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My partner and I always try to take turns choosing where to travel next when planning a trip. This time it was my partner’s turn. And he chose Scotland. I wanted to go to Iceland to see the northern lights. So off we went. I honestly didn’t expect to love Scotland as much as I did. But once we left Edinburgh, the breathtaking views of the Scottish Highlands won me over. Here’s what we did during our five-day trip to Scotland.
Day One – Edinburgh
We flew in really late the night before, so I wouldn’t count that as a day in Scotland. On our first real day in Edinburgh, we woke up in the Haymarket Hotel. The hotel was in the perfect location, only a 30-minute walk to Edinburgh Castle. We started our morning off with a traditional Scottish breakfast at the hotel, which was absolutely delicious. I loved the black pudding, weirdly enough. I thought it would taste more iron-ey, but it didn’t.
Once we were ready, we headed out on a walk to Edinburgh Castle (comped). Walking up that hill was hard, haha. I live in the Netherlands, which is super flat. I’m not used to inclines anymore. But we made it. The castle was super cool. There was so much to see. It was incredible. And the views!! They were amazing! You could see the city of Edinburgh, the water, and beyond from the castle.
The Rest Of The First Day
After the castle, we stopped in a cute café for a light lunch. We were still pretty full from our massive breakfast. We walked around the city, explored the little streets, the park by the castle, and more before heading to Johnnie Walker on Princes Street (comped). My partner loves whiskey, so he got to drink all of his tasters and most of mine.
Even though I’m not a huge whiskey person, I really had a good time. The guide was super enthusiastic, and the experience was very interactive. We finished the day by going out for some steak at an Argentinian restaurant close to our hotel. I really enjoyed our meal. We also stopped in a bar for a drink.
Day Two – Edinburgh/the Highlands
Once again, we had the full Scottish breakfast. What can I say? We were fans. After breakfast, we packed up, picked up our rental car at the airport, and drove to the pier. I really wanted to explore the Royal Yacht Britannia (comped) sometime during our trip, so we did that. My partner’s sister got me into the show the Crown. So after finding out the royal yacht was in Edinburgh, I was determined to go.
Attached to the terminal where the yacht is, is a whole mall full of restaurants and shops. So we got lunch at some Italian American New York-style restaurant there. It took me back to my days of living in NYC. And when we were full, we hit the road to Loch Lochy in the Scottish Highlands. The road there was lined with trees, mountains, fields, distilleries, dams, animals, and more. It was absolutely gorgeous. We ate dinner at our hotel, the Whispering Pine Lodge.
Day Three – The Highlands
Imagine waking up in a beautiful old school style hotel room with a view of snow-capped mountains. And it snowed on and off during our trip. It was so magnificent. The hotel was placed in the perfect location. That’s why we chose it. The lodge was so perfectly done. It was like waking up in a dream. I would definitely stay at the Whispering Pine Lodge again.
Our first activity for the day was to visit the Eilean Donan Castle (comped). Even though it was an hour’s drive from our hotel, it was well worth it. This castle looks like it’s out of some sort of painting. The backdrop was everything. We tried to go on a tour at Torabhaig distillery after, but their last tour was before we got there.
The End Of Day Three
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at Chocolates of Glenshiel for some coffee and a sweet treat. The guy working there was so kind and friendly. He chatted with us for a while and told us all about his life. His kindness really left an impression on me. Living in the Netherlands, most people in cafes aren’t that chatty and open. I miss that. (It is also common in the USA.)
He directed us to go visit the Bealach Ratagain View Point, which was close by. And boy, I’m glad he gave us this tip. The view from there was incredible! The featured photo of this blog post was taken there. We ended the night at the hotel restaurant and bar. The bar was designed to look like an old style saloon, or at least it appeared so to me. There was a fireplace, wooden paneled walls, and loads of alcoholic beverages to choose from. The number of different whiskeys they had was astounding!
Day Four – Last Full Day In The Highlands
On our fourth day in Scotland, we drove out to Fort George (comped) and learned all about the wars in the highlands. We also learned about where the local soldiers were deployed to when there were wars abroad. The fort was super impressive. Some of it was actually still an active military fort. How cool! We also learned that on some days, you could see dolphins from the fort.
We also stopped to see Loch Ness (the lake Ness). Yes, that’s the famous lake where the story of the loch ness monster comes from. It was just a regular lake lol, and I didn’t see any monster. We were super tired. We decided to just relax in the hotel and call it an early night.
Day Five – Our Last Day In Scotland
Sadly all vacations must come to an end. We left the gorgeous hotel we were staying at to make the 3-hour drive back to Edinburgh. We really wanted to visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse, but unfortunately, it was closed that day. So instead, we headed to the royal botanic garden. Apparently, it is free to the public, which is great! We had lunch there, walked around, and then headed to the airport. The royal botanic garden was super peaceful, almost zen-like.
Some Last Words
If you need a sign to go to Scotland, this is it. There is so much to do, especially if you travel when it is warmer. A lot of things weren’t open until April or May (our trip was in March). But we still found plenty to do. It’s not the cheapest place to travel to, but it isn’t the most expensive. We went to Norway, and that was pricey! Follow your heart to where it takes you, and enjoy seeing this beautiful world!
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Where was the last place you traveled to? What did you think of that place?