Top Ten Scottish Road Trips

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Planning a Scottish road trip to remember?

Scotland's 12 National Tourist Routes and the epic North Coast 500 are some of the best drives in Scotland. If you’re looking for scenic drives in Scotland for touring by car, these driving routes will take you through some of the country's most awe-inspiring landscapes, and you'll find plenty of fantastic attractions and charming towns and villages to visit along the way. Each route varies in length and offers a scenic alternative to main trunk roads and motorways - ideal for a self-drive tour of Scotland. These driving tour routes are easy to follow and well signposted - simply look out for the distinctive brown and white signs Don't forget … all these scenic routes can also be done in reverse! Please remember to plan your trip in advance. It is crucial for the wellbeing of Scotland's landscapes, as well as for local residents and businesses, that the areas around these routes are respected and looked after properly.

1. North Coast 500

Loch Ness

This is the Route 66 of road trips guys. Hailed as one of the best coastal touring routes in the world, it is a must do if you’re planning a Scottish Highlands road trip. Running over 500 miles through Scotland’s North Highlands, this is your chance to see sparkly beaches, ancient castles and draw-dropping coastlines.

Attractions along the way:

· Loch Ness · Smoo Cave · Historic Ruins · Hillo’Many Stanes · Sinclair Girnigoe Castle · Whaligoe Steps · Museums · The Broch · Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Experience · Castles: Dunrobin Castle, Inverness Castle · RSPB Scotland Dunnet Head Nature Reserve (the most northerly mainland point in Britain) · LOTS of whisky distilleries (47 to be exact)

2. Fife Coastal Route – The best views and scenic drive for beach lovers

Aberdour Castle

Coast 500, the route follows along the Firth of Forth coastline over 77 miles, while passing through charming little fishing towns, historic castles and endless beaches.

Attractions along the way:

  • Dunfermline Palace and Abbey

  • Kingsbarns Distillery

  • Scottish Fisheries Museum

  • Devilla Forest

  • Royal Burgh of Culross

  • Kirkcaldy Galleries

  • Deep Sea World

  • Aberdour Castle – the oldest standing castle in Scotland

  • St Andrews University

  • Fife Coastal Path: a walking path that takes you through the beach, towns and parks

3. Angus Coastal Route

V&A Dundee

The Angus route extends from where the Fife Coastal Route ends, if you’ve got some extra time why not combine both routes and soak up more of the Scottish coastline? Add to that the culture of the city of Dundee, swim in the beach, or explore some castles?

Attractions along the way:

  • V&A Dundee

  • Arbroath Abbey

  • House of Dun

  • Dunnottar Castle

4. Argyll Coastal Route

Glen Coe

Another one of the best road trips in Scotland. This road trip combines both mountains and coastline for a priceless experience. Gain an understanding of traditional Scottish culture as you cruise through many different lochs.

Attractions along the way:

  • An Ceann Mor: a manmade viewpoint to look at the sprawling landscape of Loch Lomond

  • Inveraray Jail

  • Auchindrain: a museum about Scotland’s last Highland farming township

  • Kilmartin Museum: learn about the historic monuments that surround the area of Kilmartin Glen, including ruins of a 15th century tower house

  • McCaig’s Tower: monument built in 1897 as tribute to a local family in the town of Oban

  • Castle Stalker

  • Glencoe Folk Museum

  • Glen Nevis: the highest mountain in Scotland

5. Highland Tourist Route – Aberdeen to Inverness

This route is a real treat for lovers of Scottish history and takes in no less than four castles as well as Culloden Battlefield and many museums along the way. Nature lovers and active types will also be enthralled as the route travels through the mighty Cairngorms National Park – where you can see rare species or have a go at an exhilarating sport.

