ADVENTURE DOESN’T HAVE to mean inaccessible destinations or complicated planning sessions. If you’re craving some time off the beaten path but want the convenience of easy-to-reach transportation, try one of these transit-friendly outdoor experiences. They’re all reasonably close to an airport, so you can focus your energy on enjoying the beauty of these spots and revelling in your intrepid accomplishments.
Trek Scotland’s Highland-Like Pentland Hills
Airport: Edinburgh Airport (EDI)
Normally, undertaking a trek in Scotland’s Highlands requires extensive planning to contend with remote locations, sketchy communication, complicated transportation links, and expensive lodging options. It’s worth it, of course, but there’s also a little-known way to find that same experience just outside Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh.
The Pentland Hills Regional Park boasts rolling hills, iconic wildlife, and green peaks similar to the Highlands that can be enjoyed along a 20-mile route of both marked and unmarked pathways. The Pentlands stretch west from Edinburgh and are of interesting mixed use: on a trek, you’ll likely find hillwalkers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and farmers with sheep that graze on public lands.
To get there, take the Airlink 100 from Edinburgh Airport downtown to Shandwick Place, then hop on the bus at Edinburgh’s North Bridge. You’ll get off at the base of the hills—you’ll know them when you see them. Because of Scotland’s generous right-to-roam laws, you’re free to enter the park anywhere you can, and you can follow the Pentlands’ paths or walk around on your regard. Near the top, you’ll find varied terrain: smooth paths with impressive views of the city, trails with vistas over the Firth of Forth, and cobbled steps leading to even higher ground. There are small villages along the bottom of the hills where you can catch transportation back to Edinburgh. On the way back, you can stop in Roslin, home to the famous 15th-century Rosslyn Chapel.