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Scottish Highlands Road Trip: Epic Adventure Awaits

Updated: Jul 11

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure? Embark on an epic road trip through the Scottish Highlands! It is a region of incomparable beauty and fascinating history.


The Highlands serve a third of the land of Scotland, including the most remote areas and sparsely populated parts of UK.


Wind your way through dramatic decor and explore ancient castles! Immerse yourself in the rich artistic shade of this alluring land.


Discover the Celtic heritage. Plunge in the lively atmosphere of traditional music sessions, where fiddles and bagpipes weave their magical melodies.


Your epic road trip awaits, filled with discovery and unforgettable memories. Pack your bags, and embark on a journey that will leave you urging for more.


- Travel with a Samsonite

- Book your flight: Expedia

- Book your room: Hotels.com and Radisson

- Book your car: DiscoverCars and Europcar

- Book your tour: Viator


Plan a Perfect Trip to the Scottish Highlands: When to Go


The Scottish Highlands can be enjoyed year-round. Define your preference and what you want to experience during your trip.


Summer is the most popular time. You can enjoy sunnier days, outdoor activities, and explore festivals and events. Be sure to book your accommodation and activities well in advance, though.


August also mark the height of the tourist season. For a quiet and relaxed atmosphere, springtime may be your best bet.


Try April to June If you want perfect weather for sightseeing and fewer crowds.


Autumn is another perfect time to go if you are into cozy country pubs. Nothing beats a local beer after a day spent wandering the countryside.


If you are into Christmas markets and festive attractions, winter will be your season. A magical atmosphere in most towns!


We chose August because we cannot function well in the cold. We do not regret it. Believe it or not, 6 of 7 road trip days were sunny! It was crowded and difficult to book a good hotel for a fair price. We do recommend at least 5 days to visit. 10 days on a road trip will be perfect with time to visit all the most important places.


The Route: Map your Your Road Trip


There are plenty of possible itineraries. It all depends on your interests and time availability.


Below, is the route we decided to take. We didn't have time to visit the Isle of Skye, although it must be stunning according to what I've read.


Scottish Highlands Map Road Trip
Scottish Highlands Map

Map your route so you don't miss any must-see destinations.


We traveled from Edinburgh to Inverness, stopping along the way.


We recommend Stirling Castle. This historic castle is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scotland. It has been the scene of many battles and sieges throughout its history.


Make a stop at Pitlochry. It offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor pursuits. Embraced by green hills and the River Tummel, Pitlochry is a gateway to the Highlands. Discover original crafts and monuments.


We stayed 2 nights in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. On the banks of the River Ness, Inverness blends ancient heritage with modern vibrancy.


The city's rich history is evident in its well-preserved medieval castle. The castle was in maintenance and closed to visitors when we were there.


Scottish Highlands: Inverness
Scottish Highlands: Inverness

Nature enthusiasts will find paradise in Inverness. Hike through the verdant forests of the Ness Islands or kayak on the serene waters of Loch Ness.


At night, immerse yourself in traditional Scottish music and dance at one of the city's many pubs.


From Inverness, make your way along the North Coast 500. It is a scenic route that showcases the region's natural beauty. Marvel at the majestic mountains, picturesque lochs, and dramatic cliffs.


Don't forget to stop by iconic landmarks such as Urquhart Castle and the legendary Loch Ness.


Explore quaint towns like Fort William and Oban.


At every turn, you will uncover concealed treasures and awe-inspiring views. Gear up and hit the road for an epic Scottish adventure!


Chasing the mysteries of Loch Ness

Scottish Highlands: Loch Ness
Scottish Highlands Loch Ness

Loch Ness has always had an aura of mystery and conspiracy. Its dark waters have captured the imaginations for centuries. The myth of the Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, has become a part of Scottish folklore!


People have embarked on a road trip, hoping to see the fabulous creature. I include myself and confess I was expecting the mystical fog that usually covers the Loch. I felt like I missed the chance to witness the ethereal beauty.


Culture and History: Exploring the Castles of Scotland


Amidst the Highlands' stunning scenery stand proud castles that whisper tales of battles, bravery, and bygone eras. Step into the imposing fortress of Stirling Castle, where Scottish lords and queens formerly held court.

The iconic castles transport you back and offer a glimpse into Scotland's past.


Perched on a rocky promontory, Urquhart Castle is a guard of Scotland's history. Its ruins are a testament to centuries of conflict and the rise and fall of powerful Highland clans.


Urquhart Castle Scottish Highlands
Scottish Highlands Urquhart Castle

The castle's history uncovers the ongoing Wars of Scottish Independence. It became a focal point of power struggles between rival Highland clans.


In the 17th century, the castle was slighted by government forces. It remained in ruins for centuries. Today, Urquhart Castle is a popular tourist destination.


All the way through the highlands, the ancient tales that surround you will captivate you.


Charming Villages: Unveiling the Gems of the Highlands


The charming villages among majestic landscapes offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the Highlands.


Fort Augustus is a village at the southern end of the Loch. It boasts an attracting mix of history and natural beauty.


Fort Augustus Scottish Highlands
Fort Augustus Scottish Highlands

Its cobblestone streets, lined with antique lodges, reveal the region's rich heritage. The 16th-century Fort George, a military fort, is a testament to the area's history. The village's peaceful setting provides a break from the hustle and bustle of life.


We then headed to Fort William, a Highland gem. Rugged mountains meet shimmering lochs, steeped in history and alive with adventure.


