Solo travel in Scotland

Types of Girls about the Globe (GatG)– Castle GatG, Harry Potter GatG, Hiking GatG, History GatG, Nature GatG

If you are considering travelling in Scotland, below is our guide to how to travel solo in Scotland as well as lots of practical information such as where to stay, which tour company to use and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airport and what to do in each place.

All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article.

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Solo travel in Scotland

Solo Travel in Scotland

Scotland is an incredible place for solos. The locals are friendly, the country is safe and the scenery is breathtaking. That’s why we’ve given it 5 out of 5 stars. Edinburgh is incredibly friendly; just spend a night in any bar and you’ll soon be chatting to the locals.

There are plenty of places to visit in Scotland as a solo. No where is really out of bounds and Scotland gives you as much solitude or social activity as you search for. Hiking is safe but you may want to ensure you don’t venture too far off the beaten track in case of any injuries. 

Scotland does live up to its stereotype with Haggis on all the menus and Bagpipes playing (in Edinburgh at least). Edinburgh loves fireworks so expect to see some displays during their festivals and New Year (which they call Hogmannay). To meet others join one of the Scotland Meet Up groups to meet other women who are living or travelling there. Below are the best places to visit in Scotland for all types of solos.

Solo travel in Scotland

Places To Visit in Scotland

Edinburgh

Although it is part of the United Kingdom, Scotland borders England and is situated in the north of Great Britain. It’s known for its friendly locals, stunning landscapes and good seafood. Scotland remains very natural and untouched, even Loch Ness isn’t touristy.

Edinburgh is the capital and this city is bursting with history, Scottish pubs and plenty to do. It really is the ideal starting point for a trip in Scotland and has an international feel to it making it easy to meet others. Both the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh have been included as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Edinburgh used to be one of the world’s most putrid cities due to their problematic way of disposing sewage. Once known as ‘Auld Reekie’ (translating to ‘Old Smelly’) it has now re-branded itself as the “Athens of the North.”

Solo Travel in Scotland

Edinburgh has so much history. Walk through one of the narrow paths to get a feel of how the city was in bygone times. The oldest house here dates back to 1617. Taking one of the free walking tours gives an insight into the Medieval citys' past. You’ll learn how the buildings used to be several stories high with wooden shelters on top (which were home to the poor). You'll also explore the Grassmarket area where grass-fed animals were bought and sold (hence the name). It was also the area where public executions were held.

Apparently, The Last Drop was the last place they took the people who were being executed in the streets. It is now an atmospheric pub where you can enjoy traditional Scottish food and a tipple. The oldest pub in Grassmarket dates back as far as 1516! This vibrant area is an ideal place to sit al fresco in the summer and people watch.

Edinburgh was named the first World UNESCO city of Literature and has inspired hundreds of novels. Literary GatGs should head to the Writers’ Museum on the Royal Mile. This building is hundreds of years old and was built in 1622. The museum celebrates the works of Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. One of the most famous novels said to be inspired by Scotland is JK Rowling’s, Harry Potter. Nicolson’s Cafe was one of the cafes where JK Rowling used to write from. Princes Street is one of the main shopping streets and where you can dine to your hearts’ content.

Solo Travel in Scotland

In the evenings you can join a literary pub tour, meet locals in the pub or get spooked on a ghost tour that takes you to Edinburgh’s creepiest sites including Greyfrairs Graveyard. It is said that JK Rowling would find names from the cemetery to include in her books. There’s even a Harry Potter shop in the city!

Edinburgh Castle marks the beginning of the Royal Mile which stretches to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It was once a processional route and nowadays there is plenty to see and do along this historical thoroughfare. 

St Giles’ Cathedral is one of the most impressive pieces of architecture along the Mile. This 14th Century church with a crown steeple has beautiful stained windows and the famous Thistle Chapel which was home of the Knights of the Order of the Thistle. Near to the cathedral is the statue of David Hume, Scotland’s favourite philosopher. Tradition has it that rubbing his toe will bring you good luck.

