I spent just 4 days in Scotland on my first trip here.
While this may sound like a short amount of time, it is often the way when you have limited holidays and want to fit in a visit to other countries in the UK and Europe.
The truth is, you can see and experience a lot with just 4 days in Scotland. And it may be comforting to know that your first trip to Scotland will not be your last.
I am living proof of this- after my first 4 day trip to Scotland I moved to Edinburgh two years later!
This 4 day Scotland itinerary is a replica of my first trip here.
I’ve made some amendments [I know Scotland a whole lot better now] but 80% of this itinerary is where I went and what I did. This itinerary includes a little bit of everything: castles, historic buildings, lochs, street art, a whisky distillery, a drive through the highlands and more!
So if you’re looking for inspiration on what to see in Scotland in 4 days read on for my tried, tested and refined 4 day Scotland itinerary!
>> Read more: The ultimate guide to planning a trip to Scotland
4 days in Scotland: An Itinerary
Where to stay
For this itinerary you will spend 2 nights in Edinburgh and 2 nights in Glasgow. Here are a few of my accommodation recommendations:
- Budget: Castle Rock Hostel
- Mid-range: The Dunstane Houses
- Bed and breakfast: JustB
- Luxury: The Witchery by the Castle
- Budget: Glasgow Youth Hostel
- Mid-range: Ibis Styles George Square
- Luxury: Kimpton – Blytheswood Square Hotel
Day 1: Explore Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle
- The Royal Mile
- National Museum of Scotland
After starting your day with a hearty breakfast [you’ll need it] you’ll first head to Edinburgh Castle to explore Scotland’s most famous castle [grab your skip the line ticket here– it’s quicker and cheaper to buy online]. Inside Edinburgh Castle you’ll see pieces of Scotland’s history such as Mons Meg, St Margaret’s Chapel, the Stone of Destiny and the Scottish Crown Jewels.
Afterwards you’ll walk The Royal Mile, which is actually a Scottish mile. There are plenty of touristy shops to satisfy your needs, as well as pubs and restaurants.
Here’s a tip- shops on The Royal Mile are a lot more expensive, so if you want to buy souvenirs I recommend buying them away from here and Princes Street.
Read more: 10 Must-Sees in Scotland You Can’t Miss
There is so much to see on The Royal Mile and you’ll find yourself diverting from it to explore closes [narrow residential streets with through access] and side streets.
Make sure you check out Victoria Street, a gorgeous winding street that is located a short detour from The Royal Mile.
After lunch I recommend you spend a couple of hours in my favourite museum, the National Museum of Scotland. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see ancient Pictish carvings, the Cramond Lioness [a rare Roman sculpture that was found in Edinburgh] and the Lewis Chess pieces– one of the best archaeological discoveries in Scotland.
If you still have some time before dinner I recommend walking up Calton Hill for magnificent views on the city.
Read more: The best things to do in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle, in spring!
Where to eat in Edinburgh
For breakfast I recommend The City Cafe. My favourite lunch spots include Black Medicine and Black Ivy. There is a fabulous juice bar and cafe on Victoria Street called Hula that I recommend either for lunch or a healthy snack.
For afternoon tea I recommend The Witchery by The Castle or Mimi’s Bakehouse.
For an atmospheric dinner I recommend The Witchery by The Castle [fine dining- reservations required], the Caley Picture House [a Wetherspoons brand in a huge old picture theatre- cheap food and drinks!] or Howies on Victoria Street.
✨ On a budget? Grab my Scotland Bucket List Planner
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Day 2: Take a day trip to Falkirk
- The Kelpies
- Callendar House
On the second day of your 4 day trip to Scotland, you’ll ride the train from Edinburgh to Falkirk. From here you’ll catch a bus to The Kelpies, the world’s largest equine sculptures. There is a lovely gift shop and a cafe next to the sculptures.
Afterwards you’ll catch the bus again to Callendar House, a mansion in Falkirk set in beautiful grounds with an incredible history. Entry is free and there is a cafe upstairs.
Part of Antonine’s Wall is also located within the grounds. Antonine’s Wall was built after Hadrian’s Wall as a barrier to raiding Caledonian tribes. Ask the people at the information desk to point you in its direction- the wall isn’t actually a wall anymore, but a ditch.
You’ll then catch the bus back to the Falkirk train station, and ride the train back to Edinburgh.
