10 Day Scotland Itinerary:
Your Ultimate Scotland Itinerary by Train 

Looking at a map of Scotland, it may appear small. But, don’t let that fool you. There is so much to explore, Scottish food to eat and people to meet. From visiting castles and Harry Potter sites; to sipping whisky and eating haggis; to standing atop a Munro looking across the incredible Scottish scenery. This 10 Day Scotland Itinerary is jam-packed with adventure that you could easily spend longer if you wanted to.

As a couple of food-loving Scots, we plan our journeys with food in mind. So your itinerary around Scotland is packed full of recommendations of where to experience the best food and drink Scotland has to offer. For a small country, there is so much to see. In fact, we have lived here almost all our lives and are still finding new places to explore. So, we recommend choosing fewer spots on your route and spending more time getting to know them rather than spending the whole time on the move.

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How Many Days is Enough for a Scotland Tour?

As many as you can give it!

If you only have a few days, we would recommend taking a city break in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. They are both incredible cities, with great options for day trips, including many whisky distilleries which are accessible by train.

Equally, you could spend much longer than 10 days in Scotland as there is just so much to do. As the travel routes aren’t the greatest, it can take a while to get from place to place so do factor that into your equations.

However, 10 days is a great balance. It allows you to see some cities and get out into the countryside, taking things at a nice pace. If you have a little more time, we would recommend adding the Isle of Skye onto this 10 day Scotland itinerary – it perfectly adds on at day 5.

What Time of Year is Best to Visit Scotland?

Look, I’m going to give it to you straight. When you visit, it will rain. It doesn’t matter what time of year.

But, weather is all a matter of perspective. A friend once told me that the first time she visited Edinburgh it was raining and misty. She got off the train in the early evening and, looking out, everything felt so magical that she fell instantly in love. Perspective.

That said, May to October is still the best time. There are less wet hours in the day. Unless, of course, you are visiting for the snow season, then winter is your bet.

As the old Scottish proverb goes: There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So take heed, and pack a good raincoat and some comfortable, waterproof shoes.

10 Day Scotland Tour
Katie and Matt, authors of The Plate Unknown

The Plate Unknown

Hey there! We are Katie & Matt, the duo who love food - and learning about it even more!

We have worked in the food industry for 30 years combined and are set to travel the world to continue learning about the food of the world.

Read more about us here.

Should I Drive or Take the Train Around Scotland?

I wholeheartedly recommend travelling around Scotland by train.

Firstly, having a car in any of the city centres is a nightmare. Parking is about as easy to find as a sober pixie after 10pm on a Friday night in Glasgow city centre. And you will have to sell your kidney, the aforementioned pixie and your firstborn child just to park the car for the day.

Secondly, when you get out onto the country roads the scenery is beautiful. Like, really beautiful. The kind of beautiful that makes you want to turn your head at every corner. Not so great in a car. Totally doable in a train.

Plus, on a train, you get to travel over one of the most iconic train lines in the world: the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Harry Potter fans will delight as this is the famous bridge which transports the young wizard on his way to Hogwarts.

The Scotland road trip might seem like a great trip until you get to a distillery. Nobody wants to be designated driver when taking a whisky tour!

If we really haven’t sold you on the idea of taking the train, then we recommend only hiring one for when you leave the cities. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow are easily accessible on foot. And you can easily get a rental car from within the city.

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Day 1 and 2: Edinburgh

Your 10 day Scotland Itinerary starts off in the capital city of Edinburgh. No matter how you are arriving, you can easily make your way to the heart of the city centre. Edinburgh Airport is well connected by buses or the tram. I recommend the bus, it goes in the bus lane so no hold ups on the road and takes you straight to Waverley Station. The tram is so, so slow. Or, you can come straight in by train from most parts of the UK.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh: 

Edinburgh is a beautiful, easily-walkable city – although there are a lot of hills! As you won’t be here for long, I recommend sticking to the Old Town. It is centrally located, near most of the main tourist attractions, allowing you to get everywhere with ease.

On a Budget: Holyrood Aparthotel

Mid-Range: The Fraser Suites

Luxury: The Balmoral Hotel (Technically in the New Town, but only just over the bridge. Being such an iconic hotel, it’s a must stay.)

Edinburgh is broken up into fairly distinct neighbourhoods.

For a full run-down of each of the city’s neighbourhoods, including our top recommendations of where to stay in Edinburgh, click here.

