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Top 5 Scenic Drives in Scotland

The best way to enjoy Scotland’s spectacular scenery and winding roads is in a car. These are our picks for the top 5 scenic drives in Scotland.

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Scenic drive in Scotland Glencoe

If you want to experience Scotlands spectacular scenery then choosing one of, or all of, our top 5 scenic drives in Scotland is the way to do it. We often jump in a car and head away from Edinburgh for a long weekend.

Whether it is north through the Scottish Highlands to the Isle of Skye or west to the rugged Atlantic coastline there is so much to see. Ruined castles, jagged mountainsides and empty fields as far as the eye can see will greet you on your travels.

And with very little traffic you won’t feel any pressure from other motorists and can take it all in at a slow pace.

So grab a coffee, some roadside picnic goodies, hire a car in the UK and get started on the top 5 scenic drives in Scotland. You might even get lucky and see one of these cute wee Highland Cows

Cute Highland Cow pictures

Top 5 scenic drives in Scotland


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Glasgow to Oban

While driving in Glasgow is nothing to write home about, the scenery to the northwest is. Head north along the A82 towards Loch Lomond. This should also be the first stop on your journey.

There are plenty of roadside bays for taking pictures and admiring the views at the foothills of the Scottish Highlands. And it is around here that you will enter Loch Lomond and the Trossochs National Park. There are lots of mountain biking and hiking trails running through these hills so take your time!

After buggering yourself from your adventures, continue north before turning west onto the A85. Slicing through the rugged terrain this winding road will eventually spit you out onto the coastal roads above Oban. One of our favourite towns in the whole of Scotland.

Top 5 scenic drives in Scotland

Edinburgh to Berwick-Upon-Tweed


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The coastal route between Edinburgh and the northeast of England can be very dull and dreary if you stick to the A1. Instead of driving in straight-lines why not get off the main road and duck and dive between the cutest villages overlooking the North Sea.

While considerably longer, it is a lot more fun and beautiful.

Get out of Edinburgh towards Musselburgh via the A199 or A1. What you are looking for is the much more scenic A198 which will deliver you through Dirleton and on past North Berwick. The best sights along the way are two of the finest Castles in Scotland, Dirleton Castle and Tantallon Castle.

Both castle are mostly in ruins but are open to visitors.

Jump back on the A1 for a short blast before diving off onto the A1107 towards Eyemouth. The perfect place to stop for your lunch overlooking a very cute coastal village and rocky shoreline. And from here it’s not far to the border of England and Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

Top 5 scenic drives in Scotland

Isle of Skye


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While we have shown a circular route for the Isle of Skye, there is really no wrong or right route here. All of the Isle of Skye is fantastic to drive around.

If you have a few days to spend in the Isle of Skye, which you should definitely make time for, then our only recommendations are to keep your driving distances short and get out of the car.

There are so many hiking trails around the Isle of Skye, like the Fairy Pools below, that will keep you busy for most of your visit.

Top 5 scenic drives in Scotland

Isle of Arran


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The Isle of Arran has some of the best mountain biking trails in the whole of Scotland. It is just a little harder to get to than some of the other spots around. Crossing over the Firth of Clyde on the ferry is the only option and you really do want a car to explore the coastal route.

Disembarking the ferry head south on the A841 (one of the only roads on the Isle of Arran) and spend the evening around Whiting Bay. There are lots of Bed and Breakfasts to choose from along the shoreline. The breakfasts will also fuel you for an epic day of exploring the coastal road that circumnavigates the Isle of Arran.

Make sure you stop near the ruins of Kildonan Castle to visit the seal colony. As well as take a hike out to the King’s Cave where Sir Robert the Bruce is rumoured to have hid out. Access is from the A841 near Blackwaterfoot via a coastal path.

Scottish Highlands

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One of the most scenic drives in Scotland has to be through the Scottish Highlands. Dramatic mountain ranges are split by narrow winding roads running next to shimmering lochs. There is not even any point in suggesting a route through the Scottish Highlands as there are so many excellent options.

