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One Week Scotland Road Trip Itinerary including Destinations, Activities, and Places to Stay

September 5, 2018|Lena
1 week Scotland road trip itinerary. Find out where to go, what to do, where to stay in Scotland. #scotlandtravel

Are you planning a trip to Scotland and don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, when it was time to plan my one week Scotland road trip I was also a little bit lost. No wonder, there is so much to see and do in Scotland and one week will never be enough time to fit everything in.

What I did was browse blog posts about one week Scotland road trip itineraries, like you are doing just now. My tip is to look at multiple itinerary ideas and then picking out the things that interest you most.

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This post is my one week Scotland road trip itinerary exactly how I did it with my partner and my parents a couple of weeks ago. After the actual day by day itinerary, I have included information on where to rent your car, what Sim card I used and other useful tips about Scotland. I added only the restaurants that are worth visiting (we had some meals I wouldn’t particularly want a second time) and the accommodations that I would recommend you stay at.

This is the map of all the destinations I visited in my week in Scotland. If you want to download an offline google map with all the pointers, you can do that quickly. All you have to do is sign up to my mailing list. That way you not only get access to the Social Travel Experiment Content Library but also receive useful travel tips and stories straight to your inbox.

Day 1: Edinburgh

Free Walking Tour

Free Tour in Edinburgh

I love free walking tours. There are those that are entirely free, done by volunteers like the ones I did in Bath or York and then there are the ones that are operated on a tipping basis. I believe tipping a guide if he did a good job is the least I can do and exactly the right way to ensure a guide is appropriately motivated to deliver engaging and fun content.

My guide on the Edinburgh Free Tour operated by City Explorers was terrific. He talked as if he was trying to give 5 hours worth of information in only 2. Without slowing down or stopping to take a breath. But his stories were informative and very funny.

If you don’t want to walk, which I can really understand with the horrible weather that Scotland often has to offer how about booking a hop on hop off bus tour for under 17 USD.

Makars Gourmet Mash Bar

Eating Haggis at the Mash Bar in Edinburgh

According to our guide the Makars Gourmet Mash Bar serves the best haggis in Edinburgh, and because he kindly offered some free drinks coupons, we couldn’t really pass on the offer. I had never considered that there might be such a thing as a restaurant specializing in potato mash, but now I know there should be more of them.

At the Makars Gourmet Mash Bar, you choose the main dish of some sort of meat (chicken, sausages, haggis and so on) and choose what kind of mashed potatoes you want with it. My dad got the haggis the typical Scotish dish made from minced sheep’s pluck. I know it sounds a little bit disgusting and depending on how it is served doesn’t look very nice but it really tastes very well. I suggest you give it a try at the Makars Gourmet Mash Bar in Edinburgh.

edinburgh: Get Your Guide

Where to stay in Edinburgh – Averon Bed & Breakfast

The accommodation we stayed at in Edinburgh wasn’t very nice and clean, and so I won’t recommend it to you. The location was great, and so I have a recommendation that I didn’t actually stay at. Averon Bed & Breakfast was located a short walk from my accommodation and looking into the little breakfast area I wished I had stayed there. The male staff was wearing some authentic kilts, and the tables were laid with some very English china. There were also parking spaces available. You might want to have a look at Averon Bed & Breakfast on Booking.com.

Day 2: Doune Castle -> Pitlochry

Doune Castle

Doune Castle in Scotland

Between Edinburgh and Pitlochry lies Doune Castle a popular filming location of not only Monty Python but also the TV series Outlander, which I love a lot. You get an audio guide which tells you not only about the castle and its history but also about the filming of Monty Python as well as Outlander (this part spoken by Sam Heughen who played Jamie Fraser in the series).

If you want to learn more about the different filming locations and other details about Outlander in Scotland you can book an Outlander tour from Edinburgh.

Edradour Distillery

Edradour Distillery in Scotland

Until the law change and the birth of microbreweries all over Scotland, Edradour Distillery was the smallest Scotch Whiskey distillery in the country. In the tour, we learned how Scotch is made at the distillery and also how the different flavors come to be in a Whiskey from the same distillery. We got to try two different kinds of Whiskeys produced at Edradour, which was very interesting even for people like me who don’t like Whiskey.