What to Do in Edinburgh: 

Take a stroll down to the trendy Stockbridge. If you are lucky enough to be here on a Sunday, you will be spoiled with the farmer’s market in the square. You will find coffee shops aplenty, more charity shops than people and the piece de resistance: Mellis Cheese Shop. Cheese lovers should stock up on the top Scottish cheeses – the perfect train picnic!

From here, you can stroll along Leith Water to Dean Village. It is like a fairytale village in the heart of the city and usually free from the crowds. You will definitely want your camera.

Edinburgh’s history comes alive when the sun goes down (not all that late if you visit in the winter!) Much of the city can be visited underground, where you can visit the vaults and take a Ghost Tour. A top experience that you simply won’t get anywhere else.

Start Day 2 with a walk up Calton Hill. At first glance it doesn’t look like much but, trust me, it’s a fair incline. But you will be well rewarded from the top. Early morning is my favourite time to go up because you get a clear view of the city waking up. 

From here, you can head to the Old Town to visit the famous sites from the Royal Mile. At one end is Edinburgh Castle which is well worth paying entry (although it’s not cheap). 

As you wander down the Mile, there are great shops and bars down little closes. For all Harry Potter fans, you will want to take a trip to Greyfriars Cemetry to spot some familiar names. 

For museum lovers, the National Museum of Scotland is not to be missed. It is also home to one of Edinburgh most hidden gem’s – an unparalleled, panoramic view of the castle. Take the lift all the way to the 7th floor, to their roof terrace, and be prepared to be wowed. 

With so much to see and try to pack in, why not to take a guided tour to ensure you see all the top spots?

Where to Eat in Edinburgh:

You are spoilt for choice of great restaurants in Edinburgh. So spoiled, in fact, that we put together a full list of our top recommendations here.

Breakfast: No trip to Edinburgh would be complete without breakfast at Dishoom. A bacon and egg naan with neverending cups of chai is the perfect start to our day.

Cheap Eats: Ting Thai Caravan is an icon on the Edinburgh food scene. Owners Ting and Ae Tapparat, who used to cook for the Thai royal family, will have you feeling like a King whilst paying like a Pauper.

Casual: Top-notch curry is the order of the day at Kahani – plus they are BYOB (and just around the corner from Tesco supermarket).

Treat Yo’self: For an all-out date night, Restaurant Martin Wishart cannot be beaten. One of Edinburgh’s Michelin star restaurants which always delivers on quality, service and flavour. Or, for great quality fine dining but at pocket-friendly prices, head to 21212 for lunch.

Nightcap: For cocktails, head to Bramble  – it is tucked away under a shop on Queen Street, look out for a patch of grass on a piece of roof. Or, if wine is more your pace, Smith & Gertrude is the place for you.

Day 3 and 4: Fort William

Day 3 starts with a train journey from Edinburgh to Fort William. It is well worth booking your train tickets in advance to snap a bargain. Click here to check the latest times and prices.

The journey will take around 5 hours so be sure to have a good breakfast and stock up for a picnic on the train. Bross StrEAT in the arches behind the station is a great shout for a bagel to-go. Settle in for one of the most scenic train routes in Europe.

Lying in the shadows of Ben Nevis, Fort William, in the West Highlands, is the Outdoor Capital of the UK. So, it’s time to fill your lungs with all that fresh Scottish air.

Where to Stay in Fort William:

As a popular destination for visiting the Highlands, there are plenty of options for accommodation. They also vary wildly in quality and in clientele. So keep an eye out if you are after somewhere with an atmosphere or a little more peaceful.

On a Budget: Buccleuch Guest House

Mid-Range: Garrison Apartments

Luxury: Nevis Bank Inn (or, if you want to really splash out – and get a taxi, Inverlochy Castle Hotel)

Check out alternative Fort William accommodation options on Booking.com.

What to Do in Fort William:

Spend time exploring Fort William in the afternoon. Walking through the heart of the town, it won’t take you long to get your bearings.

At one end of the town, you will find the Old Fort. As in, the Fort for which the town got its name. It’s a pretty beat up ruin at this stage but impressive nonetheless. Stand and imagine the history of the Highlanders who stood before you, the Jacobite uprisings and the bloodshed that took place.

A wander further into town will bring you to the West Highlands Museum. Home to world-famous Jacobite exhibits and an excellent collection of local history artefacts.

