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September 2, 2019
Like I always say, the best way to explore a country is by taking a road trip! So of course, that’s exactly what I did in Scotland. We did take a quick little pit stop to Munich for Oktoberfest, but in total it was 5 days in Scotland. Here’s our Scotland itinerary and what I would recommend!
Day 1: Inverness
We flew in and out of Inverness, so this had to be our starting point. Inverness is in the Scottish Highlands, so it’s not super modern and developed, although there is a small city area. There’s a lot of empty land, sheep, and of course, highland cows. On our first night, we stayed in the city centre and went to dinner at Scotch & Rye. Apparently this is the area where all the bars are. We didn’t really see many places that were actually open with people in them, but this place was so good! The food was delicious and the cocktails were amazing! It’s also super cute with a very chill ambiance.
Day 2: Isle of Skye
The trip from Inverness to Skye is not a super short one. The roads in Scotland are very narrow and at most two lanes, as in one lane for each way. So if you get stuck behind like a tractor or something, your travel time will surely increase. That said, it’s a really cool and pretty drive! It reminded me a lot of Ireland, with not quite as many castles. One of the coolest stops we made along the way was at Eilean Donan Castle. The best part was the bagpiper in front of the castle. It’s still my favorite photo I took there! After the castle, we stopped by a little cafe and who do we see but the bagpiper himself!! We are now besties and totes hanging out in Morocco in a couple weeks.
One thing we did not do was go to the Oban distillery. If you’re driving, I would recommend stopping by after or before Skye as it is on that side of the island!
Day 3: Glasgow
Ok, so spoiler alert, but Glasgow was my favorite! I really loved Edinburgh a lot too, but Glasgow was a lot more laidback. There are lots of students here, so the nightlife is pretty lively, which I loved! We stayed on Bath St. and ended up at a club right down the road. We started the night off the Grosvenor on Ashton Lane. There are tons of little bars in this area and it is super cute! Then we stopped by Vodka Wodka, right across the little pedestrian street. Finally, we went to Nice n Sleazy. Yep, that’s really the name! The upstairs is a really cool bar with kind of a cross between a 50s and 80s theme somehow? And then downstairs is a full-blown 80s nightclub. It was amazing!!! We heard from the locals: whatever you do, don’t go to The Garage, which is across the street from Nice n Sleazy.
Glasgow also has some great culture to offer. We went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and it was amazing. There was a really cool rainforest exhibit, an African exhibit, and an incredible modern art display of a bunch of hanging white heads. Totally my style!!
Day 4: Edinburgh
Well, in reality, day 4 was Manchester in England, but that’s a whole other story. So for the purposes of this Scotland travel guide, we’ll just skip that part. Edinburgh was so incredibly cool! It’s where J.K. Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books and pulled a ton of inspiration from, so it’s a very popular tourist destination. It’s also absolutely stunning in its own right, so even without the HP obsession, there’s a lot to love about Edinburgh. My favorite area was the Royal Mile, which is very famous. There are lots of great pubs and shops to discover on a nice walk around the area. There’s of course the Edinburgh Castle, but my favorite thing we did there was Mary King’s Close. It’s basically a preserved underground city from the 1700s and it’s so insane to see how people lived back then. Scotland had a big problem with plagues for a while, so you learn all about that on the tour. There are no photos allowed though so boo to that!
At night, we went to Biddy Mulligan’s, The Wee Pub, and then finally, The Last Drop. The Last Drop was so cool and definitely our favorite because they had live music. The singer was a woman who did tons of covers and took lots of requests. She was so cool and fun! This was probably the highlight of our trip, to be honest!
Day 5: Inverness
Since we had to come back to Inverness to fly out, we ended our trip here. We didn’t really do anything on our second stop here since we arrived so late and then had some drama with our Airbnb, but if we did have time, we probably would have gone back to Scotch & Rye. We all loved it!
It’s important to remember that Scotland is part of the UK, so it’s not really super European feeling. The people are mostly friendly and you can use a credit card everywhere which is nice. And it is cold and rainy most of the time, so be prepared for that. I liked Scotland, but I honestly didn’t totally fall in love with it. Ireland is a million times better in my opinion! And so is London for that matter. It’s surprising because you’d think Scotland is the perfect mix of the two, but it’s not. It kind of just combines the worst parts of the two, which still is not bad, just not enough to be a favorite. If I could do it over, I’d spend more time in Glasgow and Edinburgh, they were definitely the best two stops on the itinerary!