Scotland had been on my radar for a while and I finally got to visit this January. The country isn't huge, so you can easily see a few highlights in a day on your road trip. You can do this itinerary in 7-10 day or extend your trip to explore other corners. While I flew into Glasgow, just flip the itinerary around if you want to start in Edinburgh. This route was very accessible and although I would have loved to do it in a van in summer, a basic car and Airbnbs work perfectly fine, even this time a year. You can find my google maps guide to Scotland here.
Glasgow to Loch Lomond
Since I had to travel up to the Isle of Skye for a workshop within two days, I have to admit, that I pretty much skipped Glasgow. Should you have time and like cities, you could probably spend a couple of days exploring the area. Unless you are bringing your own car up from the UK, Glasgow will also be where you will want to hire a rental car. Loch Lomond is less than an hour away from Glasgow, yet an awesome first taste of Scottish nature. Spend some time exploring the Loch, the cozy villages around or hike Ben Lomond. The town of Balloch at the bottom of the Loch is a good option for overnight stays, but you are able to find other hotels and Airbnbs in other areas too.
drive time: 40 minutes I 24.8 miles I 40 KM
Loch Lomond to Fort William
Make your way up from Loch Lomond to Fort William. Depending on where you are staying around Loch Lomond, the drive time varies. Leaving from Balloch at the bottom of the Loch it will roughly take two hours. There are plenty of things to see with only minor detours along the route. Stop off at Kilchurn Castle, Bidean Nam Bian Mountain Rage, Glencoe or drive to Glenfinnan Viaduct ( the famous Harry Potter Train Bridge). Make sure to check the train times and walk up to the viewpoint to not miss it. Keep in mind that the train doesn't run in winter (wish someone told me that before I rushed up the frozen track to make it in time for the train that never arrived...). Fort William is located at a stunning Lake and offers a good base camp for hiking Ben Nevis and exploring the area.
DRIVE TIME: 2 hours I 84.7 MILES I 136 KM
Fort William to Isle of Skye
This was by far my favourite drive! Driving through the highlands, you are surrounded by stunning mountain ranges, lochs and landscapes that reminded me a little of New Zealand. Pull over on viewpoints, take in the landscape and keep an eye out for wildlife. A famous must see is Eilean Dolan Castle, which is surrounded by water. To get to the Isle of Skye, you can drive over the bridge (free) or you can take a ferry (weather dependant). Spend at least a couple of days up on Skye - there is a lot to see! Most options for accommodation and food are in Portree, but you can find Airbnb's in other areas too. Your must sees in Skye include: The Fairy Pools, Sligachan Old Bridge, a hike up the Old man of Storr (only takes about 1hour up) and Leat Falls. Check out my google maps list of all the other places to see!
drive time: 2h30min I 108 miles I174 KM
Isle of Skye to Inverness
Leaving the Isle of Skye heading to Inverness, you have two routes available. Take the A87 for another scenic drive, that will run right next to the famous Loch Ness. If you didn't manage to stop by Eilean Donna Castle on your way up, you have another chance to visit when leaving Skye. The drive itself has a ton of rolling hills, rivers, waterfalls and highland cows! Since I visited in Winter, a lot of the touristy cafes and gift shops were closed, but they will typically open again from April onwards. Once you've completed your quest of finding the famous 'Nessie' in Loch Ness, head to Inverness for a variety of accommodation, restaurants, entertainment and shopping options.
drive time: 2h45min I 114 miles I 184Km
Inverness to Fraserburgh
Time to say goodbye to the mountains and hello the ocean. Inverness to Fraserburgh is a coastal route, ideal to stop for beach walks and Fish & Chips in seaside towns like Findhorn. If you want to learn more about Scotlands history stop of at Culloden Battle Grounds as you are heading out of Inverness or explore a number of castles along the way. If you prefer nature you probably enjoy find horn Beach, Bow Fiddle Rock, the abandoned Tarlair Swimming Pool or the many beaches you go past. I only spent the night in Fraserburgh, but the beach is lovely it's location makes it a good midway stop. Should you be short on time you can also drive straight from Inverness to Aberdeen in 2.5 hours.
Drive time: 2h 25 min I 98.3 miles I 158KM
Fraserburgh to Aberdeen
Aberdeen is only a short 55 minute drive from Fraserburgh on the fastest route. I would definitely recommend taking the slightly longer coastal drive that will take you to Slains Castle (Dracula was filmed here), Cruden Bay and most importantly to Newburgh Seal Beach that up to 3000 seals call home all year around. If you are into wildlife you can probably spend quite some time here watching the seals pop in and out of the water and listening to their loud sounds. The beach itself is beautiful too and stretches all the way to Aberdeen. Aberdeen offers a ton of history and culture, beaches, cafes, shopping and art galleries and more. It is a great base to do day trips to the Cairngorms National Park. If you visit the National Park located an hour and a half inland, make sure to check out Loch Muick for stunning scenery and wild stags and deer.
Drive time: 1h 15min I 48.8 miles I 79KM
Aberdeen to Edinburgh
For most people this is the last stretch of their Scotland adventure. You will want to stop at famous Dunnottar Castle, located on the cliffs, before making the final drive to Scotland's capital Edinburgh. I'm not usually a big fan of cities, but Edinburgh is definitely worth checking out! Beside all the restaurants and shopping streets you'd expect in a big city, Edinburgh fascinates with old buildings that make you feel like you stepped foot into Medieval Times. Spend a night or a few days, there is plenty to see. Edinburgh is the ideal place to finish up your trip. Grab a drink and celebrate your time in Scotland before heading off to the airport.
Drive time: 2h 40min I 130 Miles I 209km
Scotland is the perfect place for a road trip. It's not to big, not to small, so you can get away with driving only around 2 hours daily and still getting around the country in 7-14 days. There is a lot of variety in landscapes and everyone will find things they enjoy here. While I didn't travel with a dog, it seemed very dog friendly allowing them in many pubs, hotels and on most walks and sights. Scotland has a lot more to offer than what I got to see in two weeks, so I definitely want to come back and explore the other corners at some point. Check out all the attractions along route here.