A week is Scotland is enough time to get a feel for the country and ensure you will start planning a second trip.
I decided to fly from JFK into London Heathrow. This added a 4.5 hour train ride after a transatlantic overnight flight but it was worth the extra time to relax and take in the scenic countryside. Traveler tip: with advanced planning, a 1st class upgrade on the train doesn’t incur too much additional cost and has exceptional food and beverage service. On my way back home, I fly directly from Edinburgh into New York.
A perfect start to the trip and one of the most photogenic cities I have visited. Edinburgh has a magical feel and I found myself looking for every high point in the city to take pictures. The city has plenty of tourist attractions (Edinburgh Castle and an underground tour at Real Mary Kings Close being two of my favorites) as well as simply walking around enjoying the architecture, pubs, restaurants and people watching.
A 1 hour train ride from Edinburgh, Perth sits along the the River Tay which is the longest river in Scotland. A walk along the river is worthy of a day trip to this town. As I walked, I would encounter people fly fishing for salmon and they were happy to tell me about their sport. The friendliness of the people in Scotland and wanting to talk and have a real conversation was a recurring theme as I traveled around.
A mixtures of history and modern city life converge in Glasgow. This is the most populated city in Scotland and only a 50 minute train ride from Edinburgh. I made sure to take in the museums, a visit to University of Glasgow (founded in 1451) and a modern distillery tour along the River Clyde.
A 1 hour train from Glasgow, Helensburgh is another town to spend the afternoon and hike. I used Walking Highlands to select routes and opted on a relatively easy 5 miler finishing up a hill for a panoramic view of Loch Gare.
There are a couple ways to visit the Highlands and I decided on a full day bus trip out of Glasgow. This allowed me to cover a lot of ground and have someone provide historical information. I used Timberbush Tours (highly recommend) and got to see Glencoe, Loch Ness and ride along the perimeter of Loch Lomond in the Trossachs National Park and Cairngorms National Park.
Scotland is a beautiful country with incredibly friendly people. This is a highly recommended trip from Full Access.
A special thank you to Visit Scotland for their support and help accessing some of the attractions I visited on my adventure.
Categories: Escape from New York: Extended Travel