Getting ready for Scotland wasn’t an easy thing to do as there is so many things to see!
Lochs, mountains, castles (not all are haunted), national park without forgetting hundreds of islands. Don’t panic, we help you see clearer.
We left 10 days, so we had some choices to made for this first visit in the Mackay Clan country.
Unfortunately, we will not talk about the 790 islands that Scotland has, but the main islands.
Each seems to have its own landscape and wonders, here is an article that will give you a quick idea of the 15 most beautiful to visit.
We finally chose Skye, accessible by a bridge which allowed us to save time by avoiding the Ferry.
Skye is the most popular island and therefore the busiest, but it does not detract from its breathtaking scenery!
Best time to go
No matter what time you choose to leave, you should expect to get some rain. Somewhere that’s the charm of Scotland: its misty, rainy landscapes that give your pictures that mysterious dark side!
Still, it’s better to opt for spring or summer if you want to avoid rain. Be careful however, the closer you get to the summer period, the more the island will be flooded with tourists.
April- May seems to me to be a good compromise weather / peak period.
Little tip: we thought to be careful not traveling during the French school period, it would have been even smarter to check the local school holidays!
We flight with Easy Jet Paris CDG, with extra luggage we paid 160 euros per person. To be sure of finding the best prices you can use the Kayak comparator.
Feedback on these flights, I do not know if we played bad luck but we had 2 hours late two way. Problem in Lisbon that seems to be recurrent.
How to travel around?
It’s the best way to be independent. We chose to pick up the car in the city center of Edinburgh to spend few days there, on the way back and forth (Price 180 euros for 7 days).
As in all countries, they offered extra insurance, of course it is up to everyone to make it’s decision, but know that agents will push very insistently, we declined and everything went very well.
To note anyway :
We will have to drive on the left!
Roads outside the big cities are full of holes and very poorly maintained, be careful!
The island is served by a large bus service but they will only take you to the most famous places. The company we met most is CityLink, you can book tickets for the day but also pass longer periods (3 days, 5 days, several weeks).
To get from Edinburgh airport we took the Airlink bus, line 100 which will take you directly to the center of Edinburgh.
Price : 9 euros back and forth
Where should you stay?:
We opted again for Guesthouses, however be careful, plan your bookings as soon as you can as there is not enough accommodations for the amount of tourists. Two months minimum before your departure!
We did not make the same mistake as in Azores, this time we spent at least 2 nights in each accommodation, less tiring and most of all we saved time.
Here is a small sample of the accommodations that we have enjoyed:
Edinburgh : Cosy and welcoming
Located in New town, only 10/15 min walk from the historic center, this apartment is as charming as its hosts, very welcoming and friendly it is one of our best memory in Scotland. Our room was very large, cozy and comfortable, as the rest of the apartment.
Loch Lomond : The small hut in the woods
To live an atypical experience we spent 2 days in this little hut.
It’s rustic, not very comfortable but being in the middle of nature, getting warm with a good fire and waking up with a view on a small waterfall in the middle of nowhere is priceless!
The access is very complicated we will not hide it, we had to do 10km on slippery “roads” and borrowed only by the owners. (we wouldn’t recommend it during winter)
Price : 68€/night
Dunvegan – Skye: Pure hapiness
In addition of being amazed by our stay on the Isle of Skye, this house was the cherry on the cake. Large, luxurious, without forgetting of course the jacuzzi that allowed us to spend beautiful and long evenings admiring the sunset. DO NOT MISS
Price : 100€/night
Day 1/2 : Edinburgh
Day 3/4 : Loch Lomond
Day 5 : The Highlands
Day 6/7/8 : Isle of Skye
Day 9 : Cairngorms Parc National
Day 10/11 : Edinburgh
Hiking was the main activity of our stay, if you want to know more check out Walkhighlands
It has all the information you need: GPS maps, duration, level of difficulty and especially dates of the trails opening.
Our 10-day road trip cost us about 1,800€ (included = flights, transfers, nights, food, car rental, gas, waterfalls / parks entrance)
Fligts : 318€
Car rental : 180€
Gas : 130€
Airbnb : 850€
Food : 100€
Visits/Restaurants : 200€
And now let’s go explore Scotland!
Links to :
- Edinburgh: One of the most beautiful European Capitals
- Scotland – From loch Lomond to the Highlands
- Scotland – On the road to the isle of Skye