The distillery has a lot of charm with its white and red buildings and the guides wearing a traditional Scotish dress with kilts and all.

Dinner at Moulin Inn

The mulin inn in Pitlochry

When we arrived in Pitlochry, we were quite hungry and followed a food recommendation by the Pitlochry Backpackers receptionist. So we walked all the way to the Moulin Inn, which is one kilometer outside of Pitlochry. This inn is a hotel and restaurant, and they serve delicious Scotish food.

Where to Stay in Pitlochry - Pitlochry Backpackers

Pitlochry is a favorite starting point for hikers, and so the Pitlochry Backpackers is quite full. While the hostel is a little bit old, it has a lot of charm with the red wooden staircase leading through the old house. We had two two people private rooms with private bathroom, and the price was reasonable.

Day 3: Pitlochry -> Blair Castle -> Inverness

Breakfast at Hettie's Tea Rooms

We really wanted to have breakfast at Hettie’s Tea Rooms but unfortunately, they didn’t open until 9:30 a.m. (even though Google says they open at 9). We couldn’t wait that long and went to a different café instead, but I have to say it wasn’t that great.

Queens View

Queens View overlooking Loch Tommel

The Queens View in Pitlochry named after Queen Victoria is a viewing point over Loch Tummel. On a beautiful and sunny day, it is a great way to see the Scotish countryside. There is a big parking lot for only 2 GPB and a souvenir shop, café and some toilets close by.

Blair Castle

Blair Castle

While we did visit Doune Castle a couple of days earlier, Blair Castle was a completely different experience. First, it isn’t a ruin but a beautifully kept building with even grander grounds. The museum in the castle is incredible with furnished rooms and countless antlers decorating the walls.

We parked outside the entrance gate of Blair Castle, but that is a walk of more than one kilometer, so I suggest you drive all the way to the official parking lot on the castle grounds.

Inverness City Center

The city center in Inverness

From Blair Castle, we went to our next destination: Inverness. While we explored Culloden Moor and the outlying area of Inverness the next day, we at least had a look at the Inverness city center. The Inverness castle towers over the city, and there are some restaurants and shopping opportunities along the Loch Ness river.

inverness: Get Your Guide

Where to Stay in Inverness - Inverness Youth Hostel

Inverness Backpackers

The Inverness Youth Hostel has seen better days, but it is a well enough place to spend a cheap night in Inverness. We booked a family room which was reasonable. There were two single beds and one bunk bed. They serve warm Scotish breakfast, but you have to get up early to get it.

Day 4: Inverness -> Rogie Falls -> Isle of Skye

Culloden Moor

Stone of Clan Fraser at Culloden Moor in Inverness

For me, the main reason to visit Inverness is the famous Culloden Moor where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746. This battle marked the end of the Jacobite uprisings and the beginning of a tough time in Scotish history. I learned about the history reading Outlander (and watching the TV series), but visiting the museum and the moor itself gives a new perspective on how many lives were lost and a detailed explanation who fought against whom.

Clava Cairn

Clava Cairn in Inverness

Located just behind Culloden Moor the Clava Cairn is an old site almost forgotten. This around 4000-year-old site with stone circles and stone mounts is so old that people aren’t quite sure what they were initially used for. It is believed that it might have been a burial site, but people also seem to have lived at the site for hundreds of years.

Culloden Inn

We were looking for a light lunch before heading to the Isle of Skye and happened upon the Culloden Inn. At first, I thought this might be a very touristy place located so close to the now very popular Culloden Moor, and the prices were a bit steep for the main course.

Since we weren’t too hungry, we decided to get sandwiches for about 7 Pounds each. The huge sandwiches were garnished with a big side salad and some English crisps (in America they are called chips). I was full to the bursting after that meal, and it was delicious. My mom can’t pass on dessert, no matter how full and so we ordered one sticky toffee pudding with ice cream for all of us.

