There’s no doubt about it, Scotland is an awesome place to go for a drive. Endless long hills leading up to panoramic vistas, gentle winding roads through the quiet countryside and routes where you might not pass another car for miles (although perhaps the occasional wandering sheep) – what more could you possibly wish for on a road trip in Scotland?
No time? No worries. We’ve picked a few short road trips in Scotland that can be done over a long weekend or just a couple of days, depending whereabouts in Scotland you’re starting from.
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In light of COVID-19, everyone’s health and safety is the most important thing.
Self-catering without shared facilities is reopening on Friday 3 July, and all other accommodation on Wednesday 15 July. We’d ask everyone who is considering future day trips and overnight stays to please plan ahead carefully and check opening arrangements with the businesses directly.
Find out more about the current Covid-19 restrictions and future phases.
All of these are perfect for 2-day road trips in Scotland (or even longer if you’re lucky enough to have some extra time):
1. Glasgow to Oban
Flee the city and drive from Glasgow for a weekend in the west coast. Travelling north west from Glasgow, along the A82, your first stop has got to be Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, one of the great places to go for a drive from Glasgow. As well as Munros, lochs and forests to explore, the National Park has some beautiful drives of its own, with uniquely designed viewpoints installed throughout the landscape, including the An Ceann Mòr at Inveruglas.
Hop back in the car and continue onwards to Oban, where you’ll pass many beautiful sights along the way; the highest point on the road is called the Rest and Be Thankful, where you can stop to ogle the Instagram-worthy views, say hello to the hairy Highland cattle dotted across the countryside, or have a wee break in the traditional town of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne.
2. Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail
If you like a good dose of fresh sea air, the north east of Scotland won’t fail to deliver. Follow the signposted Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail for plenty of coastal wonders, including dramatic cliffs, hidden beaches, fascinating wildlife and quaint harbour towns.
There are lots of wonderful days out to choose from along the route, including a visit to St Cyrus National Nature Reserve and the majestically ruined Dunnottar Castle. North of Aberdeen check out the long stretches of pink sands and rolling dunes at Cruden Bay or travel on to the Moray Coast and stop at Portknockie to see Bow Fiddle Rock, a 50 ft high sea arch which sits just a short distance from the shore.
3. Over the sea to Skye
The Isle of Skye’s intoxicating scenery, with its windswept mountains, sheer cliffs and other-worldly geological features, make the whole island a fabulous driving destination. It doesn’t matter which direction you take, exploring the length and breadth of Skye will be a weekend well spent.
The A855 road loops around the northernmost region of the island – the Trotternish Peninsula – which is framed by the majestic Quiraing mountain range. To the north west lies Dunvegan Castle and beautiful coral beaches, while in the south you can see the spectacular Cuillin mountains and visit Armadale Castle.
Tip! During the peak summer season finding accommodation on Skye can be tricky. Visiting out-with peak times and booking in advance is the best way to get the accommodation you want and you can see the island when it’s quieter.
4. Edinburgh to Dunbar and North Berwick
Drive from Edinburgh for a weekend by the coast. The delightful towns of East Lothian are great places to go for a drive from Edinburgh and are ideal if you love to be beside the seaside, but don’t want to be in the car for too long.
Head to Belhaven Bay for a morning surf lesson with Coast to Coast Surf School, roughly a 40 minute drive from Edinburgh along the A1, then try your hand at some cable wakeboarding at Foxlake Adventures in the nearby town of Dunbar.
Head northwards up the coast to North Berwick, a route which passes picturesque villages and the magnificent Tantallon Castle. Pay a visit to the Scottish Seabird Centre, or see all the exquisite birdlife up close with a boat tour around the Bass Rock. From here, travel back to Edinburgh via the villages of Gullane and Aberlady.
5. Inverness to Moray Speyside
This drive will take you right across whisky country, into the peaceful countryside of Aberdeenshire where you’ll cruise past castles, rivers and of course, distilleries. Travelling from Inverness to Nairn, make a stop at Nairn Beach, a pristine white sandy beach ideal for picnics!
From Nairn, keep heading east into the Moray Speyside region, where you can admire the area’s vast history at Brodie Castle in Forres and Elgin Cathedral, before sampling some of the local larder – the area is famed for its seafood as well as its whisky and craft beers.
From here, you’re also on the cusp of the Cairngorms National Park, if you’re looking to add a little adrenaline to your weekend adventure. Why not head south and explore the magnificent mountains, perfect for mountain biking in the summer, and snowsports in the winter.
Why not try the North Coast 500? This long distance route travels 500 miles around the northerly tip of Scotland, starting and finishing in Inverness.
As always, don’t forget to share the pictures from your road trips with us using the hashtag #visitscotland