7 Scenic Routes in Scotland you MUST drive (2022 replace)

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Planning a Scotland street journey? Looking for the most effective and most lovely scenic routes to drive in Scotland? Here are the most effective self-driving tour routes so that you can discover– with maps!

Don’t neglect to seize your free information to the most effective locations to see on a Scotland street journey that can assist you plan your journey.

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Scenic routes in Scotland concepts

Between jaw-dropping lochs and spectacular mountain passes, Scotland is a road-trippers paradise. Seriously, each flip within the street produces some new cause to say ‘Wow’.

In a perfect world, we’d all have the time to discover this unbelievable nation to our coronary heart’s content material… however, sadly, many people are constrained by vacation or different time commitments. 

So, we now have to select and select our itineraries correctly, whether or not you’re going for a fast weekend break or an extended motorhome tour of Scotland.

In order that can assist you benefit from your Scottish street journey itinerary, listed here are among the BEST scenic routes & drives in Scotland, together with a quick overview of every self-drive tour, when to go and what to see on the best way.


NC 500- THE iconic scenic drive in Scotland

Scotland scenic drives and best driving routes for self-drive tours in Scotland
Scotland Scenic Drives- the NC500 has all of it

The NC500 goals to showcase the most effective of the Highlands in a single unbelievable 516 mile loop. It’s been voted one of many WORLD’s finest coastal touring routes, with spectacular surroundings, unbelievable seashores and unmissable views throughout the Highlands.

What is the NC 500 driving tour route?

The NC500 begins within the Highland capital, Inverness, though you’ll be able to be part of and go away it anyplace. We embrace a part of it in our 10-day Scotland Itinerary, which is a good choice for many who need to see as a lot of Scotland as attainable in a restricted time.

From Inverness, you’ll be able to both drive clockwise or anticlockwise across the loop. Most folks go clockwise, which suggests you head west from Inverness in the direction of the Isle of Skye (you don’t really go to Skye on this driving route, though you’ll be able to simply detour if you want.

Head by the North West Highlands, aiming (ultimately) for Britain’s most northerly town- John O’Groats, (the place you’ll be able to take a day journey to Orkney) earlier than heading south once more to Inverness. 

The route is pretty properly signposted, though a few of it’s single monitor and really slim!

Best locations to see on the NC 500 self-drive tour

Highlights of the NC 500 embrace:

  • Inverness- essentially the most northerly metropolis within the UK
  • Smoo Cave
  • Corrieshalloch Gorge
  • Clashnessie Falls
  • Bealach Na Ba- the UK’s steepest street. Do NOT try this with a motorhome (or in the event you’re a nervous driver!)
  • Clachtoll Beach 
  • Kylesku Bridge
  • John o’Groats 
  • Dunrobin Castle
  • Whisky. Oh, and Scottish breakfasts. 
Scotland Travel Planner
Click to study extra in regards to the Scotland Travel Planner

How lengthy does it take to drive the NC500?

Ha- it relies upon how lengthy you cease to take pictures!! It’s 516 miles, however you’ll NOT be going fast- the street is gradual and twisty.

Expect to cease typically for autos coming the opposite approach or for stray highland animals who frequently wander into the street.

You can tour the NC500 in 4/5 days in the event you drive a LOT and don’t cease to discover, however we suggest no less than a 7-day journey to actually benefit from it.

Can you drive the NC500 in a motorhome/ campervan?

Yes, you’ll be able to drive the NC 500 with a motorhome and a campervan. If you don’t have your individual there are many locations to rent a van for the journey.


Where to remain on the NC500 scenic drive

Wild tenting in Scotland is allowed… with some frequent sense.

  • Do NOT block entry or park on non-public property- motor autos don’t have that proper. 
  • Be delicate to fragile environments and habitats- respect the character round you
  • Take ALL your garbage and waste. ALL. OF. IT. Use correct services to empty your waste tanks & bathroom. Many campsites will can help you empty waste, even in the event you’re not staying there.
  • Don’t gentle fires or BBQs except it’s protected and you’ll correctly supervise it. 