Day 4 of your Scotland trip is where we recommend getting out into the great outdoors. Jump a short bus to Glen Nevis – the foot of Ben Nevis – where you can go a walk, exploring the coastline, forestry, waterfalls and mountains.

One of the most popular, shorter walks – but also one of the most dramatic – is Steall Falls. It will take around two hours and will blow you away with the breath-taking scenery. The Highland Council has put together a list of all the walks if you are looking for something longer or more planned out.

You will want to round off your day by jumping on the N41 bus to Nevis Range. 

Where to Eat in Fort William:

Wow Factor: The Nevis Range not only hosts a range of snow sports but also has a restaurant 650m high, atop Aonach Mor mountain. Grab the gondola to the top for breathtaking views at The Snowgoose Restaurant & Bar. The menu is small, serving diner-style food which is much needed after a day on the trails. Always check ahead though as it can’t run in severe weather conditions. 

Cosy Pub: There is something for everyone at The Grog & GruelThis lively quintessential pub has been a Fort William favourite for over 25 years.

Seafood Haven: This seafood restaurant hands-down wins for the top location in Fort William. Crannog is located on the pier, so you can watch the boats head across Loch Eir whilst tucking into top quality Scottish seafood.

The Jacobite Steam Train is a Must-Do on Any 10 Day Scotland Itinerary by Train

Day 5: Jacobite Steam Train, Fort William to Mallaig

Day 5 is my favourite day on this 10 day Scotland itinerary. For Harry Potter fans, this is one day you will never forget. Because today is the day to take the famous Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig on the west coast.

This section of the West Highland Line has attracted trainspotters from all over the world. And not just the anorak wearing type. Tourists have flocked here long before the railway and Glenfinnan Viaduct appeared in the Harry Potter movies. 

What to Do in Mallaig:

There are two options for this journey.

First is the romantic one. This is on the Jacobite Steam Train which runs throughout the summer months. It is the more expensive option, but the guard may be flexible to spending time at stops and will certainly be happy to answer your questions. 

Stretch your legs at Glenfinnan and pay a visit to the Glenfinnan Station Museum. 

The ‘Jacobite’ provided the steam engine and carriages for the Harry Potter movies. So, you will be following in the footsteps of wizarding heroes. Don’t think you will get a pumpkin pasty en route though!

The second is on the Scotrail Diesel service which runs year-round. This is a more affordable service and follows the same route.

Alternatively, just take the Scotrail train to Glenfinnan. From there, you can hike around the tranquil heritage site for impressive views of the viaduct. 

Once in Mallaig, enjoy a few hours in the peaceful fishing town. A hike of The Circle Walk will take around 60-90 minutes.

Or, jump a taxi (or hire an e-bike) to build sandcastles on the beaches of Morar.

If you have extra days to add to your itinerary, this is where you should head on over to the Isle of Skye. The ferry is just a short half-hour ride from here.

Once you have soaked up all the sea air, it’s time to do the train journey back. Sit on the same side of the train as heading out to get the view from the other side of the viaduct!


Where to Eat in Mallaig:

Being a fishing town, Mallaig has plenty of great seafood options.

Chippy: For the best chippy and smokehouse in town, head to Jaffy’s. Run by third-generation fish merchants so you know it’s going to be great quality, fresh fish and chips.

Tea & Scone: For a hot-filled beef roll or a fresh scone and cuppa (or both!), head to The Fishmarket Restaurant

Day 6: Oban

Next up is the beautiful town of Oban on Scotland’s west coast. The journey is a further experience of the magical and scenic West Highland Line. It will take around 4 hours, so grab some breakfast then all-aboard. Remember to book in advance for the best prices which you can check out here.

The name Oban means ‘Little Bay’ in Gaelic, so come prepared to eat all the best seafood that the bay has to offer. Here you will be spoiled by miles of dramatic coastline and beautiful countryside.

Where to Stay in Oban:

Oban isn’t that big. So, with the exception of a few outliers, almost everywhere is easily accessible from the train station.

On a Budget: Oban Youth Hostel

Mid-Range: The Ranald Apartments

Luxury: The Perle Oban Hotel

Check out alternative Oban accommodation options on Booking.com.

Enjoy time by the water in Oban on your Scotland vacation

What to Do in Oban:

I can hear you thinking – “How have we made it to day 6 of a 10 day Scotland itinerary without tasting any whisky?” And you’re time has come. You don’t even have to travel very far – about 5 minutes walk from the train station to be exact!