Explore ancient trails, kayak glassy waters, and climb Munro giants. From misty lochs to whisky distilleries, Fort William captivates. 


No trip to Fort William is complete without a journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct. The viaduct is an engineering marvel.


Soaring 100 feet above the waters of Loch Shiel is more than a bridge.

Built-in the late 19th century, it's a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance. Constructed with over 16 million bricks, it is part of Scotland's rich railway history and enduring connection to the land.


The Jacobite Steam Train, well-known for its appearance in the Harry Potter movies, travels across the viaduct as its whistle echoes through the valley.


Whether you ride the Jacobite Steam Train (book well in advance!) or walk across the viaduct, the views will take your breath away.


Along the Loch's shores, the village of Oban, the "Gateway to the Isles," captivates with its harbor and lively atmosphere.


Its shorefront has seafood restaurants, traditional pubs, and souvenir shops. Visit Oban's iconic McCaig Tower, a granite replica of the Colosseum. It offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding islands.


The village's proximity to several ferry terminals makes it an ideal base for exploring the enchanting Scottish isles.


We spent a night in Oban on our way to Glasgow, and it was fantastic. We had dinner overlooking the harbor and the sea.


Soak in the magnificent beauty of the Scottish Highlands. This road trip will leave you spellbound with its memorable experiences.


Outdoor Adventures: Embrace the Thrill of Hiking, Biking, and More


Embrace the thrill of outdoor adventures with hiking, biking, and more. There's something exhilarating about immersing yourself in nature.


Take on challenging hikes that lead to breathtaking vistas. Bike through winding trails that offer a sense of freedom.


Try your hand at rock climbing for an adrenaline rush. Outdoor adventures allow you to connect with the natural world, rejuvenate your mind, and create lasting memories.


One of the most iconic mountains is Ben Nevis. Standing at a towering height of 1,345 meters, it is the highest peak in the British Isles. Hiking enthusiasts flock to its slopes to conquer its challenging trails. The reward is a panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see.


Try the Great Glen Way, a 79 miles trail that begins at the ruins of the Old Fort. It passes beside three major lochs: Lochs Lochy, Oich and Ness.

But the Scottish Highlands are peppered with stunning rugged mountains. Each has a unique charm. For more details on what to do, read VisitScotland.



Where to stay : Finding the Perfect Place to rest


Finding the perfect place to stay is crucial on a road trip. With hundreds of options available, you will be able to find a place that meets your needs and preferences.


Whether you prefer the luxury of a hotel, the coziness of a bed and breakfast, or the freedom of camping, you will find something.

Hotels and bed and breakfasts offer comfortable amenities.

Camping allows you to embrace the beauty of the Highlands, with breathtaking views at your doorstep. Whichever you choose, your room will be the perfect base for your epic Scottish road trip.


Practical Travel Tips: Information for a Smooth and Memorable Trip


When embarking on a road trip through the Highlands, be prepared to ensure a smooth journey. Begin by planning your route and mapping the landscapes you wish to explore.


When renting a car, book an automatic one. It will be easier to adapt.


If you're not used to driving on the left, it can take some time getting used to. Yet, with some practice, you'll soon be as comfortable on the left as on the right. Here are a few tips for driving on the left:

  • Take extra care when changing lanes or overtaking.

  • Be patient and give yourself plenty of time to adjust.

Don't worry, with some training, you can master the art of driving on the left and have a safe driving experience.


The roads are often narrow and winding. Yet, they're well-maintained and offer stunning views. Familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations. Have an international driver license required by almost every rental car agency.


Be prepared for the changeable weather conditions in Scotland. Bring rain gear, warm clothes, and sunscreen, no matter what time of year you are traveling.


Additionally, consider booking accommodations in advance to ensure a stress-free experience.



Conclusion: Reflecting on the Unforgettable Journey Through Scotland's Highlands

You cannot help but be captivated by the magic of this epic road trip. Driving through the landscapes, stunning views at every turn will leave you awed.

Each stop on this journey unveils a new chapter in Scotland's fascinating history. Scottish Highlands on a road trip is a memorable experience.


Everything you need for your trip in a click


To help you plan your perfect trip read my post Everything you need in a click.


Find your luggage

When it comes to luggage, the only brand I buy is Samsonite. I've had a carry-on bag for over 5 years. It is still in excellent condition. For my hold bags, I have one made of soft material that has been with me for almost a decade, with a slight sign of aging but still firm. The advantage is that there's always room for a little something extra. The rigid one is much lighter. I take it on trips where I'm not taking a lot of stuff or shopping. All are excellent investments.


Find your flight


Expedia is a great platform to search and compare flight options and fares.


Find your room


Below the hotels we stayed at Inverness and Oban:


Inverness RiverNess Radisson, very well located, walking distance to everything. Bars and restaurants next door. Tiny, but ok rooms. The service at breakfast was slow and confused.

The Perle Oban Hotel: great location, good breakfast. Room was nice, but the floor uneven.

I used to book my hotel through the Booking platform, but lately, I am finding better deals on Hoteis.com. Anyway, I always compare prices with the hotel chain's platform, such and Radisson.


Find your car

For the best rates, compare different rental companies on DiscoverCars. Or, choose a reliable company such as Europcar that offers a range of vehicles and dependable service. Read more on how to Rent a Car and Explore the World.



Find your Tour

If you don't feel like driving a car, I recommend using Viator services.They offer hundreds of tours, always with excellent value for money. Check the availably for the Isle of Skye.



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