In April 2019, a friend and I boarded on a plane that led us to the amazing country of Scotland. During 8 days and thanks to quite a lot of planning (and the help of Visit Scotland), we were going to travel all around the country on a road trip without a car: using public transportation and hitchhiking. (I got some confidence on that side from my previous trip to Iceland, as you can read here).
In this article, you will be able to know more about this journey and to orientate yourself via the different links which might interest you and/or give you the will to visit Scotland and it’s breathtaking landscapes.
This country is part of the United Kingdom and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands.
What really triggered my curiosity to go visit Scotland was what I heard and red about its scenery and views. According to where you would find yourself in the country, the environment would change to let you experience so much more than what you could expect!
DAY 1: From Edinburgh to Fort William
After a night in our AirBnb in Edinburgh, we walked towards the nearest train station in order to subscribe to a traveler pass, the Highland Rover with Scotrail Services. You can read more about my whole journey with them here. The first train took us to Glasgow where we switched to another train which will carry us all the way to Oban through the Loch Lomond and th Trussachs National Park. Once on the ground we went for the best seafood of the country, at the Local Shellfish that we ate on the harbor before visiting the town. Check here my review of the best meals I had in Scotland as well as the TOP 4 of the little towns to visit. After wandering in the charming streets of Oban, we hopped in a bus towards Fort William before walking to our first hostel of the trip booked by Hostelling Scotland: the Glen Nevis Youth Hostel. Thanks to them and their support we got the chance to sleep in lovely places, and you can read all about this here.
DAY 2: From Fort William to Inverness
After a continental breakfast at the hostel we went back on the road through the Willie Maclays Walk back to Fort William in order to visit the town. Our train took us passed the Viaduct of Genfinnan (the one from Harry Potter) towards Mallaig, a small fisherman community on the Cap West where we climbed to enjoy the viewpoint. You can check what I think about it here. After that, we took a new bus which drove us towards Inverness where we checked in a hostel from Hostelling Scotland before heading for diner at the Mustard Seed and drinks at Hootananny (with a side of bagpipes). Don’t forget to read about my review of the different Scottish restaurants I’ve been eating at as well as how I managed to use Scotrail Services.
DAY 3: The Isle of Skye
Our first day tour with Rabbies, a great tour company started at 8AM and lasted twelve hours for us to visit the Highlands and the Isle of Skye. You can read all about this tour and the other ones on my special article about Rabbies.
DAY 4: From Inverness to Ullapool
After visiting Inverness’s center and it’s botanical garden (don’t forget to read more about the Scottish towns I’ve explored), we took a bus towards Ullapool where we check in our hostel from Hostelling Scotland one more time. After walking around this fisherman’s town, we went to have diner and drinks before heading back to our room, ready for our epic upcoming day.
DAY 5: The road 500
On that day, my friend and I raised our thumbs to hitchhike from Ullapool all the way to Scrabster by the road 500, one of the most scenic roads in the country. You can read all about this adventure here. Once we arrived in Scrabster, we took a Ferry that took us to Stromness on the Orcney Island. We then took a bus which drove us to Kirkwall, the main city, before chekcing in our hostel with Hostelling Scotland.
DAY 6: Orkney Island
Once awake, my friend and I went to walk in the center of Kirkwall before meeting John and its “Tryke”: A motorcycle with three wheels. Thanks to him and his support we got the chance to ride all over Orkney and to learn more about its History. You can read all about it here. After the tour we went to one of the restaurant he advised us to try for a cozy and warm diner that quickly turned into a pre party. After that we walked towards the Ferry departure, ready for a 7 hours crossing towards Shetland Island. You can know more about experience with Scotrail and Ferry services here.
DAY 7: Shetland Island
After a tough crossing we put our feet on the ground of Lerwick, on the Shetland Island where we met Martha for our bird and animal watching tour. This was an unforgettable experience on which you can read all the details here. After this, we went back on the Ferry in order to come back to the main land of Scotland after a 12 hour journey.
DAY 8: The Highlands
Arrived in Aberdeen in the morning, we met Rabbies again (read about the tours and this great tour company here) for a tour of the Highlands. We check in our hostel with Hostelling Scotland in the evening for a calm diner before heading back to the center of Aberdeen for some drinks and even a karaoke bar.
DAY 9: Edinburgh
We took a train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh and checked in our last hostel of the trip with Hostelling Scotland. We went to visit the old town and the castle, have an wonderful lunch at The Witchery (Review with me the restaurants I’ve enjoyed in Scotland here) as well as a great last diner close to the hostel before heading to bed for an early flight home the next day.