Solo Travel in Scotland

If you only have time to go to one museum in Edinburgh, make it the National Museum of Scotland. It’s free and in the Top 20 most visited museums and galleries in the world. You can spend all day here wandering around the three levels discovering Scottish history and the natural world. There are 20,000 artefacts here and the roof offers great views of the city.

Other good museums to see are the Surgeons’ Hall Museums which are home to one of the most historic pathology collections in the UK. It’s not for everyone but once used as a medical teaching resource you can now visit this fascinating place. Camera Obscura has five floors of illusions with interactive exhibits such as Victorian and 3D cityscapes. Or you can just watch yourself grow and stretch in a visual effect. Perfect for a rainy day.

You don’t have to go far to immerse yourself in some nature either. Holyrood Park is just one mile away from Edinburgh Castle, near to the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyrood House. The highest point here is Arthur’s Seat, the remains of an extinct volcano that offers some of the city’s best views. It takes approximately 2 hours to climb for the 360-degree views so wear your walking shoes. Whilst you’re here walk the track around the cliffs or learn more about the park’s geology and history at the Information Centre.

* Click here for Edinburgh activities, prices and availability

Solo travel in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

The highlight in Edinburgh has to be Edinburgh Castle that dominates the skyline. Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Europe and was built on basalt rock formed by a 350-million-year old volcano. The castle is full of quirky stories that you can read as you wander around but wear flat shoes as it can be a bit hilly. As you enter a warning of war sits above the gate. Inside you’ll find the National War Museum, the Scottish National War Memorial, and the Prisons of War where you can discover the grim realities of war.

Join the long queue for the Stone of Destiny – an ancient symbol of the monarchy – and the Scottish Crown Jewels, the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles and worn by Mary Queen of Scots.

Military history is important to the city and for several months of each year you can see the stadium for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo perched high on the walls near the Edinburgh Castle. If you are there during August it is definitely worth buying a ticket to attend the event to watch performances by international military bands and witness a spectacular parade.

* Click here for Edinburgh castle tickets, prices and availability

Solo travel in Scotland

Scotland's Cities

Although Edinburgh is the country’s most vibrant city, there are plenty of other Scottish cities to visit. Inverness has been voted the happiest place in Scotland. Lying at the mouth of Loch Ness, Inverness was formerly a town that has been upgraded to a city status. Take a walk along the riverbank, see the castle, discover more about the history and culture of the city at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, or just dine in one of the city’s main restaurants. If you have time, just a short walk from Inverness city centre are a small group of islands called the Ness Islands connected by foot bridges.

If you love seafood, Oban is the seafood capital of Scotland. This resort town on the west coast is a gateway to the Hebridean Islands and has an impressive Colosseum structure that overlooks the bay. Visit Dunollie Castle (which is now a ruin), the Oban Distillery, and Dunstaffnage Castle which is 3 miles outside of the city. You don’t need to worry about feeling alone here at night either as they hold regular Ceilidh nights where you can try traditional Scottish dancing and join arms with others. 

Solo Travel in Scotland

En route to Oban is the old mining town of Tyndrum. The West Highland Way passes through here. Although there isn’t much to see here there is a tourist centre for this village that once had a brief gold rush.

If you make it to Falkirk, see the Falkirk Wheel, a rotation boat lift that is the only one in the world! You can take a boat trip to see it. Near Falkirk are the Kelpies, the largest equine sculptures in the world. These 31 metre high horse heads (a shape-shifting mythological creature from Scottish legends), are even more impressive lit up at night.

Solo Travel in Scotland

Glasgow

Glasgow is the country’s largest city and has been voted one of the friendliest. With more than 20 museums and art galleries it is a destination for the arty and museum GatG. Both the Riverside Museum, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum are two of the best museums in the city, showcasing incredible art collections and state-of-the-art galleries. Shopping GatGs should head to the Style Mile near Buchanan Street for vintage, boutique, and high-street shops.

