Best time to visit Scotland
The seasons in Scotland vary greatly, which can be one of the many reasons to visit again and again, as they all provide their own beauty and spectacle. Although Scotland isn’t blessed with year-round sunshine its climate is (surprisingly) moderate. At Macs Adventure, we offer our walking and cycling holidays from March through to October when the weather is most kind.
SPRING IN SCOTLAND
Known as the most predictable time weather-wise, as rainfall is generally at it's lowest. You can expect average maximum temperatures to range from approximately 45°F to 55°F during the months of March, April and May. This is our most popular period for our classic Scottish hikes such as the West Highland Way, so early booking is recommended.
Events: Aviemore Walking Festival 11-16th May. Why not tie this into your walking holiday on the Speyside Way?
SUMMER IN SCOTLAND
June, July and August are normally the warmest months in Scotland, with average maximum temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (59°F) to 17°C (63 °F). This time of year is great for cycling the Scottish Islands or for our Drive & Hike trips in the country's far north as you will have plenty hours of daylight.
Events: The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, one of the largest arts Festival in the world. Spend a night or 2 in Edinburgh before our Highlands, Isle of Skye and Edinburgh trip. Make sure to book well in advance though as the city can be very busy indeed.
AUTUMN IN SCOTLAND
September and October are up there with our favorite times to explore Scotland, the scenery is a delight with warm gold and bronze hues, as the leaves and grass change colour. The autumn light is warmer, perfect for those interested in photography. Not to mention the crisp fresh air – dreamy! Our walking trips in Perthshire and Speyside are wonderful at this time of year.
Events: Whisky lovers will probably already have the Scotch Whisky Festival noted in your diary for mid-September. Why not tie this into our Islay & Jura Whisky Trails tour? What better way to finish the trip than with a wee (well-deserved) dram!
The Best Places to Visit in Scotland
We’re not being biased, but when it comes to places to visit in Scotland, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you want a to enjoy short city break, explore castles, hop aboard the Jacobite steam train (also known as the 'Hogwarts Express') hike a Munro (a Scottish mountain over 3000 ft) or escape to an island. We have the holiday for you!
A year-round travel destination and Scotland’s largest city. Glasgow is a lure for creatives and culture seekers. Described perfectly by Lonely Planet “Disarmingly blending sophistication and earthiness”. Known for its pub culture, live music, friendly faces and Charles Rennie Macintosh architecture.
- Enjoy a ‘cuppa’ (cup of tea) in the Willow Tea Rooms, inspired by the works of Charles Rennie Macintosh, This popular afternoon tea spot has become an attraction on its own. Feast your eyes on its walnut paneling, magnificent ceilings and grant sweeping staircase, reserve a window-seat and watch the world go by while enjoying a tasty scone.
- Take a wander in the West End near Glasgow University, and visit the architecturally splendid Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and its surrounding leafy park.
- Overnight in Glasgow before walking the West Highland Way. The perfect base to relax, and soak up city-life before you beginning Scotland's most well-known long-distance trek, and it takes just 25 minutes (by train) to reach Milngavie, the start point of the West Highland Way.
Edinburgh is a cultural playground with limitless possibilities. It’s a city of literature, festivals, art, history – and the list goes on. With so much to explore from the history-soaked medieval Old Town to the Georgian elegance of the so called New Town, Edinburgh lives up to its reputation of being of the world's most beautiful cities.
- Foodies will love our Gourmet Highlands trip, which begins in Edinburgh. It’s no secret that Edinburgh has some of the best food in the world a ranging from traditional Scottish dishes to contemporary Scottish cuisine. This trip combines walking with fine dining, staying at luxurious boutique hotels.
- If theatre and comedy are your thing then you could plan your trip around the annual Fringe Festival, everyone should experience this at least once in their life. Throughout August a myriad actors, performers, musicians, artists and creatives of all skill sets take the city by storm. Come rain or shine, the city is buzzing!
Isle of Skye
The isle of Skye is a magical place, home to some of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes. Perfect for adventure-seekers with its mountain ranges, dramatic coastlines and intriguing history. With plenty of itineraries on Skye you can choose between a purists journey on foot covering the length of the island, a Drive & Hike tour for a more flexible and leisurely experience, along with short breaks and a great cycle tour. Discover Skye's most majestic geological features, such as the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the Cuillin Ridge.
- Make the most of your time in Scotland and take it all in on our Highlands & Isle of Skye Rail & Hike trip. Experience the Scottish Highlands by train and on foot, taking in some of the best scenic rail journeys in the world. Begin in Edinburgh and travel deep into Perthshire and the western Highlands then and across to the Isle of Skye.
