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Scottish Road Trip: Lochs and Glens Self Drive and More

If you want to tour Scotland by car for the holidays, this Scotland driving route guide has all the best Scotland road trips. Touring Scotland by car is one of the best ways to experience this beautiful country. From the moody wind and rain to the picturesque lochs and fascinating history, Scotland has much to offer for the holidays. And let’s not forget all the romantic Scottish hotels waiting for you to stay in!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Vast and uninhabited swaths of highlands make up a large majority of the country, with 98% of Scotland considered “rural” land. The rugged remoteness is ideal for a self-driving tour along one of the many Scotland drive route options.

With so many historic landmarks and natural areas to explore, there are many different Scotland driving route tours to choose from. Here are recommendations to tour Scotland by car, including a Lochs and Glens self drive and more, courtesy of my friends Gemma and Campbell.

Self Drive Holidays Scotland: Top Scotland Road Trips

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 

Best Scotland ToursClick here to check out the top Scotland tours
Best Scotland Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Scotland
Best Scotland Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Scotland

Heart 200

One of the newest Scotland road trips growing in popularity is the Heart 200. Encompassing the country’s central belt, this 200-mile Scotland driving route highlights the highlands and lowlands of Perthshire, home to some of Scotland’s most important history.

The best thing about the Heart 200 Scotland drive is its accessibility compared to other methods of touring Scotland by car. Drive just one hour from the city center of Glasgow, and you’ll be on the southern route for this driving tour of Scotland.

This Scotland drive route’s location makes it easy to take multiple weekend trips from Glasgow or knock out the entire road trip in one week by visiting only the best sights.

Some top sights along the Heart 200 Scotland drive include the fascinating Stirling Castle and the city’s Beheading Stone view. The unmissable outline of the Wallace Monument is just a short drive from Stirling’s city center and should be the next stop on your list.

Self Drive Holidays Scotland

The Heart 200 Scotland driving route heads north from Stirling, leading through Perthshire’s sleepy towns and villages, such as Dunblane, Crieff, and Dunkeld. These villages are home to significant historical buildings such as the Dunblane Cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century.

Continue north towards Pitlochry and stop in the small village of Killiecrankie for the best adrenaline rush in Scotland, a 40-meter bungee jump over the River Garry with Highland Fling Bungee. Once your heart has settled and you’ve soaked up the (albeit upside-down) views of River Garry, it’s time to continue north.

The next sight you can’t miss on your self-drive holidays Scotland tour is the ancient Castle Menzies, seat of the Menzies Clan for over 500 years. Other incredible sights include the Falls of Dochart and the Birks of Aberfeldy.

scotland self drive tours

Finally, visit the other-worldly Devil’s Pulpit in Finnich Glen. This 60-foot gorge is peaceful and serene, with massive rock walls and a flowing river tinted red with minerals.

North Coast 500

The most popular drive to Scotland, the North Coast 500, lies along the country’s northern tip. This 500-mile Scottish road trip combines the country’s towering mountains and ancient landscape with unbelievable beaches.

Since this self-drive tour of Scotland by car is significantly prolonged, the best way to tackle the North Coast 500 Scotland drive route is a week in a car or campervan. Camping is very popular for this driving tour of Scotland thanks to the many stunning beachside campsites available.

scotland self drive tours

Some of the most interesting sights to see during your tour of Scotland by car include the towering Duncansby Stacks, located off the coast of John O’Groats on the “edge of the world.” This collection of sea towers reaches as high as 60 meters above the rough and treacherous waters of the North Sea.

Further to the west on the north coast of Scotland lies the ancient Smoo Cave network. Located just outside the small town of Durness, this collection of caves is believed to have once been used as storage for Viking longships. You can take a boat tour of the caves to learn about the fascinating history of this ancient cave system.

To finish your Scottish road trip, take the winding, white-knuckle drive of Bealach na Ba, which leads over the mountains towards Applecross. Bealach na Ba is the third-highest road in Scotland and features the steepest incline of any road in the UK. Named “Pass of the Cattle” in Gaelic, this was once the only route to Applecross and was used by farmers to drive livestock to the market. It’s a popular driving tour of Scotland for small cars and motorbikes, providing spectacular views of the Isle of Skye from above.

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is the quintessential Scotland destination that comes to mind when imagining the country’s harsh winters and pleasant summers. A driving tour of Scotland by car is the perfect way to experience this gorgeous landscape.

