10 Scotland Highway Journey Tricks to Know Earlier than You Go

A beautiful blue sky over the rugged highlands of Scotland on a road trip
Posted: 5/23/24 | Might twenty third, 2024

Scotland is a rugged and delightful nation that’s excellent for exploring on a street journey. The craggy coasts, placid lochs, and rolling hills make it a dream to find. There are numerous historic castles, iconic distilleries, and postcard-perfect islands at your fingertips.

I completely love Scotland. It’s stunningly stunning and I can by no means get sufficient of the numerous altering landscapes, Scotch distilleries, and heat, welcoming locals.

Having been to Scotland over a handful of occasions within the final decade, I feel taking a street journey is the easiest way to discover the nation. Residence to only 5.5 million folks, it’s a sparsely populated land, a lot of your driving right here will likely be out within the countryside. The nation is simply constructed for it.

However there are nonetheless just a few issues to remember earlier than you depart.

Listed here are 10 Scotland road-trip ideas (plus my favourite routes) to assist make your drive higher, safer, and extra enjoyable (primarily based on my expertise no less than):


1. Get Journey Insurance coverage

I by no means go away house with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means lease a automotive with out complete insurance coverage both.

I do know, it’s an added expense. And likelihood is you gained’t even want it.

However what occurs in case you do want it and it’s not there? You’ll be paying out of pocket for injury. And that would value you 1000’s.

Scotland has numerous slender, rugged, or single-track roads (extra on these later) that may be difficult to navigate. Tire and windshield injury is frequent. Throw within the ever-changing climate, and also you’ve acquired recipe for bother.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to take out automotive insurance coverage on your street journey. The peace of thoughts is value it.

In terms of renting a automotive, I like to recommend Uncover Automobiles. While you ebook, it’s simple so as to add automotive insurance coverage onto your buy with the press of a button. The positioning makes it clear what is roofed and the way a lot it prices.

You should use the widget beneath to get a quote. It’s quick and free:


2. Hire the Proper Automobile

You basically have two decisions in terms of renting a automobile in Scotland — and selection will drastically affect your journey. Your choices are a automotive or a campervan.

A automotive will likely be cheaper and use much less gasoline, however you’ll have to seek out lodging every night time. A campervan/RV will likely be more cash and require extra gas, however you’ll be able to sleep contained in the automobile and thus get monetary savings on lodging. (It’s not my jam however to every their very own.)

Each choices make for an incredible journey, so there isn’t a improper reply. Simply remember that guide transmissions are the default in Scotland, so if you would like a automobile with computerized transmission, you’ll have to specify that whereas reserving.

3. Be Able to Drive on the Left

Site visitors in Scotland flows on the left, identical to the remainder of the UK. That is the alternative of the US, Canada, and the vast majority of Europe (solely Eire, the UK, Malta, and Cyprus drive on the left in Europe).

Should you lease a guide automobile, you’ll be switching gears along with your left hand as a substitute of your proper, which has a little bit of a studying curve. (Personally, I desire an computerized).

Previous habits die laborious, so in case you’re used to driving on the right-hand aspect of the street, drive cautiously. Driving on the left could be particularly difficult if you arrive at a roundabout (extra on that beneath) or in a metropolis. Take it sluggish at first, till you alter.

4. Perceive Roundabouts

Roundabouts are a site visitors circles that function intersections, as a substitute of cease lights or cease indicators. They drive autos to decelerate with out stopping the movement of site visitors. Whereas they aren’t particularly frequent within the US, they’re extremely well-liked in Europe (they scale back severe site visitors accidents by upwards of 90%).

Roundabouts are quite common in Scotland. And so they movement in the wrong way (clockwise) than do these within the US (counterclockwise). When approaching a roundabout, decelerate drastically and yield to site visitors within the roundabout till you will have a gap to enter the site visitors circle. All site visitors flows the identical path in a roundabout.

If there are a number of lanes, you’ll should be on an outer lane when exiting. The inside lane of the roundabout is for automobiles not exiting instantly.

While you’re able to exit the roundabout, sign so automobiles behind you realize you may be turning.

Should you’re not comfy if you arrive at a roundabout, simply take it sluggish and sign your intentions. They’re much simpler to deal with than you suppose!

