Edinburgh is a striking city; the stony streets are lined by towering gothic style buildings that give it a grandeur not found anywhere else in the world.
However, one of the highlights of visiting Scotland is getting out and exploring the world-renowned landscapes of both the highlands and the lowlands. Luckily, Edinburgh is a perfect home base for weekend getaways around this lush country. Let’s discover some of the best places to venture for a weekend getaway from Edinburgh.
Just over an hour and a half drive from Edinburgh is Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. This is an incredibly scenic area with massive lochs, tiny towns, and cascading hills. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are one of the most awe-inspiring examples of the Scottish landscape.
The national park is just shy of 2,000 acres and is a great spot for scenic hikes, picturesque drives, and relaxing boat tours. There are only a handful of hotels around the area, so your best bet is to find a B&B or go camping.
This tiny island on Scotland's west coast calls to mountain bikers and hikers. However, it also has some incredible golf courses, prehistoric fortresses, old castles, and some of the best food in the country. Visitors can find all of Scotland's big five species on the island which include the red squirrel, red deer, harbor seal, golden eagle, and otter.
With so much beauty, nature, history, and wildlife, it makes the three and a half drive from Edinburgh worth it. The Isle of Arran is hard to beat for a wonderful weekend getaway.
When you picture the stunning landscape of the highlands, you probably imagine an area that looks like Glencoe. Not only is it is one of the most beautiful regions in the highlands but it’s also one of the mot important historic sites. It is here that one of the nation's most infamous betrayals between the Scottish clans happened. Along the way, you can stop at sights like Stirling Castle, which also played a massive part in the fight for Scottish independence from England.
Just a few minutes away from Stirling is the Wallace Monument, a massive statue that pays tribute to William Wallace, one of the country's biggest heroes. This weekend trip is full of historical spots and incredible landscape, making it one of the best weekend getaways from Edinburgh.
Inverness is one of the biggest cities in the country, but don’t let that keep you away as it holds all the charm of a small quaint town. The city thrives on food, festivals, and music. The streets are full of stores that sell everything from local whiskey and handcrafted bagpipes to pieces of jewelry and small souvenirs.
Inverness is also the location in which Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's famous plays, takes place. Another perk of choosing Inverness is that it is close to Loch Ness. If you feel like taking an afternoon to try your luck, you just might spot the elusive Nessie.
The Isle of Mull is a lesser-known spot in Scotland, but its sheer cliffs, rugged landscape, stony beaches, and hypnotizing bays are unforgettable. The Isle of Mull also has a variety of wildlife; most notable are the minke whale and bottlenose dolphins, which are seen mostly from April – October.
Since the Isle of Mull is over four hours from Edinburgh, you’ll want to start your journey early in the morning. However, while this is the furthest weekend getaway on the list, the Mull is a special place that is well worth the trip and won’t be quickly forgotten.
Scotland is a mix of larger than life landscapes, vivid history, and entertaining lore. The beauty of the small cities, the massive lochs, and both the highlands and lowlands make it a country worth visiting.
If you have a few extra days when visiting Edinburgh and are looking to get out and see a wee bit more of Scotland, these weekend getaways promise to give you a journey full of extraordinary memories.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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