If you love architecture, make sure that you see the Glasgow School of Art, the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a Scottish architect. For music GatGs you’ll find plenty of music events to fulfil your evenings such as King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, a concert room for international acts and bands. If you’re looking for arts, shopping and culture then add Glasgow to your list.

* Click here for Glasgow activities, prices and availability

Solo travel in Scotland

The Scottish Highlands

From Glasgow you can venture into the Scottish Highlands. Loch Lomond is just one hour’s drive and if there is any lake (or loch) that will capture your heart, it is Loch Lomond. One of Scotland’s two national parks, it is the loch that inspired love songs and tales of amor. You’ll find this iconic location in the heart of the Trossachs National Park where you can take a boat trip, jet ski across the lake, kayak or canoe or just sit and feel the love. There are more than 30 islands here!

Scotland’s second national park is the Cairngorms National Park with mountains, rivers, lochs and forest trails to mountain bike in. For skiing GatGs this is the place to come in the winter. It’s the snowiest plateau in Britain. For whisky GatGs you can make your way along the Malt Whisky Trail and enjoy a tipple at a Aviemore bar.

Beinn Eighe is Britain’s oldest National Nature Reserve. This area of nearly 5000 hectares with preserved ancient forest is a fantastic example of the ancient Scottish Highlands with mountain peaks and hills. Stretching from Lock Maree to the mountains, there are two trails where you can keep your eyes peeled for wildlife en route. The woodland trail is an easy walk and takes about one hour to complete.

Solo travel in Scotland

If on your bucket list is hiking the highest mountain in the UK, head to the Grampian Mountains to Ben Nevis. This 1,345 metre high mountain has incredible views and will take you seven hours to climb. If you are going to hike to the top then the best time to do it is between June and September.

At the foothills of Ben Nevis is Fort William, the country’s outdoor capital. This is where you can hike the Great Glen Way which stretches from Fort William to Inverness over 117km. You can start from various points on the way. This area is definitely one for the active GatG. You can go mountain biking, try your hand at archery, go white water rafting or even climbing. In the winter months you can ski or snowboard down the slopes too.

Solo travel in Scotland

Correshalloch Gorge is easy to navigate if you don’t have the confidence hiking alone. Walk along the loop walk to see the waterfall and experience the wobbly suspension bridge before heading to the picturesque Loch Maree viewpoint. Loch Karen is also nice and has a waterside cafe where you can sit and enjoy the tranquility. 

Loch Torridon is also a place for the outdoors GatG with hiking opportunities and a stunning viewpoint. With cliffs, gorges and green slopes this natural area has a seven mile hike up the coast which starts ten miles away from Torridon village. The Torridon Resort Hotel on the shores of Loch Torridon looks like a small castle and is an ideal place for traditional pub grub. 

Another highlight of Scotland is Glen Coe, one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. This deep valley carved out by volcanic explosions and glaciers has starred in James Bond’s Skyfall, and Harry Potter movies. Located near the banks of Loch Leven, hiking here feels incredibly surreal.

Solo travel in Scotland

If you love lakes and legends then you have to go to Loch Ness. This deep, freshwater lake is the source of one of Britain’s biggest mysteries: the Loch Ness Monster. Although you won’t spot ‘Nessie,’ you will more than likely spot Steve, the longest Nessie hunter who lives by the edge of the loch in his wooden caravan. Considering Loch Ness is so famous, it is very underrated and tourism is at a surprising minimum here. There are Scottish castles around the loch and the 23 mile loch oozes a calmness.

If you don’t see any Highland cattle on your travels around Scotland, you can definitely see them at Kilmahog near to Kilmahog Woollen Mill. These rugged-looking cows are everywhere though so keep your eyes peeled as you travel around (the white ones are apparently rare!)

