Now you’re thinking of discovering Scotland – excellent idea! With its rugged landscapes, mystical castles, rich history and friendly people, Scotland is a destination that is attracting more and more travellers. But preparing for your Scottish adventure requires some key information, and our local advisors are here to guide you and answer any questions you may have! Off you go!

When should you leave for Scotland?

Inevitably, this is a question you ask yourself very quickly before booking your holiday… The best time to go to Scotland depends on your preferences:

-If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the peaceful countryside, spring and autumn are ideal.

-If you’re looking for cultural excitement and long days, opt for summer.

-If you enjoy winter landscapes and festivities, winter is the season for you.

For more details, read our articles When to go to Scotland and Climate in Scotland.

When should you plan your trip?

Plan ahead! That’s the key word here, because Scotland is a destination with the wind in its sails. Anticipating by booking early is the best way to get the best accommodation, the best rooms, the best rates on activities and to be sure of having availability for car hire.

-For a July or August departure, we recommend booking no later than March and ideally, where possible, from the previous September.

-For a departure in May or June, we recommend booking no later than March and ideally, where possible, as early as January.

-For a departure from January to April or from September to December, it is less important to plan ahead, and booking a month in advance is conceivable (except during the end-of-year festive period).

Should you organise your trip yourself or go through an agency?

It depends on your profile, your desires and your constraints. Here are some of the main reasons to use a local travel agency:

1. You don’t want to miss your trip

A local agency has intrinsic expertise in places, seasonal events and places less frequented by mass tourism. It will be able to guide you to hidden gems that most tourist guides don’t mention.

2. A tailor-made trip that’s just like you

Rather than following a standard itinerary, a local agency will listen to you to understand who you are, what you like and dislike, and what you are looking for in a trip, so as to create a tailor-made trip based on your interests.

3. You want to save time:

Organising a trip can be time-consuming. A local agency takes care of bookings, itineraries and logistics, so you can relax and look forward to your next adventure.

4. Access to exclusive activities/services

Local agencies like ours often have close relationships with hotels, restaurants and activity providers, which can result in exclusive experiences, upgrades or travel benefits.

5. Local assistance:

In the event of a problem, emergency or simply a question, it’s reassuring to know that you have a local contact you can rely on, who speaks the language and knows the particularities of the region.

6. Positive economic impact:

By choosing a local agency, you directly support the country’s economy, creating a more sustainable and responsible form of tourism.

7. Safety:

Local agencies are often better informed about local conditions, whether it’s the weather, roads or events. They can therefore guide you safely throughout your trip.

8. Authenticity:

Instead of a standardised experience, a local travel agency immerses you in the heart of Scottish culture, allowing you to experience and feel Scotland authentically.

9. Practical advice:

From recommendations on the best times to visit certain sites, to tips on how to avoid crowds or take advantage of local festivities, a local agency is a mine of practical information.

10. Peace of mind:

Knowing that every detail of your trip has been meticulously planned by a local expert gives you invaluable peace of mind, allowing you to make the most of every moment.

How long should I allow for a trip to Scotland?

You’ve decided on the period of your trip, and now you’re wondering how long you should allow to discover Scotland. Once again, it all depends on what you want to discover. From a few days to several weeks, each duration has its own charm. But in our opinion, a trip worthy of the name requires at least 8 days.

For a quick overview: 3 to 5 days

If you don’t have much time, concentrate on a few highlights. Edinburgh, the capital, deserves at least two days for its iconic sights such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile and Arthur’s Seat. Add a day to escape into the countryside and discover the Borders or Loch Lomond and the Trossachs: a very short break, but one that will give you a tantalising glimpse of what Scotland has to offer. Another very interesting option is to head for the Isle of Arran, known for being a condensed version of what Scotland has to offer. Check out our 3 to 5-day tour ideas.

