Categories > Guides and Tips

The Best Drives in Scotland You Should Know About

The Best Drives in Scotland You Should Know About

Going on a road trip is one of the best ways to explore the beauty of Scotland. Whether it’s scenic views or fun activities, you can enjoy both as you drive around the country.

Here’s a list of Scotland’s best drives that we can definitely vouch for!

1. Argyll Coastal Route

Length: 208 kilometres

Start and End Point: Tarbet (Loch Lomond) to Fort William

Argyll Coastal Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

The Argyll Coastal Route starts at the banks of the biggest loch in the country, Loch Lomond, and goes on until you reach the ancient Fort William.

The 208-kilometre drive takes you through the beautiful Western Highlands, Kilmartin Museum, McCaig’s Tower and more. You can also drop by the Loch Fyne Restaurant and Oyster Bar which offers fresh oysters with mussels and smoked salmon.

Pro tip:

If you’re going to McCaig’s Tower, there’s a small and free car parking space near the monument for your vehicle.

2. Borders Historic Route

Length: 143 kilometres

Start and End Point: Carlisle to Edinburgh

Borders Historic Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

As its name suggests, traversing the Borders Historic Route is like going back in time as you pass through the Scottish borders, exploring significant landmarks like the Abbotsford House and National Mining Museum Scotland.

It’s an ideal pick for those interested in history rather than thrilling activities. But of course, while you’re on this route, you can never miss making a visit to our favourite Edinburgh Castle to learn more about our country’s history – with a view to boot. 

Pro tip:

If you’re going to Abbotsford House, take note that the entrance fee is separate from the parking charges.

3. Angus Coastal Route

Length: 103 kilometres

Start and End Point: Dundee to Aberdeen

Angus Coastal Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

Passing along the east coast, the Angus Coastal Route stretches from Dundee to Aberdeen which is 103 kilometres long. You’ll pass by various tourist attractions like Dunnottar Castle and Aberdeen Harbour, known for coastline and countryside views.

Whether it’s putting gas in your tank or charging your electric vehicle, you have lots of options while you’re on the road. But beyond that, there are lots of thrilling activities to try on this route like swimming, food hopping and more.

Pro tip:

If you want a quick soak or to stroll around the coast, make a stop at Lunan Bay. It’s a four-kilometre-long beach surrounded by high sand dunes and sea cliffs.

4. Galloway Tourist Route

Length: 148 kilometres

Start and End Point: Gretna to Ayr

Galloway Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

Stretching for 148 kilometres, the Galloway Tourist Route starts from the marriage capital of the UK, Gretna and ends at Ayr where Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns, once lived.

As you explore this route, you’ll come across various historic museums, mediaeval castles and challenging woodland trails where you can hike and do watersports. Also, you can find lots of gas stations, stores and restaurants along the way.

Pro tip:

Speaking of Robert Burns, you should make a stop at this Birthplace Museum to see his original works and belongings. 

5. Deeside Tourist Route

Length: 174 kilometres

Start and End Point: Perth to Aberdeen

Deeside Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

In the Deeside Tourist Route, you’ll be travelling along Britain’s highest main road, A93, where you start from Perth through the Cairngorms National Park to Aberdeen. This drive gives you a look through the beauty of Royal Deeside.

There are lots of activities to do on this route like strolling through different trails, playing golf, trying Tarzan swings and more. Plus, you’ll see the iconic Scone Palace and Drum Castle along the way.

Pro tip:

Once you’re in Scone Palace, you can never go wrong with ordering scones with jam and cream paired with a hot cup of tea in their cafe.

6. Fife Coastal Route

Length: 124 kilometres

Start and End Point: Kincardine to Newport on Tay

Fife Coastal Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

The Fife Coastal Route is a 124 km drive from the Kincardine Bridge to the Tay Bridge. It offers spectacular views of the Firth of Forth coastline and passes by stunning castles, popular museums and picturesque fishing towns.

Of course, you won’t have to worry about gas stations, convenience stores and shops because there are lots of options by the road. You can even go to Kingsbarns Distillery for a little whisky taste test.

Pro tip:

For Outlander fans, make sure to visit the Royal Burgh of Culross where some scenes of the show were shot.

7. Forth Valley Tourist Route

Length: 69 kilometres

Start and End Point: Edinburgh to Stirling

Forth Valley Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

If you want to explore Scotland’s most popular bridges and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, drive through the Forth Valley Tourist Route. It’s a 69-kilometre trip starting at the capital city of Edinburgh and ending at the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ Stirling.

Apart from taking photos of the Forth Bridge and Antonine Wall in the Falkirk Wheel, you can do dozens of fun activities like boating and canoeing. If you love visiting ancient fortresses, the Blackness Castle and Stirling Castle are part of this route.

Pro tip:

If you’re planning to go on a boat trip in Falkirk Wheel, it’s best to book online so you can schedule your day better and avoid delays – no need to join the busy queue too!

8. Highland Tourist Route

Length: 187 kilometres

Start and End Point: Aberdeen to Inverness

Highland Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

If you want to explore the Cairngorms National Park using a different route, try the Highland Tourist Route for a 187-kilometre drive through various historical museums and popular castles, particularly Cawdor Castle.