Solo travel in Scotland

Harry Potter in Scotland

Edinburgh isn’t the only connection to JK Rowling’s magical world. You can also see ‘Hogwarts Express’ as it chugs across the Glenfinnan Viaduct, 100 ft above the ground. The Glenfinnan Monument is in the most stunning location with views across the fountains out to Loch Shiel, and is one of the most picturesque in the country. The 18 metre high monument is a tribute to those who fought in the Jacobite Risings and you can take a tour to the top of the monument.

Solo travel in Scotland

Scottish History 

Scotland is abundant in history. The Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746 was one of the pivotal moments in British history. The blood shed on this path of moorland still influences who we are today. The Culloden Battlefield was the site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising that took place in 1745. The museum shows a reconstruction of how the battle took place, the last battle to be fought on British soil. Access to the battlefield is free but you may want to visit the museum which is £6 to enter.

Clava Cairns is one of the country's prehistoric sites with burial cairns dating back 4000 years. This Bronze Age cemetery is really well preserved and you can walk into the entrance passage of these standing stones. It is a small site and doesn’t take long to see.

To experience life as a Highlander visit the Highland Folk Museum for an insight into their culture which is culturally different from the lowlands. There isn’t that much to see here but if you’ve ever wanted to see a sheep fank (yes that is a thing), stone houses and smoke houses with thatched roofs, it’s worth stopping off here for a couple of hours. You can visit the sweet ship and even try your hand at spelling in old-fashioned ink during a lesson in the museum’s school.

See the historic National Wallace Monument at Stirling and climb to the top of the tower to learn more of Sir William Wallace, Scotland’s National Hero. The views from here are good too; as well as city views you can also see the hills and Loch Lomond. Stirling itself has a rich heritage. Wander through the old Victorian Arcade that was built in the late 19th Century and explore the historic Old Town before taking in even more views from Stirling Castle.

Solo travel in Scotland

Scotland's Castles

Scotland has more than 2000 castles! Many are in ruins, and some of them have even appeared on the big screen (or Netflix anyway). The famous Doune Castle has starred in Highlander, Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Monty Python. It has one of the best preserved great halls in Scotland. When you are in Doune, pop into The Grail, a boutique crafts drink shop for one of their regular whisky tastings.

Eileen Donan Castle is one of the iconic images of Scotland. Located on a small island this picturesque 13th Century castle is at the point where three lochs meet  and is surrounded by majestic mountains. It has starred in Highlander and the James Bond film, The World is Not Enough.

Solo Travel in Scotland

Another scenic castle is Kilchurn Castle, a ruined castle on a rocky peninsula before the small village of Tyndrum. Glamis Castle is stunning. Close to Edinburgh, it was once the home of the Queen Mother as a child and is said to have a haunted chapel and clock tower. Dunrobin Castle is like something out of a fairy tale book. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited houses in Scotland and is open between April to October.

St. Conan's Kirk is a 20th Century church with many different styles and unique architecture including a Celtic cross, a Norman doorway and a Stone circle. There’s a reason that this church has been voted one of the Top 10 buildings in Scotland.

These castles are only a few of the country’s best ones to see. There are honestly so many that you could be here for weeks seeing them all. For one of the most famous ruins in Scotland, head to Melrose Abbey with its hobgoblin sculptures and magnificent architecture.

Solo travel in Scotland

Scotland's Islands

The Isle of Skye is Scotland’s most well-known island and one of the biggest. This Scottish island has Europe’s most expensive road bridge, and some stunning scenery for hiking. Formed by an extinct volcano, the island is known as the ‘The Winged Isle' in Gaelic.

Portree is the island’s capital and largest town. It is where you can see the iconic colourful houses along the harbour. This is where the locals come to shop. If you are visiting in July or August buy a midge mask from a shop called Inside Out, to protect you from the biting insects on your hikes. MacKenzie’s Bakery is a good place to grab some lunch on the go.

