How to Road Trip the West Coast of Scotland

Wild, rugged, steeped in history and inherently beautiful, the west coast of Scotland has all the ingredients for an unforgettable road trip. It’s no surprise, then, that travellers from across the UK and around the world choose these winding roads for a holiday like no other.

There’s no right way to undertake a road trip. They are personal journeys and experiences that only you can shape.

At Bye by Car, we embrace this idea. We know you want to discover the UK and Ireland at your own pace, but with the reassurance that comes with having an established tour company behind you.

We provide carefully crafted, self-guided tours in Scotland, allowing you to explore our country in your own time.

Read on to find out how you can explore the stunning scenery that awaits. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

Loch Lomond is a Great Starting Point for a Road Trip Along the West Coast of Scotland

Numerous variables influence every road trip along the west coast of Scotland. You may have 7 days to work with, or 10, or even 20. You likely have non-negotiable must-see sites, but other things that you would be willing to sacrifice.

All these variables will shape your entire trip, including its starting point. For many travellers, though, Loch Lomond makes a great place to get the adventure under way. 

A short drive from Glasgow, Loch Lomond gives a fantastic welcome to the spectacular landscapes and fresh air of rural Scotland. If you have the time, the area is a wonderful hiking spot.

Both Loch Lomond and Oban (mentioned below) feature in our popular road trip tours in Oban, Loch Lomond and Glasgow.

Head to Oban for the Isle of Mull and Delicious Fresh Seafood

Further up the west coast is Oban, a small seaside town with a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay. The town itself is backed by mountains and has a rugged coastline. 

Due to its location, it’s easy to find restaurants along the harbour serving ingredients hauled straight from the sea and onto your plate!

From Oban you can catch a ferry to the Isle of Mull. The island has a healthy population of white-tailed sea eagles and golden eagles. In fact, Mull has become known as ‘Eagle Island’.

For whisky aficionados, the island is home to the Tobermory Distillery. 

If you have ample time on your road trip, you can take a boat to the geological wonder that is the Isle of Staffa, with its hexagonal basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave.

Trips Around Scotland

Head into the Highlands for Glencoe, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Fort William

As your road trip along the west coast of Scotland heads into the Highlands, the scenery becomes even more striking and awe-inspiring. Approaching from the south, you will arrive at Glencoe first.

Driving along the A82, you will travel through a deep valley carved out by ancient glaciers and volcanic activity. The valley ridges towering over either side of the road will make you feel small, but they also hint at the incredible hiking trails you can enjoy in the area.

Further north along the A82 you will find Fort William. On the shores of Loch Linnhe and in the shadow of Ben Nevis, this town in the Western Scottish Highlands has something for everyone. It’s also a great place to stock up on supplies. 

If you’re planning a road trip in summer, include midge spray. You’ll thank us later!

Further to the north of Fort William is Glenfinnan Viaduct, as featured in the Harry Potter films –  and our own Harry Potter-themed road trip tours of Scotland

This is where you can witness the magical sight of the Hogwarts Express puffing its way across the curved viaduct.

You can find the best viewpoint at the end of a dirt path not far from the visitor centre. During the high season of mid-June to late-September, the train passes over the viaduct 4 times a day. This drops to twice a day during the low season.

Tourists Love the Rugged Landscapes on the Isle of Skye

You can reach Skye by road via a bridge connecting the island to Scotland’s northwest coast. Alternatively, you can hop on the Mallaig – Armadale ferry. 

But however you get there, a world of picturesque fishing villages, medieval castles and rugged landscapes awaits.

There is plenty to see and do on the Isle of Skye over multiple days, with highlights including:

  • A leisurely stroll through the main town on the island, Portree
  • Relax and recharge on the sandy An Corran or Coral Beaches
  • Hike up to the iconic Old Man of Storr and enjoy the amazing views
  • Track down some of our famous Highland cows (or coos!)
  • Marvel at the crystal clear blue fairy pools on the River Brittle
  • Head to Neist Point Lighthouse for yet more gorgeous views looking out to sea

Back on the mainland, via the A87, you can stop off at one of Scotland’s most photographed castles: Eilean Donan. This is a great spot to just sit and take in the beauty of the scene for a few peaceful minutes.

With so many things to do and so many landscapes to explore, the Isle of Skye is always among Scotland’s best road trips.

Our Self-Drive Tours in Scotland Make Everything Simple and Hassle-Free

The route along Scotland’s west coast is long and winding. It passes through jaw-dropping scenery and by an array of landmarks, sights and vistas. Taking the DIY approach can become stressful and there’s a high chance that you’ll miss many of the hidden gems off the beaten track.

At Bye by Car, our Scotland self-drive tours offer a truly unique experience. Visitors can make the most of our incredible country, but all while enjoying the privacy and freedom of travelling alone.

For added peace of mind, we offer telephone support in English throughout your journey should you encounter any problems or have a query. 

Are you ready to start preparing for your road trip on the west coast of Scotland? Get in touch with our friendly team with all your initial questions.

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