For longer exploration: 7 to 10 days

This length of time allows you to add destinations such as Glasgow, the Isle of Skye, Harris and Lewis, the Cairngorms and, of course, a few whisky distilleries. You’ll have time to experience Scotland in greater depth, visit less touristy sites and soak up the local culture. But that’s not enough to do the whole tour! Check out our ideas for 7- to 10-day tours.

For complete immersion: 2 to 3 weeks

If you’re lucky enough to have two to three weeks, Scotland is yours! In addition to the destinations mentioned above, explore the Orkney Islands, visit the deserted beaches of the Outer Hebrides and take in the rugged beauty of the Cairngorms. You’ll also have time to attend local festivals, discover Scottish cuisine and meet the locals. Check out our ideas for 2 to 3 week tours.

Follow the local rhythm: Scotland is a country where you can relax, take your time, enjoy the scenery and spend time with the locals. Don’t try to see everything, but rather live each experience to the full.

Classic itineraries:

-3 days: Edinburgh or Glasgow, and surrounding areas: Loch Lomond or the Borders region

-8 days: Edinburgh and/or Glasgow, Fort William and the Highlands.

-10 days: Add the Isle of Skye to the 8-day itinerary.

-15 days: Head for the Isle of Skye or Harris and Lewis, or explore the North Coast 500.

-21 days: Explore the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides in depth.

How much should you budget?

Unless money isn’t an issue for you (which we hope it isn’t), preparing for a trip will require some financial planning. So how much should you budget for a Scottish holiday? Here’s an overview of the costs to anticipate.

Transport :

Plane: Depending on your point of departure and the season, a return flight to Scotland can vary greatly. To get the best rates, book in advance and be flexible about your dates. From Paris to Glasgow or Edinburgh, return flights in low season (October to April) average between £100 and £200. In high season (May to September), a return flight can cost up to £400.

Train: a return train ticket from Paris to Edinburgh will cost you on average between £100 and £400, depending on the season and how far in advance you travel.

Internal transport: If you plan to hire a car, expect to pay between £50 and £100 per day, depending on the type of vehicle. Don’t forget fuel and insurance. Otherwise, the train and bus network is excellent, although fares can rise during the high season.

Accommodation :

Youth hostels: Around £20 to £30 per night in a dormitory.

Comfortable Bed & Breakfasts: Between £100 and £140 per night for a double room, often with a full Scottish breakfast.

Hotels : Rates start at 80 euros and can reach several hundred euros for top-of-the-range establishments.

Meals: A meal in an average pub or restaurant costs between £25 and £35. Gourmet restaurants are obviously more expensive.

Drinks: A pint of beer costs an average of £5, and a whisky tasting starts at £10.

Activities :

Entrance to castles and attractions: Prices vary, but expect to pay between 10 and 20 euros for most sites. Consider the Explorer Pass if you plan to visit several historic sites.


Souvenirs: Tartan, cashmere, whisky, shortbread and other typical souvenirs can add to your budget. Define how much you want to spend on these purchases to avoid impulse spending.

Gratuities: Gratuities are not compulsory in Scotland, but are appreciated for good service.

Tips for saving money :

Travel out of season: By avoiding the high season (summer), you can take advantage of reduced accommodation and transport fares.

Eat like a local: Pubs and fish and chips are often more affordable, but for gourmets, bear in mind that fish and seafood are delicious and that Scottish gastronomy is much richer and more surprising than you might think. For more information on local gastronomy, see our dedicated article.

Opt for free activities: access to nature is free, so make the most of it!

In conclusion, the question of budget for a trip to Scotland will depend on your choices and your style of travel. Whether it’s a budget trip or a luxury break, Scotland offers a range of options to suit all budgets. Plan ahead, set your priorities and make the most of every moment in this magical country!

How do I get there?

