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Buachaille Etive Mor - The road to Glen Coe

7-Day Scotland Road Trips: Itinerary Ideas from Local Experts

Last Updated: 08/04/2024

A week in Scotland reveals a land of ancient castles, rugged glens, and dramatic coastlines. And there’s no better way for you to experience the country’s beguiling history and natural beauty than by car.

A self-drive tour in Scotland gives you the freedom to explore the astonishing array of attractions at your leisure. On a 7-day Scotland road trip itinerary, you can pack in the best that the country offers, including the charming city of Edinburgh and the breathtaking landscapes of the Highlands.

Read on to discover expert itineraries for an unforgettable journey. From the elegant capital to picturesque lochs and fishing villages, we share local tips on what you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Scotland.

Valley view below the mountains of Glen Coe

1. The classic Scotland itinerary: 7 days in the Scottish Highlands

One of the best ways to spend a week in Scotland is on this classic Highland tour. On this road trip itinerary, indulge in a truly Scottish blend of history and nature, passing castles, waterfalls, and medieval ruins.

What’s the drive like?

On this drive, take in Scotland’s cultural treasures, enthralling Highland scenes, and the most incredible sights along the way. You will cover an average of 113 miles (181 kilometres) a day, giving you plenty of time to explore all the country’s most captivating places.

Day 1 – Edinburgh

Begin and end your trip in the ancient city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s alluring capital. Take the time to stroll through the Old Town and up the Royal Mile. Don’t miss Edinburgh Castle, the fascinating residence of Scotland’s kings and queens of old.

Day 2 – Edinburgh to Inverness

Hop into your rental car and head north towards the Highlands. Pass the 13th-century Blair Castle and the delightful villages of Pitlochry and Dunkeld. Then, venture through the Cairngorms National Park, where you’ll find some of Britain’s highest mountains.

Around Inverness, “the capital of the Highlands”, battlefields and prehistoric burial sites await you.

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness at sunset

Day 3 – Inverness to Fort William

Spend the morning spotting dolphins in the waters of the Moray Firth. Then catch a glimpse of Nessie, the elusive local monster, as you drive south along Loch Ness.

Traverse the heart of the Highlands on the way to Fort William. Pass the ruins of Urquhart Castle, the home of the powerful Earls of Ross, or take a detour to Glen Affric, one of Scotland’s untouched valleys.

Day 4 – Fort William

The day is yours to delight in the Fort William area. Visit the monumental Glenfinnan Viaduct or get your walking boots on and venture into Glen Nevis, with its waterfalls and iconic Highland landscapes.

Feeling adventurous? Why not use the day to explore the Isle of Skye? The imposing Eilean Donan Castle, the ravishing beauty of the Cuillin hills, and the pristine town of Portree are worth the longer drive.

Sunrise at Glen Coe

Day 5 – Fort William to the Trossachs

Journey south from Fort William through Glen Coe, a beautiful backdrop where historic Highland battles took place, and into the Trossachs National Park.

Today, Scotland shows off its natural drama, with expansive lochs and soaring mountain peaks. Don’t miss the Falls of Dochart in Killin, one of Scotland’s most charming villages.

Day 6 – The Trossachs to Edinburgh

Return at your own pace to Edinburgh. There’s so much to see along the way, including the bonnie (“pretty”) Loch Lomond.

Stop by Doune Castle, an evocative medieval ruin. Or visit Stirling Castle, the childhood home of Mary, Queen of Scots. This is one of Scotland’s best-preserved castles, set in a fascinating historical city.

Day 7 – Depart from Scotland

Spend the final day of your tour exploring the hidden corners of Edinburgh – or pick up any final souvenirs before your journey home.

Road trip in Scotland in winter

2. Experience winter in Scotland: driving itinerary

Visiting Scotland in winter reveals the full romance of the country. Enjoy snow-dusted mountain peaks, the crackling of fireplaces, and the warmth of Scottish hospitality on this 7-day itinerary designed with winter in mind.

What’s the drive like?

The drive takes you beneath snow-capped hills, through frosty glens, and into the romantic heart of the wintry Highlands. Scottish roads are well-maintained and easily navigable even in winter, while the views are perhaps even more beautiful than ever.

You will drive for no more than 2 hours a day, giving you plenty of time for adventures.

Day 1 – Arrive in Edinburgh

Your 7 days in Scotland start in Edinburgh. Discover the wintry romance of this entrancing city or nestle down in an iconic Scottish pub.

Day 2 – Edinburgh

Marvel at Edinburgh in all its wintry glory, surrounded by frosted hills, such as the iconic Arthur’s Seat. Today, a stroll up the Royal Mile is a must, from the modern architecture of the Scottish Parliament to Edinburgh Castle. It’s a perfect way to explore Edinburgh’s serene Old Town.

