Scenic Flexi West to East

This itinerary is suitable for one week in Scotland but was also designed to give you the flexibility to extend it to 2 weeks.

It is called the Scenic Flexi Tour because it features a wide choice of day trips option from Oban, Skye, Inverness, and Edinburgh. The diverse choice of day trips allows you to adapt the tour plan to suit your interests and the length of your holiday.

This is one of our most popular tour itineraries and is especially good for first-time visitors to Scotland as it features lots of "must-see" places.

Allow a minimum of 5 days to drive this tour route.
The guide also contains extra day trip suggestions for extending the tour to 3 weeks

PLEASE NOTE: The Guides come in the format of PDF files. After payment, you will receive an automated email that enables you to access your Scotland Tour Itinerary.

Scenic Flexi West to East

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Tour Stats :

Guide Updated - 18 January 2024

Core Route Mileage:

Approximately 620 miles / 1000 Km

Tour Duration:

5 to 21 Days

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Tour Summary

  • Arrive in Glasgow -

    We provide a visitors' guide to Glasgow’s main attractions and recommended restaurants. The guide also includes directions for a short drive to the villages around Loch Lomond, so you can choose between staying in the vibrant city, or in a scenic rural location.

  • Glasgow to Oban -

    Start your road trip from Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands by heading west to the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.

    You soon cross the boundary that delineates the start of the “Highlands” and arrive at the shores of Loch Lomond where you might wish to take a short cruise.

    Continuing west from Loch Lomond, we recommend that you schedule a journey break in the pretty village of Inveraray where you can tour the ornate castle of the Duke of Argyll and get lunch in some excellent restaurants.

    From Inveraray you have a choice of routes for the drive to Oban:

    • The Direct Route can get you to Oban within an hour, but there are places along the way that you may wish to explore such as the haunting ruins of Kilchurn Castle by the shores of Loch Awe.
    • The Longer Route takes you on a road that we rate as our favourite scenic drive in Scotland. Along the way you can explore the mysterious standing stones and burial cairns of Kilmartin Glen. We also recommend that you detour from the main road to discover some of the easily accessed islands that pepper the distinctive Argyll coastline.

    The day ends in the lively harbour town of Oban where there is a distillery and a great choice of seafood restaurants.

    Driving Distance: ~ 94 miles

    Stopover in Oban.

  • Oban Day Trips -

    Oban is a great touring base and the guide provides you with a choice of day trips for exploring the wider area.

    • Jacobite Steam Train – With an early start, you can get to Fort William in time to catch the morning steam train service to Mallaig. A must for “Harry Potter” fans, but a popular attraction so you need to book early. April – October.
    • Day Trip To Mull, Iona & Staffa – You can either take a day off driving and join an organised boat / coach trip to Iona & Staffa, OR you can follow our directions for exploring the island by car. If taking the car across, we recommend that you stay on Mull for 2 or more nights and we supply information to allow you to adjust the tour plan for an island stopover.
    • Lorn Islands – Within a short distance of Oban you can visit a choice of small islands with unique characters. Our itinerary gives you details of each island’s highlights and the best ways that you can explore them.

    Stopover in Oban Area.

  • Oban to Skye -

    You start with a drive north to Loch Leven where you may wish to detour into Glen Coe for a photo of this dark and moody valley.

    From Loch Leven to Skye we provide 3 different journey options to get to Skye by either the bridge or the ferry.

    OPTION 1 - The Shortest route to the Skye ferry involves a drive via Fort William and the “Road to the Isles”, which will take you past Glenfinnan and the Silver Sands of Morar. You have a good chance of seeing the Jacobite steam train (Apr – Oct) as the railway closely follows the path of the road.

    Driving Distance: ~87 miles (plus a ~40 minute ferry crossing) – Oban to Mallaig ferry

    OPTION 2 - The Alternative route to the Skye ferry is a longer drive via a road that wanders through the rugged wilderness and native forests of Sunart and Moidart. The scenery in this area is magnificent and it is all the better for the lack of other tourists.

    Driving Distance: ~98 miles (plus a ~40 minute ferry crossing) – Oban to Mallaig ferry

    OPTION 3 - The Skye bridge route has the advantage that you don’t need to plan your day around a ferry timetable, so you might wish to schedule a morning around Fort William and go for a cable car ride, or a short hike in Glen Nevis. Before crossing the Skye Bridge, you can fit in a tour of Eilean Donan castle which is a highlight on this route. We also supply directions for a small detour to one of our favourite viewpoints in Scotland.

