The Perfect 10-Day Scotland Itinerary

Seeing all the amazing sites in Scotland in one trip is pretty much impossible. There’s simply just way too much to see. I’ve been to this beautiful country two times now and traveled all over it but still feel as if I have only scratched the surface. 

I warned you before, Don’t go to Scotland! But if you refuse to listen, here’s some hlpful advice.

Things to consider when planning your Scotland trip

Length of time

People ask how much time they should allow for a trip to Scotland. That’s a difficult question to answer. Short answer is, how much do you want to see? If you want to try and hit all the highlights, I suppose you could do it in a week but that would be tight. I would suggest 10 days minimum, but 2 weeks would be great. It would allow you to see a lot without feeling as if you are constantly on the go.

Time of year to visit

Another thing to take into consideration is the time of year in which you visit. Although the summer months will be more crowded and more expensive, you have much more daylight to work with in order to fit more in. In the winter it gets dark around 3 or 3:30, but in the summer sunset isn’t until about 11:30. That’s quite a huge difference! In addition, it rains a lot, especially in the spring. Factoring in an extra day or two in case plans get altered due to weather would be wise. However, because the weather fluctuates so much in Scotland, things rarely stop due to rain, fog, and the like. Just pack accordingly and proceed with your schedule as planned whenever possible. Layer, layer, layer and make sure those layers are as waterproof as possible.

What type of trip are you looking for?

Do you want to focus primarily on city life, natural beauty, history, or a combination? There are countless types of trips one could take to Scotland. It’s a country that offers many different types of things to see. This itinerary incorporates some city and natural sites so you can get a bit of a feel for both. In my mind, I wouldn’t be able to choose between all the different options. There’s just so much fascinating history, architecture, stunning natural scenery, and awe-inspiring different things to see and do in this amazing country. 

Here’s a post that may help you narrow down the important things to see (all of which are in this perfect 10 day itinerary!)

Top 10 Bucket List Worthy Things to See in Scotland

If you’re visiting Scotland for the first time, it may be best to simply try to see a bit of everything and hit as many highlights as you can. If that sounds like a good plan, here is 

The Perfect 10-Day Scotland Itinerary

Day 1-2: Edinburgh

Let’s begin in Scotland’s capital city. One could easily spend a week in Edinburgh alone, but we’ve got lots to do so this trip will just be about getting your feet wet. Let’s hit the highlights. Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and King Arthur’s Seat are all must-dos. Edinburgh is going to be your home base for a few days so pick accommodation that’s comfortable and relatively close to the Royal Mile or Waverley Station if you will be relying on trains for transportation.

Bonus! Here are the top 10 things to do with families in Edinburgh

Overnight accommodation: Edinburgh

Day 3: Stirling

A day in Stirling is a wonderful way to spend your time. Visit the amazing Stirling Castle, shop, eat, and explore the beautiful city. Stirling can easily be reached by train from Edinburgh.

Overnight accommodation: Edinburgh

Day 4: Glasgow

Like Edinburgh, one could spend a week in Glasgow however, this trip is about maximizing our sites so once again, let’s hop on a train from Edinburgh (50-minute ride) and head out to explore the city. Don’t miss the Glasgow Cathedral, the Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow University, and the Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Overnight accommodation: Edinburgh

Day 5: St. Andrews

It’s time to pack your bags because today we head to beautiful St. Andrews, home of golf and the oldest university in Scotland. Enjoy meandering the streets and be sure not to miss West Sands Beach to try your hand at recreating the opening scene from Chariots of Fire.

https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/photo-gallery/42944000/image/42948362/1981-Chariots-Fire

Overnight accommodation: St. Andrews

Day 6: Dufftown

Get an early start because today will be an exciting day! You’re heading to flavor town, aka Dufftown, close to famous whisky distilleries such as The Macallan (this newly redesigned distillery’s 4D whisky experience is something to behold!) and Glenfiddich, a beautiful traditional distillery. Stop in Aberdeen for brunch along the way, because drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea! 

Overnight accommodations: Dufftown

Day 7: Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, and Loch Ness

It’s impossible to get a good grasp on the events in history that changed the face of Scotland forever without visiting the somber site of Culloden Battlefield. Walk the steps of those that fought gallantly for their beloved country, then step even further back in time by making a quick trip over to Clava Cairns, an ancient bronze-age burial site. After that, look for Nessie as you drive along Loch Ness on your way to Ft. William, a great place to shop and eat after a long day of adventuring.

Overnight accommodation: Ft. William

Day 8: Glenfinnan and Skye

These are my two favorite places to visit in Scotland. They are so beautiful and hold history as well as literary interest. Ever heard of Harry Potter? Of course, you have! The Glenfinnan Viaduct was traveled on by the Hogwarts Express. After a visit to Glenfinnan, head over to the Isle of Skye, a mystical, beautiful island off the country’s northwest coast. 

