Scotland is a country that is full of natural beauty and history. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, then this Scotland itinerary is perfect for you! This 3-week itinerary will take you to some of the most beautiful and interesting places in Scotland. You’ll get to see everything from rolling hills and lochs to ancient castles and lively cities. Use this Scotland itinerary as a guide or inspiration to craft your own unique exploration of the beautiful country. Planning your Scottish adventure is so much easier with all our tips :)!
How many days do you need to travel through Scotland?
Depending on your plans and how much you want to see, you could need anywhere from three days to 3 weeks or more to travel through Scotland. If you only have a few days, you should focus on one region in order to get the best experience. On the other hand, if you have more time as we had with our 3 weeks you can visit a lot of places in Scotland.
This 3 week in Scotland itinerary is based on our trip that you can use as inspiration for your next vacation.
When you have for example one week you can visit Edinburgh, Skye and the area of Fort William. With two weeks you can extend it with the North Coast 500 or with Caimgorn, Loch Ness, and Loch Lomond. There are so many options to choose from.
How much budget do you need for this Scotland itinerary?
Traveling in Scotland can be expensive but does not have to be. You only need to know how to travel on a budget. Are you planning a trip to Scotland but concerned about the cost? Our article can help! We share our top tips and tricks on how to explore Scotland without breaking your budget. From transportation costs to meals and activities, we cover it all so that you can have an amazing time in this beautiful country for less than expected. £100-150 / $123-185 should be sufficient per day. Curious how? Read it in our article about Scotland trip cost.
The best way to get around in Scotland depends on your plans and budget. The best experience for discovering Scotland is by renting a car or motorhome. This will give you flexibility in terms of destinations and travel times.
We traveled through Scotland with a motorhome and loved it. You are flexible and do not have to search for any accommodation which saves a lot of time and hustle. We used IndieCamper and recommend using it. Renting a car can be quite affordable if you book it in advance, we always use Rentalcars to find the best deals.
Alternatively, you can use public transport such as buses and trains are convenient for traveling between major cities but not when traveling to the mainland. If required, you can book transport tickets in advance via this link.
Tip: traveling with a motorhome? Consider utilizing the Camp4night app, a convenient tool for locating both paid and free overnight parking spots.
Scotland road trip
The best way to travel through Scotland is by car or motorhome. You can enjoy the freedom of traveling at your own pace and exploring the country all by yourself.
For anyone looking for an adventure, we suggest driving along the North Coast 500 (NC500). The destinations we recommend are all located on the mainland, so you don’t have to take ferries.
Our suggested destinations are conveniently located on the mainland, so you won’t have to worry about needing ferries to get there.
No matter where you decide to go on your Scotland road trip, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable experience! Check this Scotland itinerary to get an idea of the places you definitely want to see.
Where to stay when traveling through Scotland?
Scotland offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers, from luxury hotels and B&Bs to youth hostels and campsites. Depending on your budget, you may wish to stay in a city center hotel or look for more affordable options in smaller towns or rural villages. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an outdoor adventure, there’s something to suit every taste and budget in Scotland.
In our Scotland accommodation article, we share per destination what the best places are to stay. This article is useful to use because in one overview you see all the best options to choose from. So all you have left to do is make a reservation at one of the recommended accommodations.
Scotland Itinerary clockwise or counterclockwise?
When planning your Scotland itinerary, you may be wondering whether to plan it clockwise or counterclockwise. The best option is to go counterclockwise as this will allow you to experience the Highlands at the end of your trip. The Highlands are the most beautiful part of Scotland and when visiting at the beginning the rest will not that be impressive.
The perfect Scotland itinerary 3 weeks
Our Scotland itinerary has a good mix of city life and nature. In three weeks you have the time to explore the whole country in depth, from the beautiful beaches of the north coast to the spectacular mountain scenery of Scotland’s Highlands. Our Scotland trip is planned based on our experience and has a good balance of being active and having time to relax.
We have written an article for each place. Here you can read what you can do and where you can stay. You will also find a map of the destination with all the detailed information. We also share useful tips per destination that will make your travel reservation so much more fun.
The map below outlines our recommended 3-week itinerary for Scotland. Feel free to add or skip parts of the itinerary based on your personal interests and agenda. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map.
All of the places you will visit are listed below, including how many nights and days you will spend at each location.
|Cairngorms National Park
|Day 1 – 4
|North Coast 500
|Day 4 – 9
|Isle of Skye
|Day 9 – 12
|Day 12 – 14
|Day 14 – 16
|Day 16 – 18
|Day 18 – 20
You can customize the number of nights and days you stay in each destination to suit your needs. However, we think this travel plan is a great balance between different aspects, such as culture, nature, city life, rural areas, activities and relaxation. This mix allows you to get the most out of your holiday!
Cairngorms National Park
The Cairngorms National Park is a stunning wilderness, located in the heart of Scotland. With its towering mountains, beautiful forests, and breathtaking lochs, it is for sure one of the great places to travel to in Scotland.
Whether you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, culture sightseeing, or simply want to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Cairngorms have something for everyone. Be sure to check out our Cairngorms National Park article for more information about this incredible destination.
Tip: stay 3 nights | day 1 – 4 | Travel time Edinburgh airport – Cairngorms National Park: 2 hours and 40 minutes.