Attractions along the way:

  • Gordon Highlanders Museum: located in Aberdeen, it shows the history of the Gordon Highlanders Regiment up to the Cold War

  • Pitfichie: a forest that’s perfect for adventurers, mountain bikers and horse riders

  • The Lecht 2090: skiing and snowboarding base

  • Glenlivet Distillery

  • Grantown Museum

  • Cawdor Castle

  • Fort George

  • Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre

6.Galloway Tourist Route

Take in Galloway Forest Park on this delightful route from Gretna to Ayr and stop off at superb attractions, including Threave Castle and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. There’s also ample opportunity for adventure with woodland trails to explore on foot or by mountain bike and the waters of Loch Ken for a whole range of thrilling water sports.

Attractions along the way:

  • Dumfries Museum

  • Robert Burns’ birthplace

  • Outdoor activities: mountain biking, kayaking, ziplining etc

  • Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

  • Visit to Seaside town of Ayr

6. Harry Potter – for Harry Potter Fans!

Road trip pit stop, why not make it a real adventure and take the kids (aboard the Hogwarts Express) which is spread out around Scotland. It could also be done completely by train! your kids will love it.

Attractions along the way:

  • JK Rowling’s writing locations

  • The bridge that the Hogwarts Express crosses – and where Ron and Harry fly the car!

  • Loch Morar (AKA Hogwarts Lake)

  • Glen Coe (Hagrid’s Hut)

7. Deeside Tourist Route

This is an enchanting route from Perth to Aberdeen, via the towering splendour of the Cairngorms National Park. The Deeside Tourist Route is an epic drive, passing through the fruit-growing farmland of Blairgowrie, the jaw-dropping National Park and the lush landscapes of Royal Deeside.

Attractions along the way:

  • Cairngorms National Park

  • Scone Palace

  • Royal Lochnagar Distillery

  • Cambus O’May Cheese Co

  • Drum Castle

  • Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve

8. Borders Historic Route- for the best landscapes

The only tourist route that begins outside Scotland, the Borders Historic Route picks up near Carlisle before passing into the lush countryside of the Scottish Borders. Follow the route to Edinburgh and explore the charming villages you pass en route before reaching Scotland’s historic capital city.

Attractions along the way:

  • Gilnockie Tower

  • Lochcarron of Scotland

  • Abbotsford House

  • Stewart brewing

  • Dalkeith Country Park

9. South West Coastal 300- the best Scottish road trip for getting off the grid

The South West of Scotland has something for everyone, from forest holidays to family holidays, adventure holidays to road trips. Visit the famous Gretna Green, the spectacular Dumfries House, or the magical Galloway Forest Park.

With 200 miles of stunning coastline, rolling hills and beautiful forests, there is no better place to escape to. Explore on two feet or on two wheels; whether you prefer an exhilarating bike ride or a tranquil forest walk, you will find it here. Discover our fascinating history. Follow in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, or our national poet Robert Burns.

And most of all, get to know the locals. Come along to one of our festivals, join us on Burns Night for a dinner of haggis, tatties and neeps; sample the delicious oysters at Stranraer Oyster Festival; or pick up a great read at the Wigtown Book Festival.

Attractions along the way:

  • Sweetheart Abbey

  • Coastal town of Kirkcudbright

  • Whithorn

  • Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

  • Culzean Castle

  • Scottish Dark Sky Observatory

  • Moat Brae – Peter Pan’s birthplace

10. Perthshire Tourist Route- the best Scottish road trip for those who want to explore and spoil themselves

A short but spectacular drive through the woodland and towering landscapes in the heart of Scotland. The Perthshire Tourist Route begins just north of Dunblane and finishes in Ballinluig. Watch as the peaceful cultivated landscape changes dramatically just north of Crieff, where you’ll find the heather covered slopes of the rugged Sma' Glen.

Attractions along the way:

  • Library of Innerpeffray

  • Drummond Castle and Gardens

  • Comrie Croft/Crieff walks

  • Glenturret Distillery

  • Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery

  • Iain Burnett The Highland Chocolatier

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