He summer past we passed two weeks in Scotland. It was a trip of relaxation and rest in which we were nine days in Edinburgh, at the house of some friends, enjoying the pleasure of resting. We take this vacation so seriously that we already tell you that there will be no stories about this trip. But don't "panic the conic" because, in return, we bring you a travel guide to Scotland most complete (which we updated in January 2015 after our second visit to Edinburgh).
16-day trip to Scotland
Day 1: Edinburgh
Day 2: Edinburgh
Day 3. Edinburgh
Day 4: Stirling
Day 5: Aberfoyle and Loch Lommond
Day 6: Inveraray
Day 7: Mull Island and Iona Island
Day 8: Glencoe
Day 9: Isle of Skye
Day 10: Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle and Applecross
Day 11: Nair and Loch Ness
Day 12: Glenfiddich Distillery and Walker Cookies
Day 13: Edinburgh
Day 14: Edinburgh
Day 14: The coast of Fife
Day 15: Edinburgh
Day 16: Edinburgh
Edinburgh airport is not very far from the city and it is possible to go by public transport easily.
The Airlink bus service connects the airport with the Edinburgh central train station. The Airlink stop is at the exit of domestic flights and leaves you next to Waverley Bridge. A bus leaves every 10 minutes, travels in about 30 minutes, runs all night and the single ticket costs £ 4.
The cheapest option is to take bus 35 for £ 1.5. When getting on the bus you have to deposit the exact amount in a box and the driver gives you the ticket. This bus runs every 30 or 60 minutes depending on the time of day. The first one leaves the airport at 5:57 am and the last one at 11.05 pm. You can check the schedules in this web.
In May 2014, the tram that connects the airport with the city center was inaugurated. The single ticket costs £ 5 and must be purchased at the station before boarding the tram. The first tram leaves the airport at 5 am and passes every 8 or 10 minutes depending on the time of day. The tram connects the center of Edinburgh with the airport in about 35 minutes. You can check the itinerary and schedules here.
The return flight left at 7 am, so we took a taxi at 4:30 that came to find us at our accommodation in the Stockbrigde area. It cost us £ 20 and took about 20 minutes. In Edinburgh, taxis are great because they can accommodate up to 6 passengers, so they are a good alternative if you are traveling in a group and with little luggage, since taxis do not have a trunk and suitcases go with passengers.
We spent many nights in Edinburgh, but unfortunately I cannot recommend any hotel because we stay every day at the home of the best hosts in the world: Louise & David. If you have thought visit Scotland, with three days in Edinburgh You have enough time to discover the city. Here are some essential visits that you can not miss:
Edinburgh panoramic views
Edinburgh's main avenue connects the Edinburgh Castle with the Holyroodhouse Palace, official residence of the Queen of England. This street is full of souvenir shops and restaurants, and is the meeting point of many of the guided tours that take place in the city. In the Royal Mile is also the Scottish Parliament, what you can visit for free Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. The visit to the building lasts one hour and it is advisable to book in advance. There are also thematic visits to the Parliament of history, literature and art on specific dates. You can check them in the official Web.
It is considered one of the best castles in Scotland and presides over the city from the top of a rocky mountain. It is also the typical visit of the city, although I liked other fortresses more. On the one hand, the entrance is quite expensive, £ 16, and in summer there are long lines at the ticket offices (it is better to buy them in advance). In addition, there are usually so many people in the castle that you don't enjoy much. On the positive side, the ticket price includes a guided tour, for which you have to ask the schedules in the information office.
During July and August, at the entrance of the castle the Military tattoo, a spectacle of military bands from all over the world in which hundreds of bagpipes can be heard sounding in unison. We received disparate opinions about whether it is worth it or not: my brother-in-law and mother-in-law loved it, but Patricia de Mad about travel It seemed to him to be bursting your eardrums. In the end, we prefer not to go and save the £ 25 that the cheapest ticket costs (prices range from £ 25 to £ 50). You can find more information on the website of Edinburgh Castle.
This is the official residence of the Queen of England in Scotland. Unlike the Edinburgh Castle, this palace has a lot of life and the rooms are arranged for the visitor to see what palatial life is like. In addition, you can visit the historical apartments of Mary queen of Scotland, some very important stays to know the history of the country. On the other hand, in the gardens we can find the ruins of the Holyroodhouse Abbey. I really liked this visit and I recommend it. Single entry costs £ 11.30. You can find more information on their website.
National Museum of Scotland
It is a museum that explains the history, culture, fauna and flora of Scotland, from the beginning to the present and in a fun and entertaining way. Not to be confused with the National Gallery of Scotland, since this museum is very focused for family visits. Even so, it is also interesting for any adult. The museum is located in an old remodeled Victorian building, very beautiful and bright. As a curiosity, in this museum you can see the famous dissected Dolly sheep. Admission is free.
