One of our most popular itineraries, this tour plan is a great introduction to Scotland for the first time visitor. We call it the “Flexi Tour” because it provides a wide choice of day trips that let you tailor the holiday to your interests and schedule.
This road trip is ideal for a scenic tour of Scotland in 7 days. It also has lots of day trip options for a longer vacation using Edinburgh, Inverness, Skye and Oban as bases for touring.
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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Approximately 621 miles / 1000 Km
5 to 21 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 leafy riverside path to the tranquil city oasis of the Royal Botanic Gardens and a more energetic hike to Arthur’s Seat with the option to continue to a pub with lots of history.
The guide also includes options for day trips around the surrounding area by bus or train, as well as day trip options by car (see below for these).
Stopover in Edinburgh
Day Trips from Edinburgh by Car -
Continue to explore Edinburgh, or head out of the city with a choice of driving day trips that cover:
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh to Inverness -
This is a route that is packed with sightseeing opportunities. From Edinburgh, you take a fast route north to Perth, where you might wish to explore Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of Scotland’s kings. A little further north is the neat Victorian spa resort of Pitlochry where you find the “Salmon Ladder”, 2 distilleries and the grand Blair Castle.
After Pitlochry, we provide the choice of a direct route to Inverness or a more scenic route via the Rothiemurchus forest in the Cairngorms National Park. If time allows, you can visit the historical and hauntingly sad battlefield of Culloden Moor.
Stopover in Inverness
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 Skye -
We provide a direct route via Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle to pick up the road that takes you west through the wilderness of Glen Shiel to the mountains of Kintail. The route passes the distinctive Eilean Donan castle on the way to the Skye Bridge.
Before arriving on Skye, we give you the options of a detour to a stunning mountain viewpoint, or a small diversion to visit a very pretty fishing village where you can enjoy a drink in the beer garden of a lochside pub..
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 along dead end 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.
Stopover on Isle of Skye or the nearby Lochalsh area
Skye to Oban -
We guide you down the spectacular west coast 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.
~87 miles (plus a ~40 minute ferry crossing) – Mallaig ferry to Oban
~120 miles – Skye Bridge to Oban
Stopover in Oban Area.
Day Trips from Oban -
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 Glasgow / Edinburgh -
The first leg of this journey heads inland to Crianlarich via the shores of Loch Awe, Scotland’s longest loch. Along the way, we guide you to the footpath that leads to the ruins of Kilchurn castle which guards the east end of the loch.
Crianlarich translates from the Gaelic for “Low Pass” and it is at this village that you choose between the road to Glasgow, or the road that heads east through the Trossachs to Stirling and Edinburgh.
If going to Glasgow, you travel along the length of Loch Lomond and can stop for a drink in a haunted 18th century inn, or join a cruise on the Loch.
~90 miles to Glasgow
If returning to Edinburgh you could schedule journey breaks at Doune castle and Stirling castle. Fans of the "Outlander" TV show will recognise Doune Castle as it was the film location for "Castle Leoch".
~117 miles to Edinburgh
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...
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!