Just make sure you don’t skip stopping for morning cake and coffee in Callander or driving through Glencoe.

Scenic drive in Scotland Glencoe

Would love to hear your suggestions for top 5 scenic drives in Scotland!

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43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Laurence

    August 31, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Wow, some seriously thorough routes, great work guys. It’s weird that I lived up in Newcastle for so long and never really spent much time up in Scotland. I’m going to blame the fickle weather I think. Great resource post if I do make it though!

  2. Evan McDonald

    August 31, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Wow, these are some great drives (we did a few during our vacation in Scotland). I love the high quality pictures, especially of the highland cow calf!

  3. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    August 31, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Such a great round up! We did the Glasgow to Oban and up through the Highlands once a few years ago (thanks to 10GBP return flights to Glasgow from London). What an amazing time. No matter where we are in the world, we see a beautiful setting (usually green, mountainous, etc) and we say to each other, hey this looks like Scotland! One of the most beautiful places in the world!

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    September 1, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Most. Adorable. Cow. Ever. And the road trips look pretty cool too…

  5. Gina

    September 1, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    I looooved seeing the Highland Cows when I was in Scotland, but I never saw a baby one!!! That picture is so cute I can’t stand it.

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  7. Turtle

    September 2, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    They all sound like great drives… but, more importantly, the cow!! How cute!

  8. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 3, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Great drive…this sort of trip through Scotland is on our bucket list. Of course, I’ll have the golf clubs in tow:)

  9. EurotripTips

    September 3, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    I remember taking the train from York to Edinburgh, and while it wasn’t exactly a road trip, the view were absolutely stunning. I’m guessing it’s even better by car so you can stop anytime you want for photos!

  10. Angela

    September 3, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Beautiful pictures, the first one is spectacular 😉

  11. Ali

    September 3, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    These all look really great! I’d love to visit Scotland, and a scenic drive sounds like the perfect thing. Although I’m not sure how I’d handle driving on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road!

  12. Lillie - @WorldLillie

    September 6, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    Oh my gosh… That animal!!!!!

  13. emma@greenglobaltravel

    September 6, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    These are some really great ideas for routes guys, thanks so much for sharing! The picture of the cow is just beyond cute too!

  14. Vicky

    September 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Lovely pictures and great ideas for scenic drives.

    Vicky

    Celebrating the Great British Coastline

  15. Jeremy Branham

    September 7, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Very envious of this! I love Scotland! I’ve gone to the Scottish festival here the last couple of years and it’s made me want to go visit even more. It’s probably the top destination on my list. This post made me want to go even more now!

  16. Candice

    September 10, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Great info! I highly recommend the Isle of Skye (as you do), it is so beautiful.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      We love getting away in to the Highlands. Isle of Skye is just a special place for us!

  17. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog

    September 18, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Aww…that’s an adorable cow! Great scenic places in Scotland. Love the Isle of Skye and Tantallon Castle.

  18. cheryl

    September 26, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Ahhh, you make Scottland look stunning. I really really must visit there soon. Love the photo of the cow, so so much cuter than the average cow. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      Definitely come and visit Cheryl. I am sure we have space on our couch if you need it too!

  19. Michael @ Changes In Longitude

    October 6, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    Nice story. We went on a Scottish road trip this summer, Edinburgh to Glasgow, via the Isle of Skye and John O’Groats. Gorgeous country.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Pity we didn’t get a chance to meet up Michael. Glad you enjoyed Scotland though. We love it here.

  20. sally

    October 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    We are planning a trip to UK for mid next year, with a week to be spent in Scotland. Do you think we can fit in all five suggested drives? Our time is a little flexible though at this stage. If not what should definitely not be missed?
    I want to incorporate at least one or two walks (say 2-4 hours) any suggestions of how to incorporate those?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Sally

  21. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    November 7, 2012 at 3:14 AM

    Scotland is high on our list for 2013. Thanks for the great tips!