Visit Oban Distillery for a distillery tour and, of course, a tasting. Slàinte!

If you want to buff up on your Scotch whisky knowledge before your visit, read up on the Scottish Whisky Regions here.

A climb from the town centre will take you to McCaig’s Tower. It is a prominent landmark, and worth the effort of the climb. The views from the top are nothing short of magnificent across the whole of Oban Bay and the Atlantic Islands. Take some time to wander around the peaceful gardens for a moment of tranquillity.

Take a wander back into town, along the esplanade to Oban Chocolate Factory. You will have a hard time not drooling at all their hand-made chocolates. You can watch them being made in their open plan shop and cafe, with viewing windows into the factory. Blink and you’ll realise you’ve been staring for hours. They do truffle making workshops for 5-11-year-olds, and I’ve never been so sad not be 10!

Where to Eat in Oban:

Chocolate Heaven: The aforementioned Oban Chocolate Factory is a chocolate lover’s heaven. Cosy up with the best mug of hot chocolate, a huge plate of waffles and stare out across Oban Bay.

Shellfish Lovers: We have had heated debates over which place to include. But in the end, both Ee-Usk and Oban Seafood Hut are so good they needed to be included. They may dish up the greatest shellfish you will eat anywhere in the world – the fresh Scottish produce is just that good. Both are eat-with-your-fingers, standing-up jobs. And so cheap for the quantity and quality of shellfish that you get.

Date Night: Think top-quality Scottish produce. Think seasonal menus. And pair with top-notch wines. Then you have Etvie

Day 7: Oban to Loch Lomond

After lunch on Day 7, it is time to jump aboard the train heading to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

That means there is still the morning in Oban to take at your own pace. There were more things in Day 6’s ‘What to do in Oban’ than you could fit into one afternoon. So spread them out between the afternoon and the morning before you leave.

The train from Oban to Loch Lomond will take around 3 hours. Head off after lunch, getting in all your seafood needs first. When booking tickets, the train station in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park that you’re looking for is called Balloch. The quicker you book your tickets, the better deal you will get; so be sure to check out the best deals early.

Balloch in right on the southern tip of the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. It is often referred to as the gateway to Loch Lomond.

Where to Stay in Balloch, Loch Lomond:

Balloch is a great base to head to without a car. Whilst there are other train stations around this huge loch, many are less accessible whilst you are there.

On a Budget: OYO Lomond Park Hotel

Mid-Range: Tullie Inn

Luxury: Innkeeper’s Lodge Loch Lomond

Check our alternative Balloch accommodation options on Booking.com.

Where to Eat in Balloch, Loch Lomond:

For the View: Commanding spectacular views, perfect for al fresco dining, is the Duck Bay Marina. Their patio is practically in the loch! The menu has something for everyone with classic Scottish fare next to Mexican, Thai and Malaysian offerings.

Special Meal: Treat yourself to a great meal on the marina at The Boat House. As part of the Cameron House Resort, you are sure to have an evening of luxury. To really push the boat out, you can book to stay too.

Chippy: The West Coast to do one thing, and do it well. Fry fish! And Palombos of Balloch are no exception. 

Day 8: Loch Lomond

One of the most romantic ideas about a trip to Scotland includes wandering the shores of the Scottish lochs. And now is your chance.

Whilst Loch Lomond might not be home to the Loch Ness Monster, she is home to miles of walking routes and water sports.

With just one full day to explore on your 10 day Scotland itinerary, you will want to hit the ground running (or walking).

What to do in Balloch, Loch Lomond:

Start by exploring the village itself, at Balloch Castle Country Park. The castle itself is derelict but there are acres of grounds and nature trails to walk around.

Loch Lomond Shores has a beautiful 1km sculpture trail. It is easy under-foot, so a nice relaxing wander. If you are visiting on the first or third Sunday of the month, the Farmers Market will also be taking place.

Scotland may be famous for its whisky, but there are also many master brewers on our fine shores. Beer lovers should flock to the Loch Lomond Brewery. Here you will be rewarded for a hard-days walking with a fab selection of award-winning local ales.

You might have noticed the big wet thing. To make the most of your trip to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, you need to get your feet wet! Catch a cruise around loch for incredible views.