The Real Mary King's Close
This is one of the most interesting guided tours of Edinburgh and allows you to enter one of the "closes" or narrow alleys perpendicular to the Royal Mile. In ancient times, Edinburgh had a very narrow urban space, so instead of growing wide, it was high. Thus, in these dead ends the buildings grew and grew to reach the seven floors in some cases. The higher your status was, the higher you lived, literally. To take advantage of the space, the alleys were very narrow, which made the streets very poorly lit. So, if we add to that the poor health of the middle ages, you can already imagine what life was like. As if that were not enough, the picture worsened tremendously when the plague struck the city. The authorities then decided to cover the entrances of several underground alleys with the patients inside. The middle ages were like that, they didn't go around with nonsense. The visit is theatrical (but they don't scare) and it is very entertaining. However, it is so popular that in summer you have to book it in advance. It costs £ 12.95 and children under five cannot enter. You can book it the day before your visit on the official website.
This company offers several tours by Edinburgh and we did the «Ghosts & Ghouls», Which is also very popular. If in the previous one we visited one of the covered alleyways of the city, in this you can visit the enchanted underground vaults of the old bridge that led to the entrance doors. The endemic lack of space in the city meant that the inner vaults of streets and bridges were used to install somewhat clandestine workshops and shops. The visit is very interesting and enjoyable, and before entering the interior of the city, it shows you points of interest in the old town of Edinburgh. It lasts two hours and costs £ 14.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This is one of the most important theater and music festivals in Europe and is celebrated during the month of August. The city is filled with street theater, concerts and bars pop up which are installed throughout the city center. Dozens of mini-stages suddenly appear in the Royal Mile and other central points where the theater groups that perform during the Fringe offer pieces of their shows so that passers-by are encouraged to buy tickets. In fact, during the days of the festival you will find hundreds of people trying to sell your show so you can buy tickets. There are also concerts in unique spaces where you do not have to pay admission, only what everyone considers appropriate directly to the artist. Although the city is packed to the brim during this festival, it is well worth spending a couple of days in Edinburgh watching plays and enjoying the atmosphere in the street bars.
Edinburgh Botanical Garden
Located in the Stockbridge area and created in 1670, it is a good place for a Sunday stroll. Admission is free, but you have to pay to enter the greenhouse.
Where to eat in Edinburgh
During our visit to Edinburgh we were lucky to eat really well in some restaurants that we want to recommend:
The Bon Vivant Stockbridge It is a restaurant with a pleasant and very romantic atmosphere to enjoy an intimate evening with the couple or with good friends. They prepare market cuisine and you can dine for about £ 25 per person. It is advisable to book the nights of the weekend because the place is not very large.
Afternoon tea in The Dome I declare myself an unconditional fan of afternoon tea, a light meal that is served from two to five in the afternoon. He afternoon tea It consists of a three-story sandwich tray, Scones (a kind of bagels) with jam and clotted cream (a kind of creamy butter) and fine pastry accompanied by tea or coffee. We recommend the restaurant The Dome, because the place is very nice and central. He afternoon tea for two it costs £ 25 and The Dome restaurant does not make reservations.
Hector's This is a design pub located in the Stockbridge neighborhood. It offers typical dishes of British cuisine in a very pleasant atmosphere. We recommend it because it has a daily menu (morning and night) of two dishes for £ 8.50 or three dishes for £ 11 and it is also a good place to have a brunch Saturdays.
Cafe Royal Edinburgh A bar-restaurant with a lot of tradition located near Princess Street. We did not eat here, but we did stop for a drink and we liked the place a lot, so we recommend it.
Wedgewood Restaurant Paul Wedgewood is the chef of this restaurant located in the Royal Mile. Louise and David recommended it to us for lunch at noon, since they have a very good menu at a very good price. The two-course lunch menu costs £ 12.95 and the £ 3.95 menu. When you visit the old part of the city, we recommend you eat here because the food is very good and the place is very beautiful.
Speigeltent If you visit Edinburgh during the Fringe festival, go to the Speigeltent. It is a circus-inspired bar-tent that is mounted on festival days on George Street and in which performances are also organized. It is a good place to enjoy the atmosphere of the festival with a drink in hand.
Chaophraya An excellent Thai restaurant located on Castle Street. The design venue is very large and during festival dates it is advisable to book well in advance. It is advisable to reserve a table on the glazed terrace, since in addition to the beautiful views of the castle, in August you can enjoy the fireworks that are launched at the end of the Military Tatto while you have dinner.
Afternoon tea at The Roxburghe Hotel
We enjoy an afternoon tea in the exclusive and relaxed atmosphere of this hotel. The menu per person includes four mini-sandwiches, two scones with clotted cream and jam, a selection of fine pastries and, obviously, a teapot full of tea. The scones we ate were among the best we have tried to date. The afternoon tea costs £ 20 per person and £ 25 with a glass of champagne. But Louise found an offer and we got the afternoon tea with champagne for £ 15 per person. You can find more offers of this type in the offers section of the web Afternoon Tea.
Cross & Corner Restaurant
This gastro-pub is located at number 1 on Canonmills Street and has a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful décor. The presentation of the dishes is great and the food is delicious although the menu is not very extensive. The fish & chips were very good and you could have half a serving (£ 8) or whole serving (£ 13), which is great if you are not very hungry. On weekends they also serve brunch.