Most travellers arrive at Edinburgh or Glasgow airports. Ferries are also available from Ireland and mainland Europe. Trains have recently become popular, with journeys from Paris taking between 7.30 and 9.30 hours and tickets costing around £350. Once you’re in Scotland, there are a number of scenic train routes to take you to different parts of the country and enjoy the scenery. Discover our ideas for train holidays: the Highlands by train.

What should you pack?

Pack warm, waterproof clothing, a pair of good walking shoes and electrical adaptors. Here’s a list of 10 essentials to pack for a trip to Scotland, taking into account the country’s fickle weather and popular activities:

-Waterproof clothing: A waterproof jacket and trousers will be essential. Rain can come at any time of year in Scotland.

-A good pair of walking shoes: Whether you’re exploring the cities or hiking in the Highlands, comfortable, sturdy shoes are a must.

-Scarf, hat and gloves: Even in summer, the weather can be chilly, especially in the mountains or on the coast.

-Electrical adapter: Scotland uses UK-style plugs, so make sure you have an adapter to charge your devices.

-Bug spray: Particularly if you’re visiting during the summer months, these little insects can be a nuisance, especially in the Highlands. (How to avoid them)

-Layers of clothing: Given the changeable weather, favour the layering system to add or remove layers depending on the temperature.

-Daypack: To carry your essentials when out and about, whether in town or on a hike.

-Camera and binoculars: You’ll want to capture the stunning scenery and perhaps observe wildlife from a distance.

-Travel guide or map: Even in the digital age, having a physical guide or map can be useful, especially in areas where the signal is weak.

-Sun protection: Yes, even in Scotland! When the sun is shining, especially at high altitudes or near water, it’s important to protect yourself.

With these essentials in hand, you’ll be well prepared to make the most of your trip! And for a trouble-free trip, leave with peace of mind by entrusting the organisation of your trip to our specialist advisers.

How do I hire a car in Scotland?

It’s best to book in advance. Make sure you have an international permit if necessary. There are many car hire companies, the best known being Arnold Clark and Avis.

What are the different types of accommodation in Scotland?

B&Bs, hotels, hostels, gîtes, campsites and bothies.

The choice of accommodation plays a crucial role. Here’s an overview of the different options available to help you find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

1. Hotels :

From luxury hotels to simple family-run establishments, Scotland offers a wide range of hotels. In major cities such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, you’ll find international chain hotels, as well as charming boutique hotels set in historic buildings.

2. Bed & Breakfast (B&B):

One of the most traditional forms of accommodation in Scotland, B&Bs offer a more personal experience. Often run by families, they offer comfortable rooms and a full Scottish breakfast to get the day off to a good start.

3. Youth hostels:

Perfect for travellers on a budget or those looking for a social atmosphere, youth hostels are plentiful, especially in tourist areas. They generally offer dormitories, but sometimes also private rooms.

4. Holiday rentals :

If you’re planning a longer stay or travelling in a group, renting a house or flat can be a sensible option. It also gives you the freedom to cook and live at your own pace.

5. Bothies :

These traditional mountain huts, often in remote locations, offer basic shelter for hikers. They are usually free, but expect very basic facilities and remember to respect the code of use for bothies.

6. Camping and caravanning:

For those who like to sleep under the stars, Scotland has many well-equipped campsites. What’s more, the “right to roam” often allows wild camping, as long as you follow the Scottish countryside code.

7. Unusual accommodation :

For a truly unique experience, why not sleep in a castle, an old prison, a lighthouse or even a tree house? Scotland is full of unusual accommodation to make your stay memorable.

8. Self-catering cottages:

Located in the countryside or small villages, these cottages offer a peaceful setting, often with a traditional touch. They’re the perfect option for a rural escape.

Tips for choosing your accommodation :

Plan ahead: popular accommodation, especially in high season, can be booked months in advance. Our advisors are in direct daily contact with hotels and B&Bs, so take advantage of their expertise!

Trust our local advisers: they travel the country all year round and know the best accommodation to recommend and the worst to avoid! 

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