The Ultimate 10 day Scotland Road Trip Itinerary

10 days in Scotland is the perfect amount of time discover the cities, Highlands and Islands of this spectacular country. With this 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary you’ll cover the famous spots as well as some of the lesser known destinations for a once-in-a-lifetime Scotland road trip.

Although Scotland is becoming more popular as a travel destination thanks to its dramatic scenery, historic castles and the famous NC500 Scotland self drive route, I think it still remains a relatively underrated destination.

But with local and domestic travel on the rise in the UK and Scotland’s positive reputation as a travel destination internationally, there is more reason now than ever to add Scotland to your travel bucket list.

I recommend at least a 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary to make the most of your time exploring the beautiful country. Although if you have longer, a 2 week Scotland road trip or more would be amazing and allow you to see even more! 

So to help you, I’ve put together the ultimate Scotland itinerary for 10-days, with travel times and distances, route options for varied weather conditions, attractions and castles to visit, plus accommodation recommendations throughout the route to help you put together the best Scotland driving itinerary for your trip.

Looking across a lake with castle ruins on the far shore and mountains behind, covered in orange heather. Kilchurn Castle in Scotland

Kilchurn Castle

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Planning for your Scotland itinerary: 10 days

How to travel Scotland in 10 days?

A 10 day road trip in Scotland is best done with a car. You would find it difficult to plan a trip covering most of Scotland by taking public transport only.

The Scotland road trip itinerary for 10 days detailed below will breakdown the road, stops and tips for the best road trip in Scotland.


What’s the best way to get around and see Scotland?

Planning 10 days in Scotland? This 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary includes everything from travel distances, advice for weather conditions, Scottish attractions to visit, plus accommodation throughout to plan the ultimate Scotland itinerary | sc

This Scotland travel guide is the ultimate Scotland road trip itinerary for 10 days

To plan the best Scotland itinerary, I highly recommend having or hiring your own vehicle and planning at least 10 days of full travel for a 10 day self-drive tour Scotland.

You may want to add more if you know you want to spend longer at each end in cities like Edinburgh or Glasgow. But without a doubt, having your own vehicle is a must. 

There are plenty of vehicle options to suit your travel needs too. I travelled there in a large people carrier with my partner and we spent some nights in a hotel, some nights wild camping and some nights sleeping in the back of the vehicle so the parking fees or free parking recommendations in this guide will be perfect if you’re also planning a Scotland by car itinerary.

There are plenty of Scotland campervan rental options or recreational vehicle options for Scotland self driving tours. If you’re thinking about renting for a 10 day motorhome itinerary, Scotland is very friendly towards campers, caravaners and RV’ers (if that’s the word!).

In fact it’s the only country in the UK which allows wild camping and roadside camping as long as you follow the rules to leave no trace.

One thing to note about travel times in Scotland: once you’re in the Highlands, all journeys take longer than Google Maps says (or whatever mobile map provider you use). The narrow winding roads cannot be travelled at full speed and are usually single lane, which means if you get stuck behind slower traffic, you can be stuck for a long time without options to pass. For your 10 day Scotland road trip, I suggest allowing extra time on top of what Google Maps says.


How many days does it take to drive around Scotland?

How long is a piece of string?

You could drive from Edinburgh to Jon O’Groats in 5.5 hours. However you would be missing so many sights, stops and things to see in Scotland along the way.

Similarly, you could drive the NC500 in a couple of days without stops, but there’s no fun in that?! Scotland is about the journey, take it slow and take it all in!


Is 10 days in Scotland enough?

Of course you’re never going to see Scotland completely in just 10 days, but I think 10 days is a really solid amount of time to see the main sights, the major cities, drive the famous NC500 route and visit a Scottish island.

Scotland is one of those places that the longer you spend there the more you feel like you need to see! So a 10 day trip to Scotland is plenty to give you an amazing experience of the country and I can pretty much guarantee it’ll leave you wanting to come back for more!


What’s the best time of year to visit Scotland?

Like with many places in the northern hemisphere, this question depends whether you prioritise good weather or wanting to avoid the crowds and peak prices.