- If traveling in style is more your thing we recommend our Best of Skye In Style short break or our Luxury Highlands & Isle of Skye Rail & Hike - stay in beautiful country lodges with menus to please any foodie.
Scotland has never been the most obvious choice for a beach holiday.However, the 15 inhabited islands that make up the Outer Hebrides have some of Europe's most stunning stretches of white-sand – often photographed and mistaken for somewhere in the Caribbean. Arriving on this incredible island you will feel like you have escaped it all.
- For exploring the entire length of the Hebridean archipelago we recommend our Outer Hebrides Island Hopscotch adventure. Explore the stunning and remote 130-mile chain of Island that stretch along the North Western Coast of Scotland on a drive and hike adventure. Follow the route by car and ferry with daily walks through a mosaic of differing landscapes.
- For the adventurous hiker combining Skye & The Outer Hebrides could be the ideal escape for you? Hike the highlights of the Skye Trail then hop across to Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and walk a section of the remote Harris Walkway.
Isle of Arran
The Isle of Arran is known as 'Scotland in miniature'. It’s a place where you can find a little bit of everything you’d ever want from a Scottish island. Easily accessible from Glasgow by train and ferry, and yet it feels a million miles away. Immerse yourself in island life as you are surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, an ever-changing coastline, sheltered beaches and great cultural festivals.
- Explore Arran on foot on our Arran Coastal Way trip, a wonderfully varied walk where you can relax on beautiful beaches, explore the Kings cave, and hike Goat Fell, the island's highest peak, for incredible views to the mainland.
- For an island hopping adventure from the saddle why not check out our Scottish Island Hopscotch cycling trip? Pedal the east coast of Arran, discover the whisky isles of Islay & Jura and the rolling Kinytre peninsula.
Discover Scotland In Style
Are you traveling to celebrate a special event, or do you simply prefer to adventure in style? At Macs Adventure we have a range of trips that allow you to experience the Scottish Highlands & Islands in comfort while taking in the best walks. Overnight in renovated castles, country house hotels, upscale lodges and boutique B&B's and guesthouses.
Luxury Highlands & Isle of Skye: Rail & Hike: Experience Scotland at its best on world-class rail journeys. Enjoy hand-picked walks by day and retire to fabulous accommodations in the evening - our favorite may be the luxurious 5 star Inverlochy Castle Hotel at the base of the UK's mountain, Ben Nevis. We also include 4 evening meals, and guided day tours of Skye and Loch Ness.
Best of Skye In Style: With included outward travel on a world-class railway from Glasgow this 5 day short break is the perfect island escape. Stay in 4 star hotels, on the remote Sleat Peninsula and in the bustling harbour town of Portree. Soak up the island on our favorite hikes and a private guided day tour.
Islay Whisky Trails In Style: Immerse yourself in the laid-back atmosphere of Scotland's most famous whisky isle - Islay. Walk easy-going routes routes by day and retire fireside with a dram in 4 star hotels in the evening. You'll have plenty of time to visit Islay's many distilleries, select the tour for you and get your whisky glass ready for sampling legendary single-malt.
Perthshire In Style: Explore the charming towns, peaceful woodland walks and stately castles of historical Perthshire. Stay in 4 star hotels, and with 6 included dinners you can simply relax and enjoy unwinding in comfort.
Great Glen Way In Comfort: Walk the entire Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness, overnighting in the best 3-5 star accommodations near the route.
Short Scotland Hiking Tours
Are you looking to include an active element in a longer trip to the UK or Europe? We have a variety of short 5 day & 4 night walking and cycling vacations for you to choose from. Exploring a little corner of Scotland, staying in cozy, hand-picked accommodation, feasting on the local fare and discovering some outstanding scenery is what these trips are all about.
West Highland Escape: Walk the northern highlights of Scotland's most famous long-distance trail, the West Highland Way, from Bridge of Orchy to Fort William.
Great Glen Escape: Take in the best of the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness. Want to experience the highlights of the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way in a limited time-frame, why not combine the Great Glen Escape and the West Highland Escape as part of a longer trip?
Skye Highs Short Break: From Fort William the Isle of Skye is just a steam train and short ferry ride away (if you take the scenic route, which we do). On arrival on Skye you'll enjoy hand-picked hikes from cozy B&B's.
Best of Skye In Style: With travel from Glasgow included this trip allows you to maximize on time. Overnight in 4 star hotels with mouth-watering menus, easy access to some of the best short walks on the island, and a private guided day tour of the island thrown in for good measure.