Rogie Falls

Rogie Falls in Scotland

On the way from Inverness to Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye lies a waterfall called Rogie Falls. It is only a short (10 minute) walk from the parking area worth a short visit. We were lucky it wasn’t raining at the moment, and the sun even poked through the clouds.

Where to Stay on the Isle of Skye

Skye Backpackers on the Isle of Skye

We spent the night in Kyleakin the small town right across the bridge from the mainland. Our accommodation was the Skye Backpackers’ family room, which was quite cheap for 72 Pounds.

The room was cozy with a double bed and two singles and a little table as well as side tables, and enough space to place our luggage. The toilet and bathroom were shared with another room.

As I had already expected the WIFI was almost non-existent in such a far of place and I wasn’t even able to open google.

The kitchen was big and clean; there was free tea, coffee and hot chocolate and the breakfast consisting of different types of cereal, toast or scones with jam and fruits cost 3 GBP extra.

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Day 5: Isle of Skye -> Fort William

The day on the Isle of Skye was the worst day of the whole week weather wise. It was about 12 degrees, raining heavily at times and there was an icy wind that felt even colder. For this reason, we couldn’t really enjoy the fantastic landscape of the Isle of Skye.

Portree

The biggest city on the Isle of Skye is Portree, a cute little town with some shops and cafes and really not much else. It is a perfect place to spend the night and explore more of the Isle of Skye (which we didn’t do because one week just isn’t enough time to explore more).

Kilt Rock

Kilt Rock on the Isle of Skye

The waterfall at Kilt Rock that is flowing into the ocean in the north-east of the Isle of Skye is a favorite tourist spot. It is located conveniently close to the road and a parking area and therefore also a great destination on a miserable and rainy day. I leaped out of the car, took a couple of pictures of the waterfall and when I couldn’t bear it much longer I fled back into the dry car.

Other Destinations on Skye

Other destinations on the Isle of Skye I would have wanted to visit were the Fairy Pools and a hike to Old Man Storr. But that was simply not possible because of the bad weather.

Where to Stay in Fort William

We reached Fort William in the late evening and checked into our Airbnb right away. It was a little woodshed, a form of accommodation you can see all around Scotland. The shed was big enough to house a double bed and a bunk bed, a table with two chairs and a heater (which we used because it was quite chilly even in August). The water pressure in the shower was none existant but other than that it was a comfortable stay. If you are looking for a cheap place to sleep near Fort William during your one week Scotland road trip, the woodshed would be my recommendation.

Dinner at The Lochy

A comfortable pub a little bit outside of Fort William called The Lochy was the closest restaurant from our accommodation. It had ample, and the food was delicious. After almost a week of eating very heavy Scottish food, we were craving something fresh, so we all ordered a salad.

Day 6: Glencoe -> Sterling -> Edinburgh -> Falkirk

Glencoe

Driving through Glencoe in Scotland

The drive from Fort William in the direction of Sterling leads through Glencoe, scenic one of the most impressive areas we passed through. Fortunately, along the road, there are plenty of opportunities to stop, take pictures and take in the fantastic scenery around you.

Sterling Highland Games

Stirling Highland Games

I was very much looking forward to the Sterling Highland Games, but I have to admit I was a little bit disappointed. I guess I was expecting more of the traditional kind of sports like kilt-clad men throwing thick tree trunks. All in all, it reminded me of the sports competitions I used to have at school.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

The Military Tattoo in Edinburgh on the other hand really surpassed all my wildest dreams and expectations. This yearly event brings together British Armed Forces and other international military bands as well as artistic performances. The tattoo is held at Edinburgh Castle (which you can visit during the day for 22 USD) which makes for an awe-inspiring backdrop. And if you have never heard 50 bagpipers playing all at once (which I suppose few people have), you should put the Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the top of your Scotland travel bucket list.

Where to Stay in Falkirk - Airbnb

We spent the night in Falkirk outside of Edinburgh, which was more a logistical error than anything else but turned out to be really great. Our Airbnb hosts were not only super friendly, but they had a very stylish and sparkling clean house with three guest rooms. We could make some breakfast, and they even had a big hot tub in their garden for everyone’s use.

