There’s perhaps no better way to experience Scotland’s majestic lands than through your windscreen during a road trip. Out on the open road, you can carve your own path to discover the types of attractions or locations that most appeal to you.
For some, tracing their Scottish ancestry leads them to obscure villages. For others, they just want to see the incredible mountainous terrain, forests and even coastal paths that make this corner of the world so unique.
Wherever you want your Scottish road trip to take you, researching the top routes in advance will ensure the best possible experience. Here are our top 10 road trips that can be completed across Scotland to inspire you.
North Coast 500
As the saying goes, ‘go big or go home’. If you’re coming to Scotland to do a road trip, you may as well make it count, and the North Coast 500 Route definitely ticks all the boxes in this regard.
The route covers just over 500 glorious miles starting at Inverness before travelling onto Wick, John O’ Groats, Thurso, Durness, Lochinver, Ullapool, Gairloch, and Applecross before arriving back at the starting point of Inverness.
Most people allow 10-14 days to complete the North 500 Route, purely because there is so much to see along the way (a common theme with any Scottish road trip we should add!).
Some of the top points of interest include Kearvaig Bay, the battlefield of Culloden and Dunrobin Castle. This route will also take you along Loch Ness for those inquisitive souls who want to discover this infamous legend for themselves.
Fife Coastal Route
For those wanting to explore Scotland’s beaches, the Fife Coastal Route offers a scenic trip along Scotland’s east coast so you can do just that.
This route runs between Newport-On-Tay towards the north down to Stirling. Along the way, the route calls at Tentsmuir, St Andrews, Kingsbarns, Anstruther, Kirkcaldy, Burnt Island, Aberdour, Inverkeithing, North Queensferry, Dunfermline and Kincardine.
Ideal for families or beginners, the route is only 77 miles long. That said, it is recommended to allow up to two days to complete the trip so that you have time to explore the attractions which include the likes of Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, Kingsbarns Distillery, Devilla Forest, Royal Burgh of Culross, Aberdour Castle and the Fife Coastal Path.
Isle of Skye
Dubbed ‘the best Scottish road trip for photographers’, the Isle of Skye Route encompasses some of the most dramatic scenery these lands have to offer.
It is highly recommended to hire a car from Inverness, as this is the closest major city to the Isle of Skye. From there, the 280 mile route takes you from Broadford to Portree, The Storr, Duntulm, Uig, Dunvegan, Dun Beag Broch, Talisker and Glamaig.
Out of all the road trips on our list, this trek across Skye offers some of the most remote scenery that can be found anywhere in Scotland.
Angus Coastal Route
The Angus Coastal Route picks up where the Fife Coastal Route Ends running between Aberdeen and Dundee. Along the way, it calls at Stonehaven, Dun, Lunan Bay and Arbroath.
This route highlights yet more of Scotland’s beautiful coastline but throws in some city adventures into the mix with Aberdeen and Dundee. Therefore, it is considered a great all rounder as far as Scottish road trips go.
Do remember to try some Arbroath Smokies along the way!
Borders Historic Route
In terms of learning more about authentic Scottish life and culture, rather than the typical tourist associations, the Borders Historic Route offers a charming experience for road trippers.
This route actually begins in England in Carlisle which is very close to the border with Scotland, hence the name of the route. Not to worry though, as soon you’ll transcend into the stunning lands of Scotland starting with the first calling point of Gretna Green.
From there, you’ll pass through Gilnockie Tower, Hawick, Hermitage Castle, Selkirk, Abbotsford House, Galashiels, Dalkeith Country Park and Midlothian, with a final stop in Edinburgh. In total, the route covers around 90 miles.
If you’re familiar with the song ‘Mull of Kintyre’ which describes mist rolling in from the sea, then you’ll likely want to complete the Kintyre 66 road trip across Scotland.
Covering a distance of 115 miles, Kintyre 66 starts and ends at Kennacraig. Along the way, it calls at Tayinloan, Isle of Gigha, Machrihanish, Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse, Campbeltown and Carradale.
Those who have completed Kintyre 66 note it is perfect for a long weekend, especially as several distilleries can be found along the way.
North East 250
Getting into the lands of the Buchan clan is the North East 250, with the route name hinting at both the distance and location of this particular road trip.
Starting and ending at Aberdeen, North East 250 calls at Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Portsoy, Spey Bay, Glenlivet and Braemar.
While much of the coastal areas continue to house thriving fishing ports, heading inland will reveal the stunning landscapes of the Cairngorms, plus the Snow Roads route which runs between Tomintoul and Blairgowrie.
It’s definitely worth giving this trip at least 7 days of your time so you can take the time to discover many of the villages on-route that have barely changed in hundreds of years.
Galloway Tourist Route
The Galloway Tourist Route delves into the western quarters of Scotland. Covering 91 miles, the route runs between Carlisle and Ayr.
When starting from the English border, after Carlise the route calls at Gretna, Dumfries, Dalbeattie, Threave Castle and New Galloway.
Some of the locations along the route are must-sees for those who are a fan of the arts, particularly towns such as Kirkcudbright. This area is known as one of Scotland’s most vibrant communities with festivals and events happening here all year round.
Highland Tourist Route
With the esteemed title of ‘Scotland’s Route 66,’ the Highland Tourist Route is as equally about the drive as it is the destination according to seasoned travellers.
Covering 116 miles with a route which takes you between Inverness and Aberdeen, this is a great road trip for getting into the great outdoors with a stop in the Cairngorms. Plus, there are plenty of museums along this route which is ideal if you want to plan a longer stay in Scotland and have time to explore more of the country’s history.
Both Inverness and Aberdeen also offer lots of transport options for those travelling in from further afield, making it much easier to hit the open road once you arrive.
Deeside Tourist Route
Stretching 108 miles between Aberdeen and Perth, the Deeside Tourist Route is one of the lesser-known road trips in Scotland that can provide something a little different for your trip.
While the incredible views remain consistent wherever you road trip in Scotland, this particular route focuses on Scotland’s history perhaps more than most. For instance, you can visit Scone Palace where you can learn about Macbeth.
There are also plenty of culinary delights to explore as you make your way through Deeside, including the Cambus O’May Cheese Company. Starting and finishing near the coast, you can also catch plenty of fresh seafood as well as sights along the way.
Best Scottish Cottages – Scotland Holiday Lets Perfect For Any Road Trip
Now you know all the best driving spots to catch the very finest scenery that Scotland has to offer, all that’s left for you to do is find somewhere to stay.
Most people complete road trips by car, but even if you’re hiring a campervan for your Scottish road trip, upgrading to the luxury of a private home or hotel room before or after your exploration can make all the difference in terms of comfort and enjoyment – especially during the colder months!
Here at Best Scottish Cottages, we have holiday lets across Scotland that are perfect for any of our road trips on our list and more. If your road trip is coming up shortly, you can also check out our late availability page to see what’s currently on offer.
Need any further help with finding accommodation in Scotland for your road trip, or any other kind of visit you are planning to our wonderful land? Contact us for further help or advice.