Are you overwhelmed planning a Scotland trip? Kathi Kamleitner shares helpful Scotland planning tips like when to visit, recommended road trips, ways to save money, and more! Wondering how to plan a trip to Scotland? From things to do in Glasgow and Edinburgh to Scotland road trip ideas, this podcast episode is devoted to all things Scotland. People are often surprised by how much there is to see in Scotland, including lesser-known hidden gems. Whether you’ve had Scotland on your travel wish list for a while, visited in the past, are traveling to Scotland for the first time, or you’re curious about what Scotland has to offer, sit back and enjoy this Scotland travel tips episode with advice from Scotland travel expert Kathi Kamleitner.
Kathi Kamleitner is a full-time travel blogger and podcaster based in Glasgow, Scotland. Kathi moved to Scotland from Vienna, Austria, in 2013 for university. She fell in love with the country and never left. Today, she runs a Scotland travel blog, plans bespoke Scotland itineraries for visitors, and tells immersive stories on her travel podcast, Wild for Scotland.
Check out Kathi’s extensive list of Scotland itineraries, which covers well-known locations and many hidden gems discovered on her travels – no need to spend hours pouring over multiple blogs. When planning a Scotland trip, get the most important information in a condensed and easy-to-use format. There’s a Whiskey Galore Scotland travel guide, Best of Scotland, Hidden West Coast Itinerary, and more. So what are you waiting for? Grab a Scotland itinerary by Kathi, get out there, and explore with these Scotland trip planners.
In this podcast episode, we cover:
- Best time to visit Scotland
- Where to go in Scotland
- Top places in Scotland for whisky and seafood
- Recommended Scotland road trips
- How to save money in Scotland
- Day trips from Glasgow and Edinburgh, and so much more.
Listen to this episode on YouTube.
Scotland Travel Tips and Travel Planning Advice
Why move to Scotland
Kathi Kamleitner: “It was a practical choice at the start. I wanted to study in an English-speaking country to do my Master’s; there are not many countries where that is affordable.
Scotland actually turned out to be one of the cheaper places to go and get a Master’s degree as an international student from the European Union. So it was very much practical to come here.
In the end, what made me stay here was that as soon as I arrived in the city, I felt at home. There was a sense that even though I was from somewhere else, people were really open and friendly.”
Kathi also mentioned that Scotland is forward-oriented and open to progressive ways of life. It’s a place where you can try different things, especially if you do not have a conventional career.
While Kathi was only supposed to spend a year attending university in Scotland, she still lives in Scotland ten years later.
Must-see places to visit in Scotland
While must-see Scotland attractions depend on your interests, how much time you have, your budget, and where you’re coming from, there are a lot of places Scotland is famous for, like Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands, and the Isle of Skye.
It’s the off-the-beaten-track destinations and the hidden gems that can actually make a trip much more special because you get to discover things that other people might have not seen or not come across. There’s a lot to find when you follow your nose and drive down a glen or go for a walk.
Kathi Kamleitner: “There are places that a lot of people have heard about before, and they come to Scotland to see those places. Edinburgh is one of them. The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, is a beautiful medieval city with castles, winding lanes, steep hills, and cobbled streets.
Edinburgh is a wonderful city to explore, and you could spend a week or two in the city, even though it’s quite small and compact. There is a lot to see, and many different attractions and parts of the city that are a bit lesser known, so it’s worth spending more time.
The Isle of Skye is Scotland’s number one natural destination that people want to see apart from the Scottish Highlands. Both are beautiful, and they can get quite busy in the summer. Depending on where you go exactly, they can also be quite expensive because they’re so well-known.
When to visit Scotland
What is the best time to visit Scotland? Or what are the best months to visit Scotland?
When planning a trip to Scotland, consider the pros and cons of each season. Every season has something different to offer.
The best time to visit Scotland depends on your budget, what you want to see as well as the experiences you want to have.
Kathi mentions Spring and Fall as her favorites. June, July, and August are the most popular months for tourists — this is also the most expensive time to visit.
The spring and early summer (April to June) are brilliant times for seeing nature come to life. Flowers are in bloom — all the gardens and castle gardens are at their peak bloom by June.
May and June are also great for wildlife spotting like puffins, and overall there are fewer tourists during this time of year.
Kathi Kamleitner: “It’s a great season for hiking, especially in May. In Scotland, we have tiny, tiny flies called “midges” which can bite you. While it’s not dangerous, it itches and is quite annoying. They come out in the summertime, but it’s too cold in May.”
Late summer to early Fall
August and early September are the best times to see “heather,” a purple flower covering most of Scotland’s hillsides. With longer days, Fall foliage, and glorious golden sunsets, August to November offers the most beautiful scenery.
Hiking in Scotland
When planning a trip to Scotland, head outdoors. The Scottish Highlands are the most famous mountain region of Scotland. However, the south of Scotland should not be missed. With rolling hills, the south of Scotland is not as dramatic.
For those looking for more accessible options, the South of Scotland, Southern Upland Hills, or the Galloway Hills are great options to experience the wild, natural landscape.
