It’s not only about bagpipes, kilts and sheep. Scotland is a mystic land, a place to get lost through its wild nature and breathtaking landscapes: it’s the home of whisky and castles. And also the ideal destination for a road trip.
To visit Scotland on the road you should start from Edinburgh towards the Highlands, moving by car along the coasts of this unique and solitary-looking country. The emotions that Scotland leaves in its visitors’ hearts will guide you through its stunning lands.
No matter how many days you will have, this city has to be explored, since it adapts to any need. A visit requires at least two days, considering that you will spend some hours at Arthur’s Seat. This is the name of a very evocative place, located on the top of a hill which is reachable by a walk of about one hour from the city center. This experience is well worth doing, weather permitting, especially for the views that it offers.
Edinburgh is full of surprises, and for this reason, it is better to check it out by foot. Especially the Old Town will surprise you, with its medieval alleys leading to the famous Castle of Edinburgh. New Town’s luxury shops, West End’s artistic centres, the gardens’ view from Princes Street, and the shopping in Shandwick Place are just a few of the main attractions of the city.
In summer, Edinburgh organizes a lot of different festivals, such as the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh Jazz e Blues Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They colour the city’s streets with a lot of movement and performers from all over the world.
The town of Stirling is the first stop of our road trip, located about 50 kilometres northwest of Edinburgh. This typical town boasts a beautiful old centre, and it features a scenic castle, one of the largest in the country. In this borough, you may also sit down in one of the several pubs and restaurants.
You can choose among 120 varieties of malt whisky at the Curly Coo Bar. While if you prefer craft beer, you can try the BrewDog pub, one of the best brands of Scotland! If you are looking for a strictly-Scottish culinary experience, then taste the menu at Brea Restaurant. If you’d like some Indian flavour instead, which is nowadays widespread all over the country, try the delicacies of the Nawab restaurant.
Curly Coo Bar
51 Barnton St, Stirling FK8 1HH, UK
+44 1786 447191
7 Baker St, Stirling FK8 1BJ, UK
+44 1786 440043
5 Baker St, Stirling FK8 1BJ, UK
+44 1786 446277
50 Upper Craigs, Stirling FK8 2DS, UK
+44 1786 470999
Let’s move from Stirling to the north, towards the Isle of Skye. There are two can’t-miss stops on the way. The first one is Glencoe, a place where nature shapes a wild and surreal landscape, characterized by enchanting colours. The second one is Fort William, a lake town considered the UK capital of outdoor activities.
Once you reach the Isle of Skye through the short Skye Bridge, you will advance to an amazing land, where it feels like time has stopped. Ocean cliffs, odd-shaped mountains and endless grasslands make this island a mandatory destination during your road trip in Scotland.
Coming back ashore, the trip continues through back roads towards a small town up north named Ullapool. A coastal route proceeds from here on out through small and tortuous roads, where your eyes might enjoy one of the greatest natural paradises ever. These are the Highlands, considered to be the most suggestive part of Scotland.
This journey through ruined castles, fairy little lakes and giant cliffs will forever remain within your hearth, so take your time and enjoy it slowly. The coastal route is an only0one road, so it’s a very easy way to go; it is also worth using all the day in order to make many stops.
Once you get to Thurso, the most northerly town in Great Britain, you can quickly start going south along the east coast. The latter is definitely less attractive than the opposite coast, but it has impressive points of interest too. Along the way to Inverness, it is worth making a stop to admire the fascinating Dunrobin Castle, overlooking the ocean.
Inverness is a city known for the proximity to Loch Ness, the mysterious lake where the legendary monster lives. But this lovely town is also the perfect place where to enjoy some gastronomic experience. The Kitchen restaurant on the riverfront serves a delicious gourmet version of the Haggis, the traditional Scottish pudding.
5 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5PR, UK
+44 1463 259119
Many distilleries of scotch whisky can be found on the way between Inverness and Aberdeen, offering guided and tasting tours. The Glenfiddich Distillery and The Glenlivet Distillery Brand Home are among the most renowned.
Aberdeen is an industrial city on the east coast which doesn’t offer many tourist attractions. Still, it is surrounded by wonderful beaches, and by 30 golf courses, which make the area a golf lovers’ dream! A little further south there is one of the most stunning castles of Scotland: the Dunnottar Castle. It stands on a little peninsula overlooking the ocean, which gives it a very particular charm.
Dufftown, Keith AB55 4DH, UK
+44 1340 820373
The Glenlivet Distillery Brand Home
Castleton Of Blairfindy, Glenlivet AB37 9DB, UK
+44 1340 821720
Our road trip across Scotland ends in Saint Andrews, a university town on the coast, northeast of Edinburgh. As for Aberdeen, it is known worldwide as the home of golf, but it has an enchanting old town too, which evokes its ancient traditions.
The region just below Saint Andrews is called East Neuk and it’s characterized by lovely seafaring villages. Here you can taste the authentic traditions of the local fishermen: in particular the Anstruther Fish Bar, in the Anstruther village, serves the best fish & chips in Scotland!
Anstruther Fish Bar
42 – 44 Shore St, Anstruther KY10 3AQ, UK
+44 1333 310518