Overnight accommodation: The Isle of Skye

Day 9: Skye

Today will be a day of nature. Get your hiking shoes ready because the best way to see the Isle of Skye is on foot. Places you must see are The Old Man of Storr, the Quirang, Fairy Glen (on a side note, this blog post about Fairy Gen is really good and I didn’t even write it-haha!), and the Mealt Waterfall near Kilt Rock

Overnight accommodation: The Isle of Skye

Day 10: Loch Lomond, the Trossachs National Park, and Doune Castle

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Today it’s time to pack up once again and head back to Edinburgh-sigh. As you drive from the Isle of Skye you’ll meander through the beautiful Trossachs National Park and along the banks of Loch Lomond. If you’re feeling like you need one last adventure, make a stop at Doune Castle, a site everyone loves. It’s been featured in popular shows and movies including, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones, and Outlander.

Overnight accommodation: Edinburgh

Thoughts and Things

  • The second half of this itinerary requires a car, which is easy to hire from Edinburgh airport. No international driver’s license is necessary, but you must be at least 25 years of age to avoid steep extra charges. Roads are easy to drive, although getting used to left-hand driving can be challenging if you aren’t used to it. Many roads on the Isle of Skye are single track. If you’re unfamiliar with that term, look up and prepare yourself for lots of pulling over to let oncoming cars pass. Read this blog post to find out more (and to get a little chuckle): White Knuckles, Curb Hopping, and Coo Crossing, OH MY! Our Family’s Adventure Driving Through Scotland.
  • Book accommodations early, especially if traveling in the summer months. Places like Dufftown and the Isle of Skye are very limited in lodging options so booking early is key. We usually book a B&B or self-catered cottage through VRBO or Airbnb.
  • I highly recommend purchasing an Explorer Pass through Historic Environment Scotland. This will give you entry to many of the sites listed in this itinerary as well as provide discounts on souvenirs purchased in their gift shops.
  • Although it stays light later in the summer, shops and some restaurants in small towns still close early. Think 5 or 6. Take this into account when planning your shopping or dining in the evening and plan ahead. No one likes to miss dinner!
  • Be sure to pack appropriately for your trip. Check out Scotland Bound: 8 Essentials to Pack In Your Suitcase for some great tips!
  • If you want more help planning your trip, Absolute Escapes is a fantastic travel agency that will meticulously help you plan every detail.
  • If you are lucky enough to have more than 10 days to enjoy Scotland, I highly recommend adding these places to your itinerary:

The Isle of Mull

The Isles of Staffa and Lunga

The Isle of Iona

Inveraray

The perfect 10-day Scotland itinerary!

So there you go, planning done. If you follow this 10-day Scotland itinerary, you will be busy, but will also have the opportunity to hit most of the highlights this amazing country has to offer. However, let this be a warning to you. If you’re like me, it will only make you hungry for more. I’m currently in the process of planning my third visit back, and am just as excited as the first time I went. Enjoy, and let me know all about how your trip goes!

Scotland Bound: 8 Essentials to Pack in Your Suitcase

Planning a trip to Scotland? That’s awesome! It’s an absolutely amazing country with so much to see and do that you’re bound to have an unforgettable experience. As you plan, you may be wondering what to pack. Pants? Shorts? A jacket? The list can seem overwhelming, especially when taking into consideration Scotland’s infamous quick weather changes. However, it doesn’t have to be. Strategically include a few critical items and you’ll be taking on the country like a pro no matter what conditions may come your way. 

8 Essentials to Pack in Your Suitcase

*note: this is a recommended list for the warmer season in Scotland. I haven’t been there in the winter but photos I’ve seen indicate snow and cold so you will need to pack a bit differently.

1. Layers

I swear it was sunny a minute ago!

Scotland can go from freezing cold and misty to blazing hot and sunny (yes, that does actually happen there!) all in the course of about 5 minutes. Haha! But really, the best way to be prepared for these changes is to layer. I usually include a scarf, light jacket (preferably waterproof), sweater, and hat. Some sort of convertible pants (think capris or zip off shorts) would be ideal, especially if you’ll be hiking and want to protect yourself from insects or flora & fauna. The first summer I was there, capris, a sweater, and a light jacket were my go-to’s. Last summer it was very hot and many times the family and I found ourselves sweating in shorts. The weather really can change quickly in both the temperature and conditions so planning clothing strategically is very important.

2. Waterproof shoes

Because Scotland can be quite wet, whether you’re exploring the cities or plan on hiking the great outdoors (trust me, you need to put this on your list of things to do), investing in some good quality waterproof shoes or boots is a good idea. When hiking, many trails are wet and can be quite slippery. Two of my sons and I went on an impromptu hiking expedition on the Isle of Mull and ended up muddy up to our knees as we trudged through bogs of deep ferns. It was really fun but I know one of my sons regretted the fact that his nice leather dress shoes were completely filled with mud (no exaggeration) by the time we were done. He had to wash them as best he could and hold them outside the car to dry as we drove the next day. To me, that part of the adventure was kind of funny. Maybe not so much to him.