Kyleakin is the first village as you come across the road bridge. The small village is beautiful at dawn. Hire wellington boots at low tide and walk across to Caisteal Maol, enchanting castle ruins from the 15th Century. Or interact with the fisherman (the ones wearing yellow trousers) at Saucy Mary’s, a bar, restaurant and hotel. You can also spot otters here.

The highlight in Skye is the Old Man of Storr, a large pillar of rock that dominates the landscape. You can walk up to the rock formation but it can only really be seen when the weather is good.

This island has plenty of hikes for the nature and hiking GatGs. In the north walk the Quiraing loop, a tall ridge with cliffs and plateaus that takes you past rock pinnacles and lochs. Formed by a landslip this landscape apparently was once used by the islanders to hide their cattle from Viking raiders.

Solo Travel in Scotland

The Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle are an easier walk. These deep pools are crystal clear in the perfect weather and are at the foot of the Cuillin Mountains. Just be careful if it’s been raining as the river level rises and you may not be able to cross it to get there or back.

The island also has the oldest inhabited (continuously) inhabited castle in Scotland, Dunvegan Castle. You can take a tour of the castle and explore the gardens too. The Highland Games are held on the Isle of Skye in August so you may want to avoid this time if you are not planning to attend the games.

The Isle of Skye isn’t the only island here but make sure you see at least one on your visit. The Orkney Islands are an archipelago in the northeast with tall cliffs and 6,000 year old Neolithic sites. You can also spot seals here too. Visit Skara Brae, the Standing Stones of Stenness, and the Ring of Brodgar.

If you are visiting Orkney make sure that you go to the Shetland Isles too. These 15 inhabited islands have a Viking heritage and more than 30 ruins of Viking longhouses. Trace the history of the islands at the Shetland Museum & Archives.

The Slate Islands are on the west coast near to Oban. Easdale Island is the smallest inhabited island of the Inner Hebrides. It was once the centre of the Scottish slate industry and you can see the old workers’ cottages at the Easdale Folk Museum. The island is walkable.

Solo travel in Scotland

Whisky Distilleries

Whisky GatGs should head to one of the country’s many distilleries to sample the country’s favourite tipple. Rassay Distillery on the Isle of Raasay even has live music events so you can enjoy your whisky in true Gaelic style.

At the foot of Ben Nevis is Ben Nevis Distillery where they use the source of the highest mountain in Britain to create whisky. You can take a guide around the Distillery to understand more about the whisky process and to sample a taste at the end.

Scotland really is a great destination for solos. If we had to describe Scotland in three words it would be: breathtaking, historical, and of course, fun.

Scotland Tours

Scotland Tours

Day Tours

Free Tours – There are free tours from the Royal Mile in the centre of Edinburgh, as well as ghost tours and literary pub tours ran by authors who take you around places mentioned in well-known books. You can also find free walking tours in other cities such as Glasgow, and Aberdeen.

Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide offers day tours to the Highlands, Loch Ness, Glen Coe, the Isle of Skye and so many more. Just check the available dates and choose the activity that you want to do then book your ticket online. You can check reviews for each tour too.

* Click here for the full itineraries, prices, and dates

Scotland Group Tours

MacBackpackers

If you’ve ever wanted to explore the history and culture of Scotland, MacBackpackers have been offering Scottish adventures for the last 20 years. Designed for 18 to 40 year olds, this award-winning company are ideal for solo travellers wanting to meet like-minded others and have fun on their trip (and they’re 100% Scottish). Take a 3 day Isle of Skye tour, a 5 day Scottish Highlands tour or 5 day Skye and Highland fling, or a 7 day Best of the West. They also have special tours over Christmas and New Year too! Read my review here

Click here for the full itinerary, price, and start dates

G Adventures

With Scotland being such a sociable country, you’ll never be short of company travelling Scotland alone. But if you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.

