Before you read this article a notice: Scotland It is a country that will hook you from the first day 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 are still to be solved.
If you want to spend a week in Scotland and 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, everything must be said). To do it, yes, it is essential that you rent a car right after stepping on the airport.
Day one: Glasgow
It all started in Glasgow, Scotland's second largest city. It is well known by the two teams of football from the city, which have always been the ones that have won the most local competitions. I am referring to Celtic Glasgow and Glasgow Rangers. The latter recently changed his name by disappearing and is currently trying to return to the Scottish Premier League, which is the Scottish First Division so that we understand each other.
With one day you will have enough to see Glasgow, the second most important city in the country with about 600,000 inhabitants. For me it was the starting point and the point of return, since I traveled to the Prestwick airport with Ryanair, which was the cheapest option. It is 46 kilometers from Glasgow, but worth it for the savings.
The Glasgow cathedral, in a neo-gothic style, and the Necropolis, which is right next door, are the places that you cannot miss for anything in 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. The latter supports visits without you having to pay for it, so you can take a look at what's inside.
Glasgow Station is another charming spot and you can also go to see the Modern Art Gallery, which hides the most strange and fun works. Finally, if you have time, you can see the Tradeston Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that was opened in 2009.
Exact location of Glasgow.
Second day: Edinburgh
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 surface it is the largest lake in Great Britain, but Loch Ness exceeds it in volume. You will be able to stop at certain points to contemplate its beauty and take photos of yourself, 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 go for 3.50 pounds. Seniors over 60 pay £ 12.80 for admission and £ 2.50 for audio guides, while children (ages 5 to 15) pay £ 9.60 for admission and £ 1.50 for audio guides.
From the castle you can see some privileged views from the city. You will have to dedicate it a couple or three hours to enjoy the tour and understand all the history it contains. In addition, you should know that at 13:00 they shoot the cannon One O’clock Gun, which plays every day of the year except Sundays, Christmas Day and Good Friday.
You will be surprised to see a small landscaped 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 chains… You have several options.
At night you will not have problems to enjoy. In its bars you will find the best beer and the most genuine Scottish atmosphere. It won't be hard for you to find cocktail bars with live performances, but before it is worth taking a tour of 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 meet). They take you to places as special as a cemetery and tell you stories to make your hair stand on end. It is highly recommended.
In the afternoon you can leisurely stroll through the Royal mile, the most important street in the city, the one that connects the Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse.The latter is still one of the Queen of England's official residences, and is well worth a visit for £ 11.30 (£ 6.80 for under-17s and £ 10.30 for over-60s and students).
Another interesting option is to go to the Dark camera, which is on the Royal Mile. Visual tricks, concave mirrors and optical illusions await you on payment of £ 11.95 (£ 8.75 for children between the ages of 5 and 15 and £ 9.95 for those over 60 and students). And finally, I also recommend you see the Scott Monument, a Gothic-style building that was built in honor of Sir Walter Scott, a well-known Scottish writer. It is 61 meters high.
Exact location of Edinburgh.
Third day: Edinburgh
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 space located in the center of Edinburgh. Other options are visiting the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery, 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 remains a hero to the citizens of Edinburgh.
To finish, another must see is Mary King’s Close, one of the alleys that are under the buildings of the Old Town, the old part. Some families lived in subhuman conditions there 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 wrist. That is why many tourists decide to bring dolls, knick-knacks or toys to this peculiar place on High Street. Admission is £ 12.95 (£ 11.45 for students and £ 7.45 for children aged 10-15).
Fourth day: St. Andrews
When you leave the two great cities of Scotland behind you start to see everything you are not used to seeing if you are an urbanite. Its landscape outshines you and driving between mountains and lakes is like driving in a dream. The companions can enjoy privileged views and shoot the camera to remember unforgettable moments, while the driver forgets the kilometers to travel because Enjoy 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 town located on the east coast of Scotland with barely 16,000 inhabitants, but which is well known for being the birthplace of the GolfSince 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 St. Andrews Cathedral (which became the largest in the country) and the Castle of St. Andrews, both destroyed for hundreds of years. In fact, the cathedral has been turned into a makeshift cemetery.
Finally, I recommend you relax by taking a walk through the Beach, which is known for being the one that appears in the movie Fire cars. It is not the 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 important city that is very close to Loch Ness.
Before that, I recommend you visit the Glamis castle, near Forfar. It is a fairy tale castle 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 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 previous step to visit the Lake Ness, the famous monster lake that some say is still submerged in its waters.
It is the capital and the only council city in Highland. It is cold and calmAs it could not be otherwise, it is also exposed to rainy days. It won't be long before you get used to bad weather and you'll be surprised to see the Scots, who don't usually carry umbrellas unless it rains a lot. Guiris, on the other hand, are very easy to distinguish ourselves by the umbrella and by the raincoat that we have been wearing from the first day, until in the end you decide to be one more Scotsman and go to the places as if it were sunny.
The River Ness is one of the main attractions of Inverness, as is the Inverness Castle, from which you can see 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 bar typical spanish Called "The Killer Tortilla", although there are also other better-known options such as a McDonald's that I have to admit that I went looking for WiFi with the same despair that a mosquito searches for blood at night.
Visiting Loch Ness is mandatory before continuing the route. It's a half hour drive and it's worth it. When you get there, the most normal thing is to look at the water to look for Nessie, but if you are not lucky that day will not appear to greet you. In any case, to not believe that you have lost the day thinking that you would be one of the privileged few who say that they have seen it, you can get on the boat that takes you for a ride.
The company that manages it is called Jacobite and they ask you 13 pounds to complete the tour and see the Urqhart Castle from the ship. If you want to visit this castle you must pay £ 19.50 and if you want to go to the Loch Ness information center you must pay £ 30. While you are traveling, background music plays and you can also hear a series of data about the lake, such as the deepest in Scotland. The deepest area reaches 226 meters.
Exact locations of Inverness and Loch Ness.
Sixth day: Eilean Donan
The penultimate stop of our trip takes us to castle par excellence, which usually appears in most photos when we write the word "castle" in Google Images. It is the Eilean Donan, and I have to say that it is not the one that I liked the most. That privilege corresponds to the Glamis castleA must stop after visiting St. Andrews.
The best of all is the route to the Eilean Donan. They are not the best roads in the world when it comes to safety, but there is no need to suffer for anything if the weather is right. You pass between mountains and lakes and enjoy a landscape which is the one that invites you to return to Scotland. I personally like what I liked the most.
It is an hour and a half journey to the castle that stands on a small island on the 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.
Since then it was destroyed, but John MacRae-Gilstrap was in charge of its restoration between 1912 and 1932. Today it is one of the main attractions in Scotland, and a perfect location for filming films how 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 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost 6.50 pounds (£ 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.
Exact location of the Eilean Donan.
Seventh day: Fort William
Before going back to Glasgow to catch the plane back you must visit Fort william, especially if you are a fan of the books and movies of Harry Potter. 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 movies, 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 do the journey in train, in which case you must reserve a first or second category seat. The second ones are 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 on the platform.
To finish, on the way to Glasgow, I recommend you make a stop at Glencoe to stretch your legs (it is just a few minutes from Fort William) Four photos observing a beautiful lake that you can touch and ready to go. The lake that I say 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 that I consider that I missed to see due to the 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
Link: Complete itinerary
Total time by car: 12 hours and 55 minutes
Fuel: approximately 90 pounds
A Guide to Driving in Scotland (April 2021)
- castles, edinburgh, glasgow, inverness, routes