10-Day Scotland Itinerary

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Scotland is an incredibly beautiful country. It’s cities are ancient and filled with spectacular architecture, narrow and winding streets, castles keeping watch. The country’s natural landscapes are wild and rugged. Famous of course for its lochs, glens, valleys and islands, Scotland is a nature-lovers paradise. Spending 10 days in Scotland can be a great way to see more of the country and get to know its locals, its culture and its history. It can also however be daunting to decide on where to start. Whether you are spending 10 days in North or South Scotland, each area will offer you the perfect blend of city and culture, combined with its dramatic natural landscapes. Here is a Scotland itinerary for 10 days in North and South Scotland to inspire your next trip.

Scotland Itinerary

Scotland Itinerary Tips

Best way to get around

While public transport in Scotland’s cities is excellent, to allow you to see more of both North and South Scotland, hiring a car is the best way to see everything you have planned on your trip.

There are many car hire companies in the country that offer advanced booking, however its major cities, stations and airports will also allow on the day bookings. You can compare car hire rates online at Discover Cars.

There are even services that allow you to hire camper vans or caravans if you enjoy camping.

One of the best ways to experience North Scotland is by travelling along the North Coast 500, a 500-mile stretch of road that takes in the best of the area.

Rent a camper van or caravan if you plan on doing this trip, as you will pass by many extraordinary areas that are perfect for wild camping.


If your trip is focusing mainly on towns and cities, take advantage of Scotland’s excellent rail network.

Not only is rail travel a relaxing way to journey between destinations, it also offers visitors an additional opportunity to see more of Scotland’s landscapes.

North Scotland Itinerary

Day 1 and 2 – Glencoe

Fresh Snow Covered Peaks Of Mountains In Scotland
A North Scotland travel itinerary will take you through hauntingly beautiful countryside.

Begin your journey around North Scotland in Glencoe, which is a village nestled in Lochaber Geopark in Scotland’s famous Highlands.

The village is overlooked by the Glen Coe Mountains and is close to the beautiful Loch Leven.

Glencoe is the perfect destination for hiking, camping and spending time in the great outdoors, and is known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK.

There are plenty of things to do during a short two days in this incredible destination.

Visit during winter to experience the oldest ski centre in Scotland.

Glencoe Mountain Resort opened in 1956 and offers visitors many exciting skiing and sledging opportunities, and has sno-tubing in the summer months.

Enjoy a hike through the magical Lost Valley, a hidden valley that was once used by cattle rustlers, or take a stroll around the calm waters of Loch Leven.

After a busy day or two soaking up the beauty of this rugged area, enjoy a meal or book a cosy room at Clachaig Inn.

In the heart of Glencoe and with staggeringly beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, the inn has a range of rooms and chalets to stay in, however it is its huge selection of whiskies that draws visitors in.

The Inn offers around 400 malt whiskies and an ever-growing collection of Scottish gins, all of which are best enjoyed by the roaring log fire while live music plays.

Recommended tour: From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & Scottish Highlands Tour.

Day 3 – Isle of Skye

Frasers Folly And Uig Bay On The Isle Of Skye
Isle Of Skye is a stunning place to add to your Scotland itinerary.

Leave the mainland behind and begin exploring some of Scotland’s islands.

The Isle of Skye is the largest of the Hebrides at 50 miles (80.47 kilometres) long and is connected to the mainland via a bridge, making spending a day here an easy addition to your itinerary.

The island is rich in history, with everything from Bonnie Prince Charlie and Scottish Clans including MacDonald and MacLeod embedded in the culture.

The island is also rife with dinosaur fossils typically found along the coast, and plenty of opportunities to take to the water in search of otters, dolphins and whales.

It is also another excellent North Scotland destination for outdoor activities.

Both The Cuillin Range and The Trotternish Ridge offer hikers and scramblers challenging and interesting adventures with spectacular views.

There are also many great cycle paths with bikes available to hire on the island.

Indulge at one of the many excellent restaurants on the Isle of Skye by trying the seafood.

Whether it is fresh salmon, langoustines or crab, the seafood is as fresh as it can be, as most restaurants get their catch from the harbour each day.

Recommended tour: Inverness: Discover the Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle.

Day 4 – Lewis and Harris

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Continue your exploration of Northern Scotland’s incredible island on Lewis and Harris.

The islands are famous for their incredible white sand beaches and waters that look almost tropical.

Begin your day on Harris and unwind on the beach at Luskentyre Sands which has been voted one of the best beaches in the UK.

To uncover some of the history of the islands, head to Lewis to see the Calanais Standing Stones.

This standing stone circle is older than the Pyramids of Giza, and like many standing stone circles, its true purpose is still discussed today.

There is a visitor centre which sheds more light on the standing stone circle and other archaeological findings from around the area.

Continue learning more about history at Blackhouse Museum, an outdoor museum that shows how islanders in the 1800s lived in this vast and sparse wilderness.