Their Highlights of Scotland tour for 7 days starts in Edinburgh and ends in Glasgow, travelling to historic Jacobite sites, Inverness and Cairngorms National Park. You get the chance to visit a whisky distillery with the group and try haggis! The trip costs from €1899. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female-friendly company. 

Click here for the full itinerary, price, and start dates

Intrepid

Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence the trips can appear more costly than G Adventures. They run a 10 day Highlights of Scotland tour from €2,680 starting in Glasgow and taking in the country’s main sights.

With both tour companies you share a room with someone of the same gender or you can pay extra for your own room.

Click here for the full itinerary, price and start dates

Accommodation in Scotland

Accommodation in Scotland

Scotland has accommodation for all types of Girls about the Globe, whether you long to stay in a castle hotel or prefer a hotel in Edinburgh. Stay in boutique hotels Scotland or self-catering accommodation in towns such as Oban.

If you are on a budget, Scotland certainly know how to do hostels. Hostels here are clean, friendly and they even do your laundry overnight! If hostels are still too much, consider camping instead. You can wild camp anywhere in Scotland and sleep well with the reassurance that the country has no predators.

Plus there’s Airbnb which connects you to unique travel experiences and isn’t just limited to staying in a local’s spare room. You can save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link

Homestay is an alternative to Airbnb. They connect you to hosts in over 160 countries and give a real homestay experience instead of just handing over keys. They offer a mix of stays such as a stay in a penthouse in Edinburgh or a private country house in the Port of Menteith. You can even video call your host family before you go to find the perfect host. Check homestays and prices here 

Whether you are looking for a bed and breakfast in Scotland or cheap hotels in Scotland, below are the best places to stay in Scotland for solos. All of the accommodation below have been recommended by solo female travellers from our Girls about the Globe community and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. 

Brae House, Edinburgh

Edinburgh: Brae House Campus Accommodation

This accommodation is perfect for solos. It’s student accommodation but first-class with private double rooms and en-suites. Each section has its own communal kitchen and lounge too. You can also book a studio. Reception is open 24 hours if you need anything.

Brae House Campus is located near to Arthur’s Seat at the foot of the Royal Mile near to Holyrood Palace and the quirky National Parliament building. The castle is 2 kms away and is walkable if you don’t mind a walk. If you are arriving into Waverley Street Station and looking for your own space then this accommodation is perfect.

  • Prices from £35 per night for a double room with an ensuite
  • To book, check prices or availability for Brae House Campus

The Scotsman Hotel

Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, the Scotsman Hotel is a historical listed building once home to the Scotsman newspaper. Over 100 years old, this 4-star hotel overlooks the city and Edinburgh Castle. Indulge in some Scottish luxury with Egyptian cotton sheets and 24 hour room service. If you are departing Edinburgh from the train station, The Scotsman is right nearby. Choose from a standard, deluxe or feature double room or upgrade to a suite. Breakfast is additional.

  • Prices from £175 per night for a standard double room
  • To book, check prices or availability for The Scotsman Hotel 

Cuillins Hill Hotel

Isle of Skye: Cullins Hills Hotel

Situated in the capital of the Isle of Skye, Cuillin Hills Hotel is a 4 star hotel with a warm, friendly feel. You won’t even need to leave the hotel with the great views and fresh fruit, tea, coffee and mineral water in your room. The onsite restaurant cooks up the local produce and offers the local tipple. If you do feel like exploring the surrounding area you can take a boat trip from here around the harbour or take a leisurely stroll into the town to the shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for a relaxing stay on the island, this hotel is definitely a good choice. Stay in a standard double, a premier or deluxe room. Breakfast is included in the rate.

  • Prices from £112 per night for a standard double room
  • To book, check prices or availability for Cuillin Hills Hotel 

Scotland Itinerary

There is a lot to see in Scotland so choose whether you prefer to head to the west or the north east. Follow the Malt Whisky Trail, the castles or the coast. If you love Harry Potter or Outlander, you’ll want to include these sites on your itinerary. Below are some sample itineraries for Scotland from five days to two weeks.

