This itinerary is ideal for 7 days in Scotland but can easily be extended for a more relaxed pace.
It gives an introduction to all the essential sights with a tour route that features stopovers in Edinburgh, Pitlochry, Inverness, Skye, Oban and Glasgow.
Each journey leg has a choice of route options so you can follow the popular tourist trails or explore off the beaten track with our alternative routes.
Allow a minimum of 6 days to drive this tour route.
The guide contains extra day trip suggestions for extending the tour to 11+ days
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Guide Updated - 7 July 2023
Approximately 560 miles / 900 Km
6 to 11 Days
Discover Edinburgh -
Edinburgh is a compact city and easy to explore on foot. We provide directions for 3 walking routes that show you different sides of the Capital city; a walk down the historical Royal Mile, a leafy riverside path to the Botanic Gardens that escapes the hustle & bustle of city life and a more energetic hike to Arthur’s Seat with the option to continue to an old Inn with lots of history.
Edinburgh boasts a great range of atmospheric old pubs and we steer you to a selection of our favourites.
The guide also includes options for day trips around the surrounding area by car, bus or train.
The day trips by car take you to West Lothian where you can visit many of the sites used in the filming of “Outlander” and to East Lothian where you can visit some spectacular castle ruins, a whisky distillery, and lots of pretty villages.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Pitlochry -
Two route options are provided for this drive:
The longer route takes you west, via Stirling, and then into the Trossachs National Park. Fans of “Outlander” can stop to explore Doune Castle (“Castle Leoch” in the TV show), and further along the route we guide you to stone circles where you can try to travel through time. After a photo stop at the Falls of Dochart, you travel along the shores of Loch Tay towards Aberfeldy and Pitlochry, where you may wish to end the day with a distillery tour or a visit to the famous "Salmon Ladder" at Pitlochry Dam.
Driving Distance: ~111 miles
The shorter route allows you time to spend a full afternoon in Pitlochry. Heading north from Edinburgh, you cross the Forth estuary with views of the famous Forth Rail Bridge. You then speed north to Perth, but can extend the drive with a visit to the pretty village of Falkland where Mary Queen of Scots had her favourite palace. Falkland village has also been featured in the filming of "Outlander". From Perth to Pitlochry, we suggest a back road route that visits Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of Scottish Kings, and the romantic ruins of Dunkeld Cathedral on the banks of the River Tay.
Driving Distance: ~81 miles
Short tours around Pitlochry - If you arrive early in Pitlochry, or wish to stay for several nights, you will enjoy the 2 short tour options supplied in this guide. These tours cover the grand Blair castle and scenic Loch Tummel as well as less obvious places such as a deserted Blackhouse village.
Stopover in Pitlochry / Aberfeldy Area
Pitlochry to Inverness -
Whilst everyone else is blindly following the busy main road north to Inverness, we guide you on a more scenic journey via the Rothiemurchus forest in the Cairngorms National Park.
We recommend that you pack a picnic as this is a day where we’ll show you lots of idyllic hidden places to chill out beside a loch or river.
The main tourist attractions on this route are the Highland Folk Museum, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, and Culloden battlefield. But there is far more to be discovered with our guides.
Driving Distance: ~115 miles
You can extend your stay in Inverness with our directions for a relaxed day trip around the Black Isle, where you can find the historic village of Cromarty and join boat trips that take you Dolphin spotting.
Stopover in Inverness Area.
Inverness to Skye -
We provide 2 route options for the drive from Inverness to Skye:
The longer route takes a more northerly path across the Highlands, but it starts with a visit to Urquhart castle on the shores of Loch Ness. You then join the road that takes you across the Highlands to the mountains of Wester Ross. A scenic highlight of this route is the drive through Glen Torridon where you can see mountains formed from the oldest rocks on earth. This drive includes some sections of the “North Coast 500”.
Driving Distance: ~130 miles
The other option is a more direct route that travels via Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle on the way to meet the road that carries you west through the wilderness of Glen Shiel to the mountains of Kintail. The route passes the distinctive Eilean Donan castle, and you may wish to fit in a small detour to see one of the prettiest villages in Scotland before crossing over the bridge to Skye.
Driving Distance: ~80 miles
Stopover in Skye & Lochalsh area
Explore Skye -
We provide directions for a road trip around Skye that guides you to viewpoints for photos of the island's iconic landmarks. The tour route also features Dunvegan Castle, Talisker Distillery, craft shops, tearooms, pubs and walks. However, you really need a full day (preferably more) for sightseeing all of the places we suggest on Skye.
Alternative Day Trip around Loch Alsh & Loch Hourn -
Skye can be a very busy place so we also provide directions for a tour around this quieter area where you can take in one of our favourite viewpoints, soak up the atmosphere at mysterious Iron Age Brochs, or enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the remotest tearooms in Scotland. You can return to Skye via a tiny car ferry that operates from Easter – October.
Stopover in Skye & Lochalsh area
Skye to Oban -
Today, we guide you through some of Scotland's best coastal scenery to the lively town of Oban.
We would recommend leaving Skye on the Mallaig ferry, but also provide you with directions for taking an inland route via the Skye bridge.
If taking the Mallaig ferry, you can explore the beautiful beaches of the Morar coast where the white sands can look Tropical on sunny days. Following the “Road to the Isles”, you travel via Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army first rallied in 1745. Nowadays, most people come to Glenfinnan to see the railway viaduct featured in the “Harry Potter” movies, but we also guide you to some less obvious film locations.
Both routes converge near Glen Coe and you may wish to detour into the glen for a photo stop before starting on the last journey leg down the Argyll coast. This is an area with a rich history and our guide gives details of some of its infamous characters and events.
The day ends in the lively fishing town of Oban where there is a great choice of seafood restaurants. We list our top recommendations in the guide so you can make reservations for a meal to remember.
Driving Distance by Ferry route: ~87 miles (Mallaig to Oban, plus a ~40 minute ferry crossing)
Driving Distance by Bridge route:~120 miles (Skye Bridge to Oban)
Stopover in Oban Area.
Oban to Glasgow / Edinburgh -
We provide 2 route options for the drive back to Glasgow or Edinburgh.
The shorter route option follows the popular tourist trail along the shores of Loch Lomond. This can be a busy road in summer, but we suggest places for journey breaks where you can walk to a ruined castle, enjoy a drink in a haunted 18th century inn, or join a cruise on Loch Lomond.
Driving Distance: ~89 miles
The longer route option is a meandering and quieter road via the pretty village of Inveraray with its ornate castle which is still the home of the Duke of Argll. After a journey break in Inveraray, you follow a peaceful drive through the Argyll Forest Park to board a ferry for the short crossing over the Clyde and then onto Glasgow. Highlights on this route are Kilchurn castle, Inveraray castle and the Benmore Botanic Gardens.
Driving Distance: ~111 miles (plus a ~20 minute ferry crossing)
The day ends in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, with its vibrant nightlife and strong sense of identity.
Don’t worry if you need to get back to Edinburgh as it is just a 1 hour / 54 mile drive away.
Stopover in Glasgow or Edinburgh.
To help you book the best places to stay, we offer a guide to Recommended Accommodation along the route of this tour.
We personally visit all the accommodation featured in the guides and only select places where we would wish to stay ourselves. Read More...
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Simply use the Secret Scotland code when you book via the Arnold Clark website and your car hire discount will automatically apply.
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