5. Know the Pace Limits

Posted velocity limits in Scotland are written in miles. Whereas that is useful for People like me, vacationers from international locations that use kilometers will need to pay additional consideration.

Frequent velocity limits are:

  • Constructed-up areas: 30 MPH
  • Single roadways: 60 MPH
  • Twin roadways: 70 MPH
  • Highways: 70 MPH

These numbers are simply guides, nevertheless. At all times comply with native signage to make sure security. When doubtful, it’s all the time higher to go slower slightly than sooner till you confirm the velocity. I’d write down some frequent conversions so you’ll be able to have them useful in case you get confused.

6. Add in Time for Scenic Stops

I do know a variety of vacationers like to essentially plan out their routes and itineraries. While you solely have just a few days, it may be tempting to plan all the things to a T (I used to do that loads). Nonetheless, there are many diversions to discover in Scotland, from quaint cities to scenic vistas to brief hikes.

You’re going to need to pull over each couple of minutes for a vista, mountain, loch, or deserted fort. The panorama is so stunning that even the typical sights are Insta-worthy. For that purpose, construct in buffer time in your itinerary in order that, in case you resolve to cease or take slightly diversion, you’ll have the time. I can’t advocate this sufficient. Generally, the perfect elements of a visit are those you stumble into. And also you undoubtedly don’t need to be dashing from sight to sight both, so plan to be diverted.

7. Obtain the Proper Apps

I do know, if you head out on a street journey, the purpose is to get away out of your cellphone so you’ll be able to benefit from the native tradition and beautiful views. Nonetheless, there are many apps on the market that may enable you get monetary savings, keep protected, and save time. Everybody road-tripping round Scotland ought to have the next apps downloaded to their cellphone:

  • Met Climate – That is the perfect climate app for the UK. Situations can change drastically in Scotland, so plan accordingly.
  • Google Maps – The most effective app for wanting up instructions. Be certain that to obtain your maps so you will have them for offline use.
  • Park4Night – A useful app for locating spots to park on your RV or campervan (together with free ones).
  • Flush – A useful app for locating public restrooms.
  • Petrol Costs – An app for locating and evaluating close by gasoline costs for when you must refuel.

8. Deliver a Paper Map

Each time I’m going on a street journey, I all the time deliver a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is simple and free, and cell information protection in Scotland is mostly dependable. But it surely’s higher to be protected than sorry. You by no means know when your cellphone goes to interrupt, in case your sign will likely be misplaced (more likely to occur in case you’re driving via distant areas), or if there will likely be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: deliver a paper street map, and simply go away it within the glove field. You seemingly gained’t want it, however in case you do, you’ll be glad you will have it (they make good souvenirs after a visit too).

9. Perceive How you can Drive on Single-Monitor Roads

When you get out of the cities, chances are you’ll encounter single-track roads. These are basically two-way roads that solely have area for one automobile. Which means in case you encounter oncoming site visitors, there isn’t a room so that you can cross each other.

Luckily, these roads normally have passing areas constructed into them at common intervals, permitting automobiles to drag over to make room. Reap the benefits of these if you see site visitors coming, so that you could simply cross each other.

Moreover, take it sluggish round corners on single-track roads. Accidents can happen right here as a result of you’ll be able to’t see oncoming site visitors (with whom you’re sharing a lane). So, drive slowly, and all the time be ready to cease.

Lastly, remember that many single-track roads are a bit rugged. Blowing a tire can occur simply, particularly in case you’re pulling off to the aspect to make room for passing autos. For that purpose, be sure to have a spare tire and that you simply even have insurance coverage protection on your tires, simply to be protected.

10. Don’t Rush

Whereas Scotland isn’t big, there are nonetheless a variety of issues see and do right here. It could be tempting to hurry, so you’ll be able to pack extra into your itinerary, however I strongly encourage you to not accomplish that. High quality, not amount, is the secret. I’ve been on numerous street journeys around the globe, and slower is all the time higher. Meaning driving much less and spending extra time at every cease. Do this, and also you’ll have the ability to soak in much more of Scotland’s distinctive tradition.

