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An ideal self-drive option for first-time visitors to Scotland. It covers all of the highlights including famous historic castles and beautiful lochs whilst learning of the history that helped create this amazing country.
Exploring Scotland is easy. In the countryside, the roads are excellent, well signposted and largely toll free. Distances between towns are short and driving is on the left hand side of the road, same as in New Zealand.
Day 1: Edinburgh
Spend the day soaking up the atmosphere of this exciting city.
Day 2: Edinburgh – Stirling – Loch Lomond – Oban (197km)
Travel to Stirling Castle for fabulous views over Stirlingshire. Continue to Loch Lomond, along Loch Fyne passing by Inveraray Castle.
Day 3: Isle of Mull & Isle of Iona
Enjoy the scenic ferry ride over to spend the day exploring the picturesque islands of Mull and Iona. Overnight in Oban.
Day 4: Oban – Fort William – Mallaig – Isle of Skye (144km)
Glencoe is one of Scotland’s most dramatic glens. Travel through the West Highlands to Fort William, set in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Ferry over to stay the night on the Isle of Skye.
Day 5: Isle of Skye – Loch Ness – Inverness (196km)
Explore the iconic images of Eilean Donan Castle before continuing over to Urquhart Castle, magnificently located on the banks of Loch Ness, and on to Inverness.
Day 6: Inverness – Pitlochry – Perth (212km)
Start with a city tour of Inverness. Take a detour to Cawdor Castle in Nairn, head south through the impressive Cairngorm Mountains. In Pitlochry, stroll through the Victorian city and visit the Blair Athol Whisky Distillery.
Day 7: Perth – St Andrews – Fife – Edinburgh (138km)
St Andrews is famous for its 15th century golf course. Continue along the coast via the small fishing villages of Elie and Pittenweem. Cross the Forth Bridge with spectacular views of the Firth of Forth.
Customise this itinerary to travel at your own pace.
Extend this itinerary to stay longer in the Highlands.
Highlights worth seeing along the way
Visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse – Take an audio tour of the Royal Family’s official residence in Edinburgh to experience the 14 magnificent historic and State Apartments, the romantic ruins of the 12th century Holyrood Abbey and the royal gardens.
Cruise on Loch Lomond – A great way to explore the largest loch in Great Britain, known for the tranquil beauty of its wooded shores and islands. Enjoy a walk through the picturesque village of Luss.
Have a cup of tea at Inveraray Castle – Set off the shores of Loch Fyne against the backdrop of rugged highland scenery is the ancestral seat of the Duke of Argyll, head of the Campbell Clan. Explore the famous Armoury Hall and walk through the beautifully maintained estate gardens.
Ferry to the Isles – Isle of Iona is where St Columba landed in 563 and founded the famous Iona Abbey the burial spot of many Scottish kings including Macbeth.
Wander through the gardens of Cawdor Castle – There are three pretty gardens set in carefully manicured grounds around this sumptuous castle. Enter the impressive Drawing Room with its wall adorned with portraits of generations of Campbells.
Explore St Andrews – Stroll along the medieval streets and shop for gifts in the quaint shops, walk to the top of the 12th century St Rule’s Tower or St Andrew’s Cathedral to enjoy the splendid views.
Our favourite places to stay:
• Oban Bay Hotel, Oban
• Skeabost Hotel, Portree, Isle of Skye
• Highland Apartments by Mansley, Inverness
Choosing your Rental Car
Take into consideration the size of the vehicle you require. We strongly recommend a minimum 1.4 litre for two adults. If the vehicle is to be used for day touring from a central base and not for transporting your luggage, a smaller vehicle may be adequate. We suggest you book your car before leaving home as this will save money and ensure you get the car of your choice.
> View for more HOT UK & Europe road trips
Image credit: Visit Scotland & Kenny Lam