Summer and peak season

Scotland in autumn

Scotland in autumn - in the Cairngorms

Scotland’s peak season is April - September, with the summer months of June, July and August being the busiest as it’s when school summer holidays are in the UK and Europe. These are also the months that you’re more likely to get good weather (although as with anywhere in the UK, there is no guarantee of good weather even in summer!) and also the days are longer so you can really maximise what you see in daylight hours.

Shoulder seasons

Travelling in the shoulder seasons during spring and autumn are a great option for a 10 day trip to Scotland if you want the best chance of having mostly good weather and less crowds. Although those seasons are still often busy with hikers and local travellers. 

I travelled to Scotland at the very end of October and early November for our Scotland 10 day itinerary. It was right as the season was coming to an end and some places, mostly in the Highlands and Skye were getting ready to close. I will say that we were unseasonably lucky with the weather (as you’ll see from the photos below) but Scotland does look even more dramatic under grey skies and stormy weather so if you don’t mind some rain then I highly recommend visiting at the latter end of autumn, The autumn colours in Scotland are seriously underrated too!

Although bear in mind that the days are much shorter in autumn and winter. The sun set around 4.30pm when we were there in October/November and rose at 7.30am. This meant our days were very full on to see as much as possible before it got dark. If you do this Scotland driving itinerary in the summer months you’ll be able to take a much more relaxed pace!

Winter season

I wouldn't recommend travelling to the Scottish Highlands or attempting the NC500 in winter unless you’re experienced driving in unpredictable and often changeable weather conditions. If it snows, roads can be closed off at a moment's notice and with many parks or areas having only one way in and out, it can be dangerous.

If you do travel in winter, make sure your vehicle is fully equipped with emergency supplies and snow chains. Also plan ahead, many accommodation options are closed over the winter months.


The Ultimate 10 day Scotland Road Trip Itinerary

This 10 day tour of Scotland starts in Edinburgh, assuming tha’t where you’ve arrived to. However it could be done in reverse or with Day 10 as Day 1 if you’re arriving to Glasgow instead.

Day 1 - Edinburgh and driving to Aberdeenshire

Quick overview:

  • Edinburgh main sights

  • Drive to Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire


A girl on the stone steps at the Vessel viewpoint of Edinburgh Castle, she wears a yello coat and a wooly hat and is kicking her leg out in the air

The Vennel Viewpoint in Edinburgh

I had spent the night before the start of my trip in Edinburgh visiting family, so you may want to travel up/arrive in Edinburgh the night before to have a chance to see the city and maximise your first day of the itinerary. We stayed at the Hampton by Hilton in Edinburgh’s West End which was in an incredible location, had plenty of parking available and the rooms were modern and lovely.

I started the day early to maximise seeing the city sights in Edinburgh before our drive to Stonehaven later in the day.

I’ve visited Edinburgh before so had already seen many of the sights. If you want to do all of the list below I suggest spending at least 2-3 full days in Edinburgh. If you only have a day then you can probably do 3-4 of these. I did the first four on the list in a day.

Things to see and do in Edinburgh in one day:

  • Do a free walking tour to get a feel for the city and learn about its history. These usually last 2-3 hours and are a great way to see lots in a short space of time.

  • Walk up the colourful Victoria Street, this unique curving street is often credited with inspiring J K Rowling's Diagon Alley in Harry Potter.

  • Visit Edinburgh Castle. Even if you don’t have time to go inside, the walk up Lawnmarket and Castle Hill to reach the castle is a must to see the beautiful buildings and you can still enjoy the view over the city once you reach the castle parking area.

  • For a different view of the castle, head to The Vennel. This viewpoint has become somewhat Instagram famous. You can climb the steps near Grassmarket Square and about halfway up you’ll see an incredible view of the castle over the city.

  • Scott Monument

  • National Museum of Scotland. I visited this museum on a previous trip and it is fascinating. The architecture inside is also beautiful.

  • Calton Hill is a short uphill walk accessible from the city and offers incredible views over the rooftops and views of the iconic Edinburgh landmarks.

Woman in black jeans, red jumper, yellow coat and woolly hat walking down a cobbled street - Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Victoria Street, Edinburgh


Next stop: Stonehaven

Journey time: 2.5 hours

We left Edinburgh around 2.30pm to allow us time to reach Stonehaven before sunset at 4.30pm because we needed to find a camping spot. Of course if you’re doing this route in the summer months, sunset is much later and you won’t have this time constraint. Also if you’re staying in a hotel in Stonehaven and don’t mind driving in the dark then you can leave later too.

