March in Edinburgh
When you think of Scotland, kilts, bagpipes, and fuzzy cows might come to mind. Now, keep those cute fuzzy cows in your head, and add this to your mental picture: yourself on a spring time vacation visiting beautiful Edinburgh and the Highlands! As one of the biggest cities in Scotland, Edinburgh is a mecca of museums and monuments; while the Highlands will call to any adventurer’s heart with their wild beauty and freedom. So, lets explore why March in Edinburgh should be on your itinerary.
So, why March?
March in Edinburgh will mean that you need to bundle up a bit, but you’ll enjoy the lack of crowds and the beautiful springtime bloom that spreads across the country. Just make sure you come prepared with warm layers and a raincoat to beat the unpredictable Scottish weather. You’ll be extremely glad you skipped a spring break beach crowd when you return from your vacation of adventure, history, beauty, and Nessie!
Spring flowers blooming along a river in Trossachs National Park: no attribution
May in Edinburgh is the place to be.
To build a completely unforgettable adventure, you need a great place to call home base during your vacation. The central location of Edinburg is perfect for that purpose. Some of the most striking geography in the world is found in the Scottish Highlands, an easy reach from Edinburgh! A day trip to Loch Ness is completely feasible, and there are many tour guides in the Edinburgh city center that will take small groups of people in a comfortable vehicle.
If you choose a tour, watch out for the large bus groups, as they’re a bit more limited in their driving route! Renting a car is also very doable, but be aware that in Scotland you’ll be driving on the left side of the road. While touring or driving up through the Highlands, you’ll notice a speedy change in scenery as soon as you leave the Edinburgh city limits. The green rolling hills of the lowlands give way to mountains and peat bogs stretching as far as the eye can see.
Once you get to the Scottish Highlands
Some must see spots are Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, the Glencoe mountains, Ben Nevis, and of course – Loch Ness.
Lonely as a Cloud © John mcsporran/Flickr
In Trossach’s National Park, you’ll see some blooming flowers with unparalleled views as a backdrop. Driving through will make you feel like you’re sailing as you glide alongside the Lochs, before perching on top of a mountain to take a picture like the one above!
Once you head a bit further north, you’ll come across Glencoe. A dormant super volcano that once had the eruption power of over 1,000 cubic kilometers! Thankfully, the mountains are completely safe now and your gaze of wonderment will definitely not be interrupted by any eruptions.
Ben Nevis is another amazing mountain in the Highlands. Its peak is so tall in fact, that it’s very rare to see it uncovered by clouds. If you want to impress any travel companions. Tell them that “Nevis” or “Nimheas” in Scottish Gaelic is translated either as “venom” or “beautiful”. The dual translation is perfect for describing the mountain. It is beautiful to look at but can have very unpredictable weather and landscape changes that make hiking on its slopes a very real adrenaline rush!
When you’re adventuring around the Scottish Highlands, don’t forget to visit Loch Ness. Investigate a bit of the mystery that surrounds this northern lake. With waters darkened by peat, mysterious disappearing fish, and the Highlands’ magical environment. It’s not that difficult to start believing dear Nessie is swimming around. After you’ve worked your detective magic at the Loch, it’s a very short trip over to the city of Inverness, Scotland. Inverness, thought of as the Highlands’ capital, lies right along the Great Glen fault line. Meaning there are many beautiful lochs and mountains to see around the city.
What to do after the Highlands
After you’ve explored the Highlands and enjoyed Scotland’s magnificent wilderness, heading back into Edinburgh is a treat! Just like in the Highlands, March will be a slightly chilly but mild climate, with blooming flowers and signs of spring all around. Best of all, the tourist crowd will be gone for the year and you’ll be able to enjoy the city like a local.
One of your first stops might be Princes street. Located in downtown Edinburgh’s most populated and connected area. Almost every tram and bus route travels down Princes street. Meaning you’ll be able to go just about anywhere! This street is perfect for a day of shopping before heading over to Rose street for a delicious lunch or dinner. Princes Street Gardens are great for a bit of nature exploration!
Before adventuring into the gardens, make sure to stop at the Scottish Monument for a bit of history. If you plan on eating on Rose street, look for some of the seafood restaurants. Ask any local and they’ll tell you to head in the same direction. With the Atlantic Ocean on all sides, delicious fresh seafood is a must in Scotland.
Foto Ad Meskens @Wikimedia
To relive history, take a walk up the Royal Mile to the Edinburgh castle. Give yourself plenty of time to stroll the quaint cobblestone mile as it has many wonderful Scottish shops along the way. From whiskey distilleries (My Favorite). To markets hosted in what used to be a church, you’ll shop your way down Scottish memory lane before arriving at the large castle walls. Before you go into the castle, make sure to turn around and look back at the city. The sprawling view is very Instagram worthy.
Inside the castle, you’ll be able to grab a map and settle in for a day of exploring! The vaguely guided walking path will take you in a large circle inside and outside the castle. Clear signs will make sure you don’t miss any section of the monument, no matter how small. If you’re lucky, you’ll even run into some of the live demonstrations. There’s a chance you’ll learn how to shoot a longbow, or wield a broadsword. Just like a Scottish defender did long ago.
Spring in Scotland isn’t the warmest time of year. But there are some beautifully sunny days that appear. On those days, if you feel like wandering around in nature but don’t want to head up to the Highlands. I suggest adventuring to the Princes Street Gardens for beautiful cultivated grounds. Or head outside of Edinburgh Old City. Arthur’s Seat – a large mountain easily accessible by the city bus and tram routes. Arthur’s Seat will give you a first-hand look at Scottish hills. It has many different walking paths of all difficulty levels, which all have a beautiful view of the city once you climb a bit.
With endless options of exploring Scotland in mild weather and lack of crowds, March is the perfect time of year to ship over the ocean to this northern Island. You’ll be able to adventure, live, and eat just like a local. And hey, even if there are a couple chilly days. Don’t forget some good ol’ Scottish Whiskey to keep you warm!
May in Edinburgh is a great place but if you are still looking for some great ideas I am here to help. If you have not signed up for my FREE Newsletter yet you can still click on the links below. They are filled with lots os great March travel inspiration.