Edinburgh to Inverness: Rail & Hike: Take in two of Scotland's bucket-list destinations, stopping en route in charming Perthshire - land of castles and peaceful forest trails - before arriving in Scotland's most northerly city of Inverness.
Fife Coastal Path Short Break: Follow the Fife Coastal Path north alongside beaches, cliff-top paths and through quaint fishing villages.
Heart of Scotland: Overnight in the village of Blair Atholl, on the doorstep of Blair Castle, and enjoy optional walks before heading to the bustling town of Pitlochry. From here sample a dram in Scotland's smallest whisky distillery, Edradour, and hike Ben Vrackie for a great vantage point over the valley.
If cycling is more your style then check out our Great Glen Cycleway trip. Mountain bike Scotland's classic Great Glen Way trail, wind your way across the country, tracing the shores of Loch Ness and discovering the country's rich-history en route.
Week-Long Hiking and Biking Tours in Scotland
With a week in Scotland, you can delve deep into a region and really discover its beauty.
West Highland Way: Our second shortest and reasonably challenging itinerary on Scotland's most iconic trail. Or way not try the West Highland Way Highlights, selecting the most scenic parts of the trail on an easier itinerary also over a 7 day itinerary.
Great Glen Way: The shortest itinerary on the Great Glen Way, perfect for completing a renowned long-distance trail in just 5 days of walking.
Fife Coastal Path: Walk the entire Fife Coast Path in a week; enjoy fantastic coastal walking, visit quaint fishing villages, and stay in St Andrew's, home to Scotland's oldest university.
St Cuthbert's Way: A moderately graded itinerary for the long-distance walker on the St Cuthbert's Way. Hike from the Scottish Borders to The Holy Island in northern England on this popular pilgrim trail.
Arran Coastal Way: An excellent coastal route taking you around the Isle of Arran, known as 'Scotland in miniature'. With most walking days between 12-14 miles, and one outlier at 20 miles, this trip is manageable for most walkers.
Speyside Way: Journey from the coast of the North Sea into the Cairngorm National Park on this easy-going long-distance route on forest trails and riverside paths. Stop en route to sample a dram or two at Speyside's famous distilleries. Glenfiddich, Craigellachie and Ballindalloch to name just a few.
Highland Perthshire Trail: Head for the country's heart; explore castles, distilleries and stunning scenery.
Scottish Coast to Coast Mountain Bike: Traverse the Highlands by mountain bike (e-bikes available) from Fort William in the west to Montrose on the east coast. Pedal across mountains and through glens on some of the most remote and beautiful single-track in the country.
6 Day Tours in Scotland
On a six day adventure tour of Scotland, you can experience beautiful snapshots of a country. With six days you can explore the Arran Coastal Way. Arran is often described as 'Scotland in miniature', so this is a great way to experience the essence of Scotland in a short space of time.
If it is Scotland's greatest export (whisky!) you are interested in, then we are happy to accommodate. In Scotland, whisky draws flavor and inspiration from its surroundings. On the Speyside Whisky Trail, you will find well-rounded, open and friendly whiskies that mimic the traits of the Speyside countryside. While on the Islay Whisky Trail, you will find peaty whiskies with the salty tang of the sea, harder to approach, but fantastically rewarding once you get there, just like the glorious island of Islay.
8 Day Tours in Scotland
On an eight day active tour in Scotland you can achieve almost anything. Walk the West Highland Way, the most famous trail in Scotland, or take in its highlights and add a rail journey on the Jacobite steam train (the 'Hogwart's Express') for good measure on our West Highland Line Rail & Hike.
Explore Scotland's array of spectacular islands from the saddle, by foot, or one on of our flexible drive & hike trips. Island hop by bike between the Inner Hebrides on our Scottish Island Hopscotch tour, taking in Arran, Islay and Jura. Alternatively, for a far flung island experience we recommend a tour in the Outer Hebrides; explore this beautiful archipelago on our Skye & The Outer Hebrides hiking tour or our popular Outer Hebrides Island Hopscotch drive & hike trip.
9 Day Tours in Scotland
With nine days, you can take on any of the big classic trails in Scotland at a more relaxed pace. We offer a range of itineraries to suit all levels of walking to showcase the very best trails that Scotland has to offer. We always recommend a trip on the West Highland Way, but here are a few lesser-walked alternatives.
The Speyside Way takes you through whisky country, sampling the drams and drama of Speyside and the Cairngorm National Park. The Great Glen Way sees you walking along the Great Glen fault-line that separates the country's northern geology from the southern, as you cross the country from Fort William to Inverness. Alternatively, the St Cuthbert's Way pilgrimage leads you through the Scottish Borders, to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne in England.