Moreover, likelihood is you’ll be driving on a variety of smaller, winding roads right here, typically surrounded by ambling cattle to be careful for. Meaning, for security causes, you’ll have to decelerate and actually concentrate on the drive. Admire the sights, go away room for spontaneous detours, and neglect about dashing from sight to sight. You gained’t remorse it!

Instructed Routes

There are just a few well-liked street journey routes in Scotland. They every provide various things to see and do, and every require totally different quantities of time to finish. To benefit from your time, choose the route that most closely fits your journey pursuits.

Right here’s a fast take a look at just a few of the perfect street journey routes in Scotland:

North Coast 500 – That is in all probability the preferred street journey route within the nation. It loops across the northern tip of Scotland, normally beginning and ending in Inverness. Widespread stops embrace Bealach na Bà, Cape Wrath, Smoo Cave, John o’ Groats, and Dunrobin Fort.

You’ll need no less than 5 days, although seven days can be preferable. Simply remember that it could actually get busy in the summertime.

Edinburgh/Glasgow to Glen Coe – Glen Coe is a picturesque valley within the Highlands that’s each a Nationwide Scenic Space and Nationwide Nature Reserve. It’s a well-liked spot for photographers and hikers, and a must-visit location for anybody exploring the Highlands.

Glen Coe is simply 2-2.5 hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it a simple day journey (although I recommend stopping in a single day, so you’ll be able to actually take in the views). It’s additionally part of a number of street journey routes, together with the Argyll Coastal Route (listed subsequent).

Argyll Coastal Route – This route alongside the west coast of Scotland stretches for 129 miles (208 kilometers), from Loch Lomond to Fort Williams. It’s an important different to the North Coast 500, because it’s much less well-liked (and thus much less crowded). Widespread stops alongside this route embrace the Inveraray Jail, the cairns of Kilmartin Glen, Glen Coe, and Ben Nevis.

Whilst you might simply drive the space in a single day, plan to spend no less than three days. That gives you time to see the highlights with out dashing.

Highlands Vacationer Route – Slicing throughout the japanese aspect of the nation, from Aberdeen to Inverness, this route is a well-liked alternative for historical past buffs, as there are quite a few fort and museum stops, in addition to the location of the final battle on British soil, the Battle of Culloden (1746).

The route is simply 116 miles (187 kilometers), however no less than three days are wanted to take all of it in.

Scotland Highway Journey FAQ

A rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road tripA rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road trip
How lengthy do you want for a Scotland street journey?
Ideally, no less than 5-7 days. Clearly, the size will rely in your itinerary, however that could be a stable begin.

Should you choose a shorter route or simply need to do a weekend street journey to camp, three days will suffice.

What’s the most scenic drive in Scotland?
Among the most scenic drives in Scotland embrace the Argyll Coastal Route, your complete North Coast 500, and the Highlands Vacationer Route.

Is driving in Scotland tough?
Whereas driving within the cities is usually a ache, when you get out into the countryside, it is vitally simple. Simply use warning on single-track roads and in roundabouts — and keep in mind that you must drive on the left!

Are you able to drive onto the Isle of Skye?
Yep! It’s linked to the mainland by way of a bridge.

What’s the finest month for a Scotland street journey?
Typically, April-October is the perfect time to go to. Personally, I just like the autumn, as you’ll get to see the altering leaves. It gained’t be as heat, however costs will likely be decrease and all the things will likely be much less busy.


Scotland is a gorgeous vacation spot and ideal for street journeys. With beautiful surroundings, historic sights, plentiful mountain climbing alternatives, and attainable Loch Ness monster sightings, I feel renting a automotive to discover is the easiest way to expertise the nation. Whether or not you need to uncover the rugged coast or weave in regards to the Highlands, having a automotive or campervan will make it each attainable and inexpensive. Simply comply with the ideas above and also you’ll you’ll want to have an incredible time!


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Guide Your Journey to Scotland: Logistical Ideas and Methods

Guide Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You possibly can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and finest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost inns.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage protects you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes improper. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions up to now. My favourite corporations that provide the perfect service and worth are:

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Try my useful resource web page for the perfect corporations to make use of if you journey. I listing all those I exploit to save cash once I’m on the street. They are going to prevent cash if you journey too.

Need Extra Info on Scotland?
Make sure to go to our strong vacation spot information on Scotland for much more planning ideas!

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