Also known as the “Misty Isle,” Skye is one of the rainiest areas of Scotland, which can be both good and bad. On the positive side, this unique micro-climate generated by the towering Cullin mountain range helped forge the rugged landscape that Scotland is so famous for.

Between this and the geologic events millions of years ago, the Isle of Skye features some of the UK’s most dramatic mountains and cliffs. For instance, geographical landmarks such as the Fairy Glen, the Quiraing Walk, and the Old Man of Storr resulted from massive landslides.

Quick Tip: View my full UK packing guide here including a downloadable checklist. And check out my UK Essentials shopping list here.

scotland self drive tours

Other sights that can’t be missed during your Isle of Skye Scottish road trip are the Fairy Pools, Neist Point, Sligachan Bridge, and Kilt Rock.

The Isle of Skye embodies Scotland’s wondrous beauty in one compact island that can easily be explored in a day. Pack warm clothing and a waterproof jacket, and you’re ready to tackle the Isle of Skye. As famous Scotsman Billy Connolly once said: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.”

Lochs and Glens Self Drive

The final epic Scottish road trip we recommend is an unofficial Lochs and Glens self drive we’ve developed and perfected over the years. This Scotland driving route starts near West Glasgow along the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, through the wilderness of Rannoch Moor, and finishes in the remote town of Glencoe.

This scenic drive to Scotland has everything you need for a good road trip, from stunning views to fascinating history, jaw-dropping mountain ranges, and crashing waterfalls. The Scotland drive route starts at the southern tip of Loch Lomond before following the western banks north through the Trossachs National Park.

Can’t-miss sights on this Scotland driving route include the quaint town of Luss, the impressive Falls of Falloch, the towering Buachaille Etive Mor, and the beautiful lochside views of Glencoe.

scotland self drive tours

Beginning at Loch Lomond Shores, the 70-mile Scottish road trip takes you along winding roads that hug the loch until you reach Luss, a small fishing town with a lake view. It’s the perfect spot for a quick stroll to admire the beautiful landscape.

Continuing along the loch, you’ll eventually reach the Inveruglus Visitor Centre, where you can stretch your legs. Walk up the hill next to the visitor center, and you’ll find the 8-meter tall Inveruglus Pyramid, a newly erected monument with excellent views of Loch Lomond.

scotland self drive tours

North of Loch Lomond is a roadside waterfall called the Falls of Falloch. This beautiful watering hole is a popular swimming spot for locals on warm summer days, with a deep plunge pool and some ledges to jump from.

Further north, the civilization of Southern Scotland begins to fade away as the countryside becomes wild and barren. You’re entering one of Europe’s last remaining wilderness areas, Rannoch Moor. Take your time driving along these roads to absorb the breathtaking landscape fully.

As you pass the Glencoe Ski Resort on your left, take note of the intimidating Buachaille Etive Mor Mountain, which marks the start of the Glencoe Pass, one of the world’s most beautiful roads.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Check out these options!

Brae Guest House
Loch Rannoch Highland Club
Holly Tree Hotel

UK Travel Guide Planning

🧳 Any recommendations on what I should pack for UK?

Yes! I have created a whole packing guide to UK which you can read here and you can also check out my packing list for UK on Amazon here.

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in UK?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in UK?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Self-Drive Holidays Scotland: Final Thoughts

Self Drive Holidays Scotland,lochs and glens self drive,scotland driving route,Scottish road trip

The endless beauty of Scotland has always been an escape for us—an opportunity to step away from the daily grind of work, university, or whatever else we have going on into the wilderness. There’s something magical about how these beautiful landscapes take your troubles and shrink them into something more manageable.

The unbelievable history, beauty, and remoteness of the highlands of Scotland have a special place in our hearts. It’s no exaggeration when people say that after one visit to the “bonnie” highlands of Scotland, you’ll be hooked for life.

Author Bio

Gemma and Campbell are two Scots on the run from a 9-5 lifestyle. After years of planning, they finally quit their jobs and decided to find their place in this beautiful world.

Currently, in Australia, they live in a camper van and tour the epic Australian coastlines, which shows how much they love adventure travel. They love promoting this kind of travel to their fellow wanderlusters on their blog highlands2hammocks.co.uk.

4 Epic Self Drive Holidays Scotland

Surge Spider

Sunday 19th of July 2020

Oh wow, the photos are magnificent.

I'd be going to Scotland soon, and this write up would definitely help me with some of the traveling plans.

Love this blog, hope to be back soon. :)