Scotland Itinerary

Sheep crossing, Isle of Skye, Scotland
By Rick Steves

So much to see, so little time. How to choose? To help you get started, I've listed my top picks for where to go in Scotland and my plan for your best two-week trip. (If you're considering adding England and/or Wales, see my recommended itinerary for Great Britain.)

Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are my recommended priorities:

  • 3 days: Edinburgh
  • 5 days, add: Glasgow, Stirling
  • 7 days, add: Oban, Glencoe
  • 9 days, add: Inverness, Loch Ness, Culloden
  • 11 days, add: Isle of Skye
  • 13 days, add: St. Andrews, Mull/Iona/Staffa
  • 15 days, add: Your choice of sights near Stirling or in Eastern Scotland
  • 17 days, add: Orkney
  • 21 days, add: More sights near Stirling, Wester Ross and the north coast, and slow down

Rick’s Best Two-Week Trip to Scotland (by Car)

This recommended itinerary gives you an idea of how much you can reasonably see in 14 days, but of course you'll want to adapt it to fit your own interests and time frame.

Day 1:  Arrive Edinburgh (sleep in Edinburgh)

Day 2:  Edinburgh (sleep in Edinburgh)

Day 3:  Edinburgh (sleep in Edinburgh)

Day 4:  More time in Edinburgh, then train to Glasgow (sleep in Glasgow)

Day 5:  Glasgow (Glasgow)

Day 6:  Pick up car, drive to Oban (sleep in Oban)

Day 7:  Side-trip to Mull and Iona (sleep in Oban)

Day 8:  Drive through Glencoe this morning, then to Isle of Skye (sleep on Isle of Skye)

Day 9:  Isle of Skye (sleep on Isle of Skye)

Day 10:  Drive along Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness to Inverness (sleep in Inverness)

Day 11:  Inverness and side-trip to Culloden and other sights (sleep in Inverness)

Day 12:  Head south, enjoying your choice of sights in Eastern Scotland or St. Andrews (sleep in Pitlochry, Ballater, or St. Andrews)

Day 13:  More Eastern Scotland or St. Andrews sightseeing; spend evening in Stirling (sleep in Stirling)

Day 14:  Stirling Castle and nearby sights (sleep in Stirling)

Day 15:  Drive to Edinburgh for your flight home

Build your own itinerary to match your interests. Golfers make a pilgrimage to St. Andrews; nature lovers add extra time for hiking in Glencoe or the Isle of Skye; whisky aficionados appreciate Speyside and Pitlochry; royalists tour Balmoral and Glamis castles; prehistorians prioritize Orkney, Kilmartin Glen, and Clava Cairns; and those interested in Scotland's industrial heritage check out the Caledonian Canal, Falkirk Wheel, and museums in Dundee.

If cities aren't your thing, consider skipping Glasgow (or doing it at the end, as a side-trip from Stirling) to make more time for the countryside.

If you're traveling here in summer, check schedules for Highland Games in the areas you're visiting, and plan your time accordingly.

With more time, slow down and linger — or enjoy additional scenery by looping around the north of Scotland: Wester Ross, the north coast, and the Orkney Islands.

By Public Transportation

While the itinerary above is designed to be done by car after leaving Glasgow, most connections can be done by bus with a few modifications: You may want to rent a car for your day on Skye; consider a package tour for Highland side-tripping from Inverness; and at the end, go from Inverness straight to Stirling (skipping Eastern Scotland sights, which are out of the way by public transit).