The Blog

Can’t-miss scenic drives across Scotland

Whether you want to explore the majestic mountains of the north, rolling valleys, the rugged Atlantic coastlines, or romantic islands, a drive through Scotland’s landscapes offers scenery as diverse as it gets.

So what are you waiting for? Prep the GPS system, grab some roadside picnic goodies and jump in the car – your great Scottish road trip starts here! Roll down that car window to experience a feast for the eyes, and with the right company and a perfect playlist, you’re guaranteed scenic drives that you’ll be talking about for a long time to come.

This is by no means a complete guide to Scotland’s best driving routes – there are simply too many! But no matter which one you choose, you’ll have plenty of jaw-dropping ‘WOW’ sights and ‘this is THE MOST beautiful’ moments along the way.

1.  Rest and Be Thankful pass on the A83

Rest and Be Thankful, Argyll and ButeRest and Be Thankful. Photo by jessedouglas via Flickr | Creative Commons

Drive across the Arrochar Alps in Glen Croe to the Rest and Be Thankful pass where you can pull off to the roadside bay viewpoint and picnic area to stretch your legs and soak up some stunning vistas.

2. Traigh Seilebost at Seilebost

Seilebost, Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides.

Seilebost, Luskentyre Sands, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides.

Drive your car onto a ferry and set sail for the stunning Outer Hebrides. Join the A859 on the Isle of Harris’ west coast and admire the breathtaking seascapes at Traigh Seilebost. The seemingly endless white sands of Luskentyre with crystal clear waters and a stunning backdrop of machair is a truly breathtaking view.

3. Glencoe to Fort William

The Three Sisters, Glencoe

The Three Sisters, Glencoe

No road trip through Scotland is complete without driving along the magical road through Glencoe to Fort William. Situated on the main route north through the Highlands, the description ‘spectacular’ doesn’t really merit the beauty of Glencoe.

4. Edinburgh to St Andrews

The Forth Bridge viewed from South Queensferry

The Forth Bridge viewed from South Queensferry

Drive across the stupendous Forth Road Bridge to Fife and follow the scenic coastal route around the East Neuk. Call at some of the enchanting fishing villages, such as Anstruther, Elie or Pittenween before you reach St Andrews, The Home of Golf.

5. The Bealach Na Ba, the Road to Applecross

Skye and Cuillens from the Bealach na Ba Skye from the Bealach Na Ba viewpoint. Photo by Lee Carson via Flickr | Creative Commons

The Bealach Na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) is one of the most famous driving routes in Scotland. Known as the Road to Applecross, the route reaches 2,053 ft (625.7 m) and offers stunning views out across the whole of Wester Ross, the Isle of Skye and the Outer Hebrides. With its tight bends and single track road (with passing places) this road isn’t for the faint hearted but the views from the top are astonishing.

This video of a drive along the Bealach Na Ba was recorded by a biker (YouTube nickname snazbaz) using his on-helmet digital camera. If this doesn’t inspire you to explore the country, then what will?

Need more inspiration? Read our blog on 5 incredibly scenic weekend road trips or check out Scotland’s National Tourist Routes. Do you have a favourite driving route in Scotland? Let us know in the iKnow Community forum.

The following two tabs change content below.

Aldona Krzemien

Originally from Poland, she's now based in Edinburgh and can't imagine life without four things: travels, photography, fishing for antiques and haggis! Motto: ‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list’ - Susan Sontag


  • Shirley Johnston

    Just love my native scotland. It has some of the best beaches in britain. Lewis,harris,the uists and berneray are some of my favourite places. Really is god’s country !

  • Neutral909

    Hmmm, I guess favourite road trips partly come down to the ones that have the best memories as well as scenery but I wouldn’t have 2 of these in my favourite drives in Scotland. I have done 3 of the 4 journeys (Isle of Harris being the exception) in my short life of car driving and I would have to say that although the Forth Road Bridge itself, St Andrews and some of the small villages like you have mentioned, plus Crail, are nice the actual east Fife coastal road is horrendous, still passes through some right shabby towns and feels like a right drag (never again!). The Rest and be Thankful is another one that I enjoyed but didn’t really captivate me like some other drives I have embarked on have.

    Personally, the Isle of Skye from Fort William is a mountainous route I hold in much higher esteem than The Rest and Be Thankful and the same can be said of the journey up the A9 past Inverness toward Thurso as a nicer coastal route than the East Fife tourist route. The Dukes Pass and some of the roads in the Cairngorms also rate highly in my list of scenic drives.

  • Tim Auger

    Cairn o’ Mount – go there in daylight then go back after dark and prepare to have your breath taken away

  • Windy Miller

    Yes enjoy the scenery as soon as you can please, it won’t be like that for much longer as Alex Salmond is covering the Highlands of Scotland with Windfarms.

  • Rob Stables

    Cabrach is motoring Nirvana!

  • Mark Dickie

    another route from aviemore to blairgowrie via the lecht is amazing both ways like the alps in miniature taking care when exiting Tomintoul distillery if you drank one of them.

  • Great article, Aldona!

    The Road to Applecross is our all time favourite bit of Scottish tarmac. You just can’t beat that super quick 600 meter ascent (or the descent!) and the views at the summit are out of this world.

    If you fancy some more driving inspiration, we’ve written about our favourite roads here:

    All the best,
    Everyone at Caledonian Couriers

    • Hi everyone at Caledonian Couriers 😉 Great to see you share the enthusiasm for our beautiful Scotland and spread the love on your page! Best, Aldona.

Cookie Policy

VisitScotland uses cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By using our website you consent to our use of cookies. Please read our new privacy and cookies statement for more information.