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visiting scotland in May 2017 - 3weeks

my husband and I are planning on visiting Scotland for 3 weeks in may.. would be it best to rent a car or can we do buses/ferries to get to the different isles..?  should we start booking hotels/bed & breakfasts or is places to stay easy to find during May?


  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @chipchipstar313

    Great to hear that you'll be visiting Scotland in the summer. :smile: Where it is possible to get to all the isles by public transport, driving is definitely the better way to explore Scotland as transport within the Isles is quite limited and inflexible.

    What you need to be mindful of is that busy ferries require car reservation for quite some time in advance for popular summer routes. I saw a number of people without reservations being turned away on a summer 2016 trip (being a foot passenger helped). Also hope that ferry cancellations don't happen (major disruptions in Islay this summer).

    Visit the CalMac website for bookings.

    For B&Bs most places you should be just fine searching closer to the date but for Skye, get a good B&B 2-3 months ahead of time. Skye gets really full almost every day of the summer so booking accomodation ahead is essential. If you do not mind camping, keep a tent handy as a backup as there are many excellent campsites across Scotland who may have spaces if B&Bs are full or other extenuating circumstances.

    Hope this helps.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • MogMJMRMogMJMR Member ✭✭
    Hi there! I have previously visited Arran, Lewis and Harris and Orkney outwith peak season (July/August) and in some cases found public transport was limited.  As I don't own a car and putting a car on a ferry can be quite costly, I found a great middle ground.

    I visited Scotland by train in most cases using the Spirit of Scotland Pass  - which was great value but of course does mean that you need to carry your luggage! Most islands I visited for 2 -3 days and found a 24 or 48 hour car hire was perfect for my needs - although you may need to pre book your hire car in advanced as island hire companies can be small.  There are also many great day trip tour operators on many of our islands  - VisitScotland iCentre's are great on advising and booking these for you, which can be another great alternative to your own transport.  They can also help with booking CalMac and accommodation.

    Hope this helps.
    Based in the Scottish Borders, Aberdeenshire has a special place in my heart.
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