There are different ways to experience the UNESCO Trail, depending on how much time you have or which part of Scotland you want to explore. We’ve also got options for families, and ideas for a last-minute break so anyone can look differently at Scotland’s wonders.

1. The full UNESCO Trail

Time: 40 days

The best option is to experience all of Scotland’s 13 UNESCO designations in all their wonder. Scotland’s UNESCO Trail takes you geographically around all the sites, from the south of Scotland, to the islands of the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland, the north of Scotland, and then back to central Scotland.

You might be lucky enough to be able to spend a month in Scotland exploring all the sites. But if not, why not split it up and visit Scotland on two separate holidays? The trail breaks down easily into six geographical sections, so you can easily do all the sites in the north of Scotland, and then return to do central and south Scotland at a different time of year, or vice versa.

In our guide to Scotland’s UNESCO Trail, we feature various start points so you can find a trail around the locations that works best for you.

You can start the trail in the south of Scotland, with travel options from Manchester, Belfast or Glasgow, moving from south to west, then north before finishing in the east.

You can start the trail in Edinburgh, moving from east to south, then west before finishing in the north.

You can start the trail in Inverness, moving from the north to central Scotland, covering the east and moving west, before finishing in the south.

The full trail covers all designations, which you can find out more on:

Follow Scotland’s UNESCO Trail.

2. Part of the trail by location

Time: Choose from 4-day to 8-day trips

Choose a part of the trail to explore and experience a different area of Scotland. To make things easy for you, we’ve pulled together six different journeys covering each part of the country, and you can easily create a trip which combines any number of them.

You could start in the south of Scotland, and then explore Edinburgh and Dundee, or why not head north to the biosphere and geopark of the north west Highlands? If you’ve got time you could sail over to Orkney, Shetland or the Outer Hebrides. Or take your time slowly exploring Glasgow and nearby New Lanark and the Antonine Wall sites.

The areas are:

Each of our journeys provides travel information with tips on how to get to the area, making it simple for you to start planning your own unique journey, as well as prioritising the most sustainable travel options available. We’ve also highlighted things to do, places to stay, food and drink, local tips and ways to travel around.

The Northlink Ferry sails past the Old Man of Hoy and the cliffs

3. A family day out

Time: 1 day

Looking for something for the family to do at the weekend, or a day out as part of a longer holiday? Check out our family days out ideas, where we’ve highlighted experiences you’ll all enjoy, as you discover the wonders of Scotland’s UNESCO Trail.

We’ve got days out in and around:

  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Dundee
  • Orkney
  • Shetland
  • Central Scotland
  • Galloway

Find a family UNESCO days out.

A family play with an interactive exhibit sitting on a desk in Dundee Science Centre

4. Last-minute sustainable break

Time: 2-3 days

Short on time, planning a last-minute trip, but still want to travel sustainably? Check out our last-minute UNESCO Trail ideas, where we’ve highlighted some options with greener travel in mind from cycling the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, to taking the Subway around Glasgow UNESCO City of Music.

See our 7 ways to explore Scotland sustainably on a last-minute UNESCO break.

An orange Glasgow subway train inside the tunnel at a station