Scotland, a beautiful country well-known for its interesting history and amazing scenery, has been attracting numerous visitors throughout the years. Whether you are visiting because of the dramatic mountains, valleys and forests, enchanting castles, the food or the proud and interesting people, you will never forget it. If you’re looking for an adventure, or just wish to relax and enjoy the scenery – Scotland is the place for you! We have prepared a round trip guide, so you would get the most out of your visit to Scotland.
Table of Contents
The capital of Scotland since the 15th century, Edinburgh, is the second most popular destination in the United Kingdom (just after London). This city marked by the combination of ancient and modern is situated on a volcanic rock and its cobblestone streets are filled with museums and pubs. Start your tour in the Old Town and walk along the Royal Mile to one of the most famous sights in the city, Edinburgh Castle. Make sure that you check the St Giles Cathedral and if you feel like walking, climb the Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat for some incredible panoramic views of the city.
Good thing to know: museums and galleries are free for visitors, so why not visit the Scottish National Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland.
Accommodation: Castle Rock Hostel, Safestay Edinburgh, High Street Hostel, Travelodge Edinburgh Central Princes Street
Food: The Bluebird Cafe, The Haven Cafe, Forage & Chatter, The Fishmarket
Get to Edinburgh:
- Plane: Edinburgh is well connected with other countries when the air traffic is concerned, and you can reach the city easily from Edinburgh airport by using either a shuttle bus or hiring a private transfer
- Train: The city of Edinburgh also has a good train connection with other cities in the UK. Most trains are operated by Scotrail.
- Bus: London – Edinburgh, Leeds – Edinburgh, Oxford – Edinburgh, Belfast – Edinburgh, Newcastle – Edinburgh, Manchester Airport – Edinburgh
Next stop is the beautiful city of Stirling, also known as the Gateway to the Highlands, it is also a place where many battles for Scottish independence took place. The city has grown around the magnificent Stirling Castle, located on top of the Stirling Still. One of the best preserved castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle attracts many visitors with its Great Hall Royal Palace and Chapel. Take a walk around the Old Town and marvel at the impressive stained glass on the Church of the Holy Rude or pay a visit to the Old Town Jail where you can enjoy Performance Tours or the view from the Observatory Tower. Remember Braveheart? Well, you can’t leave before visiting the National Wallace Monument that honors William Wallace and the Stirling Old Bridge, one of the oldest stone bridges in Scotland, and also the place where the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place.
Accommodation: Willy Wallace Hostel, Stirling Youth Hostel, Lost Guest House Stirling, Travelodge Stirling City Centre
Food: The Bannockburn Coffee House, The Allan Park Pub & Restaurant, Hermann’s, Birds & Bees, Breá
From Edinburgh to Stirling:
- Train: There are several daily departures, the journey lasts around 50 minutes and one-way ticket costs around €11.50 – timetable (from December 9th to May 18th); timetable (from May 19th to December 19th)
- Bus: Buses run from the main station in Edinburgh. The journey lasts around 1 hour and 20 minutes and the ticket costs around €10.40 – timetable
The former capital of Scotland is located on the banks of the River Tay. This Fair City is home to Scone Palace, once the crowning place of Scotland’s kings and a home to the Stone of Destiny (today you can see a replica) upon which the kings were crowned. There are a few castles nearby worth your visit, but we recommend the Huntingtower Castle and Balhousie Castle, home of the Black Watch Museum. If you wish to know more about history or art visit Perth Museum and Art Gallery (entrance is free!) where you can even see a collection of Pictish stones.
Accommodation: Travelodge Perth Central, Holiday Inn Express Perth, Salutation Hotel, New County Hotel, The Station Hotel
Food: Hinterland, Taste Perthshire
From Stirling to Perth:
- Train: There are several daily departures that pass through Stirling and go to Perth. The journey lasts around 40 minutes and off-peak one-way ticket costs €10, and anytime ticket costs around €16.50 – timetable
- Bus: There are several daily departures starting at 07.40 then every hour-two till 00:20. The journey lasts around 50 minutes and one-way ticket costs around €6.
This little Victorian town will charm you with its lovely stone houses, posh hotels and tea rooms. Pitlochry became popular after Queen Victoria stayed there in 1842, and you can even visit her former residence in nearby Blair Atholl, the Blair Castle. Castle Menzies built in the 16th century is another castle nearby, also worth seeing. If you are visiting during October you can witness Enchanted Forest, amazing sound and light show, and the Pitlochry Autumn Festival. And if you are looking for some peace and quiet head over to the Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder or the Queen’s View that overlooks Loch Tummel and enjoy the sights.
