Maybe it is just my algorithm, but I feel like I can’t stop seeing reels and TikToks about Scotland. There is a lot of hype surrounding Scotland, with its rugged Highlands, historic castles, and welcoming spirit. I’ve got to admit – I was a bit skeptical prior to our trip this year. Almost every time a place is really popular on social media (looking at you Blue Lagoon), I have a tendency to be disappointed when I arrive.
That was not the case in Scotland. It is every bit as wonderful as you’d expect.
From Edinburgh's regal charm to the dynamic contemporary culture of Glasgow, Scottish cities have a lot to offer. And then you get out into the nature and the Highlands... it's all wow. Blown away by the rugged beauty of Glencoe and rugged wilderness in Skye, each day promises new adventures. It was my most memorable trip of 2023! So if you’re thinking about traveling to Scotland, prepare to embark on a rewarding journey through a land steeped in ancient legends, dramatic landscapes, and vibrant contemporary culture.
Whether you're a seasoned explorer or a first-time visitor, this blog post is your passport to a two-week adventure through the very essence of Scotland. I break down the trip day-by-day with lots of detail about the various Scottish destinations. Scotland's timeless allure awaits—so let's dive in and experience it together!
Ultimate 2 Week Itinerary for the Best of Scotland
Day 1 & 2: Edinburgh
Kickstart your Scottish adventure in the historic, charming and iconic capital city of Scotland – Edinburgh. There is SO much to see and do in Edinburgh, so you’ll want to maximize your time with a solid plan. Spend your first day exploring the historic Old Town, wandering the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile and taking in the awe-inspiring views from the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Don’t miss a peek down some of the narrow alleyways, called Closes, that run perpendicular to the Royal Mile.
On the second day, immerse yourself in locally beloved haunts such as Dean’s Village and Leith River walking path. For panoramic vistas that showcase Edinburgh's beauty, Calton Hill is the place to be. In my opinion, it has the best views in the city. It is best enjoyed around sunset when the colors are magnificent and the atmosphere is buzzing. Don't miss a visit to the Lost Close to delve into the history of whiskey, Scotland's national spirit. You’ll sample 4 types of whisky from each corner of the country.
Looking for more resources about Edinburgh? I’ve got you covered with the following posts:
- The Perfect 48 Hour Itinerary for Edinburgh
- Essential List of Harry Potter Places to Visit in Edinburgh
- A Foodie’s Guide to Edinburgh’s Best Restaurants
Day 3: Stirling
Perched atop a massive hill overlooking the city, Stirling Castle is a must-visit spot in central Scotland. Only 1 hour outside of Edinburgh, Stirling Castle dates back over a thousand years. It has been a royal residence, military stronghold, and symbol of Scottish power. Its stunning facade, with its ornate gates, towers, and battlements, is a testament to the wealth and ambition of the Stuart monarchs.
Visitors can explore the beautifully restored Great Hall, the Royal Palace, and the Renaissance Palace. From the castle's elevated position, you will get incredible sweeping panoramic views of Stirling and the surrounding countryside, including the Ochil Hills and the Wallace Monument in the distance.
Day 4: Central Scotland Highlights
As you make your way north, you will pass through a number of cute small towns in central Scotland. Dalwhinnie Distillery is surrounded by sweeping landscapes of heather-clad moors, craggy mountains, and pristine lochs. The distillery is impressive and iconic in appearance, offering daily tours and tastings. Grab one of Scotland’s best breads and baked goods at Aran Bakery just off the highway. Take a scenic detour along Loch Tay until you reach the Falls of Dochart. These lovely waterfalls gently cascade over a series of rocky steps weaving through granite boulders before flowing under a dramatic stone bridge.
Pitlochry, a charming town in the heart of Scotland, has a vibrant town center with lots of cute locally-owned shops. The town is also a gateway to the stunning Ben Vrackie mountain, where a hike rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Spend the night on the outskirts of Pitlochry at Atholl Palace Hotel. This historic Victorian gem sits atop a large hill and is even visible from the highway. It has stunning panoramic views of the area. It offers luxurious accommodations, fine dining, and leisure facilities, including a spa and pool.
Day 5: Cairngorms National Park
The UK's largest national park sprawls across 4,500 square kilometers, most of which has been left as raw, untamed beauty. Spend the day exploring the park's diverse landscapes, from the ancient Caledonian forests to the towering peaks. The park's centerpiece is the Cairngorms mountain range, which includes five of the six highest peaks in Scotland.
Hike, bike or take the funicular railway to the summit of CairnGorm Mountain for awe-inspiring vistas. These majestic mountains, adorned with granite cliffs and craggy peaks, are some of the most photographed natural scenery in Scotland.
Cairngorms National Park is also home to some of Scotland's most iconic wildlife, including red deer, golden eagles, ospreys, and the elusive Scottish wildcat. Nature enthusiasts can embark on guided tours for glimpses of these remarkable animals in their natural habitats.
