Are you a landscape romantic, a Sassenach or an island hopper? Find out which Scotland itinerary is the best choice for you in order to get the most out of your trip. No matter what brings you to Scotland, let’s find you the perfect itinerary!

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Scotland is a dream destination and people flock here from all over the world to see the iconic landscapes of the Highlands, take in thousands of years of history and immerse themselves in Scottish culture.

Of course the easiest way to plan a trip to Scotland is to just follow the crowds and visit the same places you’ve heard other people talk about.

But travel is incredibly personal. Depending on your priorities and travel style, you may want to see something completely different from the next person!

That’s why it’s so important to plan an itinerary that allows you to experience Scotland on your terms and work through your bucket list – not someone else’s.

I believe that you deserve your perfect Scotland itinerary – whether you’re looking for mysterious ancient sites, a deep-dive into medieval Clan history, remote sandy beaches or scenic hiking trails!

So, where in Scotland should you go? For such a small country there is an awful lot to see and many different regions that all offer different experiences. What’s right for you depends on what’s important to you and how you like to travel.

In this post, I will…

  • Guide you through useful questions that can help you figure out your travel priorities,
  • Walk you through six types of travellers and which itineraries I recommend for them,
  • And tell you about the Scotland itineraries I designed for you.

Questions to ask yourself

What first sparked your interest in a trip to Scotland?

Was it an interest in Scottish history and ancient sites, or pictures of epic landscapes like the Scottish Highlands? Were you intrigued by the idea of island hopping or would you rather hike some mountains? Maybe you were drawn in by single malt whiskies. Or maybe you watched a bit too much Outlander… (is that even possible?!?)

Glencoe in Autumn

How would you describe your travel style?

Do you want to be active and immerse yourself in nature, or dig your toes in the sand and relax? Do you tend to see as much as possible and maximise your time, or indulge your senses and enjoy taking things a little slower? Would you rather immerse yourself in the fabric of a place and feel like a local, or see places you recognise from films and books?

What’s most important to you when you travel?

You may prioritise getting a real sense of the places you visit and being awed by landscapes, or trying authentic food, great whisky and unique experiences. Would you rather see a range of landscapes and visit places you’ve heard a lot about, or spend time by the sea and leave the busy world behind? What’s most important – immersing yourself in nature, seeing wildlife and staying active, or learning about a place’s history and connecting with locals?

Which areas of Scotland are you drawn to most?

Are you drawn to a specific place, like the Isle of Skye and the northern Highlands, or is it more about visiting certain kinds of places? Maybe it’s spiritual places like standing stones or ancient ruins, or historic sites and areas known for their cultural heritage, or regions that are known for great food and whisky. Would you rather experience the islands and rugged coastline of the west coast, or vast mountain landscapes and remote glens?

6 Travel Types for Scotland

The History Buff

The history buff can’t wait to explore Scotland’s historic sites to learn more about its ancient history.

The romance of crumbling ruins attracts you as much as the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of historic icons like Mary Queen of Scots or William Wallace. You don’t just want to read about the facts and figures, you want to see where history was made, immerse yourself in stories of the past, and connect with the legends and myths that made Scotland.

On your trip you want to visit areas with rich cultural heritage, feel at home in welcoming villages and connect with locals to hear their stories about the past.

Your top three itineraries: South Scotland, East Scotland and Hidden West Coast.

Dunrobin Castle

The Landscape Romantic

The Landscape Romantic is hopelessly in love with Scotland’s epic landscapes.

You’ve watched many films and TV shows set in Scotland, read one too many Scottish books and scrolled a bit too long on Instagram. You’ve seen and read so much about the beautiful Highlands, Islands and Lowlands – now you want to experience them for yourself.

Nothing is more important to you than immersing yourself in the magical landscapes of Scotland and seeing a great variety of them. On your trip you want to see as much as possible – stunning scenery & viewpoints, picturesque villages, epic sunsets, and perfectly white sandy beaches – ideally beating the crowds to the highlights. 

Your top three itineraries: Best of Scotland, North West Scotland and Outer Hebrides.

Two Highland Cows at Long Island Retreats croft tour on South Uist

The Connoisseur

Is there anything better than indulging in tasty food, warming whisky and authentic experiences? Not in your eyes!

The Connoisseur doesn’t care much about ticking off items from a bucket list. It’s more important to make unique experiences and to treat your body and soul along the way. Expertly guided tours, delicious meals and unforgettable experiences are your jam.

On your trip you want to really connect with locals and their stories, taste the best of Scottish food and drink, immerse yourself in Scottish culture and do things as the locals do. It’s not so much about the places you visit but about the people you meet and the memories you make.

Your top three itineraries: Whisky itinerary, East Scotland and Island Hopping.

Glenfiddich Distillery on the Whisky Walking Tour in Dufftown, Speyside

The Sassenach = The Outlander Fan

You can’t possibly deny that Outlander has inspired you to dream up your trip to Scotland!

The Sassenach is an Outlander fan and as such you’ve read the books or devoured the TV show – or maybe both. Now you want to see the places you’ve become so familiar with.

The locations featured in the books and show are simply irresistible and you’d like to visit as many of them as possible. But it’s not just that – you also want to learn about the real history behind the fictional story.

On your trip you want to see the locations you recognise from Outlander, but also immerse yourself in Scottish traditions and learn the truth about the Jacobites, the Highland clearances and the standing stones.

Your top three itineraries: Outlander’s Scotland, Best of Scotland and Outer Hebrides.

