- Travel Topics
We spent an average $85 each per day in Scotland over the course of 13 days. Here is a collection of our impressions, travel tips, and the cost break down.
I have to admit I don’t have a single photo of outdoor Glasgow. We barely did any sightseeing there. We took a day train from Newcastle and checked in to our hotel and were just doing work before my parents arrived the next day. With my parents we took a brief stroll around the center city area and I only happened to snap some photos of our dinner that night in a Russian restaurant Cossachok. My parents know somehow who once met the owners of this restaurant, so before they even landed in Scotland we already knew where we were going to have dinner that first night. As for the city itself, it was ok, but I can’t say I was all that impressed. One day should suffice.
We started our driving tour from Glasgow and stopped in Luss and Fort William before spending the night at a bed and breakfast in Broadford. Luss is a small village right on the shores of Loch (lake) Lomond. We were driving right by it and decided to make a quick stop for lunch as it looked so quaint. For dinner we stopped in Fort William, a town at the head of Loch Linnhe and at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain. The views over the lake were nice, but the town not so special. Our dinner spot made the stop worth it though, we enjoyed our very first meal in a Michelin stared restaurant, Crannog.
This was our touring day of the beautiful Isle of Skye island We started the day by driving from Broadford to Portree, a pretty harbor town that is also the capital of the Isle of Skye. From there we continued on our way to Uig, stopping at the Old Man Storr first for a mini hike. These stunning rock formations are certainly worth the climb up to reach them.
We then passed through the Quirang before stopping for a break in Uig, a long thin village clinging to the mountains.
Before we even got to Scotland we saw Gerard Butler on one of those TV talk shows raving about the small village of Plockton, so we penciled it into our driving itinerary. The village is incredibly scenic and if you’ve got the time, go out on one of the boats to see the seals.
As our boat captain explained one of the islands we saw in the distance is what inspired J.M Barrie’s Never Land in the Peter Pan story.
From Plockton we drove on to see the Eilean Donan Castle, located right on the meeting point of three lochs. The picturesque castle is highly worth a stop and provides you with a bit of a Scottish history lesson as well.
We spent the night in a small village right on Loch Ness, and the next day drove out to the museum to learn more about the infamous Loch Ness monster and all the mania surrounding it. We passed through the city of Inverness which is a great stop for lunch or dinner.
On our last day of driving we stopped by Pitlochry for lunch, a small charming village before heading over to St Andrews a small town on the eastern coast of Scotland. St Andrews is known for being the Ecclesiastical capital of Scotland as well as being the home of golf with one of the oldest golf clubs in the world there. We weren’t there for the golf though. We were there to explore the village and sample some fresh seafood.
We rented an apartment in Edinburgh for 3 days and took it easy on the sightseeing. The weather took a turn for the worse so our last few days in Scotland were rather cold and rainy, but this didn’t stop us from going out and at least getting a feel for the city. There’s no shortage of things to see and do here and the old town exudes a feeling of warmth and makes for a great stroll.
After my parents left we rented an apartment not far from Edinburgh for a few days – mainly to get some work done in preparation for our trip back to Asia, with Nepal and India coming up we wanted to make some of some good internet.
Would we do it the same way?
We were coming to Scotland from England so we had already gotten used to the lovely British accent, but the Scottish one is even better. The pronunciation, the hearty tone, one of the best English accents I’ve heard. All the people we interacted with were jolly and friendly, starting with the airport security man who helps us figure out how to put our rented manual car in reverse. We all got a good laugh out of that.
The countryside and scenery everywhere is incredible. I couldn’t believe my eyes. As we were driving around the Isle of Skye region the landscape changed so much, I could barely believe we were still on planet Earth. From the barren tree-less landscapes, to lakes, and harbor towns, small villages, Scotland has got a little bit of everything.
Oh and don’t even get me started with the animals. Scotland is loaded with just about the most adorable animals ever. From sheep to shaggy horses to the highland cow, I couldn’t help but yelp with glee every time we drove past one of the above (which happened about a dozen times a day).
Do you see what I mean?
Overall I was more than impressed with Scotland and would love to go back and spend more time driving around in awe of the unique views.
If you’re going to Scotland you’ve got to try the national dish – haggis with neeps and tatties. Sound foreign to you? To us too. Well the neeps and tatties part stands for turnips and potatoes, which are served mashed with the dish. As for the haggis itself this is a savory pudding made with minced sheep’s heart, lungs and liver, mixed with onion, oatmeal and spices. Traditionally this mixture is served in a casing made of the sheep’s stomach, but nowadays this is harder to come by.
Now the description might not sound appealing, but it actually is pretty good. It’s got a bit of a nutty savory taste which is surprising but nevertheless worth trying.
Try it a few times if you like it, every place seems to do it a bit differently.
Driving around Scotland with my parents and Dave was the best part of Scotland. The 4 of us had a blast, going from place to place and seeing everything in between. Having a car gives you the freedom to stop and hop out anytime you see something interesting and we did this fairly frequently. The scenery is amazing so taking a driving tour of Scotland really is the best way to see in the country.
We didn’t take any local buses.
We took a couple trains in Scotland and found them to be comfortable but pricy.
No cabs taken in Scotland.
We didn’t take any long distance buses.
We were able to get a few student discounts so make sure to carry the student id with you!
We don’t remember having problems with finding bathrooms.
We felt very safe in Scotland.
The food in Scotland was actually very good, though pricy – we’re talking $7-9 for a bowl of soup (outrageous right?). I was seriously impressed by the sophisticated dishes offered in these fancy restaurants in tiny towns and villages. We had several stellar meals that really stood out. There are a lot of seafood options from oysters, to fish to mussels, scallops, you name it which was perfect for us seafood lovers. The national dish haggis is also delicious, and the cullen skink soup is definitely worth trying. The food is expensive though so be prepared for that.
Credit Cards And Money
We were able to use our credit cards sometimes, though we have cards without the chip so this gave us trouble sometimes.
Internet is widely available.
We stayed in a mix of hotels, bed and breakfasts and apartments. A good mix.
We did not couchsurf in Scotland
We kept track of every cost we had down to the purchase level and categorized it into 5 groupings:
So where did we end up? $85 per person, per day.
Would we go back to Scotland? YES. I loved Scotland and would love to have spent more time exploring the scenery and doing some outdoorsy activities.