Including unmissable places to see in Scotland
If you’ve got yourself a camper van, motor home, or simply want to throw your tent in the car and head on an adventure, we have the best Scotland road trips for you.
We’ve included everything in this post from places you must visit to routes that you’ve got to try! These are the top scenic routes for drivers that you can tour in your car or minivan. You’ll find some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes while getting to experience the charm of many Scottish villages.
The wonders of Scotland are waiting!
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7 fun road trips around Scotland
The North Coast 500
The North Coast 500 or NC500 for short. It’s the Route 66 of Scotland and you’ll love discovering new places, witnessing amazing sights and driving those incredible roads.
There are two ways that you can enjoy the North Coast 500, clockwise or anti-clockwise. The route starts and ends at Inverness Castle but it’s your choice which way to travel it. The NC500 launched in 2015 with the idea that you could explore the northern Highlands of Scotland in one route. It’s actually 516 miles in total and it’s suggested that you take at least five days to travel it. Some do it in more, maybe a week or ten days to explore and relax in between driving. You’ll find yourself leaving Inverness, enjoying winding roads to John O’Groats and then heading back south along the coastline. Your Scotland road trip let’s you fall in love with this wonderful country and the beautiful landscapes it offers.
When you follow the North Coast 500 map, you’ll come across loads of amazing places. From the crumbling ruins of Ardvreck Castle to Chanonry Poiont where you can spot Dolphins, the entire family will enjoy this trip. There are, of course, plenty of traditional Scottish whiskeys to try, incredible foods to sample and wonderful people to meet. You’ll come across amazing wildlife, beautiful beaches and amazing walking routes which lead to phenomenal panoramic views. There are six Highland regions included in the NC500, Inverness-shire, Wester Ross, Easter Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and the Black Isle.
With a minimum of five days of driving on your Scotland road trip, you’ll need somewhere to pull over and get your head down. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts that you can book into on the North Coast 500 map, as well as hotels, hostels, self catering accommodation and campsites. You’ll even find yurts, glamping pods and wigwams to bed down in. Some camper van and motor home owners choose to pull into laybys to spend the night which is doable if you have your own facilities. There are reports of local people getting upset with beauty spots being trashed via wild camping and the lack of toilets on the road causing visitors to go wherever they can. Don’t forget that as amazing as this road is, there are people who live there. Don’t upset the locals.
The North Coast 500 is an amazing trip, one that you might do once in your lifetime or enjoy so much you do it once or twice a year. It’s the perfect route to make incredible memories on. Witness amazing sunrises, photograph stunning sunsets. This Scotland road trip is just waiting for you to drive it. Pack your things, fuel up and let’s go on an adventure!
Argyll Coastal Route
This route is on the South West coastal road that offers stunning mountain route that gives you amazing loch views. Taking you through the beautiful west coast of Scotland, the Argyll coastal route is about 129 miles in length and starts at Tarbet, on the banks of Loch Lomond. Travel the sea line through Loch Fyne and explore the local history of the Kingdom of Dalraida at Kilmartin. End your tour at Fort William which is close to Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak. Fort William gives you everything you need to end your trip from amazing restaurants to out of this world view.
The Anglo-Scottish Border
This 89-mile route is perfect for first-time Scottish road trippers. It starts just outside of the Scottish borders, which takes you near Carlisle and takes you through the countryside of the Scottish borders. This route also takes you through Edinburgh where you have to stop and explore the castle and the other amazing things that the Scottish capital city has to offer. There are plenty of places to stop along the way including Dalkeith Country Park which is an amazing place to go walking and cycling.
North and West Highland Route
Starting at Ullapool, this takes you through the north of the Scottish isles. This gives you everything you need including wild rivers, huge mountains, and coastlines you’ve only seen in pictures. This is a 158-mile route that takes about 4 hours if you don’t stop but you must! Your first stop must be Geopark which is based in the North West Highlands. Next, stop at Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve which gives you an insight into what the Earth was like millions of years ago. Next, drive through the wild landscape and stop at one of the many secluded sandy beaches that give you a glimpse of pure paradise. Ending at John o’Groats, that offers you those towering mountains and peaceful lochs.
Deeside Tourist Route
Starting in Perth, this 108-mile trip takes you through Cairngorms National Park. This is an epic drive that offers you lush landscapes and beautiful towns. There are loads of places to stop on your journey to Aberdeen. There’s the Royal Lochnagar Distillery which was built in 1848 and was visited by Queen Victoria and her family. Drum Castle is a must-see for those who love Scottish history. Set on the southeast coastal road, Aberdeen has loads to offer road trippers who want to explore this amazing part of the world.
South West Coastal 300
This 300-mile route takes you through the beautiful coastline that offers country roads and scenery that will take your breath away. Starting at Dumfries, stop at Sweetheart Abbey that was built in the late 13th century. You can pair this with Caerlaverock Castle which has been built in a red-hued sandstone and is full of local history. Next, take a drive down the coastal roads and stop at any of the sheltered sandy beaches you like the look of. Some are sat within picturesque villages that are perfect for a lunch break.
This is a circular route that takes you around the coast of Dumfries & Galloway. Stopping next at Whithorn is a must for all history buffs then moving through southern Ayrshire takes you to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. this is a great place to explore and take in the Scottish air while enjoying a great day out.
Finishing in Dumfries, the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is a must for all space lovers. It’s quite remote but offers you a view of the sky like no other.
There are plenty of off-the-beaten-track places to stop on this route so don’t be scared to explore or just stop when you see a place that interests you. This is one for those people that love windy roads and pictures that are Instagram-worthy.
Clyde Sea Lochs Trail
Starting at Dumbarton, this 65-mile driving trail takes you all the way to Trossachs National Park and Loch Lomond. Taking you through many coastal villages, this route is signposted and easy to follow so great for anyone how has never been to Scotland before. There are loads of car parks and ending up at the edge of Loch Lomond is a stunning way to end your road trip. Look out for the Lock Ness Monster and stop for a long walk through the Scottish highlands.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more UK destination ideas then have a look at our section here for our full guide to staycations. You could also pop over to our Pinterest boards for lots more travel ideas on where to go travelling throughout the UK, what to pack and beginner travel guides.
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