Some different ideas for motorhomes embrace with the ability to reverse- you’ll have to do that quite a bit!- and NOT travelling in convoys because it blocks the slim roads. 

Where are you able to keep on the NC500 driving route?

There are a number of campsites alongside the route. If you’d like extra data, listed here are 15 of the most effective NC500 motorhome campsites

If you like one thing with an precise mattress and 4 partitions, there are PLENTY of inns and B & Bs to take pleasure in alongside the route. We counsel reserving prematurely between June and October- it could get busy!

Best time to drive the NC500?

As with all the pieces in Scotland, the climate actually does make a distinction. The finest climate is between April-October… however that’s additionally when this route is at its busiest.

We suggest avoiding July and August fully in the event you can- the faculties are on vacation and in every single place is over-crowded. But Spring/ early summer time or September/ October is a good time to go to.

(Here are some extra nice concepts for locations to go to in Europe in October.)

Scotland road trip travel planner route map guide

Planning a visit to Scotland?

We’ve achieved the exhausting be just right for you!

Grab our full Scotland journey planner and get:

  • 80+ concepts for locations to go to
  • Maps and itinerary solutions
  • Routes and issues to see alongside the best way
  • Tips, customs and far far more!

Isle of Skye self-drive scenic driving route

Isle of Skye- Scotland scenic drives and best driving routes for self-drive tours in Scotland
Scotland scenic drives- the Isle of Skye is an ideal Scottish Self-drive vacation spot

The Isle of Skye is likely one of the most well-known islands on the west coast of Scotland.

Highlights of an Isle of Skye drive

  • Fairy Pools
  • Talisker Distillery
  • Old Man of Storr hike
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Neist Point

READ MORE: Our full 3-day Isle of Skye itinerary

How lengthy does it take for an Isle of Skye driving tour?

It’s attainable so as to add Skye onto the NC500 and go to for the day, nevertheless it’s properly value spending 3 days in a street journey right here to actually see among the unbelievable sights.

Best time to go to the Isle of Skye?

We suggest avoiding June, July and August in Skye- too many individuals and too many midges. Our favorite time of yr is Autumn- it’s one in every of our favorite locations to take pleasure in Autumn in Europe– the colors of the altering foliage are spectacular.


Kintyre Peninsula Driving tour route

Kintyre Peninsula- Scotland scenic drives and best driving routes for self-drive tours in Scotland
Kintyre Peninsula- one in every of Scotlands most scenic drives

Recommended by Susanne | Adventures round Scotland

The Kintyre Peninsula may be reached by automotive from Glasgow in approx 3 hours and takes you properly off Scotland’s fashionable vacationer routes.  However, that doesn’t imply there isn’t something value seeing, it simply that almost all vacationers don’t realise all that it has to supply. 

Highlights of a Kintyre Peninsula street journey

A couple of highlights embrace:

  • the fishing port of Tarbert which sits on the gateway to the peninsula.  The city is residence to a vibrant harbour and historic fort ruins which sit on a hilltop overlooking the encircling space.
  • Another close by fort value visiting is Skipness which dates again to the thirteenth century.  Although ruined, it’s substantial in measurement and the rooftop affords magnificent 360-degree views.
  • As you drive south, there are quite a few fairly coastal villages value stopping at together with Carradale and Southend the place you’ll be able to discover the Keil Caves which have proof of occupation from as early because the third century AD onward.
  • Campbeltown is the principle settlement and was as soon as residence to 34 whisky distilleries.  Today solely three distilleries stay and taking a tour is an effective way to find extra about Scotland’s most well-known drink (and to pattern some!)
  • Finally, no Kintyre driving tour could be full with out a go to to the Mull of Kintyre made well-known within the track by Sir Paul McCartney.  It sits on the very south of the peninsula with a strolling path to the lighthouse.

How lengthy does it take to drive the Kintyre Peninsula?

To correctly discover Kintyre, a road-trip of two or 3 days is good however add in some additional time if you wish to mix it with an island-hopping day journey to the Isle of Gigha, essentially the most southerly of the Hebridean islands which is a brief ferry trip from Kintyre.

To guarantee points of interest are open, spring and summer time are the most effective instances to go to.