Day 7: Falkirk

The Kelpies

The Kelpies in Falkirk

Unexpectedly Falkirk has a lot to offer, and because we wanted to kill some time before heading to the Edinburgh airport, we looked up what we could do there.

The first thing that comes up when you try to find out anything about Falkirk and what to do there are the Kelpies, mystical shapeshifting Scottish water spirits that often take the shape of horses. The Falkirk Kelpies are two gigantic horse heads made from metal. The structures are imposing and beautifully designed and definitely worth a visit, especially because the entrance is free.

The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel

The rotating boat lift connecting two canals in Falkirk is called the Falkirk Wheel. Constructed in 2002 it is now possible to pass from one canal to the other in only a couple of minutes something that used to take a whole day by the use of locks. It is the only boat lift of its kind, and it is a trendy destination for tourists, not only to watch a boat getting lifted but also riding a boat through the two canals.

Are you planning a road trip through Scotland?

Then a map of all destinations including routs to download is just the thing you need!

Falkirk City Center

While Falkirk is a small city, it has a charming and lively city center with shops and a couple of cafes and pubs. If you have some time to kill (or you are looking for something to eat) check it out.

From Falkirk, we went to the Edinburgh Airport, and that was the end of our one week trip around Scotland.

Renting a Car for your One Week Scotland Road Trip

Renting a Car in Scotland using AutoEurope

I booked my car using the AutoEurope website. It was easy to find the best kind of deal even though I needed quite a big car because it had to fit four adults and all our luggage. AutoEurope pride themselves on excellent customer support during your booking but also if you should have any trouble on the road. The pickup of my car was at Avis Budget in Edinburgh (which was very crowded but they have sufficient personnel that it all goes fast). 

The cheapest deal was, of course, to get the car without any extras, and that is what I did. This means there is only one allowed driver (a second driver will cost extra), no satnav (you don’t need one, trust me it is not worth your money) and no other extras.

What Sim Card to get for a One Week Scotland Road Trip

As I suggested, getting a car without a satnav is much cheaper, and you really don’t need it if you have a working smartphone. Even without access to the internet, you can navigate using Google Maps provided you have downloaded a map of Scotland to your phone in advance.

Still, I do prefer to have internet access while traveling, for weather and traffic information, but also to keep up with social media if I am perfectly honest. If you are the same, you can get a one month pre-paid sim card at any of the big phone providers O2, Vodafone, EE or Three. They offer very similar packages with different internet volume to choose from. The coverage is not the same and with the EE sim card that I got the internet wasn’t always reliable, but I didn’t have any major issues with it either. So I would recommend you visit an EE shop on your first day and grab a sim card. It will only take 5 minutes to get set up. You can, for example, get 2 GB for 8 GBP.

Things You Should Know About Roadtripping Scotland

Driving through Glencoe in Scotland

Let’s talk about the weather. No matter when you visit Scotland, chances are it is cold more often than not. I was there in the middle of August, according to my logic the best time to visit Scotland. And the weather was horrible; it was raining on many days. If it wasn’t raining, it was cloudy and cold or foggy. The temperatures were as low as 12 degrees Celsius and never moved over 20. But that doesn’t mean it can’t get nice, warm and sunny. My brother was driving around Scotland just a couple of weeks before me, and it was beautiful according to him.

So basically what I want you to know is, when you pack your bags, don’t forget to bring warm clothing, and also waterproof shoes, trousers and a jacket.

In Conclusion


A Scotland road trip is a fantastic experience. The planning can be a little bit overwhelming but with these tips on where to go and what to do you should be covered quite well for a one week Scotland road trip.

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1 week Scotland road trip itinerary. Find out where to go, what to do, where to stay in Scotland. #scotlandtravel
1 week Scotland road trip itinerary. Find out where to go, what to do, where to stay in Scotland. #scotlandtravel

Lena

Authors Note:
Some of the experiences in this post have been sponsored. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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