    Driving Distance: ~120 miles – Oban to Skye Bridge

    Stopover on Isle of Skye or the nearby Lochalsh area

  • Day Trips around Skye & Lochalsh -

    Skye is a large island with many of the places of interest located at the end of single track roads. As a result, you are limited in how much you can cover in a day and you need to schedule at least a 2 night stopover.

    Explore Skye - We provide directions for a tour that includes the famous scenic landmarks of Skye as well as Dunvegan Castle, Talisker Distillery, craft shops, tearooms, pubs and walks. More than enough to fill 2 whole days on Skye.  Driving Distance: ~138 miles

    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 on Isle of Skye or the nearby Lochalsh area

  • Skye Bridge to Inverness -

    This journey leg starts with a drive past the famous Eilean Donan castle and we give you advice on where to get a different angle for a photo of this iconic castle. We also suggest a small detour so that you can visit Plockton, arguably the prettiest village in Scotland.

    Continuing eastwards, you come to Loch Ness and can choose between a drive past Urquhart Castle and the various “Nessie” attractions, OR a scenic road that passes along the quieter southern side of Loch Ness.

    If you arrive early in Inverness, you might wish to follow our suggestions for a short road trip around the Black Isle where you can discover pretty 18th century villages and embark on boat trips to meet the local dolphins.

    Driving Distance: ~86 miles (via direct route)

    Stopover in Inverness Area.

  • Day Trips from Inverness -

    Inverness is a great touring base for exploring the Highlands and we supply you with directions for a range of day trips:

    • Black Isle - A short tour of the Black Isle where you can visit a carefully preserved 18th century village and embark on boat trips to see wild dolphins.
    • Moray Coast - A historical tour of Moray with its historical attractions and scenic coastline. This day trip features the highlights of Culloden, Clava Cairns, Cawdor Castle and Elgin Cathedral.
    • Glen Affric - A scenic drive into Glen Affric where you can see the last remains of the Ancient Caledonian Forest. This route includes options to explore a Neolithic stone circle, a forgotten Clan burial ground and a 150 foot high waterfall in a lovely woodland setting.
    • Loch Ness – We guide you past Loch Ness on the drive to Skye, but this day trip does a complete circular tour of the loch with time to take a cruise, visit the “Nessie” exhibitions and wander the ruins of Urquhart castle.
    • Dunrobin Castle - A day trip up the east coast to visit the spectacular Dunrobin Castle, which has all the opulence of a French chateau. You can return via a longer route that features a visit to an impressive cascade where you might see wild salmon leaping if you visit during late summer / autumn.

    Stopover in Inverness area

  • Inverness to Edinburgh -

    This is a day that is packed with sightseeing opportunities. Don't worry, our guide gives suggestions on how to schedule your time.

    For the first journey leg from Inverness to Pitlochry, we supply the option of a direct route or a longer scenic route that travels via Grantown on Spey and the Rothiemurchus Forest. Both routes include the option of a visit to the historic battlefield of Culloden Moor.

    We suggest you break the drive midway with a visit to the neat Victorian Spa town of Pitlochry where you can visit the “Salmon Ladder” and a Distillery (or two). Also nearby is the grand Blair castle which boasts its own private army, the Atholl Highlanders.

    The second journey leg takes you to Stirling, where you can visit the Castle & Wallace Monument, before joining the motorway for a fast drive to Edinburgh.

    Driving Distance: ~184 miles

    Stopover in Edinburgh.

  • Explore 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 verdant riverside walk to the Botanic Gardens that escapes the hustle & bustle of city life and a more energetic walk to Arthur’s Seat with a good pub at the end.

    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 bus or train.

    In case you prefer to do day trips with a car, we supply the following options for driving tours from Edinburgh:

    • East Lothian where you can visit some spectacular castle ruins, a whisky distillery, pretty villages and maybe embark on a boat trip around Bass Rock.
    • West Lothian where you can see places that have featured in “Outlander” (e.g. Linlithgow Palace, Blackness castle, Midhope castle and Hopetoun house).
    • The Borders and a tour route around the regions many Abbeys and grand country houses. This day trip also features the famous Rosslyn Chapel.
    • St Andrews , where there is much more than a golf course to discover.  We also guide you to explore the photogenic fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife.

    Stopover in Edinburgh

Tour Gallery


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...

When you "Checkout", you will have the option to buy the Accommodation Guide.

Preview Accommodation Guide

Car Hire - How to Save Money

When you buy a Secret Scotland Tour Itinerary you will receive a Discount Code that gets you a 10% reduction on the cost of Car Hire from Arnold Clark Rental.

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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