The journey from Edinburgh into Aberdeenshire was a lovely first taste of our Scotland driving tour. We arrived in Stonehaven and enjoyed the last of the sunset over the harbour which is so quaint and cute.

Stonehaven Hotel recommendations:

The Marine Hotel - comes with sea views for under £100 per night.

The Ship Inn - Located on the beachfront and breakfast is included.

Camping, caravanning or overnight parking in Stonehaven:

The beach and calm sea in Stonehaven harbour, Scotland at sunset with white cottages on the far side of the harbour

Stonehaven harbour, Scotland

We stayed in our car overnight and had two options. If you’re staying in your vehicle I recommend:

  • The Harbour car park in Stonehaven. There are no overnight parking restrictions (2020) and there are public toilets there, although they close at 8pm-6am. The view from here over the bay is beautiful.

  • Dunnottar Castle car park. This is where we stayed and there are also no overnight restrictions but also no facilities except a bin so we used the harbour toilets before driving the couple of minutes up the hill to this car park. We loved it here because it was really quiet and Dunnottar Castle was the first stop on day 2 and it was right outside our door!

If you’re needing a hook up for your caravan or RV, there is a caravan park just a couple of miles further down the coast called Stonehaven Queen Elizabeth Park.


Day 2 - Castles, Cairngorms and Inverness

Quick overview:

  • Dunnottar Castle

  • Craigievar Castle

  • Drive through the Cairngorms National Park

  • Old pack horse bridge in Carrbridge

  • Inverness

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle ruins on a rocky outcrop surrounded by grey sea with a single path on a rocky, grassy slope leading to the castle

Dunnottar Castle

Day 2 of our 10 day Scotland road trip and we woke up in our vehicle right by Dunnottar Castle which was an incredible experience! Unfortunately the high winds meant the castle was closed the day we were there - its position on a rocky island makes it dangerous in bad weather!

However you can still walk down the path from Dunnottar Castle car park and along the public footpath on the cliffs which offers incredible views of the castle and the path is open all year around - we even saw locals walking their dogs there the night before. So this is also a great option if you’re short on time and want to see the castle but don’t have time to go in, you can still enjoy the dramatic view of it and take some photos from the cliff walk without spending the time or money to enter the grounds.

If you’re staying in Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle is just a couple of minutes drive south along the coast. Or if you have good weather, you can park at Stonehaven Harbour and do the cliff walk from Stonehaven to reach Dunnottar Castle which takes around 30-40 minutes.

If you do decide to visit Dunnottar, the castle is open all year round, although the opening times change so check the website before you visit. Adult tickets cost £8 (2020).

Next stop: Craigievar Castle

Journey time: 1.5 hours


Craigievar Castle

Woman in a green dress walking down a path in front of a large pink castle, Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Castle

The drive to Craigievar Castle was in bad weather and our first experience of the real narrow, winding roads of Scotland so it took us much longer than Google’s predicted 50 minutes! But we were incredibly rewarded with the castle all to ourselves!

Craigievar Castle does close in the winter months (Nov-Mar inclusive) so if you do want to visit inside you will need to visit during the season. However if you’re content to see this unique pink castle from the outside then you can visit any time of year as the car park and access to it remain open, so you can enjoy the beautiful pink castle from the outside. Although the access road is a narrow single lane road so you’ll need to drive slowly and prepare to find passing places if you meet oncoming traffic.

Craigievar Castle is a National Trust property built in 1626 and it remained in the same family’s ownership for 350 years until it was handed to the National Trust in the 1960s. During opening season, 45 minute guided tours of the castle cost £13.

Next Stop: The Cairngorms National Park

Journey Time: 1.5-2 hours


The Cairngorms National Park

village in the Cairngorms

village in the Cairngorms

Originally we only happened to be passing through the Cairngorms on our way to Inverness, but I’m so glad we did because there is so much we could see and do there that we would happily have stayed a night here to see everything the National Park has to offer.

Unfortunately due to the global health crisis, most places were closed to visitors, but I want to share all the options with you so you can choose what to see and stay longer if you wish!

