Scotland one-week tour

Fort William - Fly Travel
Before you read this article a warning: Scotland is a country that will hook you from day one and you will always want to return. I say this because it has happened to me, and because it has also happened to other people around me who have fallen in love with lands that hide many secrets and mysteries that have yet to be solved.

If you want to spend a week in Scotland and you are looking for a complete plan that allows you to see the most important things, take note of the following route , which is the one that I was able to complete without too much stress (and without too many breaks, it must be said). To do it, of course, it is essential that you rent a car as soon as you step on the airport.

First day: Glasgow

Glasgow - Fly Travel
It all started in Glasgow, the second largest city in Scotland. It is well known for the city’s two soccer teams, which have always won the most local competitions. I’m talking about Celtic Glasgow and Glasgow Rangers. The latter recently changed its name when it disappeared and is currently trying to return to the Scottish Premier League, which is the Scottish First Division for us to understand each other.

With one day you will have enough to see Glasgow, the second largest city in the country with about 600,000 inhabitants. For me it was the starting point and the return point as I traveled to Prestwick Airport with Ryanair, which was the cheapest option. It is 46 kilometers from Glasgow, but well worth the savings.

The Neo-Gothic Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis, which is right next door, are the places that you cannot miss for the world. It is also worth going to George Square, the largest square in the city, where the City Council , which is the town hall, is located. The latter admits visits without you having to pay for it, so you can take a look at what is inside.

Glasgow station is another charming point and you can also go see the Gallery of Modern Art, which hides the most strange and fun works. Finally, if you have time to spare, you can see the Tradeston Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that opened in 2009.

Exact location of Glasgow.

Second day: Edinburgh

Edinburgh - Fly Travel
On the way to Edinburgh, which is the capital of Scotland, you can go to Loch Lomond , which is 23 kilometers north of Glasgow. By area it is the largest lake in Great Britain, but Loch Ness exceeds it in volume. You can stop at certain points to contemplate its beauty and take photos, which will be the first, but not the last, with a spectacular landscape in the background.

After that, Edinburgh welcomes you with open arms. It is a spectacular city, with many things to see and with a castle that attracts you from the first moment. You can buy tickets to go see it online or at the box office. Right now on the Internet I see that the entrance for an adult (between 16 and 59 years old) costs 16 pounds, while the audio guides cost 3.50 pounds. Those over 60 pay £ 12.80 for entry and £ 2.50 for audio guides, while children (5-15 years old) pay £ 9.60 for entrance and £ 1.50 for audio guides.

From the castle you will be able to contemplate privileged views of the city. You will have to dedicate a couple or three hours to enjoy the tour and understand all the history that it contains. In addition, you should know that at 1:00 p.m. the One O’clock Gun is fired, which sounds every day of the year except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday.

Edinburgh 4 - Fly Travel
You will be surprised to see a small garden terrace with graves in which both soldiers and pets were buried. However, the animal that takes center stage is a beer-loving elephant that was brought from Ceylon, Sri Lanka.

If you decide to visit the castle in the morning, you will leave hungry because you will have walked a lot. In that case you can be calm, since there are many restaurants close to that area. You can choose between Italians, typical Scottish restaurants, McDonald’s type chains… You have several options.

At night you will have no problem enjoying yourself. In its bars you will find the best beer and the most genuine atmosphere in Scotland. It will not be difficult to find cocktail bars with live performances, but first it is worth taking a tour on the mysteries of Edinburgh ( Ghost Tour ). It is organized by Spaniards and they ask you to give them what you consider (with 5 pounds per beard you comply). They take you to places as special as a cemetery and they tell you stories to make your hair stand on end. It is highly recommended.

In the afternoon you can take a leisurely stroll along the Royal Mile , the most important street in the city, the one that connects Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The latter is still one of the official residences of the Queen of England, and is worth a visit for 11.30 pounds (6.80 pounds for those under 17 and 10.30 pounds for those over 60 and students).

Another interesting option is to go to the Camera Obscura , which is on the Royal Mile. Visual tricks, concave mirrors and optical illusions await you for a payment of 11.95 pounds (8.75 pounds for children between 5 and 15 years old and 9.95 pounds for those over 60 and students). And finally, I also recommend you see the Scott Monument , a Gothic-style construction that was built in honor of Sir Walter Scott, a well-known Scottish writer. It is 61 meters high.

Edinburgh exact location.

Third day: Edinburgh

Edinburgh 5 - Fly Travel
On the second day you can take advantage of it to go to Arthur’s Seat , which is the main peak of a group of hills found in Holyrood Park, a natural area located in the center of Edinburgh. Other options are to visit the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral or Greyfiars Cemetery. In the latter is the monument of Bobby , a dog that is a symbol of fidelity, since it remained 14 years next to the grave of its owner until he died. He was of the Skye Terrier breed and to this day he remains a hero to the citizens of Edinburgh.

Finally, another must-see is Mary King’s Close , one of the alleys under the buildings of the Old Town, the old part. Some families lived there in subhuman conditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. Plagues, murders and misery reigned in the lives of people like Annie , a girl who they say is still crying uncontrollably because she lost her doll. That is why many tourists decide to bring dolls, trinkets or toys to this peculiar place on the High Street. Admission is £ 12.95 (£ 11.45 for students and £ 7.45 for children aged 10-15).

Day 4: St. Andrews

St Andrews - Fly Travel
When you leave behind the two great cities of Scotland you start to see everything that you are not used to seeing if you are an urbanite. Its landscape outshines you and driving between mountains and lakes is like driving into a dream. The companions can enjoy privileged views and shoot the camera to remember unforgettable moments, while the driver forgets the kilometers he has to travel because he enjoys the trip (already used to the peculiarities of driving on British soil).

