All too often, visitors want to race around Scotland and fit as much into their trip as possible. Scotland looks like a small country on a map, but looks can be deceiving. Scotland’s roads are much more narrow than roads in other countries such as Canada or the United States, so care when driving must be taken.
Many roads in the more remote parts of Scotland, including the Scottish highlands and many of the islands, are gravel and single track. There are also many things to see and do in Scotland, so if you plan on driving long distances across the country, you’ll miss out on many things in between!
2. Choose a base or two and travel from there.
As we previously recommended, Scotland is best enjoyed at a slower pace and there is lots to see and experience. Rather than spend one night in a different area, choose 2 or 3 bases and then do day trips from there. This is not only more relaxing, but it’s more sustainable too- imagine how much cleaning product and laundry would have to be done if you stayed in different accommodation every night?
Plus, who wants to waste precious time checking in and out of accommodation every day when you could be exploring?
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and Aberdeen are good locations to base yourself to explore the surrounding areas. There are plenty of public transport links, access to supermarkets, pharmacies, and other facilities, any many things to see and do.
3. Walk, cycle or use public transport
Rather than hailing a taxi or driving five minutes up the road, walk or cycle to your destination. Many main tourist destinations in Scotland have eBike hire- so do a quick Google search to see if this is an option for the area you’re visiting.
Use public transport where possible. Scotland has excellent bus and train connections, and it’s very easy to plan a trip around Scotland using public transport to see many of the main attractions, and is a much more environmentally friendly way to travel than driving.
4. Visit in the shoulder season.
Scotland gets very busy during the summer months and suffers from overtourism in some places, so we recommend visiting in spring or autumn. There will be less crowds, more balanced sunshine hours (during summer the sun sets at 10.30pm and begins to rise at 4am!) and accommodation will be cheaper than during the summer.
5. Save money with passes.
Purchase a membership with Historic Scotland or the National Trust For Scotland to save money on visitor attractions. Both organisations have an annual membership, for less than £5 per month for an adult membership. These passes will give you access to all their attractions- Historic Scotland currently look after 75 paid sites, including Edinburgh and Stirling Castle, and the National Trust look after many sites, including Brodie castle and Craigievar Castle. You also receive free parking at the majority of their sites, and a quarterly magazine!
Historic Scotland also has an Explorer Pass- a 7-day consecutive pass suitable for travellers to Scotland. Currently it costs £44 for an adult pass.
By purchasing a membership or a pass from these organisations, you are also helping to protect and preserve these historic buildings for future generations!