There is no doubt that Scotland is a perfect place to go for a scenic drive. Whether you want to explore majestic mountains, the quiet countryside, rugged coastlines, or remote islands, the Scottish landscapes provide plenty of opportunities for great drives. So what are you waiting for? Prepare your luggage, create your perfect playlist and get in the mood with these eight great roads trips.
The road to Traigh Seilebost, Isle of Harris
The Isle of Harris is one of the Outer Hebrides islands that can be easily accessed by ferry from the Scottish mainland. Once you arrive on the island, head to the A859 on the island’s west coast and keep your camera ready for the breathtaking seascapes at Traigh Seilebost. The seemingly endless white sands of Luskentyre beach with crystal clear waters and a stunning backdrop of machair (a flat grassy field) is a spectacular view. This beautiful beach is not only a perfect place to relax and play, but it also provides many great walking opportunities. Enjoy the views and look out for the sand dunes to the east.
The North Coast 500, Highlands
The circular North Coast 500 route is Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66. With more than 500 miles it explores the best the Northern Highlands have to offer. The tour starts and ends in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, it continues via the western coastline and then comes back via the rugged north coast. Never-ending back roads, meandering country tracks, and beautiful curves along the coast, fairytale castles, and ruins are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. Drive this highway loop through northern Scotland’s stunning landscapes, along with some vibrant communities and beautiful historical sites.
From Inverness to Moray Speyside
This pleasant drive takes you to the coast alongside Lossiemouth before heading inland right across the whisky country, past castles to nearby Cairngorms National Park.
When you travel from Inverness to Nairn, don’t miss Nairn Beach, an unspoiled white sandy beach ideal for a romantic picnic! Leaving Nairn, keep heading east into the Moray Speyside region, where you can admire the area’s history at Brodie Castle in Forres, and Elgin’s Cathedral, before sampling some of the great Speyside single malts. Here, you’re on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, featuring majestic mountains, huge forests, cascading waterfalls, and plenty of wildlife. A paradise for hikers, bikers, rock climbers and for those that just like to enjoy its beautiful setting.
Bealach Na Ba, the road to Applecross, Wester Ross
Between the mainland mountain masses and the Island of Skye lies the Applecross Peninsula. Home to just a couple of hundred people, this is a peaceful retreat far away from the noise of everyday life. The ‘Road to Applecross’ via the ‘Bealach Na Ba’ (Pass of the Cattle) is one of the most famous driving routes in Scotland. The highest point of the route reaches exactly 625.7 m and offers fantastic views on the Isle of Skye and Western Ross. With its tight curves and single-track streets, this road isn’t for the faint-hearted, but the views from the top are astonishing.
From Edinburgh to St. Andrews
This ride starts with the passage across the impressive Forth Road Bridge to the Kingdom of Fife and follows the scenic coastal road around the East Neuk. Take time to catch a glimpse of the beautiful panoramas and to visit some of the charming fishing villages, such as Elie or Pittenween. A culinary stop at the town of Anstruther – before arriving at the historic city of St Andrews – for fish and chips is a must. St Andrews is internationally renowned as the ‘Home of Golf’. The famous Old Course – the oldest and most iconic golf course in the world – is a constitution for golfers of all abilities. If playing golf is not your thing head to St Andrews Castle, perched on the cliffs above the North Sea and enjoy the beautiful views over the bay.
The magical road from Glencoe to Fort William
No road trip through Scotland is complete without driving along this road through Glencoe to Fort William because you won’t find more dramatic views from the driver’s seat than this.
Situated on the main route north through the Highlands, the road through Glencoe takes you through the heart of an ancient volcano. Glencoe’s deep valley and massive mountains were carved out centuries ago by icy glaciers and volcanic explosions. The street weaves through one of Scotland’s most pristine landscapes that you may like to admire for hours. Those that have a need to stretch their legs will not be short of any activities in Glencoe, the area is a perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts, and of course for avid photographers.
For first time visitors, from Glasgow to Oban
The road from Glasgow to Oban is one of the most straightforward and accessible. Leaving Glasgow in western direction towards the coast your first stop has got to be Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Here you’ll find an enchanting multitude of high mountains, lochs, and forests to explore. The National Park has some beautiful drives of its own with uniquely designed viewpoints installed throughout the landscape.
Get back in your car and head to the town of Oban. You’ll pass many beautiful sights along the way. Crossing the Arrochar Alps, you’ll arrive at the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ pass. Look for the roadside bay viewpoint, take a break at the picnic area and make great pics of the stunning panoramas.
Wave to the hairy Highland cattle that inhabit the countryside, or visit the traditional town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. The final destination is Oban, a beautiful place to spend time with its stunning sunsets, excellent seafood and easy access to all the nearby islands.
Over de sea to Skye
The exhilarating scenery of the Isle of Skye, with its desolated mountains, steep cliffs, and mystical geological elements, make the whole island a fabulous driving destination.
It doesn’t matter which direction you take, exploring the length and breadth of Skye will be well spent. The most northern area of the island – the Trotternish Peninsula – is enclosed by the majestic mountain range called Quiraing. This area can be fully explored via the loop road A855. If you stay in the south of Skye, don’t miss out the mystical Fairy Pools for a refreshing dip. Or take a detour to visit the Dunvegan Castle and the Talisker Distillery, the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye. This inviting full-bodied single malt is easy to enjoy, and just like the Isle of Skye, hard to leave.