The Cairngorms National Park is one of two national parks in Scotland and is a popular skiing destination in the winter months. You’ll see as you drive through how high up you get and the ski lifts on the mountainsides.

The Cairngorms are also home to the Royal Family’s summer residence - Balmoral Castle which was sadly closed when we visited but I highly recommend taking the time to visit this incredible castle mansion and also the nearby village of Braemar. Tickets for a guided tour cost £15.

We also discovered that the Cairngorms are home to the UK’s only wild reindeer herd and you can have a reindeer experience with them! For a small fee of £3.50 you can get close to the reindeer being cared for in the paddock at the Reindeer Centre, although you cannot touch them. Alternatively you can meet and feed the reindeer on a Hill Trip where guides take you up the hill to where the herd is, this costs £17.50 (2020). Check their website to pre book your slot.

Even if you don’t do any of these things, the drive is spectacular and like nowhere I’ve ever seen before and one of my favourite driving routes on our 10 day tour of Scotland. The huge mountains, narrow roads, snow caps and quaint villages make it an incredible road trip Scotland route if nothing else! Allow extra time for stops because you’re going to want to stop for photos! 


Old pack horse bridge in Carrbridge

Woman in a red patterned cape standing on the river edge looking at a domed stone bridge that looks very old, Old pack horse bridge in Carrbridge, Scotland

Old pack horse bridge in Carrbridge, Scotland

This bridge is located in Carrbridge, a village in the northwest Cairngorms. It is supposed to be the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands dating back to 1717. There’s a free car park just 100m down the road past Craigellachie Guest House on the left then you can walk up to the road bridge and there are wooden steps down to a viewing platform for the Old Packhorse bridge.

Next stop: Inverness

Journey time: 30 minutes



A row of white houses with colourful front doors on a street in Inverness, Scotland


We loved Inverness, with its coastal location and lovely town. We were sad to just be staying the night and not longer.

Nearby we visited the Nairn Viaduct which is a lovely country drive we did as the sun was setting when we arrived in Inverness.

In Inverness itself, Leakey’s Bookshop is so cute if you’re a book lover like me! In our efforts to support local businesses we had to find a local brewery too of course! Black Isle Brewery has an Inverness location and a Fort William location (which we also visited) and they have amazing tap beers and wood fired pizza - highly recommend!

We loved Inverness, with its coastal location and lovely town. We were sad to just be staying the night and not longer.

Nearby we visited the Nairn Viaduct which is a lovely country drive we did as the sun was setting when we arrived in Inverness.

In Inverness itself, Leakey’s Bookshop is so cute if you’re a book lover like me! In our efforts to support local businesses we had to find a local brewery too of course! Black Isle Brewery has an Inverness location and a Fort William location (which we also visited) and they have amazing tap beers and wood fired pizza - highly recommend!


Inverness hotel recommendations:

We booked last minute so options were restricted and ended up staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Inverness Airport hotel! The hotel only opened in March 2020 so everything was brand new, rooms are soundproof and there’s parking onsite. You’re a 17 minute drive from the city centre.

If you’re looking for something in the city, try the Pentahotel Inverness for a great deal on city accommodation. Or the chic Kingsmill Hotel which is just a short walk to the city centre.

Inverness camping and caravanning recommendations:

Nairn Viaduct, a large red brick stone viaduct looked at from below with a woman in a yellow jacket standing beneath it

Nairn Viaduct

Torvean Caravan Park is just outside the city on the waterfront and has hook ups and pitches as well as free wifi.

The area around the Nairn Viaduct is just outside the city and when we drove there, there were plenty of laybys and parking locations that would have been suitable for an overnight stay. In the area is also Ardtower Caravan Park or Culloden Moor Caravan and Motorhome club site.


Day 3 - NC500 and John O’Groats

Quick overview:

  • NC500 east coast

  • Dunrobin Castle

  • John O’Groats

Next stop: Dunrobin Castle

Journey time: 1hr 15

Set off early from Inverness for the long drive up to John O’Groats, the most northerly point of mainland UK. Take the NC500 route from Inverness up the A9 - the drive along the coast is so beautiful. We had clear skies and sunshine but I can imagine even in bad weather the coast would look beautifully dramatic.