It was all fun and games until we had to go back down and managed to find all the muddiest places.

3. A light raincoat

As I said before, it does rain a lot. However, it can also be warm in the summer. Be sure to pack a light raincoat that can breathe and with which you can possibly layer underneath.

Here’s a good one on Amazon

https://amzn.to/2Y5xnES

https://amzn.to/2Y5xnES

Please note that all Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. If you order something I may receive a small compensation, however, this will not affect your price in any way.

4. BUG SPRAY!

Oh, the infamous midges. What are those you ask? In my mind, they may just be the spawn of Satan. I suppose you could categorize them as a cross between a mosquito and a gnat. They’re very small biting flies that thrive in moist, lush wooded locations. As you can imagine, that’s most of the topography of Scotland. These little guys swarm en masse and greedily bite any area of exposed skin they can find. After they bite, you itch to high heaven for days.

Smile, then RUN!

So don’t shy away from the bug spray. I say reserve your DEET usage for this trip, especially if you’ll be hiking through the Highlands. If you remain in the cities, however, consider yourself lucky because midges won’t pose a threat.

5. A daypack

Just me, my daypack, and 1,000,000 birds on the Isle of Lunga.

This is important especially if you’ll be out in nature, or plan to buy a lot of souvenirs in the cities ;). A daypack will help you be prepared to either put on more layers or take them off. It will also allow you to have water handy in case it gets hot. If you’re like me, you may become a bit hangry if you haven’t eaten in a while so bringing some snacks along is always a good idea too. Many locations outside the cities in Scotland are quite remote so planning essential supplies ahead of time is key.

6. Sun stuff

My first visit to Scotland was exactly what I imagined it would be: a few sunny days mixed into mostly overcast or misty weather. However, all that changed when I went back the second time. I laughed in disbelief when the locals told us they were going through a heatwave but much to my surprise, they weren’t joking. Although it was absolutely incredible to have sunny, blue skies for the majority of our trip, this heatwave was no joke. There’s got to be some scientific evidence out there to prove that Scotland is somehow closer to the surface of the sun than other location because sunny summer days are incredibly bright and can get crazy hot! A hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water in these conditions are vital. Trust me. I’m not usually a hat person but bought one in a desperate attempt to block the intense sun from beating down on even the smallest part of my body because it really was quite unbearable.

This hat may look dumb but it was so hot I didn’t care!

7. A good camera

Get ready, you’re going to see scenery in Scotland that even as you stand there staring at it you have trouble believing is real. If you’ve seen any photos of beautiful ancient castles, rolling green hills, or beautiful crystal clear turquoise water in Scotland, they’re probably posted pretty darn close to their natural form. Scotland doesn’t need a filter. It’s just naturally stunning and gorgeous. Like, other-worldly gorgeous. I remember driving through the Quirang on the Isle of Skye thinking to myself that it looked like a real-life painting. There are no words worthy enough to describe it. If you’re like me, you will want to stop every five minutes to take a picture. I’ve taken these with my iPhone, but a good quality camera would have made them even more amazing.

8. A map

For the most part, cell service is pretty decent around the country. We’ve been consistently able to pull up interactive maps on our phones for directions.

However, there are some remote locations where cell service may be interrupted, making a good old-fashioned map quite necessary. We discovered this as we drove across the Isle of Mull and right in the middle of the island, our phone directions stopped working. Silly us, we didn’t have a “real” map on hand. I mean who does nowadays, right? Luckily, there was only one road taking us from point A to point B with no towns in between so we were ok. However, things could have become quite interesting if we had to do any more navigating along the way.

As you can see, you don’t need to pack a lot in order to enjoy all the treasures Scotland has to offer. If you plan ahead and make sure to include some important basics, neither rain nor sun, nor dreaded midges will hinder your trip, giving you the ability to enjoy it all like a pro and simply savor every moment.

Taiwan Taoyuan Airport-Taipei

This is a series meant to help you find the best of the best in lounges everywhere. Our 12-year-old, Jack has become a lounger-extraordinaire. He knows how to get the most out of any lounge experience and always manages to get our full money’s worth out of any visit. As a result, we have come up with a lounge rating system according to our very discerning lounge critic. Enjoy, and may you too achieve lounge nirvana!  

