Edinburgh to Fife: How to Spend One Week in East Scotland

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While Scotland isn’t an enormous country, it does have an incredible amount to offer, from its historic cities to its vast countryside. If you’re looking for the perfect Scotland vacation, we recommend spending one week in east Scotland, driving from Edinburgh, across the Forth Bridge, up to Perthshire, over to Angus and Dundee, and into Fife.

It is always such a wonderful experience, from start to finish. On this trip, you will drive through incredibly lush countryside, see dozens of sheep and cows grazing peacefully along side the road, stay in castles, and eat like kings. It’s everything you might want from a driving experience through Scotland.

Fife, Scotland
Pitemweem, Fife, Scotland

Before going on the trip, I searched extensively for information on East Scotland, to decide what we should do and where we should go. I didn’t find a whole lot about this area. So we thought we’d share our itinerary, so you can experience the same fun and amazing things we did.

>>You might like to check out these Fun Things to do in Edinburgh or try this 7-day itinerary for West Scotland.

How to spend one week in East Scotland
East Scotland

How to Get to East Scotland

There are two relatively easy gateways into Scotland for those of us who have to fly to Scotland. For this itinerary, you’ll want to fly into Edinburgh, and rent a car at the airport so you can easily get around. If you’re coming to Scotland via London, you can also take the train.

The itinerary will take you from Edinburgh to Perthshire, through Angus, to Dundee, Fife and finally into St. Andrews, the home of golf! It’s easy driving on nice, well-marked roads.

If you’d like to extend your Scotland road trip, check out this 11-day itinerary (it also includes how to take the train from London to Edinburgh and vice versa).

Edinburgh is the perfect city to showcase all the best of Scotland’s history, architecture, culture, and food. We immediately fell in love with Edinburgh’s old town, which has retained much of its original medieval architecture.

You could easily spend a week seeing the sights in Edinburgh, but we’ve only included two days in this charming, cobblestone city, so be sure you take advantage of it. You need tickets for each of the activities listed below, except for the Royal Mile, and it’s best to do them early in the day to avoid crowds.

things to do in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle - a top attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most visited sights in Edinburgh. It’s a fortress perched upon Castle Rock, where the Scottish crown jewels are kept. Learn all about Scotland’s military history on a visit to the castle. Make sure you arrive early.

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Walk the Royal Mile

The Royal Mile extends from Edinburgh Castle downhill to Holyrood Palace. Along the way are many shops, pubs, and restaurants to enjoy. Plan to make stops at St. Giles Cathedral and Camera Obscura on the way.

Scotch Whisky Experience

Scotch Whisky Experience

One of our favorite activities in Scotland is whisky tasting and there’s no better way to get primed and ready than to visit the Scotch Whisky Experience, where you’ll learn about the different whisky-producing areas in Scotland. ⇒ Book a tour.

Holyroodhouse Palace

Tour Holyroodhouse Palace

The Palace is the official residence of the Queen in Scotland. It is open daily for visitors to tour, from 9:30am to 6pm (except in winter). The tour includes audio guide that gives all the information you need to know about the Palace.

Where to eat in edinburgh

Timberyard Edinburgh
Oink - my favorite sandwich in Edinburgh

You may be thinking that all you’re going to find to eat in Edinburgh is haggis and fish & chips, but that is a very outdated notion. Edinburgh is full of great dining options, to excite everyone’s palate. Here are our top recommendations:

where to stay in edinburgh

We recommend the Radisson Blu Hotel on the Royal Mile. The hotel is in a fantastic location, close to everything, and within walking distance to all the top attractions.

The rooms are designed well, with modern art work and quality linens. There’s also a restaurant on site. All that, and the price is very reasonable; you really can’t beat it.

⇒ Read reviews of the Radisson Blu on Tripadvisor.com | Check out prices or make a reservation on Booking.com

After a couple days in Edinburgh, it’s time to start driving north. You’ll find Perthshire in the highlands, almost right in the middle of the country. Perthshire is home to extensive woodlands, lush green countryside, and more livestock than you’ve ever seen on a drive.

As you drive, you’ll likely find all kinds of fun things to stop at and admire. The destination is the small town of Pitlochy. It’s so peaceful and beautiful that you’ll find it easy to sit back and relax, especially if you stay at Fonab Castle, a luxury spa hotel that you’ll never want to leave.

⇒ Learn more about Perthshire.

things to do in Perthshire

Visit the Dewars World of Whisky

If you’re a whisky fan, you must make a visit to Dewar’s World of Whisky where you’ll learn all about their world-famous whiskies on a tour of the distillery. You can also look through the interactive museum and try a sample of whisky.

