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Bitten by the ‘Scotland-bug’ and ready to pack your bags? Scotland may look smaller on a map, but there’s just so much to see. There are hidden gems in every pocket of the country that draws millions of tourists every year. So, how best can you explore it in little time? Here’s my list of top things to do if you only have a week.
This 6-day adventure-filled itinerary includes everything from skiing and bungee-jumping to road trips and city tours. Here’s a high-level view of what you’d be doing across the 6 days –
- Day 1: Glasgow
- Day 2: Skiing in Glencoe or Nevis Range mountain resort
- Day 3: Isle of Skye road trip
- Day 4: Bungee jumping & ziplining in Fort William
- Days 5&6: Edinburgh
We visited Scotland between March 16 – 21. Flights to Glasgow are cheaper than Edinburgh. Since our plan took us everywhere around Scotland, we stayed at different BNB’s every night. Most importantly, carry enough loose change to pay for parking.
ARRIVE IN GLASGOW
You’d spend your first day exploring Glasgow, the most populous city in Scotland. Pre-book and collect your car from the airport. Have a sumptuous breakfast at Singl-end, Garnethill, you’d have to walk quite a lot today.
After breakfast, explore Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis. The entry is free, but you might have to pre-book your visit to the Cathedral. Grab a quick lunch and if time permits, checkout the Riverside Museum – a hyper-modern museum with collections of historic vehicles and state-of-the-art interactive displays.
Drive close to Glencoe or Fort William for your overnight stay and sleep tight because you’ll have to be in the skiing resort as early as 9am, especially if you’re taking beginners lessons like we did.
KEEP CALM AND SKI ON
Did you know you can actually go skiing in Scotland? There are five outdoor ski resorts in Scotland. There’s also a large indoor snow centre, Snow Factor, just outside Glasgow, which offers year-round skiing on real snow. In addition, Scotland is home to ten artificial slopes, also sometimes called dry ski slopes, one of which has the longest artificial ski slope in Europe.
Since the Glencoe mountain resort was fully booked, we decided to take skiing lessons at the Nevis Range. Now, booking skiing classes is a tricky affair because the resort cannot operate if the weather is not conducive enough. You’d have to keep an eye on the resorts’ websites until 8am on the day to get live updates. So, the best advice we could give you is – plan in advance and pray! to the weather gods.
HOW TO BOOK BEGINNER’S LESSONS?
PRO-TIP: DO NOT purchase tickets online. Just call the resort and book your slot with one of the staff. This way, you secure a spot and not have to worry about refunds in case the weather worsens.
On the day, arrive at least 45-minutes before your lessons begin. You’ll not get anything other than a helmet and your skis. You’d be able to borrow a pair of waterproof pants too, but it’s wise to carry a jacket and waterproof pants.
If you’re a beginner, you’d be taught on an artificial surface and then given a beginner’s area to practice your skills.
‘ISLE OF SKYE’ ROAD TRIP
Scotland is a great destination for a road trip. The Isle of Skye is known for its rugged landscapes, picturesque fishing villages and medieval castles. Start no later than 10 am to cover all the places on this list –
There’s a fair bit of walking involved. So, dress for the weather.
Are you game for more adrenaline rush? We’ve got you covered. Today is all about jumping off a bridge and zipping through a dense forest. Drive to Highland Fling Bungee where you’d be experimenting with gravity. It’s important you book your activities in advance and as always, carry your jacket as it gets colder on the bridge. Fret not, they’ve got skilful and friendly staff to take care of you.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensionsOliver Wendell Holmes
With so much history and heritage, it’s time to embrace Scotland’s capital. Known for its outstanding architecture, Edinburgh is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. While two days may not be enough to explore the whole city, you would still have time to visit the best spots.
- Edinburgh Castle
- Royal mile walk
- Camera Obscura museum (we weren’t overly impressed. It might excite kids)
- The Scotch Whisky experience
- Calton Hill
- Palace of Holyrood House
- Harry Potter Tour
- Arthur’s Seat
You could also take a day trip to Stirling Castle and Kelpies, if you have more time.
We hope you fall in love with Scotland as much as we have and we also hope that this itinerary will make for a perfect vacation. This trip will definitely be one to remember.
Note that summer is a busy season for tourism. Try planning your trip during late spring or early fall to avoid large crowds.
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MORE PICS FROM THE TRIP
Because I’ve got loads of them and decided to show off 😉