Jack’s Rating System (ABC’S)

1 (worst)-5 (best) 

Ambiance

Bathrooms

Comfort  

Sustenance 

=

Overall Score

____________________________________________________________________________

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Taipei, Taiwan

Terminal 2 Plaza Premium (D)

(Priority Pass)

Ambiance-3

Jack gave the ambiance of this lounge a 3 because he said, and I quote, “it wasn’t that ambiancy”. Hey, that’s what you get sometimes when you have a 12-year-old rating lounges. However from a more mature perspective, I thought it was basic but fine. They were playing classical Christmas music and had a lovely decorated Christmas tree which was pretty classy.

Bathrooms-2

The bathrooms were clean but pretty basic. Two stalls and no frills. Much to Jack’s disappointment, there were no showers available. And if you’re wondering, yes he has actually used lounge showers before. This kid! 😆

Comfort-3

Elijah making his Little Lounger debut!

Tables were pretty small, the majority of which were side tables situated between two chairs. However, these tables did house plugs for charging devices which was helpful, and the chairs were comfortable. Some additional 4-person tables and work stations were available but the seats were not as comfortable.

Sustenance-2

This lounge does not offer much variety with food and drink choices. Most of what was offered was what many would consider side dishes with the exception of about four different Chinese food options. Basic drink choices were available; like assorted sodas, water, coffee, and a very limited selection of alcohol. They were out of beer which brought the sustenance score in Jack’s Dad’s mind down significantly. However, Jack did love the crispy small hash browns offered and managed to pound down at least 4 platefuls of these delectable little morsels.

=

Overall Score: 2.5

Wondering what Jack thought of other lounges he’s visited? Check out some more of his facinating reviews here:

https://bunchabroad.wordpress.com/little-lounger/

USA-Detroit Airport

This is a series meant to help you find the best of the best in lounges everywhere.

Our 12-year-old, Jack has become a lounger-extraordinaire. He knows how to get the most out of any lounge experience and always manages to get our full money’s worth out of any visit. As a result, we have come up with a lounge rating system according to our very discerning lounge critic. Enjoy, and may you too achieve lounge nirvana!  

Jack’s Rating System

1 (worst)—5 (best) 

Ambiance

Comfort  

Sustenance 

Bathrooms 

=

Overall Score

________________________________________________________________________

USA-Detroit Airport

McNamara Terminal, Concourse A

Delta Detroit Sky Club Lounge

located after security on left, before the fountain

(AMEX Platinum card)

additional guests incur a $29 charge

Ambiance: 3

Comfort: 2IMG_2919

Sustenance: 3

Bathrooms: 4

=

OVERALL: 3

Jack said the ambiance of this lounge was “fine, but nothing interesting”. We have lounged here a couple of times now and the lounge has been very crowded every time. Comfort was given a 2 because there were very few chairs with tables, and no charging ports handy, making working on a device and eating difficult. Sustenance was originally rated lower until Jack found the macaroni and cheese and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Overall there were not many food choices and the serving area was under construction so most of the food options were placed in a makeshift corner of the lounge, making it feel almost like an afterthought.IMG_2925 However, Jack did love the macaroni and cheese and cookies so the overall sustenance rating jumped up to a 3. The bathrooms were awarded a 4 rating because Jack thought they were “impressive and fancy”. That’s about all the detailed description on that topic I could glean from this 12-year-old. So overall, not the best lounge rating this Little Lounger has awarded, but it will do as a way to spend some time before your flight out of Detroit.

And one last mom tip…

Make sure you stop by Chick-fil-A in the airport before you go to your gate. Buy a chicken sandwich for the road. Trust me, 2 hours into your flight you will remember you have that little bag of deliciousness and will thank me. 😉IMG_2930

Shanghai-Pudong Airport (Terminal 2)

This is a series meant to help you find the best of the best in lounges everywhere.

Our 12-year-old, Jack has become a lounger-extraordinaire. He knows how to get the most out of any lounge experience and always manages to get our full money’s worth out of any visit. As a result, we have come up with a lounge rating system according to our very discerning lounge critic. Enjoy, and may you too achieve lounge nirvana!  

Jack’s Rating System

1 (worst)—5 (best) 

Ambiance

Comfort  

Sustenance 

Bathrooms 

=

Overall Score

________________________________________________________________________

Shanghai Pudong Airport

Priority Pass Plaza Premium Lounge #77

Terminal 2

(Priority Pass)

Ambiance: 5

Comfort: 4

IMG_0735
No more paparazzi!

Sustenance: 4

Bathrooms: 5++

IMG_0741
Your throne awaits!

=

OVERALL: 4.5

Jack really liked the ambiance this lounge had to offer because you could look down over the gates at the airport. Although the sandwiches here are freshly made, Jack prefers the prepackaged ones he has found in most other lounges. What can I say, sometimes he likes the finer things in life and other times, he prefers to keep it simple. As for the bathrooms, those are what put this lounge’s rating over the top. Japanese Toto toilets with heated seats made Jack feel “fancy” and became his favorite bathroom out of all the lounges we have visited.