Looking to hurtle past landscapes rumpled with mountains, nostalgic villages, sweeping coastlines and rambling ancient castles? A Scotland road trip is just the ticket. From leisurely drives to car rally thrills, there are hundreds of routes to choose from. For a relatively small country, its topography is diverse — which means you can cover a lot of ground in less than a week. So get behind the wheel, buckle your seat belt and take a look at some of the best Scotland road trips.
7 Best Scotland Road Trips
1. Highland Tourist Route
This 116-mile driving route through the heart of the Highlands is a must for history buffs. Start your journey in Aberdeen, known as the ‘Granite City.’ From here head straight to the Gordon Highlands Museum to brush up on 200-years of regimental history and give the rest of your trip a bit more context.
You’ll have the chance to explore romantic highland castles, notorious battlefields and an old distillery before finishing up in Inverness.
Known as one of the best driving routes in Scotland, if not the world, The North Coast 500 Route is the ultimate Scottish road trip. In this 500-mile drive, you combine sparkling sand beaches, ancient history and reams of Scottish heritage. With so much on offer, there are dozens of themed trips to choose, from food and wine to active adventures. The route begins and ends in Inverness.
3. Borders Historic Route
Another excellent road trip for history buffs, this 89-mile drive actually begins outside of Scotland near Carlisle. You’ll wind through lush countryside and charming villages all the way up to the historic capital city. There’s plenty to stop for along the way: see tartan woven from scratch at Lochcarron of Scotland, explore the home of Sir Walter Scott, sample beer at Stewart Brewing and explore Dalkeith Country Park on two wheels.
4. Argyll Coastal Route
This 129-mile route makes the perfect road trip thanks to the relatively short distances between its best sights. First, you explore the banks of Loch Lomond and Scotland’s epic west coast. Then you have the smokehouses and fisheries of Loch Fyne to explore. And finally, you dive deep into the history of the Kingdom of Dalraida at Kilmartin. The route packs a lot of diverse landscapes too, you’ll be driving along the sparkling sea and against snow-capped mountains all the way.
5. Perthshire Tourist Route
Shorter than the other road trips on our list but no less spectacular, the Perthshire Tourist starts in Greenloaning and finishes up in Ballinluig. You’ll meander through cultivated garden landscapes, heather-covered slopes and dense woodland on the 43-mile trip. En-route you can discover Drummond Castle and Gardens, Glenturret Distillery and Ian Burnett, The Highland Chocolatier.
6. Isle of Skye
Think about high cliffs, hidden plateaus, wild thyme-covered hills and cosy pubs connected by hairpin bends. The Quiraing, the island’s most famous landscape is the ideal starter, before you head up to Kilt Rock and the ethereal Fairy Glenn. Stop off at Talisker Whiskey Distillery for a taste of some of the best whiskeys then, when you’ve had your fill head onward to Brother’s Point and Dunvegan Island. An other-worldly escape in one of Great Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.
7. Clyde Sea Lochs Trail
Loch Lomond is a popular tourist destination but those who bother to venture further will be handsomely rewarded. The beautiful coastal communities in the south west are ripe for leisurely drives. Start your journey in Dumbarton, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Strathclyde, then head north to Ardmore Point, a popular spot with the local seals. Continue north to Rosneath Peninsula before arriving at Arrochar. Along the way the landscape is swamped with time-stopped villages, rambling castles and quaint fishing harbours to stop at.