Iain Burnett Chocolate Shop

Iain Burnett Chocolate Shop

There’s no better place for chocolate lovers than this shop. Their truffles are the best in the world! Choose from dozens of different truffle flavors and chocolate bars.

The Inn on the Tay pie

The Inn on the Tay

Just across the street from the chocolate shop is a great little pub with fantastic views of the river and a menu with lots of great choices, like the pie shown above.

where to stay in Perthshire

Fonab Castle
Fonab Castle views
Fonab Castle room
Fonab Castle Lounge

Fonab Castle Hotel – Pitlochry

One of my favorite things when traveling is finding remarkable hotels. Fonab Castle, outside the small town of Pitlochry in Perthshire, is just one of those places. The castle was fully restored and opened as a hotel in 2013. The castle has an interesting history, but its number one feature is the stunning views it has overlooking the river Tay.

The grounds are lovely and you can take a stroll around the yard and down to the nearby fish ladder, or into Pitlochry in just a few minutes. They have a very nice lounge for pre- or post-dinner drinks, and two restaurants to choose from.

They also have a few different rooms you can choose: a lodge room, a room with a view of the loch, or a castle room. All are beautifully designed and very comfortable.

⇒ Read reviews and compare prices on Trip Advisor.

Where to eat in Perthshire

Sandeman’s Fine Dining

Sandeman’s is a 3 AA Rosette award-winning restaurant. You’ll want to indulge in the 6-course tasting menu to try a range of fantastic, classic dishes. Make sure to include the wine pairings. This meal alone is good enough reason to visit Fonab Castle.

Watch our YouTube video of the Sandeman`s dining experience.

Dundee is Scotland’s 4th largest city, but it still manages to feel like a charming hometown. It’s located along the Tay estuary, with commanding water views. The city has become quite cosmopolitan recently, with many new, modern restaurants and bars and a thriving arts & culture scene.

But that doesn’t take away from its fascinating history. Angus, the sprawling countryside and coastline above Dundee, is known as the birthplace of Scotland. We suggest spending 2 days in Dundee, as there are a lot of great things to do. Just one day wouldn’t do it justice.

⇒ Learn more about Dundee & Angus

What to do in Angus & Dundee

71 Brewing in Dundee

Tour 71 Brewing

Craft beer is just starting to emerge in Scotland, and 71 Brewing is at the forefront with their various lagers. The brewery is small, and they don’t have organized tours just yet, but you can arrange a visit by getting in touch with them on their Facebook page.

Arbroath Abbey

Visit Arbroath Abbey

Make a stop at Arbroath Abbey on your way into Dundee, to see the ruins of the Tironensian monastery, founded by King William the Lion in 1178. Learn the history of the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, which began Scotland’s independence.

Dundee, Scotland

Dundee Law

Dundee Law is an extinct volcano in the middle of Dundee that is now where you’ll find one of the best views of the city. You can drive up to the top and take a look around, or even have a picnic in the grass. The views are well worth the drive.

Where to eat in Dundee

Castlehill Restaurant

Led by award-winning chef Graham Campbell, Castlehill serves contemporary Scottish dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. You can order a la carte, but we highly recommend the chef’s tasting menu. The meal is elegant and delicious, start to finish.

Watch our YouTube video of the Castlehill dining experience.

avery co

Avery & Co

We had the best breakfast at Avery & Co., located on South Tay Street. It’s a large modern space, with a friendly vibe. We had the cowboy breakfast and the No. 1. Both were delicious. They also serve lunch and dinner.

Jam Jar cocktails in Dundee

Jam Jar

Jam Jar is definitely the place to go for cocktails in Dundee. It has a modern, trendy vibe with stylish decor and fun cocktail choices, like the namesake served in a jar and the Fog Cutter with 3 types of alcohol.

Draffens Speakeasy in Dundee


There’s a speakeasy in Dundee! It’s pretty cool too, though very small and often busy. If you can get in, you’ll love it. It’s named after the original Draffens department store of Dundee. Great cocktails in a fun atmosphere.

What to eat in Dundee

Scott Brothers steak hand pie

Scottish Meat Pie

Scottish pies are so convenient, and the ones that Scott Brothers Butchers in Dundee handmakes each day are simply the best. We took some to Dundee Law for a picnic. You must try the Steak & Gravy pie, but they also have one with Steak & Haggis!

Dundee Cake

Dundee Cake

Yes, Dundee has its very own cake. It’s a traditional Scottish fruit cake – dense, packed with dried fruit, and topped with whole almonds.
It’s the perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea, but we took it along on a lunchtime picnic.

