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Loch Lomond
The largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain.


5 days of iconic attractions and hidden gems in Scotland

If you are visiting Scotland for the first time (or the first time in a while) and find yourself a little short on time, we've planned just the adventure for you.

This itinerary will take you on a journey through all the iconic Scottish stops - lochs, distilleries, castles, mountains, epic drives and cities. But we've weaved in a few off-the-beaten-track detours to keep you on your toes. This way you can see it all, without following the crowd.

If you've got the luxury of time, check out the longer 14-day Ultimate Scotland itinerary.


Car Walk






Circular route starting and finishing in Edinburgh


South Queensferry, Clyde Sea Lochs Trail, Loch Ness 360, Glencoe Lochan, Macallan Distillery, East Neuk of Fife and more!

Areas Covered

Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Loch Lomond, Moray Speyside, Highlands, Fife and Dundee

Day 1



For your perfect first day in Edinburgh, there's a mix of iconic attractions and a few hidden gems to discover. See the city from above, visit the legendary castle, pause for a sly gin and tonic, then finish off your day with dinner by the coast.

  • Walking time: 30 minutes
  • Bus time: 35 minutes 
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Calton Hill

The short walk up Calton Hill is a great place to begin and get your bearings. The whole city can be admired in all directions from the top of this hill, including key landmarks - Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh Castle and the Three Bridges. There are views across the Firth of Forth in one direction and the Pentland Hills in the other. The good news is, it's a really quick wander, so you can have the rest of the day to explore the city.

Gladstone's Land

As you wander through Edinburgh, drop into Gladstone's Land on the Royal Mile and get a glimpse into 17th century life inside a classic tenement building. All three floors have been lovingly restored, keeping the original painted ceilings from 1620 intact. Take a break on the ground floor and taste some delights in the ice cream parlour and café. 

Edinburgh Castle

One of the things that makes Edinburgh so special is the city's wonderful castle. It sits majestically atop an ancient rock, watching over the city, and dates to the 12th century. It's one of Scotland's most important attractions, with fascinating military history combined with ancient geology.

Seeing the castle is, quite rightly, a popular thing to do in Edinburgh, so be sure to book in advance and arrive at your time slot.

Edinburgh Gin Distillery

Head to the West End to sample a delectable Edinburgh Gin. Explore the fascinating underground distillery with tastings, tours, as well as a make-your-own-gin experiences which are available to book. Visit the fully stocked Edinburgh Gin Shop selling the full range of Edinburgh Gins as well as the latest products from the two beautiful copper stills, Flora and Caledonia.

South Queensferry

The seaside neighbourhood of South Queensferry is a lovely place to finish off your day. Catch the bus to the coast and if you've still got some energy, walk a section of the Shore Walk and discover some hidden beaches. Spend your evening at one of the waterfront pubs in the shadow of the Forth Bridges and enjoy dinner with a view!

Bus number: Lothian Country Buses 43.

Sleep: South Queensferry

Day 2


Stirling, Clackmannanshire & Perthshire  

The next part of the adventure takes you through the historic landscapes of central Scotland. It's best to hire a car for the next few days, so you can explore the sights at your own pace. Start with a beautiful morning walk, followed by a fascinating attraction, a distillery and then a spot of mountain biking, if the mood takes you that way!

Drive time: 2 hours

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Dollar Glen

Start your day with a peaceful walk through the ancient woodlands of Dollar Glen, in the shadow of the Ochil Hills. You'll wander through landscapes loved by Scots for generations, with gorges, cascading waterfalls and the stunning fortress, Castle Campbell


The Battle of Bannockburn changed Scotland's history forever in 1314. Scotland's great warrior king, Robert the Bruce, led Scotland to victory against King Edward II and the English army. The visitor experience puts you at the heart of the action with cutting-edge 3D technology.

Deanston Distillery

It wouldn't be an ultimate trip to Scotland without a distillery visit to taste some whisky, Scotland's national drink. Taking waters from the River Teith, which leads into Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, the distillery produces a sweet, fruity, malty, honey-spiced whisky. Enjoy a dram or light lunch in the café.

Comrie Croft

Scotland has some of the best mountain biking trails in the world. Why not add some adrenaline to your day? Hire a bike from Comrie Bikes and set off along one of the custom-built trails through the forests of Perthshire. Comrie Croft has some amazing accommodation options too, if you'd like to spend the night somewhere quirky - they've got eco camping, safari tents (nordic katas) and a steading hostel. 