Wrap up your day in Stornoway, the main town on Lewis, and enjoy dinner.

The town is famous for Harris tweed which makes for excellent souvenirs, and for some of the freshest seafood available in the Outer Hebrides, so look out for restaurants specialising in seafood and local flavours.

Recommended tours: Lewis, Harris, and Outer Hebrides Tour from Inverness.

Day 5 – John O’Groats

Orney Cliffs With Dramatic Sky Seen From John O'Groats
John O’Groats 5 day Scotland itinerary.

The village of John O’Groats is one with stunningly dramatic views, incredible beaches and the drama of the North Sea.

John O’Groats is famous for being the northernmost tip of mainland UK, so be sure to find its iconic signpost for a photograph.

The best way to experience this beautiful area is on the coastal walk, a 6 kilometre walk (3.73 miles) taking you from John O’Groats value to the beautiful Duncansby Head Lighthouse, and to the giant Stacks of Duncansby.

Recommended tour: Inverness: Explore the North of Britain at John O’Groats.

Day 6 and 7 – Orkney

Standing Stones Of Stenness
Orkney, Scotland itinerary 5 days is not enough.

Spend a couple of days in Orkney to truly immerse yourself in its culture, history and beauty.

Begin with visiting perhaps the most famous landmark, the Old Man of Hoy.

The best way to see the Old Man of Hoy is from the ferry, allowing you to see all of the 137m (449.48ft) tall sea stack which is part of a larger lava shelf running along the coast.

Wander around the pretty town of Stromness and admire its narrow streets sandwiched between the sea and the hills.

The town has a vibrant history filled with tales of pirates, whalers and of course fishing, all of which can be explored at the Stromness Museum.

Spend your second day on the island at Skara Brae, a neolithic village that was discovered in 1850 underneath a sand dune.

The village shows life from 5000 years ago where it was a bustling community of farmers and fishermen.

Continue your delve into the islands histories at the Ring of Brogan, a standing stone circle of 27 stones dating to 2500 BC.

Be sure to try lots of the local delicacies in Orkney, including their incredible seaweed-fed sheep, local cheeses and of course plenty of local whiskies.

Recommended tour: Orkney: West Mainland Semi-Private Day Tour.

Day 8 – Loch Ness

Loch Ness Monster In Scotland
Loch Ness – a famous place for your Scotland itinerary.

No visit to North Scotland is complete without a visit to the famous Loch Ness.

This large freshwater loch stretches for 37 kilometres (23 miles) and is overlooked by hills, mountains and ancient castles.

The loch has a history stretching back 500 million years, so it is no wonder that tales of a mythical creature centre around the water.

Visit the Loch Ness Centre for immersive tours allowing you to explore the history of the loch and what could lie beneath the surface of the water.

After learning more about the history and of course, Nessie, take to the water on an unusual deep scan cruise, an intimate cruise allowing you to take part in live studies with scientific equipment including sonar to explore the depths of the lake.

Recommended tour: Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour.

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Day 9 and 10 – Inverness

Castle In Inverness, Scotland
Inverness is another spot to add to a 7-day Scotland itinerary.

Round off your trip to North Scotland in the city of Inverness.

The city lies along the edge of the River Ness that feeds into Loch Ness, and is the largest city in the Highlands.

Inverness is filled with beautiful examples of 18th and 19th century buildings, most notably its Victorian Market that sells local delicacies and fresh produce, and the beautiful Inverness Cathedral.

Visit Inverness Castle, an ancient castle that has overlooked the city since the 11th century.

For something more modern, head to Eden Court Theatre and Cinema or the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

Browse for a book at Leakey’s, the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland, before enjoying a coffee at Inverness Coffee Roasting Co.

Recommended tour: From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle.

South Scotland Itinerary

Day 1 and 2 – Border Towns

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Begin your time in South Scotland as far south as you can go, at its many Border Towns with England.

Border Towns are the easiest to reach if you are spending time in England prior to your trip to Scotland, with public transport over the border a great way to see the region.

The landscape at the border is dramatic, with rolling hills, vast countryside and of course beautiful coastal areas.

While exploring the Border Town areas, visit Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, Traquair House.

The 12th-century royal hunting lodge is still a family home today, however many of the rooms are open to the public to visit, as are their grounds and their brewery which offers guided tours.

Day 3 – Melrose

Bemersyde Garden
Melrose is a famous town to add to a Scotland road trip itinerary.

The town of Melrose is famous for being the home of Rugby Sevens.

Overlooked by the Eildon Hills, this Scottish Border Town is filled with history and beauty.

Explore the ruins of 12th century Melrose Abbey to learn more about the heart of Robert the Bruce, and learn more about its Roman roots at Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre, which explores the Roman impact on Scotland.

Before leaving Melrose, check out Abbotsford, the home of famous Scottish novelist and historian Sir Walter Scott.

Day 4 – Peebles

Ruins Of A Castle In Peebles, Scotland
Peebles is a lovely town to add to your Scotland itinerary.