Dunrobin Castle

A large white castle on a hill behind a wall and iron gates with a girl walking in front of the gates on the path

Dunrobin Castle

About halfway on your way to John O’Groats is Dunrobin Castle, the most northern Scottish great house set in an incredible location overlooking the coast. It’s built in French chateau style and with it’s turrets and almost 200 rooms, it really is like something out of a fairytale!

The castle and gardens are only open April - October each year so if you want to go inside, you’ll need to visit during the season and entry costs £11 which includes access to the museum, gardens and the falconry display.

However, if like us you’re visiting out of season, there is still a way to visit the castle! Drive down the castle drive way and you can park for free in front of the castle, there were many local dog walkers here too using the public footpaths on the land. From the car park take the step track down the right side of the castle and walk along it until you reach the sea front. From here you will have an incredible view of the castle and some of the gardens which are both elevated above the sea level.

Next stop: John O’Groats

Journey time: 1hr 45


NC500 east coast route

A misty view of fields, sea and castle ruins at sunset on NC500 near Wick

NC500 near Wick

Once you reach Wick, the A9 becomes more local roads and travel times become slower but the scenery is even more spectacular, we stopped a few times to take photos along the coast!

Because it was November we made the decision that we didn’t feel we could safely drive the NC500 loop in November as part of our Scotland road trip itinerary, our biggest concern was the west coast where the roads are windy, narrow and can become impassable in bad weather. Because of that we weren’t sure if we should make the journey up the east coast to John O’Groats, just to come all the way back the way we came to Inverness to continue our journey, but by the time we reached Dunrobin Castle and realised we were so close, we figured we might as well see the iconic John O’Groats signpost!

Depending on the time of year you visit on your 10 day trip to Scotland, you can follow the NC500 onwards instead of turning back around.


John O’Groats

An iconic stop on your 10 day Scotland road trip!

There are some beautiful coastal walks along here too which are a great idea if you’re planning to stick around for a while! If I’d have known we were going to drive here, I would’ve booked a room at the recently renovated John O’Groats Inn which looked gorgeous right on the harbour (instead we had another night sleeping in the car!).

Make sure to walk out to the end of the harbour sea wall, past the signpost. Here we saw seals playing in the sea!

John O’Groats hotel recommendations:

The Inn at John O’Groats looked incredible, the multicoloured luxury suites are perched on the edge of the coast with an incredible view over the harbour.

A view of John O’Groats Inn from the sea wall, looking back to the land across a harbour. On the land is a white turreted building with 5 colourful buildings next to it in blue, green, grey, yellow and red. Sky is orange at sunset

John O’Groats Inn from the sea wall

Camping, caravanning and overnight parking in John O’Groats recommendations:

There’s a camping and caravanning site right by the John O’Groats visitors area with reasonably priced pitches.

If you’re looking for some free overnight parking, we actually decided to get a head start on our journey the next morning and drive back towards Inverness. We stopped at Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve which is just past Golspie near Dunrobin Castle. It was our favourite overnight parking of the trip with incredible views of the loch, nice and quiet tucked next to the main road with loads of space and easy to get started early the next morning.


Seasonal route change

If you are visiting in the winter then I would suggest doing this too and returning back south unless you’re very prepared for potentially dangerous weather on the NC500 heading west.

If you’re doing this trip in the summer, I would suggest continuing on the NC500 and using the opportunity to see this iconic driving route. Then you can skip to day 5 of this itinerary when you reach the Isle of Skye towards the end of the NC500. The day 4 activities can be done when you leave Skye and drive back inland again to reach Fort William.


Day 4 - central Scottish Highlands and the drive to the Isle of Skye

Quick overview:

  • Drive south if it’s winter or continue west around NC500 if it’s fair weather (see paragraph above)

  • Loch Ness

  • Urquhart Castle

  • A87 drive to Skye is incredible

  • Eilean Donan Castle

  • Arrive at Skye

Next stop: Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

Journey time: 2-3 hours


Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

Castle ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness Scotland. The ruins are at the top of a grassy slope with the loch behind it

Urquhart Castle Loch Ness Scotland

No trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting Loch Ness and trying to catch sight of the Loch Ness monster! But if you’re looking for the best view of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle is the place to go.

Urquhart Castle was once one of the strongest, most formidable fortresses in Scotland and saw many battles and medieval conquests. It’s ruins now stand on the edge of the lake and offer incredible views of the Loch with the castle ruins in the foreground.

