Travel Around Scotland

You can travel around Scotland by a number of different means.  As you plan your Scottish vacation you would have looked at ways of actually Travelling TO Scotland. But in planning your trip you will want to make decisions about how you are going to get around once you are here, and I hope this wee guide will help you make some of those decisions.   If you have come from Europe and indeed England and Wales with your car, then I assume that is what you will use when you are here.  If, however, you have flown in from overseas or come by the Ferry from Europe or Ireland as a foot passenger, then you’ll want to know what the options are for getting around when you are here.  The decisions you make will depend on your own needs and preferences, but let’s examine a few.

Picture of my jeep taken at Birnie Loch near Collessie.

Travel around Scotland by car.  Picture of my car

Travel around Scotland by Car

Travelling around Scotland by car is a great way to see the country.  It has a good road system with clear signs. So whether you're bring your own car or planning to hire one, this is a great way to get around, giving you the freedom to stop where and when you want. The car in the picture above is mine. You're sure to recognise it, as it has "Scotland's Enchanting Kingdom" Logo on the back wheel. So if you're in Fife and see me, be sure to wave!

Apart from the major part of the central belt between the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the roads are much quieter than in England.  If you are bringing your own car (or towing a caravan) then this is a fabulous way to get around.  Scotland is a relatively small country and although train and coach journeys can be relaxing and pleasant, just soaking  in the scenery, it can be limiting.

So if you want to go see more of the country, going to out-of-the-way places as well as the more popular resorts like the cities and places like St Andrews then driving is going to increase your flexibility to do where you want and stay as long as you want.  If you're bringing your own car into Scotland, please ensure you have your vehicle registration and of course ownership papers with you.   I would strongly advise also that you make sure you have adequate insurance.  I would suggest you examine your current policy and if you have any doubts about being insured while you are here then do talk to your Insurance Company.  They may charge a small supplement, but it’s better to be properly insured while you’re here.

If you’re not bringing your own car, then there are plenty places and options to hire a car while you are here.  It is advisable for overseas visitors wanting to drive over here to arrange to have and International Driving Permit, available from state and national motoring organizations in your own country.

There is usually a small fee to arrange this.  Many companies require you to take out a special insurance with them, and will try to sell you extra Collision Damage Waver.  If you are booking ahead , do check out these things.

I would also like to point out that most hired cars here usually use manual gear sticks and NOT automatic.  So if you want to drive an Automatic car, please state this clearly at the time of booking.

Please use the tool below to get your directions.

Travel around Scotland by Chauffeur-driven Car

Well to me this is great luxury.  Having a specially-made tour arranged with your own chauffeur.  There’s no worries about learning the rules of the road, no hassle on parking and you can go where you want, stop when you want and have someone knowledgeable introducing you the country would be a very pleasant way to travel. Click the link HERE to find out more.

Travel Around Scotland By Chauffeur

Travel around Scotland By Bus or Coach

Scotland has a very good bus service between cities and town, and the ones which go the long journeys are usually referred to as ‘coaches’.  The main provider of this service is the national company called Scottish Citylink, but a number of private companies offer similar services.

Travelling by coach is popular and very good value for money. It is much cheaper normally than the train.  You can see many of the towns and villages this way and if you decide to stop over at a lesser-known village then it’s usually easier to get there by this means than by train. 

However, weekend travel can be very busy, so I would recommend if you are planning to travel this way to book your seat in advance.

For further details check out this page on Travelling by Bus to and around Scotland

Travel Around Scotland by Bus

Travel around Scotland with a Specialist Tour Company

There are a number of companies who offer special tours, from the scenic favourites, to Burns Country, Golf Courses, Whisky Trails and more.  This can be another good way to see a good part of the country and the places or things that really interest you.  These tours can be 2 day tours to 10 day tours and usually include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast at the hotels pre-booked by the Tour Company. There are a number of different companies but I thoroughly recommend Rabbie's Highland Tours. They do a variety of different tours, including a kind of 'taster' of the Kingdom of Fife.

Travel around Scotland by Train

Scotland has a reasonable train service although there are still many rural areas, and especially in parts of the Highands and of course the Islands,  which aren’t reached by rail. Obviously the inter-city links are very good such as between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.  Scot Rail runs the majority of train services, and these do go to the majority of the towns, and you’ll find some of the most glorious scenery if you choose to travel this way. Check out this page Travel By Train Around Scotland for more details. Or just go ahead and BOOK your tickets to and/or around Scotland from any town in the UK here

Travel Around Scotland by Train

Travel around Scotland By Plane

Scotland has four main international airports of Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh and Aberdeen,  But there are a number of smaller airports, such as Inverness and several on the islands.   Some merely gravel airstrips and the one on the Isle of Barra - is actually on the beach.  So that would be quite a first for many people. These little flights do connect us with the main flights from the major cities.  However, these flights to the islands can be very expensive and there are few discounted tickets available.  However, if you’re your priority is seeing more in a short time than counting the pennies, then the time saved on flying to these remote parts is worth it.

There are several companies which provide these flights.  The main ones are  British Airways and  Loganair.  For inter-island flights in Shetland (except flights to the  Fair Isle), you need to book direct through Loganair. Other services between the mainland and several of the major islands are also provided by both Eastern Airways and Highland Airways.

Travel By Ferry

There is something quite magical about the Scottish Islands.  There are over 50 islands which are reached by ferry. The majority of the ferries also carry cars and vans.  It is highly recommended that you book these in advance, as they are very popular. If you are booking accommodation on one of the islands then do book the Ferry as far in advance as possible too, well that is if you are taking a car.

If you've found this page 'Travel Around Scotland' helpful, then do check out the following:-

Travel TO Scotland - Discover the different ways you can travel TO Scotland.
Plan Your Trip - Use this information to be completely prepared for your wonderful trip to Scotland.

Travel By Train Around Scotland - Have a look at some of the things about travelling around Scotland by train which might help you plan your trip.
Travel by Bus - Look at the options of travelling to and around Scotland by bus(coach).
Travel Using a Chauffeur driven car - the ultimate way to travel.

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