North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 also called NC500 is Scotland’s answer to the famous Route 66 in the United States — a 500-mile road trip around some of Scotland’s most stunning coastline. This route takes you through some truly breathtaking locations, from iconic castles and picturesque fishing villages to rugged mountains and glittering lochs. With countless activities available along the way, this is an ideal destination for adventurers looking for a unique experience, like hiking in Torridon. If you’re planning a trip to Scotland, make sure you check out the North Coast 500 — you won’t regret it! Don’t forget to read our 5 days North Coast 500 article for more information about this incredible journey.
Tip: stay 5 nights | day 4 – 9 | travel time Cairngorms National Park – start NC500: 40 mins.
Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is one of Scotland’s most beautiful and our personal favorite! We loved the rugged coastline, spectacular scenery, and abundance of wildlife, it’s no surprise that the Isle of Skye attracts visitors from all over the world. Whether you’re a keen photographer looking for inspiration or an adventurer seeking out new thrills, the Isle of Skye has something for everyone. With its unique history, delicious seafood, and fascinating ancient sites, this is an island unlike any other. So if you’re planning a trip to Scotland, make sure you add the Isle of Skye to your itinerary — you will love it! Be sure to take a look at our article 2 days in Isle of Skye itinerary for more information about this magical island.
Tip: stay 3 nights | day 9 – 12 | travel time end NC500 – Isle of Skye: 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Fort William is a small city located in the Scottish Highlands, renowned for its majestic natural beauty and many outdoor activities. Fort William is a great place to explore the area like hiking the Ben Nevis and visiting the legendary Glenfinnan viaduct. Besides these two activities, there are more great things to discover in Fort William. Check out our Fort William article for more information.
Tip: stay 2 nights | day 12 – 14 | travel time Isle of Skye – Fort William: 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Glen Coe is a stunning area of Scotland’s Highlands, known for its rugged beauty and dramatic scenery. Home to some of the country’s most recognizable landmarks — including the Three Sisters mountains and Lost Valley — a visit here is sure to be unforgettable. The best things to do in Glen Coe are hiking and doing road trips in the area. In our Glen Coe article, we capture all our tips and share unique information to get the most out of your trip.
Tip: stay 2 nights | day 14 – 16 | travel time Fort William – GlenCoe: 30 min.
Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most famous lochs, located just a short drive from the big cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. With its crystal-clear waters, spectacular surroundings, and great outdoor activities that you can do, it’s a awesome place to visit. You can hop on a boat to explore the islands or take in the breathtaking views during one of the hikes in the area.
If you’re looking for some exciting things to do in Loch Lomond, look no further than our article! We’ve compiled a list of the best places to explore and things to experience during your stay.
Tip: stay 2 nights | day 16 – 18 | travel time GlenCoe – Loch Lomond: 1 hour 45 minutes.
Finally, no trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to Edinburgh. Immerse yourself in a city dripping with history and culture! Stroll along the cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old buildings and monuments, yet experience its modern vibrancy at every turn. The atmosphere is one like no other.
Our Edinburgh itinerary will help you make the most of your trip, with tips on where to stay, what to see, and how to experience the city’s distinct culture. Check our itinerary to prepare yourself.
Tip: stay 2 nights | day 18 – 20 | travel time Loch Lomond – Edinburgh: 1 hour and 10 minutes.
More tips for Scotland 3 week itinerary
If you’re looking for more ideas for your 3-week trip to Scotland, here are some tips:
Are there any special tips for traveling in Scotland?
Yes, first of all make sure you plan your budget using our Scotland trip costs article. In addition, you should always take warm and waterproof clothing with you, as the weather can change quickly in Scotland.
Tip: interested in exploring the stunning world of hiking? Dive into our beginner’s guide to hiking! Click here to discover essential tips, gear recommendations, and beginner-friendly trails to embark on your hiking adventures with confidence.
What tips do you have for making the most of my trip to Scotland?
Make sure to book accommodations in advance, by using our Scotland accommodation article, this will help you get the best deals. Use comfortable walking shoes. Spend at least one evening in an Inn (pub) where you can enjoy traditional Scottish dishes. And ask locals for advice – they know the area better than anyone else!
What type of food should I expect to eat while traveling in Scotland?
You can expect to eat a variety of traditional Scottish dishes while traveling in Scotland, such as:
- Haggis – a traditional dish made with sheep’s offal, oatmeal, and spices.
- Scotch pies – a savory pastry filled with minced meat.
- Cullen skink – a thick soup traditionally made with smoked haddock, potatoes, and onions.
- Shortbread – buttery cookies traditionally eaten during the holidays.
- Fish and chips – deep-fried fish with fries served in paper cones.
What type of climate can I expect during my trip to Scotland?
Scotland has a temperate climate, meaning it is generally mild. You can expect to experience warm summers, cool springs, and cold winters. Rainfall is common throughout the year but snow is usually short-lived and not very heavy.
Safety when traveling for 3 weeks in Scotland
Your safety is always the most important thing when you are traveling. Scotland is a safe country to travel to, but you should still be careful. Do not show expensive things in public and make use of certificated tours. Also, make sure to always carry a copy of your passport.
World Nomads travel insurance policies offer coverage for more than 150 activities. Get a quote, make a claim, or buy or extend your policy while on the road.
Travel Guide Scotland
If you want to go to Scotland, it is a good idea to read our Scotland travel guide. This will give you some helpful information about the best time of year to visit, what the most popular cities are, and other tips.
What do you think of our Scotland itinerary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: the prices mentioned in this article may differ from the current situation. We regularly update our articles. Would you like to help us to provide to best possible insights to help other travelers leave a comment with the latest information. Thanks!
Do you like the article? Then save it to Pinterest!