The castle is open all year round although opening hours change depending on the season. Tickets to the castle are £9.60 if you pre-book online.

There is a car park on site which can get busy so I suggest arriving in the morning.

Next stop: Eilean Donan Castle

Journey time: 2 hours


The A87 drive

View from a car widow of a winding road lined by mountains and a stream in the valley below, sky is grey

A87 drive

Google said this journey was just over an hour but it took us almost double that. The drive from Loch Ness to Eilean Donan is a great way to break up your journey to your final destination of Skye. But this leg of the drive really is spectacular.

The A87 takes you through valleys, forests, mountains and incredible scenery that will take your breath away. We stopped so many times for photos and even saw two huge stags! Later in our trip we did this drive in reverse on our way to Fort William and saw spectacular cloud inversions.

There is no phone signal for a good part of the drive so make sure you have offline maps downloaded.


Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh

A panoramic view of Eilean Donan Castle - a grey castle on a small island in the lock connected to the mainland by a causeway. Dramatic mountains line the loch behind with low clouds

Eilean Donan Castle viewpoint

Possibly one of the most photographed locations in Scotland, chances are you’ve seen a photo of this castle perched on an island in the loch, reachable by a stone bridge. It really is a spectacular location and famous for appearing in James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough as the MI6 HQ in Scotland.

The castle is open all year round and the last entry is usually one hour before sunset. Tickets cost £10 but if you don’t feel like going inside or you’re in a rush, the good news is that the car park is completely free and you can admire the castle from the waters edge for free.

A dark grey castle on an island connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. Hills can be seen in the background

Eilean Donan Castle

Next stop: Isle of Skye

Journey time: 1.5 hr


Isle of Skye

Scotland in autumn

Autumn in Scotland

At the end of your day or into the evening, it’s time to drive to the Isle of Skye. We did the drive at dusk so we could still see the scenery but if you do drive in the dark, be prepared to drive slower on the tight winding roads on Skye! 

It’s best to arrive the night before, so you have the full following day to get up and explore!

From Eilean Donan Castle you’re very near Kyle of Lochalsh where the bridge crossing to the Isle of Skye is. The longer part of the journey is once you’re on the isle and making your way to Portree, or wherever your accommodation is.

For a more detailed itinerary, check out my Isle of Skye 3 days itinerary.

We were determined to visit at least one Scottish island on our 10 day road trip, Scotland has thankfully built a bridge to Skye so it’'s definitely the easiest one to reach.


Isle of Skye hotel recommendations:

We stayed for two nights at Skeabost Hotel which is about 10 minutes from Portree but located on a beautiful loch with dark wood panelling interiors and beautiful modern rooms. This was our treat stay on our trip!

We also considered these hotels but because many places close in Skye in the winter, these places were either already fully booked because of limited options, or closed:

Marmalade Hotel

The Bosville Hotel

Isle of Skye camping, caravanning or overnight parking recommendations:

In the Portree town centre there is a harbour car park which has 6 free parking spaces for RVs, there are public toilets at the top of the road which are open 24/7. This is a great, easy location if you’re looking to stay somewhere for free. But arrive early, we saw these spots fill up quickly, even in November!

There is also a larger car park right next to these RV parks along the harbour that we confirmed with two police officers were suitable for overnight parking. So we stayed in our car for two nights here when the weather was too bad to stay out on the road in remote Skye!

Torvaig Caravan and Campsite is perfect if you want to be close to Portree as it’s right outside the town. Skye Camping and Caravanning Club Site is further north, around 20 minutes from Portree. 


Day 5 - Northern Isle of Skye

Quick Overview:

  • Northern Isle of Skye loop

  • Fairy Glen

  • Quiraing

  • Mealt Falls

  • Portree

Journey time: allow 5+ hours in total for the loop

Although this loop only takes around 1.5-2 hours to drive non-stop, you’re going to want to allow plenty of time to explore each of these stops, and you’ll also need to allow time for slow farm traffic and sheep-jams!


Fairy Glen

This is still a lesser visited spot on Skye but they were building an official car park when we visited so I’d imagine it’s going to get busier over the coming years! Although the access road is currently one track and very narrow.

