Thu. Jul 18th, 2024


Plan your Scotland trip based on what you want to do, see, and avoid.

Scotland might be a small country — about the size of South Carolina — but its variety of destinations and landscapes is impressive. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Glen Coe, and the Isle of Skye are all must-sees for anyone who wants to experience the magic of Scotland. To get the most out of your trip, you’ll want to make sure you visit at the most opportune time.

Here are the best times to travel to Scotland, whether you’re hoping for pleasant weather, fewer crowds, or more affordable prices.

Best Time to Visit Scotland for Good Weather

People relaxing on a hill in Queen's Park, with a view over the city during sunny weather.

Scotland — and the entire United Kingdom — isn’t particularly known for its weather. More often than not, it’s drizzly and a little dreary. When the weather shows off, though, there’s nothing more remarkable than a sunrise peeping over a Scottish glen or the sun setting behind Edinburgh Castle.


To experience Scotland’s best weather, you’ll need to plan your trip at the right time — and have a bit of luck on your side. The spring season, from late March to May, provides slightly warmer temperatures (averaging between 42 and 63 Fahrenheit, according to Weather Spark), and April is typically the driest month in spring (the driest month overall is January, but that’s also the nation’s coldest). The time period from September to November also gives way to fall foliage and daytime temperatures in the mid 50s, but you’ll want to shift your schedule to account for shorter days; in November, the sun goes down around 4:30 p.m.

Cheapest Time to Visit Scotland

As temperatures drop, so does the number of tourists in Scotland — and the prices. If you want to save money, book your trip in the off-season, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 12, or wait until after Christmas, from Dec. 26 to mid-March. While some popular sites may be closed during this time, there are plenty of other things to do, including skiing in the Cairngorms, curling up by a fireplace in a cozy boutique hotel (like The Fife Arms), or exploring the Christmas markets in Edinburgh.


Most Popular Time to Visit Scotland

A majority of travelers make their way to Scotland in the warmer months. Tourist season in Edinburgh ramps up in June and peaks in August, with several major festivals — including the Edinburgh Art Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe — happening throughout the month. The capital’s summer temperatures rarely surpass 70 degrees, so traversing the hilly city is relatively pleasant.

Visitors descend on Scotland from late May to September to experience the Highland Games, a Scottish tradition that has been around for hundreds of years. Each event, held in different locations throughout the region, is typically one day and includes traditional Scottish sports (tug o’ war and the hammer throw), as well as food, music, and dancing. The Braemar Gathering, held in September, is one of the most well-known events, with the royal family making an appearance in the small town every year.

Best Time to Explore the Highlands

West Highland Way walk path through Highlands Scotland

To have the most sunlight and best weather, many people head to the Scottish Highlands in the summer, between May and September. Starting in October, the weather can be unpredictable: freezing temperatures, gale-force winds, and snowfall are all possible. That said, the snow-capped mountains are a sight to behold, so if you plan a Highlands road trip in the winter, pack a warm winter coat and make sure your rental car is properly equipped to handle any icy conditions.

Best Time to Visit to Avoid Midges

From May until September, travelers have a high chance of running into midges, especially in the Highlands. These flying, biting insects prefer wet, humid, and cloudy conditions and come out in full force in July and August. To avoid the midges, book your trip to Scotland between late September and early May.



By Lala