Peebles is a pretty town a short drive from Edinburgh.

The town is perfect for those looking to enjoy both a town and countryside, as it has many excellent walking opportunities.

Tackle the 13 mile John Buchan Way, a spectacular route running from Peebles to Broughton that takes walkers through beautiful natural landscapes including Caidemuir Hill, and historical sites like Neidpath Castle.

If you are visiting on a warm day, why not get a picnic from a local cafe and relax along the banks of the River Tweed?

End your day with dinner at the beautiful and historic Sutherland Restaurant at Cringletie House.

The restaurant focuses on seasonal and local produce, often acquiring fresh ingredients from their walled garden.

Day 5 and 6 – Dumfries

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Dumfries is a beautiful and historical market town with plenty of things to explore during your two-day visit.

If you are interested in the supernatural, explore the town with a Mostly Ghostly tour, hosted by a paranormal investigation team that will take you to key places across the town where ghosts have been sighted.

If ghosts aren’t for you, but you do like history enjoy lunch at The Globe Inn.

The Globe Inn forms part of the Burns Tour, but also offers delicious dishes made using fresh and local ingredients in a cosy and historic surrounding.

If visiting with children, spend some time at the National Centre for Children’s Storytelling and Literature.

The centre was the birthplace of Peter Pan, and celebrates this famous tale through interactive activities for children held alongside exhibitions, workshops and storytelling sessions.

Before leaving Dumfries, pay a visit to the home of Scotland’s most beloved writer and poet, Robert Burns.

Burns’ house is where he penned some of his most famous works, and is filled with personal belongings.

Day 7 – Galloway

Galloway Cattle In Scotland
You’ll likely spot Highland cattle as you follow your Scotland itinerary.

Galloway is another excellent destination in Scotland to spend some time at the beach.

This small town is well-known for its Dark Sky Park, a designated area of land that restricts the use of light pollution.

Visit the Dark Sky Park at night for a talk on space, and for a change to see the stars and the milky way.

Another excellent thing to do in the area is a visit to Threave Castle, a 14th century castle that served as a stronghold for the Black Douglases.

Uncover more of Scotland’s rich history on a guided tour, or explore its ruins independently.

Recommended tour: River Tubing Adventure in Galloway.

Day 8, 9 and 10 – Edinburgh

Old Town Edinburgh City Skyline, Scotland
Edinburgh 10 day Scotland itinerary.

Spend your final three days in South Scotland in Edinburgh, one of the most popular cities to visit in the country.

Edinburgh is a very walkable city, however it also has an excellent network of busses and trains allowing you to connect easily to the outskirts of the city, the coast and of course the rest of Scotland.

A large portion of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with many historical and ancient buildings.

Begin your time in Edinburgh in the Old Town, starting with Edinburgh Castle.

The castle gets incredibly busy, so book your tickets in advance and arrive early.

The castle overlooks the city from Castle Hill located at the top of the Royal Mile.

It is filled with a range of buildings including chapels, great halls, royal chambers and of course dungeons.

Recommended tours: From Edinburgh: The Outlander Experience Guided Tour.

It also offers some of the best views across the city, and it is easy to spend a full morning of afternoon exploring everything on offer.

Round off your day at the other end of the Royal Mile at the palace of Holyroodhouse.

This grand royal home has been the official Scottish residence of the Royal Family for 800 years.

Inside the palace you will explore many beautiful halls and chambers, including the bedchamber of Mary Queen of Scots, and the room where her confidant David Rizzo was murdered.

Take a break from history on your second day in Edinburgh and explore the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, where a vast collection of plants, glasshouses and exhibitions are available.

While exploring Leigh, head down to the docks to admire the Royal Yacht Britannia and explore on a guided tour.

Be sure to book one of the city’s many excellent ghost walks that will allow you an insight into the city’s grizzly and haunted history.

Your final day in the city should take in more of its famous sites, including Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, and its many museums.

Recommended tour: Edinburgh Castle: Guided Tour with Live Guide.

There are plenty of independent shops and cafes to visit, including a vast array of bookshops.

Be sure to take in some of the most famous, and hidden gem, landmarks too, including the statue of Greyfriar’s Bobby, a loyal dog who watched over his owners grave for 14 years, and the lesser-known Witches Well, at the bottom of Castlehill.

There are many excellent dining opportunities in Edinburgh for all tastes.

Visit one of its many independent restaurants for delicious local dishes as well as those from India, Japan and beyond.

For something a little fancier, book into one of the city’s 5 Michelin-starred restaurants.

Visit Heron in the Port of Leith for a Michelin-star meal with a cosy neighbourhood feeling overlooking the port, with rises specialising in fine Scottish produce.

Staying in the city centre, visit Timberyard, a rustic warehouse that has been transformed into one of the most desirable dining destinations in the country.

Recommended tour: Edinburgh Castle: Highlights Tour with Tickets, Map & Guide.

Plan Your Trip

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Sarah Holmes
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.