Five nightsEdinburgh (3 nights), Glasgow (2 nights).

One week itinerary

  • Edinburgh (2 nights), Oban (2 nights), Glen Coe (2 nights), Stirling Castle (1 night)
  • Edinburgh (2 nights), Cairngorms National Park, Inverness (2 nights), Isle of Skye (3 nights)

Two week itinerary

  • Explore the islands to the west or to the north east. Head there and do Loch Ness and Glen Coe on the way. You can only drive two ways so you pass Glencoe for example. Head to the highlands.
  • Edinburgh (3 nights), Glasgow (2 nights), Stirling (1 night), Loch Lomond (1 night), Fort William (2 nights), Glenfinnan (2 nights), Loch Ness (1 night), Aberdeen (2 nights).

Travelling Around Scotland

Travelling Around Scotland

Edinburgh has train links to all the major cities and bus links to the main cities and towns. You can travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow easily in less than an hour by train.

Buses and coaches travel to places off the beaten track such as the ferry ports and villages, but they aren’t as frequent and you may need a car to visit the islands and the more remote areas. Or you can just jump aboard a tour to visit the Highlands. Head north for the most beautiful scenery. Fort William is accessible from both Edinburgh and Glasgow by bus and train, and Inverness and Aberdeen are also easily accessible. The Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig is meant to be one of the most beautiful train journeys.

To get to the islands there are ferries. There is a ferry from Easdale to Ellenabeich in Seil, one of the Slate Islands, and the Isle of Skye is joined to the mainland by a road bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin, or take the ferry from Mallaig, Raasay, or Tarbert & Lochmaddy. The ferry from Armadale to Mallaig takes 50 minutes and if you’re lucky you may even spot sealife on the journey across.

If you only visit Edinburgh, the city itself is walkable or you hop aboard one of the trams or buses to take you around.

Hiring a car is a great way to explore the country. You can stop wherever you like and explore places off the beaten track easier. Scotland has some picturesque drives. Take the Angus Coastal Route or the Borders Historic Route. Visit Scotland has planners for 17 different routes. Some roads are single lanes so drive carefully in case there is traffic coming the other way. There are passing places that you can pull into if you pass it on your left. Just be careful of potholes and winding roads in some of the rural areas. Hire your car here. 

If you are planning on hiking across parts of Scotland, the country has introduced a right to roam, meaning that you don’t need to stick to the paths. The West Highland Way is popular with solo travellers and you can get even get your luggage carried along the way.

Use Rome2Rio to help you plan your journey around Scotland.

Best Time To Go To Scotland

Spring and Autumn are good months to visit Scotland. Although you may prefer the warmer temperatures of the summer months (July and August) these are the months when the midges (tiny flying insects that bite) are out in force in the Highlands. If you are visiting during these months don’t let the midges put you off as you can buy midge repellant from the shops here.

August is a busy time in the capital. Visit Edinburgh in August for the city’s biggest festival; the Edinburgh Fringe. With entertainment such as comedy, magicians, theatre and dance, there are shows on constantly throughout the month and you won’t feel awkward attending any of them alone. This is also when the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place so August will certainly keep you busy. Tourism opens in Scotland from April with some tourist attractions close for the winter.

Below is the annual weather forecast for Edinburgh in Scotland to help you plan your trip (from January to December).

Travel Insurance For Scotland

Scotland is a stunning country to explore but travel insurance is always recommended to cover you for any travel delays, medical assistance and accidents.

I recommend True Traveller for UK and European residents, and World Nomads for U.S. and worldwide citizens. Both companies allow you to buy insurance when you are already on the road, and offer different plans depending on your needs including additional adventure cover which is perfect for us hikers and adventurous Girls about the Globe.