The Fairy Glen really is unique, the green hills and mounds look like a magical fairy scene and you can easily spend an hour or two walking among the hills and tracks. There are no set trails so do be careful if you’re climbing the rocks!

The stones on the fairy circle are not intended to be moved or re-arranged - please respect the local environment.

This is still a lesser visited spot on Skye but they were building an official car park when we visited so I’d imagine it’s going to get busier over the coming years! Although the access road is currently one track and very narrow.

The Fairy Glen really is unique, the green hills and mounds look like a magical fairy scene and you can easily spend an hour or two walking among the hills and tracks. There are no set trails so do be careful if you’re climbing the rocks!

The stones on the fairy circle are not intended to be moved or re-arranged - please respect the local environment.



Jagged rocks protruding from grassy slopes at Quiraing in Scotland. A figure in a yellow jacket walks across the landscape


Enjoy the stunning scenery on the northern loop and coastline and the small hamlets and villages and unique houses you’ll see out here. Some of the settlements at the very north of the island are the oldest settlements on the island.

As you loop back down onto the east coast you’ll find an inland road on the right to Quiraing. This road does seem narrow and a bit sketchy at points but it widens out and winds up the mountain until you reach a car park at the top. From here you can see the most incredible views over the Quiraing mountains and take a few photos or do the two hour walking loop which starts and ends at the car park.


Mealt Falls

A waterfall falling from a grassy cliff into the sea

Mealt Falls view point

As you drive back south towards Portree, stop at Mealt Falls. This is like a scene from Iceland with a plunging waterfall running off the cliff and into the ocean.

There’s a free car park here and the falls are literally right next to the car park so it’s a quick and easy stop with a beautiful view. 



Looking down on a small harbour with a stone beach and pink, blue, green and yellow houses lining the harbour wall opposite

Portree harbour

Portree is the main town in Skye, it’s quaint and beautiful but I loved it the most at sunset when the sun lit up the harbour and the colourful buildings on the harbour front.

To capture the famous views of the colourful harbour front, you can walk down to the beach and photograph the houses from there. Or walk up Bosville Terrace to frame your photo from above with the ivy covered wall.

I highly recommend buying some fresh fish and chips and enjoying them on the seafront.


Day 6 - Old Man of Storr and west coast Isle of Skye

Quick overview:

  • Old Man of Storr

  • Drive to west coast 

  • Dunvegan Castle

  • Neist Point lighthouse

Next stop: Old Man of Storr

Journey time 12 minutes from Portree


Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr

Old Man of Storr

Climbing the Old Man of Storr is a must-do when you visit Skye. The dramatic craggy rock formations, rolling green hills and coastal view make it a unique walk and hike. The hike is fairly easy and do-able for most levels of hikers. From the car park it follows a stone or gravel path all the way up until you reach the base of the cliffs where it becomes grassy. I recommend good hiking boots or shoes with good grip because the grass became very slippy and we had a couple of slips!

I would also suggest doing it when the weather is forecast to be best in your Skye trip. The weather changed drastically when we were up there from sunshine and clear skies to foggy, windy, wet and cold. It was slightly terrifying how quickly it changed so just be prepared!

Car parking here costs £3 and you can pay by card.

Next stop: Dunvegan Castle

Journey time: 45 min - 1 hour


Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle is dramatically situated on the edge of the sea and is unique because it’s the only Highland castle to have been occupied by the same family for 800 years.

The castle is beautifully decorated and preserved inside but the gardens are beautiful to see in contrast with the surrounding landscape. They’re lush green, there’s a waterfall, a bridge and beautiful landscaping. 

Tickets to visit the castle and gardens cost £14 and there are also other activities to do on site like fishing trips and seal spotting trips!

Next stop: Neist Point Lighthouse

Journey time: 30-50 minutes


Neist Point Lighthouse

A tall rocky sea cliff which slopes down in the distance with a lghhouse on the end of the rocky peninsula. The sky is orange at sunset.

Neist Point lighthouse

I stumbled on an image of Neist Point Lighthouse on Instagram and I’m so glad I did because it gave us a chance to experience the west side of Skye which is unimaginably beautiful.

The drive there is slow and winding with lots of sheep-jams! But we timed it perfect for sunset which was just incredible. The coastal landscape here is so different too, it had green cliffs that reminded me of Hawaii and sea stacks that reminded me of Australia’s Great Ocean Road.