Apart from sightseeing, you can try different exciting activities on this trip like skiing, biking and hiking. You can also use this chance to go food hopping or even drop by a few gas stations or public toilets if the need arises.

Pro tip:

If you’re visiting during winter, don’t miss the chance to go skiing and snowboarding in the Lecht 2090 in Cairngorms National Park. 

But if you’re going here during summer, you can do mountain biking instead.

9. Three Lochs Forest Drive

Length: 32 kilometres

Start and End Point: Aberfoyle to Callander

Three Lochs Forest Drive
Screenshot from Google Maps

If you’re looking for a short drive around Stirling, try the Three Lochs Forest Drive where you’ll pass by the three mystic lochs, namely Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray. 

The 32-kilometre route starts at the Duke’s Pass, north of Aberfoyle and ends at Callander. The best attractions to visit on this route are the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, Doon Hill and Fairy Knowe and Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park.

Pro tip:

There are only two gas stations you can find on this route namely Highland and Trossachs Area Services which are located near each other by the Main Street.

10. Moray Firth Route

Length: 128 kilometres

Start and End Point: Inverness to The Mound on Loch Fleet

Moray Firth Route
Screenshot from Google Maps\

The Moray Firth Route allows you to see the rugged beauty of the North Highlands, as it starts in Inverness and ends at Loch Fleet. As you traverse this 128-kilometre drive, you’ll pass by beautiful waterfalls (best waterfall in Scotland) like Rogie Falls and the Falls of Shin.

But that’s not all, you’ll also get a glimpse of amazing attractions. This includes the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, Fyrish Monument, Struie Hill Viewpoint and more.

Pro tip:

If you’re planning to visit any waterfalls, prepare midge repellant and a pair of wellies.

11. Snow Roads Scenic Route

Length: 144.8 kilometres

Start and End Point: Blairgowrie to Grantown-on-Spey

Snow Roads Scenic Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

For the best views surrounding Cairngorms National Park, the Snow Roads Scenic Route is a must-try where you’ll pass by scenic points: Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Moray Speyside and Highlands.

This 144.8-kilometre drive starts in Blairgowrie and ends at Grantown-on-Spey but you can do it the other way around for a different experience. Our top stopover recommendations are the Connecting Contours and Grantown Museum.

Pro tip:

If you want a quick meal with a little exploring, go to the Ballater’s Old Royal Station. It’s a tourist information centre with a souvenir shop, bistro and tearoom and museum about the 19th-century Scottish royals.

12. Clyde Valley Tourist Route

Length: 61 kilometres

Start and End Point: Abington to Hamilton

Clyde Valley Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

The Clyde Valley Tourist Route may be short, but it has everything you need for an exciting road trip. From Abington to Hamilton, this 61-kilometre drive offers views of lush countryside and historic castles.

There are lots of exciting activities along the way like wildlife watching, hunting, hiking, horseback riding and more. For something more chill, there are several museums like Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum and Low Parks Museum for you to visit.

Pro tip:

In the Biggar and Upper Clydesdale Museum, you can touch different displays and fiddle with them – one of which is the telephone switchboard which is a great reminder of how far this invention developed over time.

13. North and West Highlands Route

Length: 254 kilometres

Start and End Point: Ullapool to John o’Groats

North and West Highlands Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

When you traverse the North and West Highlands, you’ll be spoilt with gorgeous views of the sea and wild landscapes of the country. This 254-kilometre drive links the idyllic fishing town of Ullapool to the scenic village of John O’Groats (things to do in John O’ Groats).

You’ll have lots of museums and castles to explore and several fun activities like food hopping and hiking to try. By the way, you should treat yourself to a trip to Cocoa Mountain, a luxury chocolatier located at Balnakeil Craft Village.

Pro tip:

If you want to see some puffins, visit the Duncansby Head during their breeding season which is usually around late spring to early summer.

14. Perthshire Tourist Route

Length: 69 kilometres

Start and End Point: Greenloaning to Ballinluig

Perthshire Tourist Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

The Perthshire Tourist Route is for those who are looking for a short but enjoyable trip in the heart of Scotland, from Greenloaning to Ballinluig. You’ll get to explore vast woodlands and towering landscapes during this 69-kilometre drive.

Along the way, you can stop over and read books at The Library of Innerpeffray, go wildlife watching at Highland Safaris and cycling at Comrie Croft. Even though this is a short route, there are lots of gas and EV charging stations that are open 24/7.

Pro tip:

When you’re in the library, allot at least an hour because there will be lots of old books, scripts and maps for you to explore with the guides or volunteers to help you out.

15. Glen Coe Route

Length: 39 kilometres

Start and End Point: Bridge of Orchy to Village of Glencoe

Glen Coe Route
Screenshot from Google Maps

Although Glencoe is mainly known as a site for mountaineering and hillwalking, you can still appreciate it by going on a 39-kilometre drive around it from the Bridge of Orchy to a town in this part of the Scottish Highlands.

To make the most of this road trip, stop by different attractions like Buachaille Etive Mòr and Loch Achtriochtan. There are a number of gas stations, restaurants and public toilets along the way as well.

Pro tip:

If you don’t want to climb to the top of the Buachaille Etive Mòr, you can appreciate the view from the small parking lot off the single track road.

Related topics