* Check insurance cover and prices for True Traveller

Scotland’s Airports

Scotland has several domestic airports and 5 main international airports. You can fly into Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness on domestic and international flights. Below is how to get to and from each international airport.

Aberdeen Airport – The train is the fastest way to get to into the city of Aberdeen. It costs £4 and takes 10 minutes. Buses take 30 minutes and cost the same as the train, or you can take a taxi for approx £20 for the 12 minute ride.

Edinburgh Airport – Edinburgh Airport is easily connected to the city on the Airport bus (number 100) which departs every 10 minutes and costs £4.50 for a single ticket that you can either buy on the bus or buy online. The Skylink buses also runs from the airport. You can check all the buses and times here.  There is also a tram which departs from the airport every 15 minutes and takes 30 minutes to Princes Street in the city. The tram costs £6 a ticket and you can find more information here. A taxi will cost approx £25 to the city.

Glasgow Airports – Glasgow has two airports: Glasgow Airport (GLA), and Glasgow Prestwick (PIK). Glasgow is 8 miles from the city centre and buses operate every 20 minutes into the city and cost approx £8 depending on the bus operator. You can also take the bus to the railway station or to Edinburgh from here. If you take a taxi it will cost in the region of £25 into the city.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is 30 miles outside of Glasgow. The train departs every 30 minutes to Glasgow and takes approximately 53 minutes costing up to £24 or you can take the line 4 bus which takes 2 hours and costs £10.

Inverness Airport – From Inverness Airport there is a bus to Inverness city centre that takes 25 minutes and costs £5. A taxi will take 10 minutes for approximately £25.

Use Rome2Rio to help you plan your journeys. 

Feel more confident with someone waiting for you at the airport when you pre-book a transfer with Hoppa, a reliable and safe service for solo females.

Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)

From Scotland you can travel overland to England. At the time of writing (October 2019) there are no borders.

Where can I go from here?

* Dublin = 1 hour 5 mins

* London = 1 hour 20 mins

* Norway = 1 hour 45 mins

* Flying from Edinburgh

Scotland Facts

  • Can I drink the water? Yes.
  • Is tipping expected? No, it isn’t expected but if you have good service you could tip 10%
  • Fixed price or barter? Fixed price.
  • Any ATMs? Yes, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • Which side of the road do they drive? The left-hand side.
  • Good for vegetarians? Yes, they have great vegetarian and vegan restaurants.
  • Any seven wonders of the world? No, but some of the scenery is breathtaking.

Map of Scotland

Plan Your Scottish Holidays

If you are ready to plan a trip to Scotland here are some useful links to help you plan your trip including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required and how to be a conscious traveller.

Current time in Edinburgh

Budget – £50 a day

Capital – Edinburgh

Population – 5.4 million

Language spoken – English, Gaelic, and Scots.

Local CurrencyBritish Pound 

Do I need a visa? Not on a UK passport

Vaccinations Required 

Did you know? The thistle is Scotland’s national emblem because it saved the Scots from the Vikings.

 

Lingo – They speak English

Useful Info

Airlines to Scotland 

The Best Time to Go – June is the best month to travel here. 

Which Plug Do I Need? 

UNESCO Sites in the United Kingdom (including Scotland) 

Events and Festivals in Scotland

Local Cost Guide

Scotland’s Sacred Sites 

Being a Conscious Traveller in Scotland

Wishing trees – Don’t take part in the wishing trees in Scotland. The National Trust for Scotland is advising people not to hammer coins into trees as part of the old Scottish tradition. It is thought that hammering a coin into a tree stump will help make your wish come true. An example of a wishing tree is in Hermitage in Dunkfeld. Read more here

Social Impact programThe Grassmarket Cafe is part of the Grassmarket Community Project. This social enterprise serves homemade food from locally sourced ingredients whilst providing support to vulnerable adults. Read more here

Issues in the country – Hunting is popular in Scotland. Because of the over population of deer in the country, hunters come here to shoot red deer and red grouse. Read more here