Roseleaf Bar Cafe
Located in the port area of Leith, in a very pleasant area to walk along the river. The semipenumbra and the decoration make this place a vintage-plated tavern, but it is also a place with delicious food and young people playing board games or having tea with grandma's surrogates donated by the local. There we went to dinner and I liked that the menu was inside a National Geographic magazine. I took stewed deer (£ 14) and it was so tender that it melted in my mouth. Desserts here are also superb.
Excursions from Edinburgh
Countless excursions can be made from Edinburgh, but we chose to visit Stirling Castle and the Fife coast, taking advantage of the fact that we had rented a car. Also, on our second visit we did an excursion to the Rosslyn Chapel.
This famous chapel is in the village of Rosslyn, about 30 minutes from Edinburgh by car. The chapel dates from 1446 and was founded by Sir William St. Clair. At first they planned to build a much larger church, but finally it stayed in a small chapel 21 meters long and 13 meters high. However, the exceptional thing about this chapel is the interior, which is completely covered with figures carved in stone. To have more details of everything, it is advisable to do the small free 20-minute guided tour in English.
In addition, the final scenes of the movie The Da Vinci Code were filmed in this chapel. The entrance to the Rosslyn Chapel costs £ 9 and you cannot take pictures inside.
Upon leaving the chapel we took the opportunity to have a soup and a sandwich in the cafeteria of the visitor center (£ 8) which were surprisingly very good.
After the visit to the Rosslyn Chapel, we went to visit the ruined castle of Rosslyn. It was a very pleasant walk despite the cold weather. From the visitor center there was also a path to the Rosslyn Glen, but as it was full of mud we left it for another occasion.
You can take bus 15 (or 15A on Sundays) in the center of Edinburgh, which takes about 40 minutes to arrive and runs one every 30 minutes. It costs £ 1.5 (you have to bring the exact money) and the closest stop to the chapel is the one in front of the Original Rosslyn Hotel. You can check the schedules and itinerary here. If you drive, there is free parking in front of the visitor center.
Stirling Castle Tour
This is one of the castles that I liked most in Scotland and one of the most interesting visits we made. Stirling is just over an hour's drive from Edinburgh, although it can also be reached by train (the station is a ten minute walk from the castle). If you go by car, keep in mind that the whole center of Stirling is a blue and paid area, but in the castle there is a parking area. Even if you see a sign indicating that it is full, also enter because it is very possible that there is some place left. The entrance to the castle costs £ 14 and includes a very interesting guided tour that is divided into two parts. The first, with a very horny official guide that explains the history of the castle and the city of Stirling, and another in which you pass through different rooms of the castle and one meets historical figures that explain what the palatial life was like and respond the questions you have It is a highly recommended visit.
We did not visit the city because we were a little late, but you can find a full itinerary through the city of Stirling in Patricia Cuní's blog.
Excursion to the coast of Fife: the Pittenweem Art Festival
Another of the excursions we did from Edinburgh went to Pittenweem, taking advantage of the fact that these days the city's art festival was celebrated. Pittenweem is a beautiful coastal town with cute little houses that open their doors to visitors during the festival. The grace of this art festival is that the works are exhibited in the houses of the town and thus Pittenweem can be known in a totally different way. The art festival is very interesting among the works that are exhibited and that can be bought there are many of great quality. Louise and David proposed to visit the festival and we loved it.
After visiting Pittenweem we move to the nearby coastal population of Anstruther to eat in one of the best Fish & Chips in Scotland. Upon arrival, we are quite queued in the Anstruther Fish Bar, attracted by the fame of his award-winning fish and chips. It is a fairly rustic place and even has a slightly retro atmosphere. Two lines are formed: one for orders to take (cheaper) and another to eat at the restaurant. The menu is quite extensive, but almost everyone asks for the traditional fish dish that costs £ 8.25. To this we must add the £ 2 potatoes and sauces, which are paid separately. Despite the queue and the price, I understand why they have won so many awards: it was all great.
8-day Scottish Highlands route
After visit Edinburgh very calmly we decided to make a route through the Scottish Highlands for eight days The best way to explore this area is by renting a car. We rented it at @Avis_Spain through Twitter and picked up the car at the office they have in the city center. The rental of a small car for 9 days came out for € 195.
Two days exploring the Loch Lommon and Trossachs National Park area
The first stop on our route was in the Lommon Lake area. We went from Edinburgh until Aberfoyle. In this small town we go to the tourist office. There they indicated several routes to do trekking for him Queen Elisabeth Forest Park and thus begin to hallucinate with Scottish nature. Another reason to stop there was that we wanted to spend the afternoon in the adventure park Go Ape!
Scotland is the paradise of hiking, not only because of its exuberant nature but because, in addition, all the routes are very well marked and in the tourist offices there are usually maps with the routes that can be followed and with the degree of difficulty marked.
Go Ape is an adventure park mounted on top of the trees where you travel with zip lines and where you have to overcome obstacles to finish the tour. It was the first time we did something like that and we really liked the adventure part but also the views. And you do not always have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful forest from above. The price is £ 30 for adults and it is advisable to book in advance.