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11 Scotland Street Journey Tricks to Know Earlier than You Go

A beautiful blue sky over the rugged highlands of Scotland on a road trip
Posted: 5/23/2024 | Might twenty third, 2024

Scotland is a rugged and exquisite nation that’s good for exploring on a highway journey. The craggy coasts, placid lochs, and rolling hills make it a dream to find. There are numerous historic castles, iconic distilleries, and postcard-perfect islands at your fingertips.

I completely love Scotland. It’s stunningly stunning and I can by no means get sufficient of the numerous altering landscapes, Scotch distilleries, and heat, welcoming locals.

Having been to Scotland over a handful of instances within the final decade, I feel taking a highway journey is the easiest way to discover the nation. Residence to only 5.5 million folks, it’s a sparsely populated land, a lot of your driving right here can be out within the countryside. The nation is simply constructed for it.

However there are nonetheless just a few issues to bear in mind earlier than you depart.

Listed here are 10 Scotland road-trip suggestions (plus my favourite routes) to assist make your drive higher, safer, and extra enjoyable (based mostly on my expertise no less than):


1. Get Journey Insurance coverage

I by no means go away house with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means hire a automobile with out complete insurance coverage both.

I do know, it’s an added expense. And likelihood is you received’t even want it.

However what occurs for those who do want it and it’s not there? You’ll be paying out of pocket for harm. And that might value you hundreds.

Scotland has numerous slender, rugged, or single-track roads (extra on these later) that may be difficult to navigate. Tire and windshield harm is frequent. Throw within the ever-changing climate, and also you’ve acquired recipe for hassle.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to take out automobile insurance coverage in your highway journey. The peace of thoughts is value it.

In terms of renting a automobile, I like to recommend Uncover Vehicles. Whenever you e book, it’s straightforward so as to add automobile insurance coverage onto your buy with the clicking of a button. The location makes it clear what is roofed and the way a lot it prices.

You should utilize the widget under to get a quote. It’s quick and free:


2. Lease the Proper Automobile

You primarily have two decisions with regards to renting a automobile in Scotland — and selection will drastically impression your journey. Your choices are a automobile or a campervan.

A automobile can be cheaper and use much less gasoline, however you’ll have to search out lodging every evening. A campervan/RV can be more cash and require extra gas, however you possibly can sleep contained in the automobile and thus get monetary savings on lodging. (It’s not my jam however to every their very own.)

Each choices make for an incredible journey, so there isn’t a mistaken reply. Simply understand that guide transmissions are the default in Scotland, so if you’d like a automobile with automated transmission, you’ll must specify that whereas reserving.

3. Be Able to Drive on the Left

Site visitors in Scotland flows on the left, similar to the remainder of the UK. That is the other of the US, Canada, and the vast majority of Europe (solely Eire, the UK, Malta, and Cyprus drive on the left in Europe).

For those who hire a guide automobile, you’ll be switching gears along with your left hand as an alternative of your proper, which has a little bit of a studying curve. (Personally, I favor an automated).

Outdated habits die laborious, so for those who’re used to driving on the right-hand facet of the highway, drive cautiously. Driving on the left may be particularly difficult while you arrive at a roundabout (extra on that under) or in a metropolis. Take it sluggish at first, till you modify.

4. Perceive Roundabouts

Roundabouts are a visitors circles that function intersections, as an alternative of cease lights or cease indicators. They drive autos to decelerate with out stopping the circulate of visitors. Whereas they aren’t particularly frequent within the US, they’re extremely in style in Europe (they cut back critical visitors accidents by upwards of 90%).

Roundabouts are quite common in Scotland. And so they circulate in the wrong way (clockwise) than do these within the US (counterclockwise). When approaching a roundabout, decelerate drastically and yield to visitors within the roundabout till you’ve gotten a gap to enter the visitors circle. All visitors flows the identical path in a roundabout.

If there are a number of lanes, you’ll should be on an outer lane when exiting. The internal lane of the roundabout is for automobiles not exiting instantly.

Whenever you’re able to exit the roundabout, sign so automobiles behind you already know you’ll be turning.

For those who’re not comfy while you arrive at a roundabout, simply take it sluggish and sign your intentions. They’re much simpler to deal with than you suppose!

