12 Best places to Visit in Scotland by car

Best places to visit in scotland by car
indianabones / Pixabay

Scotland is one of the best countries for the greatest adventures, with a lot to offer, like beautiful beaches, rivers, mountains, highlands, castles, lighthouses, and a lot more. Below are the 12 best places to visit in Scotland by car, keeping in mind the idea of the road trip and casual exploration.

Nowadays, couples travel to beach destinations like Bali, Bangkok, and the Maldives. People love water and the ocean because of their tranquillity, but the most attractive thing is all of nature, which can make any vacation more adventurous, wholesome, and magical. Visiting Scotland is the ideal destination, largely due to the fairy tale castles where the princesses may have unintentionally met their prince charming.

1. Why Scotland is Best for Road Trips?

The Scottish highlands having the lighthouses in the middle of the wilderness, has pure romance for a pair and a Gothic vibe for the loner, as one can experience only in movies and books; it would be such a thrill to experience it for real through a road trip.

Here are some of the places to visit in Scotland by car, which is just the perfect destination for lovers of literature, history, and mythology. In general, it also has a lot to offer to an adventure seeker in terms of experience, vibe, and inspiration.

Road trips in Scotland can be made by booking tour buses in advance, thus having a chance to know about places through a native tourist guide or by hiring a rental car.

2. Places to Visit in Scotland by Car

Scotland road trip
Barni1 / Pixabay. Copyright 2015

2.1. Caledonian Canal

There are so many hotels for stay in Edinburgh, and from their tour, buses can be booked in advance, or rental cars can be taken to begin the road trip to the Caledonian canal, which is a very popular scenic spot for visitors the North of Fort William.

The place is very quiet with a low population, still water, chirping of birds, and fresh air to breathe. On the way, before landing here, you might come across Callander, a small town with a popular stoppage with coffee shops and bakeries so that traveling won’t drive you to feel hungry.

2.2. Mallaig

This is the beautiful harbor where treats like boat trips can be enjoyed along with the road trip; Mallaig is a fishing spot where much quality time can be spent in peace.

The highlight of the area is “the steam train,” which was featured in the harry potter movie; the train can be booked for driving, but in advance only, all the Harry Potter fans head along to Glenfinnan Viaduct to watch the passing steam train view. This spot is really popular due to the famous Jacobite steam train.

Mallaig Harbour, Mallaig, UK
Photo by Sergey Konstantinov on Unsplash. Copyright 2022

Besides the main spots, the scenic route keeps displaying beautiful views of nature that keep appearing on the way to these places, and doing a road trip by car is advantageous because you can step down and enjoy the view and explore the area of your choice even if that wasn’t there in your checklist. After all, that’s the whole joy of doing a road trip.

The scent of the river and the freshness of the air gives a great amount of satisfaction and a soulful experience. The coastline of Mallaig consists of mountains which are remains of magma and is called the “necklace of volcanoes.”

2.3. Laggan Dam

Pine forests surround Laggan Dam, and the view of the water on both sides makes it a tranquil site. Such a huge dam existing peacefully in the lap of nature creates such a surreal picture that it can give rise to suppressed emotions to pen it down. The place can inspire artists to create something of extraordinary quality.

2.4. Pitlochry

Pitlochry is a small town with great walking adventures to have around, and there are bakery shops selling traditional Scottish sweets and much more treats like this.

Moulin has a church and huge restaurants painted in white on the edge of the town, and the view of the town is just something movie-like or dreamlike. In the core of my heart, it feels like movie directors might have shot scenes here; the route leading to the main destination is scenic, showcasing hills and green landscapes on both sides of the road.

2.5. Loch Ness

Inverness lies one of the historical castles in the capital city, Urquhart, which is in a ruined state and was a symbol of Scott’s struggle for independence in ancient times; the building has many war marks recalling the historical events which might have taken place.

The other good thing is that it is situated in the Scottish highland loch ness, a green beauty; the land is silken with luscious grassland all over, fabulous landscapes, and crystal clear water; the area is rich in nature and folktales.

The other side of the city has Victoria street, and the downtown is filled with restaurants, shopping malls, and gaming spots with colors, people, activity, and mouth-watering dishes. It gives a pure city vibe with a lot going on.

2.6. Golspie village

Sutherland district is the largest in the northern highlands; Golspie village is situated on the east coast of the highlands where the famous Dunrobin castle exists, which has undergone several transformations from being a boarding school to a tourist destination.

The castle has a huge well-designed garden having fountains on all four sides and a museum that contains the remains of animals hunted in ancient times to show off power; the place can be visited between April to October only.

There have been castles in Scotland that have remained untouched, thus purely releasing ancient energy, but this is not one of those. The transformative fact about Dunrobin castle makes it more interesting.