A destination close to Edinburgh that you cannot miss is St. Andrews. It is a small city located on the east coast of Scotland that barely has 16,000 inhabitants, but it is well known for being the birthplace of golf , since there is the oldest golf club in the world, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

We must also talk about its university, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. And to all that you can add the Cathedral of St. Andrews (which was the largest in the country) and the Castle of St. Andrews, both demolished hundreds of years ago. In fact, the cathedral has been turned into a makeshift cemetery.

Finally, I recommend you relax by taking a walk along the beach , which is known for being the one that appears in the movie Chariots of Fire . It is not your typical Caribbean beach, of course, but it is still a perfect place to have a drink and recharge before embarking on a long journey to Inverness, another major city that is very close to Loch Ness.

Before that, I recommend you visit Glamis Castle , near Forfar. It is a fairy tale castle that is worth seeing for its beauty. Visiting it costs between 8 and 32 pounds depending on the type of visit you choose (more or less complete).

Exact locations of St. Andrews and Glamis Castle.

Fifth day: Inverness

Inverness - Fly Travel
Inverness is not a spectacular city. It is a relatively small city (about 60,000 inhabitants) and not too touristy. Those who go there do so as a preliminary to visiting Loch Ness , the famous monster lake that some say is still submerged in its waters.

It is the capital and the only council city of Highland. It is cold and calm , and how could it be otherwise it is also exposed to rainy days. It will not take long for you to get used to the bad weather and you will be surprised to see the Scots, who do not usually carry umbrellas unless it rains a lot. For tourists, on the other hand, it is very easy to distinguish ourselves by the umbrella and by the raincoat that we have worn from day one, until at the end you decide to be just another Scotsman and go to places as if it were sunny.

The River Ness is one of the main attractions of Inverness, as is Inverness Castle , from which you can enjoy beautiful views of the river and the part that is on the other side. Right in front of the castle, in case you get hungry, you should know that you can visit a typical Spanish bar called "La Tortilla Asesina", although there are also other better known options such as a McDonald’s, which I have to admit that I went in search of WiFi with the Same desperation as a mosquito searches for blood at night.

Visiting Loch Ness is mandatory before continuing with the route. It is a half hour drive and well worth it. When you get there, the most normal thing is that you look at the water to look for Nessie , but if you are not lucky that day, it will not appear to greet you. In any case, in order not to believe that you have wasted the day thinking that you would be one of the privileged few who say they have seen it, you can get on the boat that takes you for a ride.

The company that runs it is called Jacobite and they ask you £ 13 to complete the tour and see Urqhart Castle from the boat. If you want to visit that castle you have to pay £ 19.50 and if you want to go to the Loch Ness information center you have to pay £ 30. While you are traveling, music plays in the background and you also hear a series of data about the lake, such as that it is the deepest in Scotland. The deepest area reaches 226 meters.

Exact locations of Inverness and Loch Ness.

Day 6: Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan - Fly Travel
The penultimate stop of our trip takes us to the castle par excellence , the one that usually appears in most photos when we write the word "castle" in Google Images. It’s the Eilean Donan, and I have to say, it’s not the one I liked the most. That privilege belongs to Glamis Castle , a must-see after visiting St. Andrews.

The best of all is the route to reach the Eilean Donan. They are not the best roads in the world in terms of safety, but neither do you have to suffer for anything if the weather is good. You pass between mountains and lakes and enjoy a landscape that is what invites you to return to Scotland. Personally, it is what I liked the most.

It is an hour and a half drive to reach the castle that stands on a small island on one side of Lake Duich. Construction began in 1220 by order of Alexander II of Scotland and was used to defend against Viking raids. A Spanish expedition came to occupy it in 1719, but the British bombarded the fortress a month after its occupation.

It has been destroyed since then, but was restored by John MacRae-Gilstrap between 1912 and 1932. Today it is one of Scotland’s main attractions, and a perfect location for filming films such as The Immortals (1986), Lake Ness (1995), Braveheart (1995), The world is never enough (1999) and My girlfriend’s wedding (2008).

You should know that it is only open from February 1 to December 31 from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon. It costs £ 6.50 ( £ 5.50 for students and retirees), or £ 16 for two adults and three children between the ages of 5 and 15. If you are a group of at least 12 people you will pay £ 5.50 per head.

Eilean Donan’s exact location.

Seventh day: Fort William

Fort William 2 - Fly Travel
Before returning to Glasgow to catch the plane back, you should visit Fort William , especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter books and movies. It is an hour and a half by car and will allow you to contemplate one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. You will have incredible views of the train track that appeared in one of the famous magician’s films, but you will also have a lake at your feet surrounded by mountains. It is the one that you can see in the first image that serves to illustrate this article.

If you want, you can also make the journey by train , in which case you must reserve a first or second category seat. The second ones are the ones from the movie, in case you want to feel like Harry Potter. You can buy your ticket in advance (by phone or online), or do it the same day at the platform.

Finally, on the way to Glasgow, I recommend you make a stop in Glencoe to stretch your legs (it is a few minutes from Fort William) Four photos observing a beautiful lake that you can touch and ready to go. The lake I am saying is the one that can be seen in one of the images in the gallery in which several boats appear. I took it a meter from the water.

The only thing I think I missed to see due to lack of time is the Isle of Skye , which must be like being on another planet.

Exact locations of Fort William, Glencoe and the Isle of Skye.

Information about the complete itinerary

scotland itinerary
Link: Complete itinerary
Total time by car: 12 hours and 55 minutes
Tolls: None
Fuel: 90 pounds approximately