5. Know the Velocity Limits

Posted pace limits in Scotland are written in miles. Whereas that is useful for People like me, vacationers from nations that use kilometers will need to pay additional consideration.

Frequent pace limits are:

  • Constructed-up areas: 30 MPH
  • Single roadways: 60 MPH
  • Twin roadways: 70 MPH
  • Highways: 70 MPH

These numbers are simply guides, nevertheless. All the time observe native signage to make sure security. When unsure, it’s at all times higher to go slower moderately than sooner till you confirm the pace. I’d write down some frequent conversions so you possibly can have them helpful for those who get confused.

6. Add in Time for Scenic Stops

I do know quite a lot of vacationers like to essentially plan out their routes and itineraries. Whenever you solely have just a few days, it may be tempting to plan all the things to a T (I used to do that quite a bit). Nonetheless, there are many diversions to discover in Scotland, from quaint cities to scenic vistas to quick hikes.

You’re going to need to pull over each couple of minutes for a vista, mountain, loch, or deserted fort. The panorama is so stunning that even the typical sights are Insta-worthy. For that motive, construct in buffer time in your itinerary in order that, for those who determine to cease or take somewhat diversion, you’ll have the time. I can’t advocate this sufficient. Typically, the very best components of a visit are those you stumble into. And also you undoubtedly don’t need to be speeding from sight to sight both, so plan to be diverted.

7. Obtain the Proper Apps

I do know, while you head out on a highway journey, the purpose is to get away out of your cellphone so you possibly can benefit from the native tradition and gorgeous views. Nonetheless, there are many apps on the market that may make it easier to get monetary savings, keep secure, and save time. Everybody road-tripping round Scotland ought to have the next apps downloaded to their cellphone:

  • Met Climate – That is the very best climate app for the UK. Circumstances can change drastically in Scotland, so plan accordingly.
  • Google Maps – The very best app for trying up instructions. Be certain to obtain your maps so you’ve gotten them for offline use.
  • Park4Night – A useful app for locating spots to park in your RV or campervan (together with free ones).
  • Flush – A useful app for locating public restrooms.
  • Petrol Costs – An app for locating and evaluating close by gasoline costs for when that you must refuel.

8. Convey a Paper Map

At any time when I’m going on a highway journey, I at all times carry a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is simple and free, and cellular knowledge protection in Scotland is usually dependable. Nevertheless it’s higher to be secure than sorry. You by no means know when your cellphone goes to interrupt, in case your sign can be misplaced (prone to occur for those who’re driving by way of distant areas), or if there can be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: carry a paper highway map, and simply go away it within the glove field. You doubtless received’t want it, however for those who do, you’ll be glad you’ve gotten it (they make good souvenirs after a visit too).

9. Perceive How you can Drive on Single-Monitor Roads

When you get out of the cities, you might encounter single-track roads. These are primarily two-way roads that solely have area for one automobile. Which means that for those who encounter oncoming visitors, there isn’t a room so that you can cross each other.

Fortuitously, these roads often have passing areas constructed into them at common intervals, permitting automobiles to tug over to make room. Benefit from these while you see visitors coming, to be able to simply cross each other.

Moreover, take it sluggish round corners on single-track roads. Accidents can happen right here as a result of you possibly can’t see oncoming visitors (with whom you’re sharing a lane). So, drive slowly, and at all times be ready to cease.

Lastly, understand that many single-track roads are a bit rugged. Blowing a tire can occur simply, particularly for those who’re pulling off to the facet to make room for passing autos. For that motive, ensure you have a spare tire and that you simply even have insurance coverage protection in your tires, simply to be secure.

10. Don’t Rush

Whereas Scotland isn’t large, there are nonetheless quite a lot of issues see and do right here. It might be tempting to hurry, so you possibly can pack extra into your itinerary, however I strongly encourage you to not accomplish that. High quality, not amount, is the secret. I’ve been on numerous highway journeys world wide, and slower is at all times higher. Which means driving much less and spending extra time at every cease. Do this, and also you’ll have the ability to soak in much more of Scotland’s distinctive tradition.

Moreover, likelihood is you’ll be driving on quite a lot of smaller, winding roads right here, usually surrounded by ambling cattle to be careful for. Which means, for security causes, you’ll must decelerate and actually deal with the drive. Admire the sights, go away room for spontaneous detours, and neglect about speeding from sight to sight. You received’t remorse it!