2.7. Loch Lomond

The lake is named after the area under Trossachs national park, which is full of amazing wildlife. Scotland is known as one of the wettest countries in Europe, where anytime weather can take a U-turn, so while planning a road trip, carry the essentials to protect yourself from the sudden occurrence of rain and clouds.

The area has mountains and hills for hiking, river for swimming, and castles to explore, like Inverary and Kilchurn castle. Still, the entry can be made with tickets only, other than that the area which should be noticed is the ancient Luss village with its stone cottages and sheep grazing all over it.

2.8. Isle of Skye

It is among the largest islands on the north coast of Scotland and has been observed in the traveler’s checklist of places due to there adventure sport it has to offer.

The landscape used to be almost regular and grassy green in the earlier spots. Still, the isle of Skye is known for its irregular land surrounded by huge uneven rocks, they somewhat look like Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, and the grass is mostly reddish brown giving the place a perfect dramatic look without filters.

There lies a fairy pool that is believed to have been visited by real fairies, the middle age castle, namely Eilean Donan, and an abandoned lighthouse are the building attraction adding the correct amount of aesthetic to the place. This aesthetic place could be considered among the places to visit in Scotland by car.

Isle of Skye

Adam Gavlak / Unsplash. Copyright 2020

If you want to enjoy a boat trip, fishing, and a view of dolphins and sharks, you must go to Portree, a central village of the Isle of Skye.

2.9. Fort William

Fort William has all the essentials to make your road trip smoother; it is a city where cafes and good food can be found easily, it has lodgings for accommodations, and tour buses can be booked because local tour guides are more experienced with travelling and storytelling.

The place highlighted to visit is the Neptune staircase which is believed to be the longest in Scotland. Through the route of Glen Etive road, Glencoe village can be visited, which is very famous because of the infamous incident of the massacre of members of clan MacDonald by members of clan Campbell, the incident sure isn’t beautiful, but the village has breath-taking views to offer.

2.10. Fort George

Fort George is one of the historic sites of Scotland, which was built to strengthen the military power after battling Culloden; Fort George is a classic star-shaped fort situated beside river Ness which was strategically supportive of the purpose of strengthening the military because of the easier navy approaches.

Audio guides are available for a detailed tour of the huge fort, and near the powerful structure lies the Culloden battlefield, where the battle has taken place. Another place that can be visited during a road trip is Cawdor castle, and visitors generally visit to take a look at the sunset from the lighthouse at Chanonry Point, till now you must have realized that the beautiful country of Scotland is home to castles, lighthouses, and highlands.

2.11. Inverness

The city of Inverness is going to be the heart of your road trip because this is the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. The places of attraction here are named mostly after the city, like Inverness castle, Inverness Cathedral, Inverness museum, and art gallery. And another place worth visiting is Cairngorms National park if you love animals, mostly reindeer.

Still never running out of castles, the castle of attraction here is Dunnottar castle which stands lonely on the edge of the mountain and structure looks like a building held above a big piece of rock surrounded by water from all sides; the view of the castle and from the castle is jaw-dropping, unique, and worth visiting.

Many castles lay on the highlands surrounded by greenery or situated between the city, but Dunnottar castle has a magical view.

2.12. Edinburgh Castle

The capital of Scotland Castle Edinburgh, and the city is rich in terms of ancient and medieval history with a lot of structure telling the tales of the past.

Edinburgh castle is one of those historic castles about which it is claimed that people settled and lived here from the iron age, the structure stands tall on the hill, and it is said to be the most visited place in Scotland by tourists.

The place is said to be wealthier in terms of history and folktales because of the several roles it has been playing from the time of its existence; it used to be a royal residence, a military base, and then a prison house.

Inside the castle is a rock on which the early medieval poem “The Gododdin” is written when Romans had made it their settlement. The upper side of the building gives a beautiful view of the city of Edinburgh.

3. How to Make a Road Trip More Interesting in Scottish Highlands?

Places to visit in Scotland by car are advantageous simply because road trips should be about something other than making a checklist of places and visiting only when you are in Scotland. Still, you can have your own experience of places by camping in the highlands or mountains.

Going to towns, villages, or sites appears on the way intentionally, no matter if it has never been on your checklist or if it’s not that popular, because unplanned surprises are no less than blessings, and they can be found if looked for.

Exploration should be the main purpose of road trips because the joy of exploring fills the traveler with unique experiences and information that might not be found on the internet.

4. Takeaways

Scotland is one of those European countries where rain shower is as common as sunrise and sunset. Before beginning the road trip, be prepared with the essentials like a camp tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils, raincoat, boots, and camera equipment for photography and videography.  These 12 places to visit in Scotland by car would come handy for your road trip. If you like writing, you can carry a diary to note down unique events and experiences because once you begin the road trip, you will experience a magical journey.


  • Mariya Mukhtar

    I am Mariya, I have a post graduation degree in english literature and fiction interests me the most, beside reading I write poetry, book reviews, and articles on various topics.


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