This tour plan takes on a Whisky Tasting Tour around Scotland's famous Speyside distilleries.
There's not too much driving on this tour as you need to allow time for tasting some of the exceptional whisky on offer at distilleries such as Aberlour, Macallan, Glenfarclas, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Strathisla.
Speyside distilleries feature prominently in the itinerary, but you can also sample Highland malts and take in the scenery, castles and history that make Scotland so magical to visit.
Allow a minimum of 4 days to drive this tour route.
The guide contains extra day trip suggestions for extending the tour to 7+ days
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Guide Updated - 22 December 2023
Approximately 316 miles / 508 Km
4 to 7 Days
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 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 a pub with lots of history.
To get into the spirit of your Whisky tour, we steer you to a selection of our favourite traditional Edinburgh pubs where you can drink in the atmosphere and enjoy some good Malts.
The guide also includes options for day trips around the surrounding area by car, bus or train.
The day trips by car include the option of a tour around West Lothian where you can sample the produce of Glenkinchie distillery a-t its source.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Pitlochry -
From Edinburgh, you start with a drive across the new road bridge over the Forth estuary. Along the way, you'll get views of the Forth Rail Bridge, an iconic symbol of Scotland.
We guide you north to Perth but give you the option to extend the drive with a visit to the pretty village of Falkland where Mary Queen of Scots had her favourite palace. The village has also featured in the filming of the "Outlander" TV show.
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.
The drive is short so you can spend a full afternoon in the Pitlochry / Aberfeldy area where there are three whisky distilleries that you might wish to consider visiting for a tasting tour..
Driving Distance:~60 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 as well as less obvious places such as a deserted Blackhouse village.
Stopover in Pitlochry / Aberfeldy area
Pitlochry to Speyside -
The next leg of this Scotland tour explores the Speyside Whisky Trail.
We guide you north, past the highest distillery in Scotland, to pick up the path of the River Spey near Kingussie. Whisky distilleries are prolific along this route into Speyside, but we also guide you to a variety of other attractions such as Blair Castle, the Highland Folk Museum, the Speyside Steam Railway and the Rothiemurchus forest.
We recommend a few distilleries for special tasting tours that the whisky connoisseur will appreciate, and also suggest good bars where you can continue the whisky sampling into the evening.
Driving Distance: ~100 miles
Stopover in Moray (Speyside) Area
Speyside to Royal Deeside -
Today you traverse the Cairngorm mountains via one of the highest roads in Scotland.
It is not a long drive so you have time to fit in a few distillery tours along the Speyside Whisky Trail, or you can visit some of the grand castles of Royal Deeside. The famous distilleries along this route are Aberlour, Glenfarclas, Glenlivet and Royal Lochnagar, the distillery that supplied whisky to Queen Victoria.
Once in Royal Deeside, you can follow our short driving tour suggestion for a visit to Balmoral castle (open April - July) and exploration of the beautiful mountain and forest scenery that has attracted to the Royal Family to holiday here continually since the 1850's.
Driving Distance: ~50 miles
Stopover in Braemar / Ballater / Aboyne area
Royal Deeside to Edinburgh -
For the last leg of your whisky tasting tour, we provide 2 route options:
The shorter route takes you south from Braemar to Perth via the old military road that climbs through Glen Shee. This is seldom a busy road, but it has some twisty sections where it closely follows the same path as the original road built by the “Redcoats” in the 1700’s. The rugged landscape of Glen Shee gives way to the fertile farmlands of Perthshire. You then pick up the same road that you earlier took when traveling north to Perth.
Driving Distance: ~106 miles
The longer route starts with the same drive over the Glen Shee pass, but then turns west to guide you back towards Pitlochry where you pick up the fast main road that leads to Stirling. On the way to Stirling, you might want to make a journey break at Gleneagles hotel where golf enthusiasts can get a souvenir at the clubhouse. You might also like to stop here for “High Tea”, but it isn’t cheap!
We give directions for a visit to Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument before joining the motorway for the last leg back to Edinburgh.
Driving Distance: ~140 miles
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.
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