Guest Blog Series – This guest blog post highlighting Secret Scotland is written by VisitScotland National Tourism Organization. Read on to find out where they recommend you stop when road tripping around western Scotland.
The west of Scotland has it all: culture, castles, striking islands, seafood specialties, towering mountains and mystical lochs. In this Drive to Discover guide, you’ll take a scenic drive through western Scotland to see all the top sights for yourself and experience the irresistible charm of the locals at every stop.
Scotland’s biggest city is renowned for its style, energy and huge personality, so it’s the perfect place to start. Rent a car in Glasgow and explore the city’s fascinating museums and galleries, many of which are free, as well as stunning gothic architecture, so there’s plenty to keep you busy. Explore the city’s trendy West End for a spot of retail therapy with a selection of independent shops, and perhaps a bite to eat and a cocktail in the evening.
Next stop: 47 minutes
2. The Bonnie, Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond
Leave the city in your rear view mirror and drive towards the loch that inspired the famous Scottish song. Here, you can start to unwind with a spot of pampering at Cameron House, where you can indulge with a Michelin-star meal at Martin Wishart, a spa afternoon or a challenging round of golf on the 18-hole championship course. Embrace the fresh air – the loch is famed for its excellent hikes with rewarding climbs such as Ben Lomond, Ben A’an, and the Cobbler nearby.
Next stop: 1 hour & 37 minutes
3. Oban and The Isles
Dragging yourself away from Loch Lomond might be tricky, but there are islands, boat trips and many more adventures ahead! Upon arrival in Oban, leave the car behind and take a Calmac ferry across to the west coast’s blissful isles, including Mull, Iona and Staffa. Head back to the harbor town to sample some of Scotland’s freshest, quality seafood back in Oban.
Next stop: 4 hours & 14 minutes
4. The Black Cuillin, Isle of Skye
This exciting section of the road trip will take you past some spellbinding Highland landscapes before crossing over the bridge to the Isle of Skye. As you pass Fort William, take a little detour to see the steam train that took Harry Potter to Hogwarts at the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct.
When you reach the south of the isle, gaze out towards the misty Cuillin peaks which will help you understand why Skye’s name comes from the ancient Norse meaning ‘cloud island’. If you fancy exploring, please visit Walk Highlands for information about routes, and always check the conditions before you head out.
Next stop: 31 minutes
5. The Quiraing Loop, Isle of Skye
With sensible shoes and waterproofs at the ready, embrace the rugged misty features of the island – the Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr are each truly mesmerizing places to photograph and explore on foot. Reward a day of walking with a dram at the Talisker Distillery and enjoy the sweet tastes of the island’s full-bodied whisky.
Next stop: 1 hour & 34 minutes
6. Eilean Donan Castle at Dornie
When it’s finally time to start driving back, you can break up the drive to Glasgow with a couple more scenic sights. As you leave Skye, stop to admire one of Scotland’s most iconic castles, Eilean Donan Castle, situated on the shores of Loch Duich at the point where three sea lochs meet. You might have already seen it on a shortbread tin or a postcard!
Next stop: 1 hour & 52 minutes
7. The Three Sisters, Glencoe
As you continue south, visit one of the most striking and other-worldly places in Scotland. The A82 road through Glen Coe takes you through a deep valley carved out by glaciers. The sheer size of the valley ridges will make you feel tiny in comparison. Take a break at the visitor center for a cup of tea, and learn all about the infamous Massacre of Glencoe in 1692. From here, drive back to Glasgow and see if you can fit in a few more city attractions before you head home.
Next stop back to Glasgow airport: 2 hours & 6 minutes
Looking for additional road trip itineraries for the UK? Check out our other Drive to Discover guides where we explore the best places to visit in the United Kingdom including kid-friendly culture, scenic drives, and must-see sights east of London.
Pin this post to start planning your road trip in Scotland!
Thinking about coming to uncover secret Scotland? Then let VisitScotland inspire you! We’ve got plenty of travel tips and ideas on attractions, things to see and do, accommodation and much more! You can also chat to us in person at VisitScotland iCentres to help you plan a day out, short break or longer holiday. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or explore Scotland’s iKnow Community to chat with visitors and locals about how to have the very best experience in Scotland.
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