    • Cole Burmester

      November 8, 2012 at 4:51 AM

      You guys would love cruising the Highlands on a road trip Mary. Looks like we are heading away from Scotland though next year so we might miss you!

  22. Liz

    November 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Love these pics! I think it’s actually impossible to get a bad pic at Glencoe. Scotland is really amazing, and the people are so nice. A

  23. Shing @ The Culture Map

    November 16, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    OH MY!! I’ve just fallen madly in love with that baby cow! (and I’ve saved it on my desktop so this virtual love cannot by forgotten!)

    I guess Scotland looks okay too 😉

    • LEG13

      February 11, 2013 at 9:41 PM

      I’m going to Scotland in September 2013 and I’m bring that baby cow home with me! Thanks for great posts/itineraries. Cheers.

      • Cole Burmester

        February 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

        Hahaha as long as you give it a haircut every now and then 😉

  24. David Estarita

    June 17, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    THANK YOU this was so useful in deciding our itinerary. While we were a bit constrained on time, we did this drive in approx. 4 days. It allowed time for on average three 2 hr. walks every couple of days. Strongly recommended!! Your country is stunning, i had heard of it but seeing it with your own eyes is something else. I’m singing Scotland’s praises to everyone!!

    All the best, David & Samantha (Singapore)

    https://maps.google.com/maps?client=safari&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&q=loch+lomond+shores&fb=1&hq=loch+lomond+shores&cid=0,0,11702133022089977535&ei=-jm_UbnDC4WtrAeg3oEQ&ved=0CIgBEPwSMAA

  25. Amanda

    July 6, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Wow, the calf! We’re taking your advice, will post photos on our blog once we’re done. Hopefully we get some shots as nice as yours:).

  26. Liz

    July 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Road trips in Scotland are some of the best. We just fell in love with the place. Our favorite was driving in the highlands, specifically the Glencoe area. We can’t wait to go back!

    And…there are some Geocaches up in those hills! Great hiking off the beaten path to find them!

    Happy Travels!

    Liz & Josh

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Lots and lots and lots of Geocaches spread out around Scotland 😉 Spent a lot of time hunting them down haha.

  27. Suzanne D

    October 29, 2013 at 6:29 AM

    Wow, these are some beautiful drives! I’m heading to Scotland this spring and wondering if you have a recommendation on the three main routes from Inverness to Durness (west via A835 through Ullapool and along the west coast, via A837 along River Oykel, or via A838 through Lairg)? A838 is the faster choice by a bit, but I’d love to hear if one is superior for beauty!

    Can’t wait to be there!
    Suz

    • Cole Burmester

      November 3, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Hey Suzanne,
      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I would recommend going up the West Coast but I love the seaside and how Scotland meets the ocean there. Very rugged! Stay off the main roads (without getting lost) and you will love it.
      Cheers,
      Cole

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  29. D.K.

    September 10, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    Can the Glasgow to Oban trip be a day trip from Glasgow? Or is it too far to get there and back within a day? Thanks.

  30. Janny Johnson

    February 23, 2015 at 10:49 AM

    I love the recommendations! Thank you. Our son is dong a university internship in the Scottish Parliament and we get to stay with them — so free lodging! We will be taking LOTS of day trips. We want ruins and villages. Not castle tours and typical tourist travel. Can you name a few villages that seem to be untouched, and castle ruins that we’d love? We have two weeks. We’ll visit Highlees mount in Ayrshire because that’s where my ancestors worked and lived until 1750 when they left for North America and ended up in Canada.

  31. Rekha Rajan

    October 22, 2015 at 1:47 PM

    Wow these are some amazing routes. Though i don’t drive, I am sure I will enjoy sitting on the passenger seat and looking out the window.

    Scotland is definitely happening soon.

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Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

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Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

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Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Iceland

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If you have ever heard the amazing stories about Iceland, they are all true!  If you’ve come this far into doing research about how to plan a trip to Iceland, I’m here to help you cross the bridge and fill in gaps so you can make your dream a reality.

