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Transport in Scotland

Getting there
Flights coming into Scotland from North America will land in Glasgow or Edinburgh but from London and all the other major European cities there are also direct connections with Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness and Kirkwall. A lot of budget travellers coming from Europe find that it’s actually cheaper to fly to London and catch a train or a bus to Scotland. Long distance buses are usually the cheapest way to travel so if you are flying to London to economise, this is probably the option that you will be taking.

The budget Slow Coach which runs between Youth Hostels all over Britain goes as far as Edinburgh. You could also get a train from the English capital, which will take you to Edinburgh in four hours or Glasgow in five but this is bit pricey. Your final option for entry into the country is by ferry from Belfast or from Larne or in summer there is also a weekly ferry between Aberdeen and Norway.

Getting Around
Once you get to Scotland you can rely, where possible, on either the bus or train service to take you around the country. In cases where you want to visit the islands, you can get a boat to most of them from Oban, Mallaig and Ullappol or you can get a ferry from Aberdeen to Orkney or Shetland.

Bus: There are several smaller companies including Haggis Backpackers and Go Blue Banana which run a hop on, hop off service between the country’s hostels. The main bus service, however, is Citylink which offers a tourist pass which can be used on all buses. In general, the bus services are extensive in the Lowlands, but when you head north they go into decline and do not operate on Sundays at all. Overall, however, buses are more frequent and less expensive than trains.

Train: While the scenery on Scotland’s train routes may well be breathtaking, it doesn’t come cheap. While the National Railways Enquiry Scheme offers some cheap tickets for travelling around the country, you need to book well in advance and will still probably pay more than you would for travelling by bus.

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