Midhope Castle Lallybroch Outlander film locations in Scotland

The Island Hopper

The Island Hopper dreams of white sands, rugged coastlines and idyllic strings of sandy bays. For you, nothing is better than the taste of salt in the air and the sense of adventure that comes with a journey by boat.

On your trip you want to hop on a ferry (or two) and experience the Scottish isles and coast off the beaten path.

Visit places where you can dig your toes into the sand and connect with small island communities. There you can learn about ancient Scottish history, try the best local food and immerse yourself in these magical coastal landscapes of Scotland.

Your top three itineraries: Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides and Hidden West Coast.

The Adventurer

Adventure is calling your name! The Adventurer loves to walk and hike, and you’re always up to try other outdoor activities too.

You’re not a stranger to challenging yourself and it’s important to you to stay active even when you travel. But mostly, you just want to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Scotland. You don’t need a big adventure everyday, but being outdoors is important to you.

On your trip you want to explore hills and trails to get off the beaten path, learn about Scotland’s local wildlife and dive into its natural wonders. Leave the busy road behind, move at a slow pace and create an unforgettable adventure in Scotland’s countryside.

Your top three itineraries: Mountains & Lochs, South Scotland and Hidden West Coast.

Pick one of my Scotland itineraries

Each of these itineraries covers 8 days in Scotland with plenty of suggestions to extend your trip to 10 days or two weeks. They are designed by a local (me) and full of hands-on expertise and advice. You’ll also get…

  • a Google map with saved pins,
  • a trip planning worksheet to keep track of your plans,
  • and a list of suggested accommodations.

Best of Scotland

This is the perfect Scotland itinerary for first timers who want to see the most iconic places in Scotland without missing out on hidden gems. The route covers Glasgow, Glencoe, Fort William, the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Inverness and Edinburgh.

Perfect for: First-timers & Bucket list travellers

Outlander’s Scotland

This dreamy itinerary is for fans of the books and TV show Outlander. Visit film and book locations, learn about the real history that inspired the story and dive into Scottish history. The route covers Edinburgh, West Lothian, Fife, Inverness, Fort William, Glencoe and Glasgow.

Perfect for: Outlander fans & History buffs

Northwest Highlands (NC500)

This is an epic itinerary for road trippers and landscape lovers who want to explore the stunning northwest Highlands on Scotland’s most famous road trip route, the North Coast 500. This itinerary starts and ends in Inverness and covers the entire NC500 loop including John o’ Groats, Durness, Ullapool, Torridon and Applecross.

Perfect for: Beach bums, Road trippers & Landscape lovers

Outer Hebrides

This itinerary is for island hoppers who want to experience the far-flung Western Isles, Scottish Gaelic culture, breathtaking beaches and more. The itinerary starts and ends in Inverness, but also contains alternatives to start/finish in Glasgow/Edinburgh. The route covers the Isle of Lewis, the Isle of Harris, the islands of Uist and the Isle of Skye.

Perfect for: Island-hoppers, Beach bums & Gaelic curious

Hidden West Coast

This is an unusual itinerary for landscape lovers and island hoppers who want to leave the well-trodden paths to the masses and head off the beaten path instead. The itinerary includes Loch Lomond and Glencoe, Ardnamurchan and the West Highland Peninsulas, the Isle of Mull, Oban and Kilmartin Glen.

Perfect for: Island-hoppers, Landscape lovers & History buffs

East Coast

This jam-packed itinerary is for castle hunters and history buffs who can’t go without a sprinkling of nature, scenery and food, away from the busy west coast. The route covers the Royal Deeside, the Cairngorms National Park, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Fife and Edinburgh.

Perfect for: Castle hunters, Beach bums & Landscape lovers

South Scotland

This is a unique itinerary for landscape lovers, foodies, bookworms and stargazers who don’t mind – no – who thrive on going off the beaten path. Welcome to the south! This route includes the Scottish Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, the Isle of Arran and Ayrshire.

Perfect for: Landscape romantics, Foodies & Nature lovers

Island Hopping: Inner Hebrides

This is a wonderful itinerary for island hoppers with a soft spot for Scottish whisky, wild landscapes, sandy beaches and remote paradise. The itinerary includes Loch Lomond and Argyll, the Isle of Islay, the Isle of Jura, the Isle of Colonsay and Oban, with alternative suggestions for the Isle of Coll and the Isle of Mull.

Perfect for: Island-hoppers, Whisky drinkers & Beach bums

Whisky Galore

This thirst-quenching itinerary is for whisky lovers who want to visit distilleries in different regions and everything else that has to do with the Scottish whisky industry. The route covers the Glasgow, Isle of Islay, Glencoe and Fort William, the Speyside and Edinburgh.

Perfect for: Whisky curious, whisky drinkers & whisky lovers

Mountains & Lochs

This is an itinerary for active travellers, hikers, walkers and nature lovers who want to experience Scotland by immersing themselves in the landscapes of the Highlands. The itinerary covers the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, Glencoe, Perthshire, the Cairngorms National Park and the Angus Glens.

Perfect for: Active travellers, Hill walkers/Hikers & Nature lovers

Planning a trip to Scotland?

Download my FREE Trip Planning Checklist

Join my Facebook group to find inspiration for big & small adventures

Listen to my podcast Wild for Scotland for lots of travel inspiration

Use my Scotland Travel Journal to document your trip

Make trip planning easier with my Scotland Resource Library

Save time and get one of my pick-up-and-go Scotland itineraries

Beat the overwhelm and hire me to plan a bespoke itinerary for you

2 thoughts on “Choosing where to go: How to find the best Scotland itinerary for you?

    • Kathi says:

      It’s tough! But the good news is that there is no “wrong” decision – it’s beautiful wherever you end up going!

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