Day 3: Drink whisky and be merry in Glasgow
- Visit a whisky distillery
- See Glasgow street art
- Glasgow Cathedral
- Experience the colourful nightlife in Glasgow
On day three of my 4 day Scotland itinerary you’ll catch the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow Central or Glasgow Queen Street [whichever is closest to your accommodation].
My first visit to Glasgow didn’t go all that well, you can read my post about why I didn’t like Glasgow but why I love it now. I’ve revised my itinerary for this day to show you some of the best parts of Glasgow that I missed on my first visit.
Read More: 50 Travel Tips for Scotland
After dropping your luggage off you’ll then catch a taxi or an Uber to Auchentoshan Distillery for a tour of the single malt whisky distillery. They have a 60 minute tour for just £12, which includes a tasting, or a 90 minute tour with 4 tastings for £35.
You’ll make your way back to the city centre for lunch, and then explore Glasgow on foot. The walk to Glasgow Cathedral takes under 30 minutes, and there is lots of street art to see along the way on the Glasgow City Mural Trail.
You can find a map of the street art here.
After exploring the beautiful cathedral, be sure to go for a wander through the Glasgow Necropolis, an old Victorian cemetery, located just behind the cathedral.
You’ll wander back into the city centre to experience one of my favourite things about Glasgow: it’s vibrant nightlife. Have some dinner and sample a few of the pubs and fantastic cocktail bars the city has to offer. I love Revolution on Mitchell Street for a meal and cocktails.
Just don’t get too carried away because you’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow!
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Admiring Glasgow Cathedral from the Necropolis
Day 4: Go on a road trip to Glencoe
- Loch Lomond
- Shopping in Luss
- Drive through Glen Coe
- Hike Glencoe Lochan
- Falls of Falloch
On the final day of your 4 days in Scotland you’ll hire a car for a road trip to Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands. Today you’ll get a taste of one of the most dramatic parts of the Scottish Highlands as you drive through Glen Coe!
You’ll pick up your rental car from Glasgow [I recommend hiring a car from Auto Europe] and drive to Luss, a wee village on the banks of Loch Lomond.
Stretch your legs and take a stroll to admire Scotland’s largest loch; there are also some cute gift shops in Luss where you can pick up unique Scottish gifts.
You’ll continue on, passing The Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum. The Haggis loves pointing out the giant green gumboot painted on the building every time we drive past. It’s a good snack stop!
After you pass through Tyndrum the scenery will begin to open up and you’ll be greeted by mountains and forest.
Before long you’ll spot Buachaille Etive Mòr [commonly called ‘The Buachaille’] which is one of Glen Coe’s most dramatic mountains. Be sure to look out for the iconic ‘Wee White House‘ on your left; photographs of this building with the iconic backdrop of Buachaille Etive Mòr grace many biscuit tins and Scotland guidebooks. There is parking so you can pull over to take a snap yourself.
As you continue on you’ll pass The Three Sisters, three beautiful mountain peaks. Pull into the Three Sisters Car Park to take in the three peaks and visualise The Lost Valley nestled between two of the sisters. If you had more time you could hike to the valley, however you’ll continue on to Glencoe village for something to eat.
I recommend having lunch at the Clachaig Inn, one of the best pubs in Scotland, which is nestled in the heart of Glencoe, surrounded by magnificent views of the mountains.
You’ll then have another chance to stretch your legs when you go for a walk around Glencoe Lochan. The lochan is surrounded by peaceful woodland and easy waymarked trails. It was landscaped to look like the Canadian Rockies, and the lochan looks like a miniature Lake Louise!
On your way back to Glasgow I recommend visiting the Falls of Falloch before stopping for dinner at The Drovers Inn, a traditional Scottish hotel with a restaurant and pub that was established in 1705.
The Wee White House in Glen Coe
With just 4 days in Scotland you can see plenty; my 4 day Scotland itinerary is a busy one, however on my first trip to Scotland I was keen to experience as much as possible and I had zero regrets.
There is so much more in Scotland to see, but hopefully this gives you a taste and leaves you wanting to come back explore more of this amazing country!
Read more: The Ultimate 10 Day Scotland Itinerary
Have you tried my 4 days in Scotland itinerary? Leave me a comment below- I’d love to hear what you think!
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