Our Scotland vacation answers to questions from potential overseas visitors suggest a common theme. They often run along the lines of: time in Scotland is short – we have to make sure we make the most of our Scotland vacation. What do we need to see, and also, what can we afford to miss?
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My wife and I live in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a crazy metropolis, and will have 6 days in Scotland for a last-minute break. Given the length of our trip, we would appreciate your suggestions on where we can spend our time to get the best nature break possible--my wife is a big fan of beautiful countryside-less of cities (given where we live). We will fly into and out of Edinburgh, so we can spend our last day (and night) there but would appreciate your views on an itinerary that would give us a nice taste (pun intended!) of Scotland and a chance to sample a couple of different areas. Not sure we want to be on the move the entire time as this trip is intended to be a chance to recharge our batteries. Thanks in advance, Donald Baker.
We are arriving in Glasgow on Tuesday August 7. We are on the Princess Cruise Line arriving at 7am and departing at 1am on August 8. We are interested in taking a train trip from Glasgow to Mallaig. We have been told the scenery is spectacular. Questions are . Is it truly a memorable trip? Do we get on and off train at certain towns? About how long a trip would it be (round trip)? Would we be better off doing a car trip with guide in same area? If this is the case could you recommend a service to us? We are 4 women and would prefer not to be on a bus type tour. Thank you so much for your help. Barbara Dennehy / United States
Hi Barbara / Yes – as part of our Scotland vacation answer to you, this rail trip is memorable and the scenery is outstanding. But I am slightly worried that it is a bit ambitious for a day trip from your cruise ship. It will amount to nearly an 11 hr round trip – and while it will give you a great chance to see a lot of Scotland, I worry that any delays may mean you might miss your ship’s departure. The trip isn’t totally impossible though (and if you are delayed, I reckon you could get across to Invergordon or another Scottish port in a worse case scenario. )
I assume your ship docking at Greenock? You could get a taxi from Greenock to Dumbarton Central – this would take about 30 minutes – and that would be shorter than travelling into Glasgow Queen Street station (where the train starts at 08hr21).
You don’t get any proper stops until you reach Mallaig – en route you only have a few minutes in Crianlarich and Fort William. But there should be a catering service serving snacks on the train – and Mallaig, which is a large village and fishing port, has plenty to see for a few hours. There is a heritage museum and an aquarium plus a few hotels and restaurants for food and drink – I would try a bar meal at the West Highland Hotel – plus there are lovely views across to the Isle of Skye (pictured left, from above Arisaig) and the other small isles. The ferry goes from here across to Skye so there is always some bustle to keep you interested around the harbour. There are also a few small shops in the village.
If you fancy a walk before you get back on the train ( 4.05pm) , try the Mallaig Circular Walk. This is a fairly gentle stroll starting from East Bay, where it is sign-posted up steps, up the glen to Mallaig Vaig and back down the road to town. You will get good views over Loch Nevis to the mainland peninsula of Knoydart. This will take about an hour.
The rail timetables can be viewed on The FirstScotRail website (look up the West Highlands section.) And, if you don’t fancy the train trip, the Scottish Tourist Guide Association have many driver-guides who might do this trip for you. If you prefer a less ambitious day trip then I would suggest visiting Stirling Castle – it is magnificent!
Can you recommend a reasonable price golf course that provides the true Scottish golf experience? Dan Baker, United States.
As there are over 500 golf courses in Scotland it is hard to chose, but here are some ideas for you:
Or find out some more facts about Scotland.
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Scotland in Three Days