As someone who has done this trip, I’m able to assist in every step of the journey.  I’ve boiled this down into cliff notes so you can do your own research after reading them and dig deeper into tours that will fit your personal preferences and budget.

First off, you are going to need to trust the Internet.  It’s a big place with a lot of information that can help you get there in one piece and not be stressed out.  Long gone are the days of visiting a travel agency and having someone plan everything for you – for a fee!  It’s your adventure, and you can know that every item is covered online, you just need to know how to look for it.

The best tip I can give you is to leverage the various Facebook Groups about Iceland.

Resource:  When In Iceland Facebook Group.

Next, you’ll want to decide when to visit Iceland.

The winter months will allow you to have more freedom as the tourism numbers are down.  However, this comes with the caveat that it will be below freezing and there will be very little sunlight!  The sun is only out for approximately six hours during the month of December!

On the positive side, this allows you a great opportunity to view the Northern Lights, which is a marquee attraction in Iceland.

Conversely, the Fall and Spring will bring you better temperatures and less snow, but there will be a much slimmer chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

Lastly, there are the Summer months.  While you will see a greener country and experience a lot of beauty on that end of the spectrum, it does come with a much higher price tag.  Be prepared to spend more money if you choose to visit Iceland in the Summer.

Also, you’ll want to have an agenda.  If you are one to take things in on your own and adventure into the wild, Iceland will be a perfect escape for you.  There are also guided tours that you can hire and they will accommodate to your every need or desire.  Simply ask anyone in the aforementioned Facebook group and they can steer you in the right direction.

You can of course, do public transportation in Iceland.  It’s entirely safe and used by many people.

Iceland is a fantastic, unique place to visit.  If you need any help planning your trip, please visit my Iceland Tour guide resource and leave a comment.  Happy Travels.

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Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

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Here’s a quick list of places to possibly include in your next European itinerary. 2018 is the year of the underrated vacation spot in our humble opinions, and we want to honor it.

Basque Country:

This place is in this author’s humble opinion easily and hands-down the most underrated little corner of Europe.

And honestly, between the two, the Spanish side of Basque country is going to cost you probably around 50% what the French side will, and most people in the know will agree that the Spanish side is at least 100% more fun!

 

Canary Islands:

There are two ways to do the Canaries: simply fly in and enjoy them, or treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic Canary Island cruise.

Best time to visit is definitely either spring or fall, as it does get quite cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. If you are a beach bum, on the other hand, summer is best (but there will be a lot more tourists in the summer).

 

Siena, Italy:

This city is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice, but it actually is arguably the best-preserved city in Italy and has the best historic city center. The cuisine here is absolutely to die for, and you won’t have to pay inflated tourist prices like you will in the aforementioned places either!

If you can, try to make it for the famous Palio, a horse race that has been going on literally for centuries.

 

Brussels:

Just as Siena is overshadowed by other bigger Italian cities, Brussels tends to stand forgotten next to London and Paris. But Brussels has key elements of the two metropolises, as well as its own unique and delicious cuisine, its own beer (considered by more than a few experts to be the worlds best), and easily the worlds best chocolate, both in solid and drinkable form. Belgian chocolate will seriously change your life forever.

 

Istria, Croatia:

This is one of the world’s best summer beach destinations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and by Western European standards, almost outrageously cheap.

Hipster tourists are starting to come in and drive prices up, but it still remains a great bargain by any standards, and most importantly, it’s a bargain without really having to give up any of our beloved amenities.

 

Budapest:

Budapest could be called the poor man’s Prague, but in reality that name isn’t very fair. For one thing, Hungarian culture and Czech culture are actually extremely different (for one thing, the Hungarian language isn’t in the same family as the rest of Europe, it’s its own thing completely, like the Basque language).

Prague is gorgeous, but it’s getting almost as expensive as the rest of Europe too, and honestly Budapest’s history and culture is much more interesting, especially for the seasoned traveller.

 

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Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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