Scotland, a land of mountain wildernesses. It’s a truly beautiful (and rainy) country, but can give people quite a headache who don’t own a car or are not planning to rent one. If you truly want to experience Scotland you have to go up north to the famous Isle of Skye located in the West Coast of Scotland and around those areas.
On the other hand, if you are in our situation (under the legal age to rent a car or on a tight budget) renting a car is not an option. Good news is there are ways to get around it but it requires not staying in one place for long and camping days.
This blog series will be separated into two parts; part one focuses on Edinburgh and Glasgow where there are civilization and transportation is still convenient, part two will focus a lot more on locations where you have to stay at campsites or hostels.
Edinburgh is one of the busiest cities in Scotland and it’s one of the must-visit places. What can you do while you’re there?
1. Edinburgh castle
The castle is one of the most visited attractions around. It’s where history enthusiast or anyone can learn out about Scotland and its history from the beginning of World War I. This castle is so big it seems, as there is a village inside it! And each one of its building is over a hundred years old, including their prisons (can’t forget the prisons!).
The entry free is £17, and you can get guidebooks in multiple languages at the ticket office.
2. City central
You probably wonder what is so interesting about city centrals? They’re all the same… Not this one around August time, as there is a festival called ‘Fringe’ hosts throughout August where there are countless numbers of artists showcasing their talents and promoting their shows from the first kilometer you’ve walked out of Edinburgh castle to the very end line of the street. They’re all really fun shows to watch, and they’re not asking for money (except the ones dressed up in characters and pretended to be statues) as they do matinees to promote their upcoming shows.
3. Calton hill
If this one is not on your list, you would probably regret it later on. It’s such a beautiful place, we call it a hidden gem of Edinburgh (well.. not so hidden anymore as more people have discovered about this place). Here is where you can actually see the whole city, including the sight of Arthur’s seat (the famous hiking spot).
Right in the center, there is the monument of Scotland which gives an even better view of Edinburgh. WARNING: it requires some climbing skill. It is quite high above the ground but there is a spot where you will find a little hole to put your foot in and be used as a support before you bounce yourself up to the monument. If you’re able to go there when the sun is about to set, the view will be even more breathtaking. It’s also a really good escape from the busy streets of Edinburgh.
4. Arthur’s Seat
This one suits hiking enthusiasts as it’s a big hill that lets you see an even better hill than Calton hill does! It might take about an hour and a half or so to get there, but if you can reach the top before to see the sunset it would be the best reward of your trip.
Getting to Glasgow is really easy; just take a train from Edinburgh Waverley to Queen Street in Glasgow for £12.6 (one-way).
Glasgow is a quieter city but is still quite touristy; the thing you can do in this city is mostly sightseeing. So once you got off the train and passed the city central, you can definitely visit…
1. The Lighthouse
It’s called the lighthouse but weirdly it’s not a lighthouse, it’s actually a museum with really cool exhibitions inside. It doesn’t hurt your wallet to just stop by this place as the entry is totally free.
On the rooftop is where you’ll get to see the view of the city. However if you’re thinking of going there to take photos when the sun is setting or rising, we’re afraid that that’s not possible because the Lighthouse opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm.
2. University of Glasgow
Yes it is a university, and no it’s not all that boring. UOG is such a fascinating place because from afar you would think it’s a castle but no it’s an actual university. We wandered around for a bit and were surprised by not just how big it is but how weird things are. For instance, the towers near the business school’s building look like Rapunzel’s towers but the upper parts are staff’s offices and the lower parts (the dungeon) are laboratories! It was creepy and cool at the same time.
In terms of the size of this place, comparing it to University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, it’s even bigger than that! Student accommodations, restaurants… anything you can imagine is within the university’s area.
3. Clyde Arc
This arc is an iconic scene of Glasgow, and to get there you have to take a bus or a train for about 15-30 minutes from the city central. If you’re taking a bus there is a bridge that looks somewhat similar to Clyde Arc, but don’t be fooled by it because that is not the one you’re visiting.
All the attractions mentioned are not just iconic but also are budget friendly for travelers on small budgets… and so are the ones coming up in ‘Where to go in Scotland if you don’t have a car (Part 2)’. Stay tuned for the next post!