Urged Routes

There are just a few in style highway journey routes in Scotland. They every supply various things to see and do, and every require totally different quantities of time to finish. To profit from your time, choose the route that most closely fits your journey pursuits.

Right here’s a fast have a look at just a few of the very best highway journey routes in Scotland:

North Coast 500 – That is most likely the most well-liked highway journey route within the nation. It loops across the northern tip of Scotland, often beginning and ending in Inverness. Fashionable stops embody Bealach na Bà, Cape Wrath, Smoo Cave, John o’ Groats, and Dunrobin Fort.

You’ll need no less than 5 days, although seven days can be preferable. Simply understand that it will probably get busy in the summertime.

Edinburgh/Glasgow to Glen Coe – Glen Coe is a picturesque valley within the Highlands that’s each a Nationwide Scenic Space and Nationwide Nature Reserve. It’s a well-liked spot for photographers and hikers, and a must-visit location for anybody exploring the Highlands.

Glen Coe is simply 2-2.5 hours from Glasgow and Edinburgh, making it a straightforward day journey (although I recommend stopping in a single day, so you possibly can actually take in the views). It’s additionally part of a number of highway journey routes, together with the Argyll Coastal Route (listed subsequent).

Argyll Coastal Route – This route alongside the west coast of Scotland stretches for 129 miles (208 kilometers), from Loch Lomond to Fort Williams. It’s a fantastic various to the North Coast 500, because it’s much less in style (and thus much less crowded). Fashionable stops alongside this route embody the Inveraray Jail, the cairns of Kilmartin Glen, Glen Coe, and Ben Nevis.

Whilst you may simply drive the gap in a single day, plan to spend no less than three days. That offers you time to see the highlights with out speeding.

Highlands Vacationer Route – Chopping throughout the japanese facet of the nation, from Aberdeen to Inverness, this route is a well-liked alternative for historical past buffs, as there are quite a few fort and museum stops, in addition to the location of the final battle on British soil, the Battle of Culloden (1746).

The route is simply 116 miles (187 kilometers), however no less than three days are wanted to take all of it in.

Scotland Street Journey FAQ

A rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road tripA rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road trip
How lengthy do you want for a Scotland highway journey?
Ideally, no less than 5-7 days. Clearly, the size will rely in your itinerary, however that could be a strong begin.

For those who choose a shorter route or simply need to do a weekend highway journey to camp, three days will suffice.

What’s the most scenic drive in Scotland?
A number of the most scenic drives in Scotland embody the Argyll Coastal Route, the complete North Coast 500, and the Highlands Vacationer Route.

Is driving in Scotland troublesome?
Whereas driving within the cities could be a ache, when you get out into the countryside, it is vitally straightforward. Simply use warning on single-track roads and in roundabouts — and do not forget that you must drive on the left!

Are you able to drive onto the Isle of Skye?
Yep! It’s related to the mainland by way of a bridge.

What’s the greatest month for a Scotland highway journey?
Typically, April-October is the very best time to go to. Personally, I just like the autumn, as you’ll get to see the altering leaves. It received’t be as heat, however costs can be decrease and all the things can be much less busy.


Scotland is a gorgeous vacation spot and ideal for highway journeys. With gorgeous surroundings, historic sights, plentiful climbing alternatives, and doable Loch Ness monster sightings, I feel renting a automobile to discover is the easiest way to expertise the nation. Whether or not you need to uncover the rugged coast or weave in regards to the Highlands, having a automobile or campervan will make it each doable and reasonably priced. Simply observe the ideas above and also you’ll you should definitely have an incredible time!


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E book Your Journey to Scotland: Logistical Suggestions and Tips

E book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

E book Your Lodging
You’ll be able to e book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the most important stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use Reserving.com as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost accommodations.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage protects you in opposition to sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes mistaken. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances up to now. My favourite firms that supply the very best service and worth are:

In search of the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of while you journey. I checklist all those I take advantage of to economize once I’m on the highway. They are going to prevent cash while you journey too.

Need Extra Data on Scotland?
Remember to go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Scotland for much more planning suggestions!