Arbroath Smokie

Arbroath Smokies

A PGI protected food product, Arbroath Smokies are haddock cooked over a woodfire. They can only be called this if the fish comes from within 5 miles of Arbroath and is cooked with this specific method. You can find them to try at many local restaurants.

Gin Bothy from Angus

Liquor & Beer

Dundee has seen a few new distilleries open lately, producing whisky, gin and vodka. Some to look for are Verdant Gin, Ogilvy Vodka, Dundee Gin and Gin Bothy. Also keep an eye out for craft beer by 71 Brewing and Lwa Brewing Company.

where to stay in DUNDEE

Patrick Geddes services apartment at Urban Quarters in Dundee
Urban Quarters bedroom
Urban Quarters kitchen
Urban Quarters living room

Urban Quarters

If you like staying in AirBnB-style accommodations with some extra space to spread out, rather than a cramped hotel room, Urban Quarters is just the place. It’s really convenient, being just a few blocks walk from all of the places we mentioned to eat in Dundee.

They have various sizes of apartments in one building, so you can book the one that fits your needs. We stayed in a 2-bedroom with our friends. It was great to have a living room area and kitchen, where we could all be together.

⇒ Check out the Geddes Quarter apartment (which can be booked as a one or two bedroom), on Trip Advisor.

Fife is a county on the east coast of Scotland that encompasses many miles of beautiful coastline and countryside. It’s home to the Fife Coastal Path – Scotland’s longest continuous coastal walk at 117 miles – and is known as the birthplace of golf.

The history of the area is evident everywhere you look, from Dunfermline, the ancient capital of Scotland, to Scotland’s Secret Bunker from the Cold War. Over the past few years, Fife has become a fantastic destination for foodies, as more and more locals go into business making exceptional food products with the abundance of local resources.

⇒ Learn more about Fife.

What to do in Fife

Eden Mill Distillery gin

Eden Mills Distillery

Eden Mills is both a distillery and a brewery. They produce beer and gin, as well as small-batch, single-malt whisky. You can take a tour to learn more about either the beer or the gin process, taste some of their products, and learn about how they became the first whisky distillery near St Andrews in over 145 years.

Kingsbarn Distillery

Kingsbarns Distillery

Kingsbarns Distillery was founded in 2014 by former golf caddie, Douglas Clement, who had a vision to bring whisky to Fife. He partnered with the Wemyss family and turned the East Newhall Farm into a distillery and visitors center. You can tour the facilities and have a tasting of Wemyss whisky – that is until the first Kingsbarns whisky is ready to bottle.

View of the ocean and golf course in St Andrews

Golfing in Fife

St. Andrews is known as the home of golf. The Old Course is the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world, yet it’s still a public course. However, if you can’t get a tee time, there are 50 other courses to try.

St. Andrews Cathedral ruins

St. Andrews Cathedral

The St. Andrews Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral, located right in the center of town. You can’t miss its haunting outline against the ocean backdrop as you drive by. There is a £5 fee to enter. Be sure to climb St Rule’s Tower for a spectacular view of St Andrews and Fife.

Where to eat in Fife

The Newport Restaurant

Led by chef Jamie Scott, who’s originally from the area, The Newport Restaurant is a popular spot with the locals. They serve incredible food that reflects the area, and the view is hard to beat. We suggest the impressive 5- or 8-course tasting menu.

Watch our YouTube video of the Newport Restaurant dining experience.

  • Fine Dining on the Harbour: Craig Millar @ 16 West End – Holding 2 AA Rosettes, Craig Millar is set in the picturesque village of St Monans in East Neuk, with a view over the harbour. The 7-course tasting menu showcases the best regional products and seafoods.
  • BBQ Meats & Street Food: Balgove Larder – On specific Tuesdays in the summer, Balgove Larder – one of the best farm shops in the area – holds a night market complete with street-food-style eats.
  • Sweet treats: Jannetta’s Gelateria is the place to go for the best artisan gelato in St Andrews.

where to stay in Fife

The View from a Senior Suite at Macdonald Rusacks in St. Andrews
Bedroom of the Senior Suite at Macdonald Rusacks in St. Andrews
Living space in the Senior Suite
The golf-themed Macdonald Rusacks Hotel in St. Andrews

Macdonald Rusacks Hotel – St. Andrews

One of the major highlights in Fife is St. Andrews, located right on the beautiful beach. It’s the perfect place to stay while you’re visiting Fife. Macdonald Rusacks Hotel has an enviable location just across the Old Course green from the beach. The view stretches on forever.

All the more reason to book a room with a view. The hotel is traditional and elegant, with a golf theme. The rooms are designed around the greats of golf. We stayed in the incredibly luxurious Tom Morris Senior Suite and had everything we could possibly need for a relaxing stay, including an amazing view of the 18th hole.