Day 6: Speyside
The River Spey is one of Scotland’s cleanest and longest rivers, providing an excellent source of fresh water. Given that water is a key ingredient in distillation, it is unsurprising that many whisky distillers have opened up shop in this region. Speyside is the heart of Scotland's whisky country, and a visit here promises a taste of Scotland's liquid gold. it is often referred to as the "Whisky Capital of the World”. A few of my favorite distilleries in Speyside include Aberlour Distillery, Cragganmore Distillery, and Balvenie Distillery.
Day 7: Inverness
From Speyside to the capital of the Highlands, your 2 week journey through Scotland takes you to Inverness. On you way into town, pay your respects to one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history at the Culloden Battlefield Memorial. It stands as a poignant tribute to the Battle of Culloden, the final battle of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. In a few short hours, over 1,500 Jacobite highlander soldiers lost their lives, forever changing the landscape of Scottish history.
Inverness is a relatively small city easily explored on foot in an afternoon. There are several options for food and accommodation, as well as a few nice attractions, such as the Victorian Market and Greig Street Bridge. Pop into the well-mainted Old High Church.
Perhaps the most well known thing to do around Inverness is Loch Ness. You can search for the mythical Loch Ness Monster on the shores of one of Scotland’s deepest freshwater lakes. The picturesque villages of Drumnadrochit and Fort Augustus have museums dedicated to the lore of the Loch Ness Monster.
Day 8-10: Isle of Skye
Known for its rugged landscapes, picturesque villages and majestic viewpoints, the Isle of Skye is a quintessential destination in Scotland that has practically mythic allure. As the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago, Skye has a jagged coastline of peninsulas and narrow lochs, radiating out from a mountainous interior. Isle of Skye is a paradise for nature enthusiasts seeking a glimpse of Scotland's wild beauty.
Spend your time exploring enchanting Fairy Pools, wandering through the enchanting Fairy Glen, and taking in the breathtaking views from the Old Man of Storr. Visit ancient castles such as Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, or Eilean Donan Castle, a well-maintained castle on a bay near the Isle of Skye bridge. Eat as much fresh seafood as you can and pop into the Isle of Skye Candle Co. for a souvenir that smells like your vacation memories.
Day 11: Glencoe
Take the ferry from Isle of Skye back to the mainland at Mallaig, continuing your road trip to Glenfinnan Viaduct. This iconic bridge is one of the most famous Harry Potter filming locations in Scotland, most well known from the second film when Ron & Harry fly the Weasley’s car to Hogwarts. It weaves through the arches of the bridge and nearly gets hit by the Hogwarts Express train.
Journey on to Glencoe, a place of awe-inspiring natural beauty .Glencoe's rugged terrain is nothing short of legendary. Towering, craggy peaks, including the famous Three Sisters, encircle a lush glen (or valley) carved by glaciers millennia ago. The glen's breathtaking beauty is accentuated by cascading waterfalls, serene lochs, and winding trails. For outdoor enthusiasts, Glencoe is a playground like no other. Hikers and climbers flock to its challenging peaks, including Buachaille Etive Mòr and Bidean nam Bian, or even Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the UK.
Day 12: Oban
Oban, often referred to as the "Gateway to the Isles," is a surprisingly cute harbor town renowned for its maritime heritage and warm hospitality. Hike up to McCaig's Tower, a colosseum-like structure that offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding islands. Visit the Oban Distillery to discover the secrets of whisky production. It was one of our favorite distillery tour that we did in Scotland. The guides are so passionate and informative with generous tasting pours.
Indulge in an abundance of fresh seafood at one of the many fish restaurants in town. If you want to get out to some of the further flung islands in Scotland, a number of ferries depart from Oban. Take in Oban’s picturesque harbor at sunset when the sun shimmers amid bobbing fishing boats and sailboats.
Day 13: Loch Lomond
From Oban, drive about 3 hours to the picturesque shores of Loch Lomond, the largest freshwater loch in Great Britain. Stop for a walk in Luss, a tiny village with just 120 residents. The town has become popular, thanks to its traditional slate stone cottages, beautiful lakeside beach, and a serene atmosphere. It feels like the cottage-core aesthetic come to life.
Grab a farm-fresh treat at Auchentullich Farm Shop. They specialize in fresh dairy and produce with highland cows onsite. You should definitely try the Tablet ice cream! Enjoy a scenic boat ride on Loch Lomond with Sweeney’s Cruise Co. Encircled by rolling hills, lush forests, and dramatic mountain peaks, Loch Lomond has crystal-clear waters which often reflect the sky perfectly creating a beautiful mirrored effect. Spend the night at the luxurious Cameron House on the lake, which has housed Great Britain’s elites for generations.
Day 14: Glasgow
Conclude your 2-week Scottish adventure in Glasgow, a city in the midst of brand makeover. While Glasgow can be rough around the edges, it is 100% worth a visit. I love a city with some grit and character. At its core, Glasgow is a cultural powerhouse. Explore the city's cultural treasures, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the People’s Palace, and the Glasgow Cathedral. Sign up for a street art tour to get a glimpse into the modern culture of Glasgow. Glasgow's modern energy and rich history provide a fitting end to your Scottish journey, leaving you with cherished memories of this enchanting land.
Have thoughts or questions about spending 2 weeks in Scotland? Tell me in the comments below!
Share this story