Renting a car is the best way to get around Scotland, especially if you are interested in exploring the country’s nooks and corners.
We made a reservation on Sixt online and got a good deal. We took the full insurance cover. Although we originally reserved an Audi A1 manual, on taking the full insurance and it being St. Patrick’s weekend we got upgraded to a BMW X1 automatic.
Should I take a full insurance cover?
The big question on everybody’s mind always! For Scotland we suggest you do. The winds are strong especially in Isle of Skye and even a small stone chip (which you might barely notice) will cost you much without insurance. Also road side assistance and any other untoward incident will be swiftly covered. We were the only car on the road for long stretches and it would be reassuring to enjoy your trip peacefully knowing that you are fully covered.
How expensive is the fuel?
We spent about INR 25000 on diesel for 1171 miles that we covered. Unlike in India, the fuel pumps are self-service.
Driving in Scotland
We had the best driving experience ever!
Firstly, for Indians it’s the same side & same hand drive. So yay!!
Secondly, follow the road signs to the ‘T’, because everyone else does. And do not honk!
In Isle of Skye where you have only one car space on roads, there are “passing places” on the sides where one can wait while the other car passes. Basic manners to be noted – if the passing place is on your side, you got to give way to the other and vice-versa. Do not waste time trying to accommodate the other car. Reverse onto the passing place in case you’ve crossed it.
There are round-abouts everywhere in Scotland. Thumb rule, in order to take the third exit at a round about, keep giving the right signal till you pass the second exit and stick to the inside lane. Once you cross the second exit, give a left signal, move onto the outer lane and exit.
Flashing dippers means you are being allowed to come first.
Double lines along the side of the roads means you are allowed to park there.
Food around Scotland is a lot of fish & chips, haggis and beef pies. If you are not into that, there’s tons of sandwich options, salads, pastas, etc.
We stocked a lot from the local departmental store “Co-op“. So if you want to find specific vegetarian food, or dairy-free food, you can pick it up from there. Always ask the restaurant as most places will customize your meal.
As in most parts of Europe, tap water can be used for drinking. Carry your own bottle for convenience.
We planned our trip in late March to avoid crowds and enjoy the winters. We got a snow storm reminiscent of the “beast from the east” on day 1. Day 2 onwards it was beautiful sunshine with a low of -3 C and high of 5 C. We got a taste of the rains in Isle of Skye and some snow in the Cairngorms area. Back in Edinburgh we were blessed with bright skies again. So we had the best of it all!
Carry a water-proof coat. It’s a must in any season.
Keep warm as even summer reaches only a maximum of 20 C!
No point of open shoes. Cold cream is a must.
We wrapped up our trip for two spanning 10 days in under INR 250000 including flights. Our accommodations averaged out to under INR 5000 a night. Keep a budget for entry tickets to castles.