Sleep: Comrie Croft or Stirling

Day 3


Loch Lomond and Glencoe

Next up, gorgeous landscapes! This day will fill your smartphone or camera with beautiful pictures to take home with you. From Loch Lomond to Glencoe, and a few secret spots in between, stop and get to know some of Scotland's most famous places.

Drive time: 3 hours

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Clyde Sea Lochs Trail

Loch Lomond is a popular stop for many, but have you ever ventured further? The Clyde Sea Lochs Trail takes you into the heart of the coastal communities to the south west of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. This established driving route is well sign posted and easy to follow, with panels packed with information located at each of the points of interest along the way, all with good car parking nearby. Start the route in Dumbarton or further north in Arrochar, with plenty to explore, including the beautiful 17th century village of Cardross.


You'll be in great company driving along the A82 road to Glencoe. After all, James Bond himself did it in Skyfall (2012)! It's more than a great drive so stop safely for a moment to take it in. Walk through the ancient landscape with hikes into the Lost Valley or the more challenging Pap of Glencoe. Meander around the stunning Glencoe Lochan, a landscape reminiscent of Lake Louise in British Columbia, with its clear waters and towering peaks all around. The wood was created in the 19th century by Lord Strathcona to remind his wife of her Canadian homeland. At the end of the day, enjoy a meal at the Claichaig Inn.

Sleep: Glencoe or Fort William

Day 4


Highlands and Moray Speyside

The Highlands is a magical place and it's somewhere that everyone wants to see on their visit to Scotland. Starting with an alternative way to enjoy Loch Ness, we'll then venture eastwards to Moray Speyside to find out more about this lovely little region.

Drive time: 1 hour 50 mins

Loch Ness 360°

The Loch Ness 360° is an epic walking, cycling, running and outdoor activity trail looping the entire circumference of Loch Ness. A wonderful way to admire the loch from all angles and vantage points, the trail is perfect for Nessie spotting and a fabulous alternative way to see the loch.

Fort George

Pick up your Scottish history lesson with an attraction that sometimes gets overlooked. Fort George is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, created by King George II following the 1746 Jacobite defeat at Culloden as the ultimate defence against any further Jacobite rebellions. Visit the historic barrack rooms, explore the grand magazine with its superb collection of weapons, or look out from the ramparts for dolphins hunting and playing off the shore.


The town of Elgin is full of charm, with a ruined cathedral and charming shops and cafés perfect for a relaxing break. Head to Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere to find out more about Elgin's history and places you can visit.

Macallan Distillery

Finish the day with a distillery visit like no other! The Macallan explores the processes, production, people and passion that go into making this ever-so-special single malt whisky. Book a tour and marvel at this modern distillery, with its uniquely designed roof and a state-of the art visitor centre and shop, where you can buy limited edition and new release bottles to take home.

Sleep: Elgin

Day 5


Take the east coast back to Edinburgh

Our last day is a slightly longer drive, but the stops along the way will make for a memorable final day. With one of Scotland's most incredible castles for starters, we'll then head to one of our coolest cities, Dundee, then the long golden sands of St Andrews and the quaint fishing villages of the East Neuk. It's hard not to be enchanted by Scotland's glorious east coast!

Drive time: 3 hours

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Dunnottar Castle

Start with the stunning Dunnottar Castle - a truly breathtaking castle. Its unforgettable location overlooks the North Sea. It's the keeper of many Scottish secrets and has hosted William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.

V&A Dundee

Continue down the east coast and you'll soon reach Dundee, the UK's first UNESCO City of Design. A great wee city to explore, drop into V&A Dundee for an exhibition. Designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, V&A Dundee was inspired by the dramatic cliffs along the east coast of Scotland with the building stretching out into the River Tay.

If you have time for another stop, head to Verdant Works to see behind the scenes of a beautifully restored jute mill and delve into the story of Dundee's textile heritage.

St Andrews

Take time to roam the pretty university town of St Andrews, taking in the castle, admiring the impressive ruined cathedral and, of course, hitting the famous West Sands beach! It's perfect for a bracing walk; or should you feel a little parched, then make your way to Eden Mill, craft producers of both beer and gin, for a tour and a tasting. You can also visit Kingsbarns Distillery, one of the country's newest distilleries.

East Neuk of Fife

Head along the coast to discover the villages of East Neuk, characterised by their winding streets and alleyways, historic harbours and neat whitewashed stone cottages. Places to visit include Crail, Anstruther, Pittenweem, St Monans and Elie and Earlsferry - a great way to explore a few is by following the Fife Coastal Path, one of Scotland's Great Trails.

Sleep: East Neuk of Fife or Edinburgh