Scotland is a beautiful travel destination. It has everything from its dramatic history to its spectacular landscape. The country is truly enchanting. It may look like a tiny country on the map, but planning your itinerary can be overwhelming. There are too many castles, cities, mountains, and countryside to visit, it is hard to choose where to begin.
Don’t you worry. This guide will help you plan a perfect trip to Scotland. It will tell you everything you need to know about the country, how to plan your itinerary and many other details about your trip. By the end of this guide, you have what you need to have a successful trip to this awesome destination.
The Best Time to Visit Scotland
Every season in Scotland has its own appeal. It is not much different from the weather in this country season after season. We have divided the season into three: the high season, shoulder season, and the low season.
Just like the other places in Europe, the high season in Scotland runs from July to mid-September. This season has the best weather, but the spots tend to be a bit crowded, and rentals are higher. However, you will have more time to visit the places because the days are longer and the weather is warmer.
Many visitors love to visit Scotland during the shoulder season. During this time, the weather is cooler, and the leaves are yellow and orange. The feeling is different and not too touristy. There will be a few sunny days but expect a lot of rain.
During the low season, expect the temperatures to be cooler, and it’s gonna be rainy with a chance of snow. Traveling to Scotland during this time means you have to pack some rain jackets and an umbrella and wear waterproof boots.
Traveling Around Scotland
A trip around Scotland starts at Edinburgh Airport. The best way to travel around Scotland is via a motorhome rental. It is even better when you are in a group. However, be prepared. Driving in Scotland is different as Scots drive on the left side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right.
The roads in Scotland have roundabouts instead of stoplights and signs to manage the roads. Therefore, familiarize yourself with driving in roundabouts before your trip.
The last point to know about driving in Scotland is that the roads on the North Coast 500 are narrow and single track. Only one vehicle can pass at a time, and the passing points are at every 400 meters. The car that is nearest the passing point should be the first to yield.
Public Transportation in Scotland
It is alright to travel around the Scottish Highlands on public transport. The buses and trains often travel around remote destinations. You can reach popular destinations like Loch Ness, Oban, Fort William, or the Isle of Skye by public transport.
You can use Scottish Ferries for Island Hopping. Many islands have no public transport. From the terminal, you can use the local taxis, hire bikes, or walk.
Make sure to purchase travel passes by Scotrail if you are planning to use public transport. Plan the trip accordingly and check for the unlimited options to ensure that the travel pass is worth it,
Guided Tours in Scotland
Availing of guided tours is the most convenient option to visit Scotland. Here, everything is well taken care of including your transport, the routes, even the accommodation and meals for some packages.
It has its pros, like a worry-free travel experience and a guide on board. However, it can also be limiting, and most often you’ve got to spend little time at each destination.
Ten Things You Should Know Before Going to Scotland
Here are some interesting facts and things that you should know about Scotland before visiting this beautiful country.
Scotland is a nation of its own
The country is not part of England, but it is a separate nation with its own culture, history, and heritage. When you are visiting Scotland, don’t make the mistake of grouping the Scots with the English. It would be insulting to refer to a Scottish person, “English.”
Scottish Speaks English
Of course, the Scottish speaks English, but you will find it hard to understand the first time. They use unique phrases and have a thick accent.
Get Ready to be Wowed
A road trip around Scotland means seeing the stunning rugged mountains wrapped in thick heather draping the landscape with purple and green. They are timeless, and the views are amazing. You would not want to leave.
There is no trespassing in Scotland, and everyone can roam along the countryside, including the farms are allowed. However, the rule does not apply to military bases, houses, and gardens. Tourists can enjoy the land and water safely and responsibly.
Here Comes the Sun
Scotland is known for its notorious weather. When traveling to Scotland, know when to expect clouds, rain, wind, and the occasional sun. Always have a rain jacket and waterproof boots.
Keep to the Left
There is an etiquette that you have to follow when you are walking or crossing the street in Scotland, “keep left.” It might take some getting used to, especially if you are coming from a country that keeps to the right.
Haggis is a Must Try
Don’t leave Scotland without tasting this dish, haggis. This is a traditional dish from the highlands made from a savory combination of sheep’s liver, lungs, and heart mixed with oats, onions, salt, spices, and stock.
Ride the First Class Cabin
While taking the train, try upgrading to first class. The seats are comfier and wider, and it comes with free beverages. You can also have Wi-Fi and electrical sockets for your gadgets.
If there is one thing you should know about before going to Scotland, it’s the smidges. They are the tiny flying insects the can get into your nose, eyes, and mouth, and every exposed skin. These flying demons fly in swarms and bite. Bring a bug spray and cover your skin.
Ayie Lassie and Lads
Some of the few words you will often hear in Scotland are loch, hill, ben, and glen. These are not names of people but the natural features of the land. Lochs are lakes, hill or ben means mountain, while glen is valleys.
There you have it. Some helpful tips on how to plan your trip to Scotland. Once you have made a decision on how long you will visit the place, the next thing you should do is to plan on the activities you are interested in. It will help you to plan the itinerary.