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8 Short Break Holiday Ideas In Scotland

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Planning a short break to Scotland? No problem – we’ve got some great ideas for a short break in Scotland from city breaks to electric road trips, UNESCO-recognised landscapes to days on the water.

Responsible travel

Inverness to Thurso & Wick by rail

Looking out over the countryside of the Flow Country, Caithness

Flow Country, Caithness

  • Great for: dramatic Highland scenery, delightful villages and romantic castles
  • Length: 3 days
  • Locations: Far North trainline through the northern Highlands from Inverness to Thurso and Wick

Sit back, relax and watch the dramatic terrain of the Highlands unfold in front of you. The remote and unspoiled landscape of the northern Highlands has a haunting beauty and a serene atmosphere that provides the perfect short break holiday in Scotland.

Hop on and off the train at the stations to explore whisky distilleries, nature reserves and romantic castles including Glenmorangie Distillery, Loch Fleet NNR, Dunrobin Castle and RSPB Forsinard Flows.

Follow the Inverness to Thurso & Wick by rail itinerary

5-day electric car road trip

An electric car passing over the Clatterin' Brig near Fettercairn


  • Great for: history, architecture and stunning landscapes
  • Length: 5 days
  • Locations: Edinburgh, Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Glasgow

Planning a 5 day trip to Scotland? Why not have an adventure on a self-drive holiday in an electric car/vehicle (EV)? From the city streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow to winding country roads through the wild Highlands and spectacular National Parks, Scotland has a widely dispersed and accessible network of electric charge points, allowing you to relax behind the wheel while taking in Scotland’s natural splendour.

Look out for the scenic views on the Snow Roads Scenic Route, the detours you can take at Loch Ness and the iconic spots at Glencoe.

Start your adventure with the 5-day electric car road trip itinerary

City breaks

72 hours in Edinburgh itinerary

The exterior of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

  • Great for: must-visit attractions
  • Length: 3 days
  • Locations: Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, Leith

This is a great itinerary to see Edinburgh in 3 days! Explore brilliant museums, fascinating historical attractions and stunning architecture. Much of Edinburgh’s city centre is classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you might just sense the distinct air of mystery and intrigue. It really is one of the best cities on the planet and we know you are going to love it!

Discover the Edinburgh in 3 days itinerary

Family holidays

3-day trip to the Ayrshire and Clyde coast

Sail boats in the water around Largs Marina

Largs Marina

  • Great for: coastal breaks
  • Length: 3 days
  • Locations: Ayrshire and the Firth of Clyde

Nestled on the west coast, the region contains every possible ingredient for a perfect short break to Scotland: rolling countryside teeming with history and outdoor adventures, a sandy shoreline, heavenly islands and one of the finest sailing spots in the world.

This itinerary features top tips and recommendations from Hazel of Flamingo Yacht Charters. She’s been voyaging around the waters of the Clyde for as long as she can remember, so you’re definitely in for a great short break.

Follow the 3-day trip to Ayrshire and Clyde coast itinerary

3 days in the Forth Valley itinerary

A mother takes a photo of her kids at the top of the National Wallace Monument, Stirling

National Wallace Monument, Stirling

  • Great for: impressive innovative or historic structures
  • Length: 3 days
  • Locations: Falkirk

The stunning Forth Valley sits around the ancient city of Stirling and town of Falkirk, where the River Forth meets the Firth of Forth. It’s home to some of our most important historic landmarks and iconic modern architecture, as well as numerous filming locations.

These suggestions are provided by a friendly local expert, Myra Wilson, who works at Scottish Canals in the holiday boats team.

Explore the 3 days in the Forth Valley itinerary

Perthshire itinerary

A group of kayakers in the River Tay, Perth

River Tay, Perth

  • Great for: a mix of city life and countryside
  • Length: 4 days
  • Locations: Perthshire

Perthshire is a glorious location filled to the brim with things to do, featuring acres of forests, incredible attractions, and city gems to explore. The city of Perth was once Scotland’s ancient capital, with historic buildings, castles, and museums to enjoy.

Look out for the Black Watch Castle & Museum, Drummond Castle Gardens, watersports activities, and local chocolate-makers.

Follow the things to see & do in Perthshire – 4 day itinerary

Wellness breaks

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere

Looking down on the water and countryside of Galloway Activity Centre, Loch Ken

Galloway Activity Centre, Loch Ken

  • Great for: outdoor wonders
  • Length: 4 days
  • Locations: Dumfries & Galloway and South Ayrshire

A holiday in south west Scotland, the country’s first UNESCO Biosphere, is one of the country’s best kept secrets. With everchanging skies, exciting activities, forests, coasts and mountains, you’ll be spoilt for choice whatever it is you love doing. We have this all on good authority from regional expert, Carylann Williamson, who has suggested some fabulous activities to enjoy as part of a sustainable holiday in the region.

Look out for Threave Garden & Estate, Wigtown and Loch Arthur Farm Shop.

Follow the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO biosphere itinerary

Three days in the Scottish Highlands

Looking at the ruins on the cliff of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, Caithness

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, Caithness

  • Great for: National Park wonders, wildlife
  • Length: 3 days
  • Locations: Aviemore, around the north of the Cairngorms National Park

If you’re dreaming of the remote beauty of 3 days in the Scottish Highlands, this suggested itinerary has stunning landscapes, fascinating wildlife and the chance to explore Jacobite history.

These suggestions come from local business owner, Sally Dowden, who owns Speyside Wildlife based in Grantown-on-Spey in the north of the Cairngorms National Park.

Discover the 3-days in the Scottish Highlands itinerary

Can’t decide? Why not find a way to take a longer break and check out our top ideas for ways to spend a week in Scotland. Or why not two? 😊

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