the Highlands
Day trip out of Oban up into Glencoe. There are several great hikes all along the A82 road. Not sure where to hike? There aren’t really any marked trails like we are used to in the U.S. Basically if you see a parking area (gravel section with enough space for a few cars), you can park and start hiking down a path. The Glencoe Visitor Centre is a great place to start and get the lay of the land. Staff at the center can help you figure out the best trails to head towards. There are also a few trails just behind the Centre, but don’t linger too long. The best views are just up the road.
Take a break at Clachiag Inn for a hearty lunch and pint to warm you up and refuel your belly. If you are traveling with kids, there is a great playset for them to climb around and meet other children. There are also a few rooms to rent for hikers looking to break up their journey.
Day Four: Stirling Castle
Start heading back east towards Edinburgh. If you wanted to check out Glasgow, now is your chance. If you are looking for more castles to explore, Stirling Castle is a beautifully preserved castle high on a hill with great views of the National Wallace Monument (Braveheart anyone?). You can easily spend half a day exploring the castle if you are a history buff. Give the town a wander as well to learn more history about the area and the importance of this stronghold. End your day back in Edinburgh, doing a little shopping, exploring Prince Street, and more of Old Town Edinburgh.
Day 5: Edinburgh, Scotland
It’s sad, but true. Time to head home. Spend your last few hours enjoying the everyday life in Edinburgh. There is history at every turn in this city that has been the home of kings and queens. It has seen battles waged and lost to preserve its independence, continues to vote if it should be independent once again, and hosts one crazy Fringe Festival each summer. True, you didn’t get to see enough of Scotland, but that’s why you can always come back. Right?
Keryn Means of Walking On Travels is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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