The 5 Best Road Trips in Scotland You Can’t Miss!

If you’re considering taking a road trip in Scotland, you’re in for an absolute treat! The stunning scenery, diverse landscapes, and welcoming folks will draw you in and make it nearly impossible to leave this enticing country. 

We’ve road tripped all around Scotland and know all the best routes to take based on your interests. Whether you’re keen to explore history, natural beauty, or all the spots that inspired your favourite TV shows and films…it’s all here!

Check out our Scotland self-drive tours for inspiration or just get in touch and tell us what you love so we can craft an ideal itinerary for you.

Scotland is calling…see it best at your own pace and with your own wheels!

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The Classic Scottish Road Trip

If this is your first visit to Scotland and you’re hoping to see all the iconic sights along the way, then this is the road trip for you. 

Follow the classic Scottish road trip trail from Edinburgh to Loch Ness, with stops at Glencoe, Fort William, Cairngorms National Park, and Pitlochry along the way.

On this trip, you’ll cover the most famous places in Scotland without rushing around too quickly. In fact, you’ll have plenty of time to stop en route to bask in all the beauty.


Highlights of the Classic Scottish Road Trip:

  • Doune Castle
  • The Valley of Glencoe
  • Fort William
  • The Jacobite Steam Train
  • Fort Augustus
  • Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness
  • Inverness
  • Cairngorms National Park
  • Pitlochry

The Northcoast 500 (NC500)

The iconic Northcoast 500 can’t be overlooked on our list of the best road trips in Scotland. That being said, it’s also incredibly busy these days. You’ll want to plan ahead and try to avoid the peak summer season if you’d like to drive this route.

The NC500 covers the most northerly part of Scotland, hugging the coastline and offering jaw-dropping views.

It’s also filled with single-track lanes and rural infrastructure, so it’s of vital importance that you respect the locals living and working there during your visit. 

Be sure to learn how to use passing places correctly before you go! And always feel free to ask us if you need help with local driving rules and etiquette.

To properly enjoy the full NC500, you should plan for at least 5 days, though longer is better.

Start and end your road trip in Inverness, covering just over 500 miles of stunning Scottish terrain. 

Want to start your journey in Edinburgh and extend it beyond the NC500 to include some of the most extraordinary Scottish isles? Then you’ll love our Edinburgh, Outer Hebrides, and Loch Ness Scotland Driving Tour.

Self-drive holidays within Scotland and Ireland

Highlights of the NC500 include:

  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Lighthouse of Dunscanby Head
  • Thurso
  • Kyle of Tongue
  • Durness
  • Smoo Cave
  • Balnakiel Beach
  • The Assynt Geopark in Lochinver
  • Ruins of Ardvreck Castle
  • Ullapool

Tips for the NC500 Road Trip:

  • Why don’t you let us book your overnight stops in advance for you?
  • Slow down and stop frequently
  • Stock up on snacks – there are few convenience stores or grocery stores out here
  • Fuel up – there are also fewer petrol stations available
  • Respect the local area – take all your trash with you, never park in a passing place, and be a respectful driver

An Outlander-Themed Scotland Road Trip

Ever wish you could time-travel? Here’s your chance! Take an Outlander road trip in Scotland to see the sights you’ll recognise from your favourite TV series.

Follow the footsteps of Claire and Jamie as you visit a wide variety of places where filming took place across the many seasons of the series so far.

Highlights of the Outlander road trip:

  • Ardsmuir Jail (Craigmillar Castle)
  • George Square, where Frank proposed 
  • The herb gardens at Castle Leoch (Pollock House and Country Park) 
  • Castle Leoch (Doune Castle)
  • Folklore Museum of the Highlands in Newtonmore
  • Old Inverness (Falkland)
  • Mrs Baird’s Guest House (The Covenanter Hotel) 
  • Bruce Fountain, where Frank meets the ghost of Jamie
  • Cranesmuir (Culross)
  • 1940s London (Bo’ness and Kinneil Station)
  • Jamie’s prison (Linlithgow Palace)
  • Fort William (actually filmed at Blackness Castle)
  • Lallybroch (Midhope Castle) 
  • The Duke of Sandringham’s home (Hopetoun House)
  • Glencorse Church, where Claire and Jamie got married

A Harry Potter Road Trip in Scotland

If you’re a Potterhead, then you just can’t skip these iconic sights! Our Scotland Harry Potter-themed road trip spans 5 days of driving from Edinburgh to the Scottish Highlands, with a side trip to the Northumberland coast for good measure!

Trips Around Scotland

Highlights of the Harry Potter Road Trip include:

  • Hogwarts (aka Alnwick Castle)
  • The land where Hagrid’s house was built (near Glencoe)
  • Hogwarts Express (aka Jacobite Steam Train)
  • The setting for the Quidditch championships (near Fort William)
  • The site of Dumbledore’s tomb (Loch Arkaig)

The Isle of Skye

This beautiful island attracts visitors from all over the world – and for good reason! It’s a photographer’s dream location and an outdoor adventurer’s idyllic escape.

Of course, it’s also become very popular in recent years. So it’s another place you’ll want to visit off-season if at all possible.

Highlights of an Isle of Skye road trip:

  • Eilean Donan Castle
  • Portree
  • The Fairy Pools
  • Old Man Of Storr
  • The Quiraing
  • Kilt Rock
  • Neist Point Lighthouse
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Talisker Distillery

Scotland Driving Tips for Visitors

Need some driving tips for your Scotland road trip? The folks at Visit Scotland created this really helpful video and we’re more than happy to share it!

Of course, we’re also happy to help all of our guests with any questions they might have about driving on Scottish roads. 

We hope these fantastic Scottish road trips have inspired you to get some wheels and see the wonders of this country! Take a look at our Self-Guided Tours of Scotland and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions at all. Your adventure awaits!

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