Best places to visit in Scotland during a road trip

Planning on going on a road trip? Find out about the best places to visit in Scotland and explore the most beautiful and scenic spots!

Going on a road trip with friends? Scotland is the perfect destination to fulfil your dream holiday with friends. So pack your bags, round up your pals, fire up your motors, and ride away to some of the finest locations to visit in Scotland for the most unforgettable holiday of your life!

Here are some of the best places to visit in Scotland during a road trip:

North Coast 500

The rugged northern shore of Scotland is the star of the country’s most famous driving route. The North Coast 500 begins and ends in Inverness, the charming Highland city, before completing a massive circle across the region.

If you take it in the opposite direction, you will pass through the moors and sandy beaches of the east coast before arriving at John O’Groats and the neighbouring Dunnet Head- Britain’s northernmost point.

The north shore has a windswept beauty that grows rougher as you go west via bogs, cliffs, and crofting settlements. The vistas along the loch-strewn west coast are probably Britain’s best, presenting a parade of mountains and islands.

Take the journey at a slower pace and enjoy activities like sea kayaking on the west coast or scrambling up the lonely hills of Assynt with your friends and taste the mouth-watering local delicacies like venison, or smoked salmon paired with craft beer.

best places to visit in Scotland
The Kylesku bridge

Isle of Skye driving loop

As long as you are not looking for guaranteed sunshine, Skye has it all, magnificent peaks, towering sea stacks, Gaelic culture, and a thriving cuisine to make a road trip with your friends unforgettable.

This round-trip itinerary from Fort William can include travelling on the bridge to the island one way, passing the majestic Eilean Donan Castle along the way, and catching the ferry through Mallaig on the other.

Once on the island, a traditional counter-clockwise circle might begin with a visit to Skye’s biggest town, Portree, with its picturesque port, before exploring the Trotternish Peninsula’s volcanic cliffs. Next, the Duirinish Peninsula provides you and your friends with a wild hiking country experience and some superb eateries; the jagged slopes of the Cuillin Hills are a destination in itself for dedicated hikers. 

In between are castles, Caribbean-style beaches, and some of Britain’s wild swimming areas, making Skye an ideal leisure destination for friends. Side-trip boats to the nearby Small Isles provide excellent bird-watching opportunities.

Skye

North East 250

Northeast Scotland is well-known for its whiskey distilleries, Braemar (the Highland Games’ site), and Balmoral Castle. The North East 250, named after the North Coast 500’s success, visits these big-ticket sites while also shining a welcome light on the remainder of the region, which includes picturesque glens, lush farmland, and an underappreciated length of coastline.

Spittal of Glenshee, its southernmost point, is a suitable starting point, easily accessible from Edinburgh and Dundee. Taking the trip clockwise, you will pass through the Cairngorms National Park, Britain’s largest national park, which has some of the country’s highest peaks and provides you and your friends with some fantastic hiking possibilities.

The North East 250 then passes through Speyside before reaching the Moray Firth shoreline and the oil-rich city of Aberdeen. It is a journey filled with castles, beaches, charming villages, and ancient estates, as well as delicacies like Cullen skink (a thick, warming fish soup) and sweet, nutty whiskies that will guarantee a good time.

Balmoral Castle

Borders historic route

This route merely follows the A7 road north from the English border to Edinburgh, passing via Hawick and Galashiels – but there is plenty to keep both your body and soul busy along the way. Border raids previously scarred this undulating landscape of villages and farmlands, and it culminates in the towering castle of Edinburgh.

Tweed, tartan, and glasswork centres, as well as a mining museum, highlight the area’s industrial heritage. Anglers may loiter along the Tweed’s forested banks in quest of salmon, while mountain bikers have excellent choices at Glentress and Innerleithen.

Tweed’s forested

Clyde Sea Lochs and the Argyll Coast

Visitors to Scotland are frequently astonished at how near the country’s capital is to the Highlands. Glasgow’s high culture and crowded pubs are worthy of an overnight stop on any road trip to the city with friends. The next day you will want to go past the suburbs to watch the hills transform to mountains and lochs bite into a more jagged shoreline.

This route combines two official tourist trails and goes north and west. Passing through the popular walking region of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs that both tote spectacular scenery, great seafood, old standing stones, historic villages, kayaking and whale watching excursions that will keep you and your friends occupied with its beauty. 

Glen Coe has exquisite natural beauty as well as a tragic narrative of Highland treachery, and Fort William is the striking point for Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain.

Argyll Coast

Dunoon and the Cowal Peninsula

A trip to the Cowal Peninsula, in and around Dunoon, is a true pleasure. A simple boat trip from Gourock will take you across the peninsula.

Take a stroll around the peaceful peninsula, admire the beauty of Loch Striven, and have a drink with your friends at one of the charming pubs in areas like Loch Eck.

Dunoon

Perthshire Tourist Route

Perthshire Tourist Route begins at Greenloaning and ends in Ballinluig. On the 43-mile journey, you will pass through manicured garden landscapes, heather-covered slopes, and deep woods. You may want to stop by Drummond Castle and Gardens, Glenturret Distillery, Ian Burnett and The Highland Chocolatier on your way.

Drummond Castle

These road trip itineraries visit the epic majesty of Skye, the culturally rich Edinburgh, and the Speyside whiskey distilleries. You will witness Scotland’s stories unfold in front of you as you drive through beautiful countryside, crumbling castles, and haunting lochs. 

Scotland offers all the necessary components for the ideal road trip- mesmerizing scenery that changes all the time, great attractions, and friendly cities and villages.

For more travel ideas, don’t forget to have a look at our suggested road trip to West Scotland!

About the Author

Laia Cerdán

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