Winter in Edinburgh, Scotland

Day 3 – Edinburgh to St Andrews and Perthshire

Rent a car and set off into the old Scottish kingdom of Fife. Explore the fishing villages of Elie and Anstruther, before falling for the dreamy university town of St Andrews, with its ruins and coastal walks.

Drive onwards to Dunkeld, an enchanting village on the River Tay, where you can spend the night.

Day 4 – Perthshire to Fort William

Buckle up and head out into the Highlands. Visit the Victorian town of Pitlochry before passing through the Cairngorms, Britain’s last great wilderness. Photo opportunities abound, with wintry waterfalls and gorges, Highland cows, and the well-preserved ruins of the Ruthven Barracks.

If there is time before reaching Fort William, why not visit Glenfinnan? Glimpse the mysterious beauty of Loch Shiel, with its monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish winter

Day 5 – Fort William to Loch Lomond

From Fort William, explore one of the most impressive corners of the Highlands. Stop to see the magical Three Sisters of Glen Coe, an unforgettable winter Highland view. Then, driving south to the Trossachs, find comfort in the tranquil villages of Inveraray and Luss.

Day 6 – Return to Edinburgh

Return to Edinburgh, but not before exploring the wintry wonders of the Trossachs National Park. Enjoy stops at Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle, before dropping off your rental car in the capital. The night is yours to enjoy a dram of whisky or a fine meal.

Day 7 – Depart from Scotland

On your final day in Scotland, revisit your favourite sights or discover the city’s locations that inspired Harry Potter.

Doune Castle, an Outlander filming location

3. The Outlander Trail: A Scotland road trip itinerary

Follow in the footsteps of Jamie and Claire, the heroes of the television series Outlander. In this 7-day road trip itinerary, Scotland’s capital will greet you, before you venture north to discover some of the most famous sights from the series.

What’s the drive like?

This driving itinerary shows you the variety of Scotland’s attractions through the eyes of Outlander. Covering an average of 114 miles (183 kilometres) a day, you will see all the series’ authentic locations without a hurry.

Day 1 – Arrive in Edinburgh

Welcome to Scotland. Check in to your hotel before soaking up the delights and Gothic sights of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Day 2 – Edinburgh

Today, you’ll have lots of time to get to know the city. Make sure to visit Holyrood Palace, King Charles III’s residence in Scotland and one of the most important Outlander filming locations in town. Don’t skip the Signet Library or the World’s End pub, visited by Jamie and Claire.

Culross village, filming location of Outlander in Scotland
Culross village ©VisitScotland

Day 3 – Edinburgh to Fife

Pick up your rental car and continue on the Outlander trail. Stop off at Hopetoun House, familiar as the Duke of Sandringham’s house, and on to Blackness Castle, that is Fort William in the show.

Cross the World Heritage Site, the Forth Bridge, into Fife, and visit Culross and Falkland, two delightful villages that feature in the series.

Day 4 – Fife to Inverness

Stride out into the Highlands, past the village of Dunkeld and the 13th-century Blair Castle. When arriving in Inverness, don’t miss Culloden Moor, the site of the battle in which Jamie fights for Scotland. Nearby, the ancient cemetery of Clava Cairns was the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun.

Culloden Battlefield in Scotland

Day 5 – Inverness to Fort William

From Inverness, be sure to visit the ruins of the atmospheric 13th-century Beauly Priory, where Claire meets Maisri the Seer. Take a detour to reach Glen Affric, a photogenic valley that encapsulates the show’s Highland beauty, then set out south towards Fort William.

Day 6 – Through the Trossachs to Edinburgh

Return to Edinburgh through Glen Coe and the magical Trossachs National Park. On your way, check out the location of Castle Leoch in the series, Doune Castle.

Day 7 – Depart from Edinburgh

It’s time to say goodbye to Scotland and the world of Outlander. See more of the capital before you journey home.

Plan your Scotland road trip

Magical landscapes and must-see sights await you in Scotland. Ready to explore?

Book your Scotland self-drive package with Nordic Visitor and you’ll benefit from local knowledge and expert advice. You’ll have a dedicated travel consultant to take care of planning your route and arranging your car rental, accommodation, activities and more.

Plus, there will always be a travel expert available 24/7 throughout your trip for any guidance or support.

If you’d prefer a guided tour, we can book that too. With private or small group tours, our local guides can share all the secrets of Scotland with you.

Whichever route you choose, our local experts can help turn your favourite 7-day Scotland road trip itinerary into a reality. Get in touch with us to start planning your Scottish driving tour. 

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Post by: Emma Gillies

Wanderlust has taken Emma across much of the world, but it was Scotland that she made her adopted home. Aside from enjoying countryside walks, campervan weekends and gigs in Glasgow, you’ll often find her writing about European travel and plotting her next trip.

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Getting there

We'd love to give you the same amazing travel experiences as you read about in our blog! To visit the destinations and attractions mentioned in this post - and to discover a few new highlights along the way - check out these recommended Nordic Visitor tours.