4 Awesome Ideas for the Most Unforgettable Road Trip in Scotland
Road trips are a quintessential pitstop on every traveller’s bucket list. What better way is there to soak in the scenery of a picturesque landscape than from the comfort of a car? There is no shortage of road trip-worthy destinations all over the world, but the one place you simply cannot discount when you are planning a road trip has to be Scotland. With its majestic natural landscapes, historical castles and endless countrysides, Scotland easily takes the throne as the king of all road trips. Here are 4 amazing ideas for the best road trips in the land that was literally made for cruising in a car! Read on if you’re dreaming of a road trip in Scotland!
No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting the Highlands. Yes, the Highlands may be a major tourist hotspot, but it definitely isn’t the kind that’s overhyped and leaves you disappointed. A road trip around the Highlands gives you the opportunity to see some of Scotland’s best natural landscapes, with idyllic lochs nestled amidst spectacular rock formations. Begin your Highlands adventure from the charming city of Edinburgh (which is definitely worth a full day’s exploration) head towards the majestic rugged cliffs of Glencoe before steering your way towards the famous Loch Ness which is said to be inhabited by a certain mythical beast. Along the way, you’ll pass by the legendary Ben Nevis, which is the highest mountain in Great Britain so don’t miss a photo opportunity there! This route also takes you past Inverness, the most populated town over in the Highlands so it’s a good chance to get some chow or do some shopping. As you head back towards Edinburgh, take the route that leads you through the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park, which boasts stunning views of lush greenery. You can complete the Highlands road trip in a single day if you are just driving through, but we highly recommend finding some pit stops to stay overnight so you can properly explore some of the castles or do some hiking at some of the beautiful mountains along the route. Here’s another pro-tip to add an additional sparkle of magic to your Highlands road trip: read up about some Scottish history and folk legends before embarking on your journey to make the trip even more meaningful and immersive. For example, the history of the spine-chilling Glencoe massacre never fails to make those picturesque mountains look a tad more ominous yet awe-inspiring at the same time.
- Isle of Skye
You can either make a special trip just for the Isle of Skye or make it an extension of your Highlands road trip. Either way, you really should not pass on the opportunity to visit the breathtakingly beautiful Isle of Skye when you are in Scotland. The dreamy views along the West Coast of Scotland are straight out of a fairy tale book, with towering castles overlooking grand lakes and majestic cliffs plunging down to the sea. Whether you get clear views on a sunny day or misty views on a gloomy day, the experience will be a unique and unforgettable one. The 50 miles stretch of the entire isle will take you past some of nature’s most bewitching sights, including the crystal-clear Fairy Pools, staggering Cuillin mountains and the sharp peaks of the Old Man of Storr towering majestically above a flat rock outcrop. Nature lovers should definitely start planning for places to stay and explore in Skye, for there are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with wildlife, such as whales, otters, red deer, and the rare white-tailed sea eagle that has been the object of affection of many a bird watcher. But Skye isn’t all about just nature and wildlife — there are also villages to explore that are bursting with Scottish culture. Up north, there is the village of Dunvegan which boasts an impressive castle as well as the culturally rich Edinbane which is like a traditional village trapped in time. Down south, the beautiful linear town of Broadford which runs alongside the Broadford river will charm any artistic souls with its wide range of art and craft shops and artist studios. While the Isle of Skye isn’t large enough to give you the opportunity of a long road trip, it does come with unforgettable views and plenty of culture-rich areas worth stopping for a night.
- North Coast 500
A close competitor to the Highlands route as one of the must-do road trips in Scotland is the North Coast 500 route. This 500-mile long route takes you past multiple stunning views, from the calming coast of Caithness with its impressive natural geography to Sutherland with its magical fairytale castles to Wester Ross which is surrounded by misty mountains and beautiful beaches. The views along the North Coast 500 route are simply to die for and you wouldn’t want to leave Scotland without soaking in all those marvellous sights!
While most of Scotland’s best treasures are tucked away in the Highlands and along the coasts, there’s a remarkable route down south-west that’s worth the ride for those who like to go off the beaten path and experience a more unique adventure. The Galloway area is considerably more quiet and less touristy than the other parts of Scotland, so those who want to distinguish themselves from the typical tourist can definitely consider a trip here.
There is no shortage of gorgeous natural scenery along Galloway, starting from the gorgeous Mull of Galloway where an impressive lighthouse perches atop a dramatic plunging cliff. A road trip to Galloway also means the opportunity to visit the lovely town of Dumfries, which has a wonderful historical museum and a gorgeous 12th-century royal castle. Apart from exploring the history and culture of lesser-known Scottish icons, you can also retreat into the peaceful sanctuary of nature at Galloway Kite Trail, which is perfect for walkers or cyclists. Bird lovers will absolutely jump at the opportunity to witness many beautiful species, but even if bird-watching isn’t your hobby, the sanctity of the nature trails will bless your senses and leave you with a full heart.
We’ve listed the top 4 unmissable road trips to take in Scotland, but in actual fact pretty much all of Scotland is so scenic that this list could go on endlessly. It is truly an incredible country that looks and feels so unreal. Magic exudes from every corner, and you’d half expect a bunch of pixies or elves to materialize in every clearing and forest. The weather may be dreary and cold, but the views more than makeup for it! Anyway, you’ll be in the comfort of a car, so maybe you should go and check out some car rentals right now! Oh, and if you happen to drive by some of their great lakes and it’s warmer, why not bring this giant of a unicorn float? It isn’t Nessie, but it will definitely be more willing to pose in your Instagram photos.
Enjoy your road trip in Scotland!