Kathi Kamleitner: “I love these areas, even in the summertime, because everybody else heads up north. So it’s always worth going in the opposite direction.”
Best places in Scotland for Whisky
For whisky lovers, Speyside is a wonderful place to visit. With the most distilleries in Scotland, there are 50 distilleries in a relatively small area and lots of whisky-tasting experiences across the country.
There’s also a town called Dufftown that has nine distilleries in one tiny village. And then, of course, the Isle of Isla, which whisky drinkers around the world will be familiar with if they enjoy peated whiskies that are really smoky.
Best seafood in Scotland
Scotland is known for beef, seafood, and cheese. For the best seafood, visit the West Coast or the East Coast.
Kathi Kamleitner: “Straight off the boat from small local fishermen, people take great pride in their local produce around Scotland.
The West Coast would probably be my top choice for seafood, but you could do that pretty much anywhere in Scotland.”
Kathi Kamleitner: “I’m mostly vegan, so I love the vegan scenes in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Even though people might think Scottish food is a lot of meat, dairy, and seafood, there’s fantastic vegan cuisine here too.”
Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.
Day trips from Glasgow and Edinburgh
Planning a trip to Scotland should include visiting the big cities and the countryside.
From Glasgow and Edinburgh, day trips are plentiful. Whether you want to go hiking, go to the coast, or see ancient castle ruins, both cities offer plenty of buses and trains to various places across the country.
Kathi Kamleitner: “One of my favourites is to go out to the coast from May to July to visit a town called North Berwick. From there, you can catch a boat to a place called the Isle of May, which is a small, uninhabited island that is home to a massive puffin colony.
From Edinburgh, catch a train to North Derek. Within a few hours, you’re in the middle of nowhere.
From Glasgow, the Isle of Arran stands out. It’s definitely worth going there for longer than a day, and it’s possible to get a one-day rail and sail ticket.
Isle of Arran is well known for its local produce, whether cheese, dairy, or yummy ice cream. Come and get seafood and visit a craft beer brewery. You really get a little bit of everything there. Leave the city behind and immerse yourself in the countryside. It’s beautiful.”
Scotland Road Trips
Scotland is well known for having miles of coastline, making it an incredible destination for road trips.
Kathi recommends going on road trips in spring and summer, from late March to August.
Popular road trips like the North Coast 500 (NC500) are stunning but can feel very busy in the summer, especially with camper vans and RVs.
Summer may be better for lesser-known East or West Coast road trips.
Kathi Kamleitner: “Coastal road trips make road-tripping in Scotland so special. There’s a vast change of scenery; whether it’s sandy beaches, cliffs, or coastal towns with nice harbors, there’s so much to see on the coast.”
Renting a car vs. group tours
How to travel around Scotland?
While the most convenient, renting a car in Scotland can be quite expensive, especially if traveling solo. In addition to the car rental, also factor in gas (petrol) costs.
However, splitting costs make it more affordable if you plan on traveling with a group.
If you are traveling alone, consider taking public transportation. The rail and bus network can be much cheaper, especially if you book tickets in advance.
The only caveat is that you will need more time. Slowing down and reducing the amount of ground you cover is really important for saving money in Scotland.
Alternatively, some fantastic tour companies in Scotland offer small group tours. On a group tour, transportation is all sorted out, and you have a guide who knows the places you’re visiting.
Kathi Kamleitner: “Whether renting a car, taking public transportation, or going on a guided tour, all are great options to see the country. You’re not missing out by choosing either one of them. You just have a slightly different experience. What matters is immersing yourself in the places you actually want to visit.”
About Kathi Kamleitner
Originally from Vienna, Austria, Kathi Kamleitner moved to Scotland in 2013 and turned her passion for traveling and storytelling into a career. Today, she runs a Scotland travel blog, Watch Me See, plans bespoke itineraries for visitors worldwide, creates inspiring campaigns for local businesses and organizations, and tells immersive stories on her travel podcast, Wild for Scotland.
Wild for Scotland is for Scotland lovers around the world who dream of a trip to Scotland or looking for inspiration for an upcoming trip. Episodes include practical tips, immersive stories, and interviews with guests from all over Scotland.
Listen to Wild For Scotland here.
Here’s how to work with Kathi for Scotland travel planning.
Book a review session with Kathi if you need help filling in the gaps. Discuss your itinerary with a review session and ensure it’s perfect — including everything you want for an epic Scotland adventure.
And if you’re not a planner, Kathi also offers custom itinerary planning where all you need to do is tell her what you would like to experience, and she creates a custom route for you.
For grab-and-go Scotland trip planning resources, check out Kathi’s extensive list of Scotland itineraries, which covers well-known locations and many hidden gems discovered on her travels.
Helpful Scotland Resources
- 12 Reasons Why You Need to Visit Scotland
- The A to Z of Scotland Trip Planning
- Useful Travel Tips For Scotland
Other Podcast Episodes You’ll Enjoy
Going to College in Europe is More Affordable Than U.S. – Episode 81 (podcast episode)
What To Bring on Road Trips – Episode 101 (podcast episode)
Hiking Cleeve Hill of Cotswold Way in Cheltenham (blog post)
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.