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
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Guide Updated - 18 November 2021
Approximately 620 miles / 1000 Km
5 to 21 Days
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 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.
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:
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:
Stopover in 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...
When you "Checkout", you will have the option to buy the Accommodation Guide.
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.
I convinced my other half to get the Scenic Tour 4-5 Days guide (even though he very much wanted to do it all himself), and it was the best experience ever. In fact, ever since this trip, we're trying to re-create the experience. Of course, Scotland can hardly let anyone down, but this guide truly made it an adventure. We found so many hidden and not so hidden gems, and everything was perfectly laid out for us so that all we had to do was decide how much time we had and what we wanted to see next. I can't recommend it enough and wish more guides like this existed!
Excellent! We thought the information provided was fantastic and allowed us to see things I am sure we would have missed. Mike was very helpful in sending the itinerary through again for us when we had trouble with our downloads. Would definitely recommend this site. We have been travelling for a number of years and normally would just rely on the internet and books but decided to give this a go. So glad we did.
Secret Scotland is EXCEPTIONAL in providing guidance for itinerary planning and accommodation referrals for those wanting a self guided driving vacation in Scotland.... Simple to use. Thorough in suggesting ‘must see’ venues. Complete - sites, restaurants, pubs and experiences.” That is how I would describe what they do and provide. Exceptional accommodation recommendations. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
The itinerary Secret Scotland provided was a trip saver. We loved the suggestions for sight seeing, eating, and places to stay, but the best part was the detailed driving directions. Driving on the opposite side of the road from the opposite side of the car was a little easier without having to worry about how to get there! We will definitely use this service the next time we visit Scotland!
Secret Scotland's itineraries, accommodations guides, and other resources are incredible value with great attention to detail. Their owners, Mike and Aury, are experienced and honest, and they helped us so much as we attempted to narrow down a very long list of things we hoped to do during our time in Scotland. I feel so much more prepared for our trip and can now just look forward to our approaching vacation!
We have just got back from an EXCELLENT holiday following the Borders to Orkney route suggestions.
We can't say enough about how much the detailed information enhanced our experience in Scotland. We had a wonderful time seeing so many interesting sites that we would have passed by without your guide.
Thank you so much.
These guys really are the best. We used Mike's Flexi Days East to West itinerary last July and it was truly indispensable. His itinerary is full of detail, including driving directions and options. Mike is also very responsive if you have any questions. We had such a wonderful time we are going back again this year, and we will be using his itineraries again for our planning. I would also recommend his accommodations guide.
Just like pictures of Scotland can’t do justice to the magnificence of the actual landscape, words can’t do justice to the brilliance and sheer volume of work you put in your guide. The level of detail provided on each stopover sheet, in all the different itinerary options and on all the B&B features exceeded even my most crazy expectations.
Mike and Aurey from Secret Scotland prepared a fantastic itinerary for us. It was a huge ingredient in the success and huge enjoyment that we got from our trip. It was absolutely worth every penny and there is no way we could have seen so much and so well without their itinerary. We felt like we belonged in Scotland, we knew what we were doing and what it all meant at every step. We recommend their services wholeheartedly. Scotland is such a marvelous place. Thank you Mike and Aurey... and we will be back!