They have three spots for a meal or a drink: Rocca is a modern restaurant with a grill-style menu, R bar is a Champagne and Whisky bar perfect for a light lunch or pre-dinner drink, and The One Under is a gastro pub just a few steps away from the green.

⇒ Check out Macdonald Rusacks Hotel on Trip Advisor.


As you can see in this itinerary, East of Scotland is an area rich in natural beauty and full of great things to do, see and taste! We hope you enjoy this itinerary for spending one week in East Scotland. If you have any questions, or need help designing your own itinerary, don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you’ve fallen hopelessly in love with Scotland and want to take another incredible road trip like this one, check out the North Coast 500.

Our trip was made possible through the assistance of the area tourism boards, as well as the great business listed here. As always, the opinions stated here are our own, honest recommendations.

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Edinburgh to Fife: How to Spend One Week in East Scotland

18 thoughts on “Edinburgh to Fife: How to Spend One Week in East Scotland

  1. Linda Cumming says:

    Great blog ,you packed a lot into your visit and congratulations on publising a lesser known part of Scotland, yet there is still more to be seen in this part of Scotland.. From the Angus Glens where you can scale Munroes or simply do lowland walks where you can spot eagles soaring, mountain hare, peregrines, red deer and much more besides to Glamis Castle home of the Queen mother, Kirriemuir with its camera obscura and the birthplace of J M Barrie author of Peter Pan.. I could go on… so take this as an invitation Haste ye back ! There still so much more to see 😀

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Thank you, Linda. You’re so right – what we did was just a tiny piece of what there is to do there! That’s what makes it such a great destination. We’ll definitely be back!

  2. Mei from Travel with Mei and Kerstin says:

    What a great itinerary and advices! Kerstin roadtripped through Scotland with her sister about 15 years ago, but I’ve never been there before. I can’t wait to explore it, and will certainly consider going to some of the places you’ve mentionned here. Thank you for sharing this post!

  3. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry says:

    I’ve been to Edinburgh and Loch Lomond and I must say Scotland is so beautiful and Edinburgh so vibrant, we visited for the festival in August. Would love to explore more of this fabulous country, especially Fife.

  4. Una-Minh says:

    Aw I love Scotland (it’s so close to us here in Ireland!) I’ve been to Edinburgh but not to any of the other places 🙂 I love the chilled atmosphere they seem to have there and the food very much reminded me of home. Very hearty food 😀

  5. Karla says:

    Edinburgh was one of my favorite cities in Scotland. I loved everything about it, minus the rain. This is a good itinerary.

  6. Hugo Cura says:

    I love Scotland – such as a beautiful place! This a great guide to a region I haven’t had the chance to visit but that it’s clearly a priority. I did visit parts of Western Scotland last summer and had a really good time.

    Super keen to take on some of the places you mention, starting, obviously, at Edinburgh.

  7. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Laura,

    Visiting someone in the US who lived in Scotland for months. We just talked about the place yesterday and how beautiful it is. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  8. sherianne says:

    I have Scotland on my list. Would love to see the Highland Games and Military Tattoo. This will come in handy for future travel, pinning!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      We have the Military Tattoo on our short list too! I think it would be really fascinating to see.

  9. Megan Jerrard says:

    Thanks for sharing this itinerary! We did a bus tour a couple of years ago now and fell in love with Scotland so would love to travel back and rent our own car to explore. We also traveled during winter, and while it was beautiful I would love to get back in summer. Edinburgh is probably one of my favorite European cities – thanks for your recommendations for the East 🙂

  10. Rosemary says:

    This is a great itinerary. Have not made it yet to Scotland, but this sounds like the perfect way to enjoy the area. Fascinating to read about Holyroodhouse Palace. Must be a very interesting tour. Now that Dundee cake looks delightful. Anything with almond has a special place in my heart…or rather stomach 🙂 These are all great recommendations. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Veronika Tomanova says:

    So far I have only visited Glasgow, but I see that the capital has so many more interesting things to do, I would love to visit the castle and Royal Mile, both look amazing. Got to plan my next trip to Scotland, really!

  12. Divyakshi Gupta says:

    This is a very handy guide, crisp to the point and well presented. I didn’t know anything about Scotland except Edinburgh. Finally got to know how Dundee cake got its name 🙂 The St. Andrew’s cathedral looks straight out of a fairy tale. The Fonab castle hotel is quite a find with an ambience like that. I’d love to take this tour.

  13. Elger Routh says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Edinburgh but have no idea why because I knew absolutely nothing about it until reading this post. I think I was right in wanting to visit though because it sounds like an awesome city!

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