Accommodation: Pitlochry Backpackers Hotel, Pitlochry Youth Hostel, Swallow Fishers Hotel
Food: Escape Route Cafe, The Old Mill Inn, Steakhouse at the Acarsaid, McKay’s Restaurant and Bar
From Perth to Pitlochry:
- Train: There are several daily trains from Perth to Pitlochry. The journey lasts half an hour and one-way ticket costs €17.40. – timetable
- Bus: There are several daily buses from Perth to Pitlochry. The journey lasts about an hour and one-way ticket costs around €5. – timetable
5) Inverness & Loch Ness
Time to visit the capital of the Highlands and one of the oldest towns in all of Scotland, Inverness. You must have heard about Nessie. Well, most of the visitors come here because of the Loch Ness monster that is said to inhabit the lake south of Inverness. But, this town has many other things to offer, from the Inverness Castle built in 1847, Old High Church to Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. Make sure that you check out one of the town’s most impressive buildings, the Gothic Town House. And if you can’t get enough of those amazing castles, visit the nearby Urquhart Castle, one of the most visited castles in Scotland.
Accommodation: Inverness Youth Hostel, Highland Backpackers Inverness, BazPackers, Inverglen Guest House, The Royal Highland Hotel
Food: Comfort Foods, Nourish, Culloden Moor Inn, Ashes at the Phoenix
From Pitlochry to Inverness:
- Train: Several train departures, the journey lasts around 1 hour and 40 minutes, one-way ticket costs about €28. – timetable (from December 9th to May 18th); timetable (from May 19th to December 19th)
- Bus: There is a few bus departures from Pitlochry to Inverness, the first one is at 10:20 and the last one at 21:00. The journey lasts approximately 2 hours and a one-way ticket costs around €12.80. – timetable
6) Fort William
Fort William is a small town in the Highlands, located on the eastern shore of Loch Linnhe, close to Ben Nevis and other Munro mountains, which makes it an ideal starting point for hillwalking. If you don’t feel like hiking or walking, go on a cruise on Loch Linnhe. High Street is the heart of the town, and here you can find most of the pubs, restaurants and churches. Pay a visit to the West Highland Museum and St. Andrew’s Church.
Accommodation: Fort William Backpackers, Travelodge Fort William, Chase The Wild Goose Hostel
Food: The Lochy, Cobbs at Nevisport, The Food Stop, The Imperial Restaurant
From Inverness to Fort William:
- Bus: Line 919 connects Inverness and Fort William, the journey lasts 2 hours and one-way ticket costs €12.
A beautiful village situated in one of the most famous and beautiful places in Scotland, the Glencoe Valley. Spend some time at the Glencoe Museum, Glencoe and North Lorn local history museum and National Trust visitor centre to learn more about the place’s long and bloody history. You can’t visit Glencoe without exploring the valley! Movies like Braveheart, Skyfall and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were shot here, so take a stroll and let the spectacular mountainous scenery take your breath away.
Accommodation: Glencoe Youth Hostel, Ballachulish Hotel, The Glencoe Inn
Food: The Quarry Centre, Kingshouse Hotel Restaurant, The Laroch Restaurant & Bar, Clachaig Inn Restaurant
From Fort William to Glencoe:
- Bus: Citylink lines 914 and 915 connect Fort William and Glencoe. The journey lasts about half an hour and one-way ticket costs approximately €10.20.
The biggest city of Scotland is located on the banks of the River Clyde. This city has boomed in the last couple of years, and it is no wonder since it attracts numerous visitors with its sights, history and culture. If you are a fan of architecture visit the Gothic Glasgow Cathedral, George Square and the City Chambers. Can’t leave before visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (free entrance!) and the Riverside Museum. If you get tired of the city rush go for a stroll in the Botanical Gardens, but make sure that you check out one of many pubs in Glasgow for a good time!
Accommodation: Hot Tub Hostel, Euro Hostel Glasgow, Glasgow Youth Hostel, Alba Hostel Glasgow, Argyll Hotel
Food: Revolution, The Hug & Pint, Saint Judes, Stravaigin, BrewDog Glasgow
From Glencoe to Glasgow:
- Bus: There are several departures, lines 914, 915 and 916 operate on this route. The journey lasts about 2 hours and 40 minutes and ticket costs around €27.