SWC300 (South West Coastal Scenic Driving route)

SWC300 scenic driving route-Scotland scenic drives and best driving routes for self-drive tours in Scotland
SWC300 Scenic driving route- Galway lighthouse

Recommended by Kathi | Watch Me See

The south of Scotland is filled with hidden gems far off the overwhelmed monitor. While most guests flock to the busy Highlands of Scotland, it’s value heading in the wrong way.

The South West Coastal 300 (SWC300) is a scenic drive across the south-west of Scotland. It passes by elements of Ayrshire, runs alongside the coast of Dumfries and Galloway and crosses into the Moffat and Galloway Hills. 

Road trippers who dare to enterprise off the overwhelmed path will be rewarded with gorgeous coastal surroundings, castles steeped in historical past, picturesque lighthouses, quirky artist cities, contemporary native produce and far more.

Things to see on a SWC300 self-drive tour

The finest a part of the SWC300 is the drive across the Mull of Galloway peninsula. Start by exploring the southernmost level of Scotland.

Follow the paths across the RSPB Nature Reserve and go to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse – from the highest, you’ll be able to see the coast of Northern Ireland, the Lake District and the Isle of Man.

Next, cease at Logan Botanic Garden the place there are crops from everywhere in the world incl. uncommon South African species, Eucalyptus timber and large Gunnera crops. Even essentially the most unique crops do surprisingly properly on the west coast of Scotland due to the Gulf Stream.

The picturesque harbour of Portpatrick affords the right backdrop for an early dinner and you probably have power left, I like to recommend an evening out on the Grape’s Bar in Stranraer.

Other highlights on the SWC300 embrace Culzean Castle on the coast and the Dark Sky Park within the Galloway Hills.

Scotland road trip travel planner route map guide

Planning a visit to Scotland?

We’ve achieved the exhausting be just right for you!

Grab our full Scotland journey planner and get:

  • 80+ concepts for locations to go to
  • Maps and itinerary solutions
  • Routes and issues to see alongside the best way
  • Tips, customs and far far more!

How lengthy does it take to drive the SWC300?

Plan to spend no less than 4-5 days on the SWC300, two days inland and two to a few days on the coast.

The space is fascinating year-round, however arguably most lovely from April to September, when completely different sorts of flowers are blooming and the times are so long as may be.


Heart 200 Scenic self- drive route

Heart 200- Scotland self-drive tour Scotland scenic drives and best driving routes for self-drive tours in Scotland
Heart 200 self-drive tour- Loch Lomond is breathtaking

Recommended by Campbell | Highlands2Hammocks

The Heart 200 street journey is one in every of Scotland’s most up and coming routes for guests to the bonnie lands. Unlike the North Coast 500, this 200-mile route focuses on the center of the central belt of Scotland.

This driving route solely launched in the summertime of 2019 and is about to change into extremely fashionable as a consequence of its ease of accessibility and extremely rated places en route.

All we are able to say is that if you wish to fall in love with Scotland’s fascinating historical past, then get in there quickly earlier than it will get busy!

There might not be shoreline and seashores in Scotland’s centre, nonetheless, the huge quantity of historical past and unbelievable surroundings on supply is solely unbelievable. How about exploring waterfalls and castles and studying about Scotland’s insane historical past?

Or taking a ship journey across the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, one in every of Scotland’s most well-known and delightful places within the centre.

Highlights of the Heart 200

The prime sights and actions that we suggest alongside the Heart 200 street journey embrace:

  • exploring the magical Devil’s Pulpit
  • Stirling Castle
  • Loch Lomond
  • bungee leaping in Killiecrankie
  • Dunblane’s golden publish field
  • strolling the attractive Blair Castle gardens.

What is one of the simplest ways to self-drive the Heart 200?

When it involves getting across the Heart 200, a Campervan or automotive are the most effective methods to do it. The street journey takes you thru the remoted and quaint central areas of Scotland, that are tougher to achieve by public transport.

Scotland Travel Planner
Click to study extra in regards to the Scotland Travel Planner

We hope these scenic drives in Scotland have impressed you to go to this lovely nation. Already been? Where did you want finest?

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