Or, head to Luss for water sportsThe bus (305, 926 and 976 from Balloch) takes 15 minutes. It’s a great loch-side village with a beach for hours of fun to play on.

Day 9 and 10: Glasgow

The last leg of your Scotland trip brings you to Glasgow.

Glasgow is a less touristic city than Edinburgh, but no less impressive. Scots who hail from either of the two Scottish cities will defend their home town as the “best”. But, having lived in both, I can honestly say I love them both equally for their very different character. 

The train on the 9th day of your itinerary is just a short one, taking only 45 minutes. 

Arriving at the “city of architecture and design”, don’t forget to look up and marvel at the buildings. Glasgow is also recognised as having the best shopping in the UK, outside of London. So if you are looking to stock up on some souvenirs, now is the time to do it.

Where to stay in Glasgow:

You don’t have to travel far to have great options for hotels in Glasgow. We have recommended places right in the city centre so you are in easy walking distance. However, the West End is absolutely beautiful if you want something a little more peaceful.

On a Budget: easyHotel Glasgow City

Mid-Range: Fraser Suites

Luxury: Grand Central Hotel

For more hotel options in Glasgow, check out Booking.com.

What to Do in Glasgow:

Start your day with a spot of culture at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA). Right outside you will find one of Glasgow’s most iconic statues – the Duke of Wellington. He is always found with a traffic cone on his head.

Head towards Glasgow Cathedral for some architectural delight. Then head behind for the ghosties in the Necropolis. Take a deep breath as you head up the (very) steep hill for arguably the best views of Glasgow. I promise it’s easier on the way down.

To get the full Glasgow experience, take the hop-on-hop-off bus. You can get on and off as many times as you like to explore the city. Tours are spoken in 8 languages. This is a fun way to get to know this incredible city.

Wandering back into town, grab the underground to Kelvinhall Subway Station. In Glasgow, the underground is affectionately known as the Clockwork Orange. 

Whilst in the West End, visit Kelvinhall Art Gallery and Museum. Unlike most things in life, it’s free to enter. Inside you can browse the 22 galleries. At 1pm Monday-Saturday, there is a free organ recital which is sure to set the hairs on your arms upright.

A wander down Ashton Lane will make you feel like you are in Diagon Alley or Hogwarts. A perfect place to enjoy some food, drinks and watching the world go by.

Before heading for your flight home, round off your 10 day Scotland itinerary with a trip to Glasgow Distillery. They make an amazing range of whiskies, vodkas and gins. There truly is something for everyone. Having already completed a whisky tour in Oban, I recommend taking a gin tour. You can also get a double tour and visit Scotland’s favourite beer brewery, Tennents, at the same time.

Glasgow has easy access to many distilleries for Scottish whisky tours and whisky tastings, all accessibly by train. Access the full list here.

Where to Eat in Glasgow:

Casual: Bring the taste of Vietnam to the streets of Glasgow at Hanoi Bike Shop.

Pizza Party: The closest to Neopolitan pizza we have ever had outside of Naples itself is from Paesano Pizza. They have two locations and do takeaway so you have no excuse for missing out really.

For Beers: Templeton Building is the home to WEST Brewery – great beer, German food, gorgeous surroundings. The old carpet factory (and my grandpa’s former place of work) overlooks Glasgow Green making it perfect for people watching.

A Tipple: Maybe we are biased because The Variety Bar is run by good friends of ours, but you won’t find a better pint served by friendlier faces in the city centre.

Whew! Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! 

There you have it, a full 10 day Scotland itinerary all wrapped up. Hopefully, this has given you lots of tips and inspiration for your trip around Scotland by train. It certainly has my itching to get back out exploring. Just remember to always back a raincoat – no matter what time of year you are visiting! And, have fun!

Scotland is abundant in beautiful landscapes, perfect for creating a diverse and exciting food scene.

Click here to read all about the top Scottish foods and drinks to enjoy on your next trip.

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This is the best Scotland 10 Day Itinerary that you need for your trip. Full Guide on how to spend 10 Days in Scotland from 2 locals. This is the only route we we would recommend for a 10 day Scotland itinerary, which you can adapt to suit your needs. Recommendations for where to stay in Scotland, and best places to eat in Scotland too. #Scotland #Itinerary | Scotland Travel Guide | 10 Days in Scotland | What to do in Scotland | Where to go in Scotland | Scotland Must See

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