The car park is at the end of what feels like someone’s private farm track, but keep going! The car park is free and open 24 hours (would be a great option for overnight parking if you’re looking to camp or RV on that side of the island). There’s a small cafe there, although I’m not sure on opening times as it was closed when we arrived. 

The walk down to the lighthouse is very steep steps on the side of the cliff face. For views of the lighthouse and cliff, cross the stone wall at the bottom and walk across the field to see the lighthouse from the other side.

Or to visit the lighthouse, stay on the path and follow it up the slight hill.

If you visited at sunset and you’re driving back to your Portree accommodation in dusk/dark, allow longer for the journey because roads are unlit.


Day 7 - Leave Skye and drive to Glenfinnan and Fort William

Quick overview:

  • Leave Skye

  • Sligachan Bridge

  • Fairy pools (optional)

  • Glenfinnan Viaduct

  • Fort William

This is a long driving day but with plenty of cool options for stops so you’ll want to get going early as the total drive time to Fort William is around 3 hours before you add your stops in!


Sligachan Bridge

An old stone bridge across a shallow river on a dark and gloomy day with low clouds in the distance obscuring the landscape

Sligachan Bridge

You will have driven over this bridge when you arrived on Skye on your way to Portree and if you didn’t stop then, now is your chance! I suggest parking at the bottom car park of the Sligachan hotel which is free and then walking over to the Old Bridge for that famous photo with the Cuillin Mountains in the background.

There are also several walks that start from here if you want to take a last ramble on the Isle of Skye before you leave!


The Fairy Pools (optional)

We sadly didn’t visit here because the weather was too bad. I also wanted to swim in them so I think I’ll wait until a future trip in the summer months to do that!! The drive to the Fairy Pools car park is 20 minutes from the bridge and parking costs £5. The walk isn’t easy and takes around 3 hours so I would suggest starting this one early!

The pools are crystal clear water and waterfalls which look turquoise blue on a clear day! You are able to swim in the pools although the spot is very popular in the warmer months!

Next stop: Glenfinnan Viaduct

Journey time: 2hrs 15 - 3 hours


Leaving Skye by road or ferry?

Your drive here depends on whether you want to drive the A87 (the spectacular road we drove to Skye on Day 4), or take the ferry from Armadale on Skye to Mallaig on the mainland. We did the drive again because we loved the route so much and there wasn’t a ferry time that worked for us. The ferry route is only around 20 minutes shorter.

You can find the timetables here. There are different timetables for summer and winter so make sure you have the right one. As you can see, the winter one is a very limited schedule which is why we didn’t take this route. Cars cost £9.95 and it’s £3 per person in the vehicle. Larger recreational vehicles cost more.


Glenfinnan Viaduct

Jacobite train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Jacobite train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct is famous internationally as the bridge that the Hogwarts Express goes over in Harry Potter. For me, it was a non-negotiable that I had to see the steam train pass over the viaduct while we were visiting Scotland, having grown up on the Harry Potter books and still being a huge fan of the magical movies.

The Jacobite steam train runs twice a day between Fort William and Mallaig so there is an art to timing your visit right with the train timetable. It’s also important to note that the train does not run all year, it usually runs April - October (we were very lucky that they’d extended the timetable by a week due to disruption in the summer).

There is a National Trust car park which is just off the main road and costs £3 to park. There is also an overflow car park another 50m across the bridge. From that overflow car park, take the walking track up to the viaduct.

The train passes over the bridge approximately 30 minutes after its departure from Fort William but I suggest arriving at the viewing point at least 30 minutes before its due to cross the bridge because it gets busy in peak season!

Check out my guide for in-depth information about how to get to the Glenfinnan Viaduct viewpoint with the best time to arrive and the best time of year to visit.

Next stop: Fort William

Journey time: 30 mins


Fort William

hotel in Fort William

hotel in Fort William

You will have passed through Fort William on your way to Glenfinnan so it’s just a short 30 minute drive. After a long day of sightseeing and driving, we were just using Fort William as an easy place to stop for the night with plenty of hotel options.

But I didn’t realise what a big town it is, being a major hub for people on their way to Highlands but also home to Ben Nevis - the tallest mountain in Scotland so many people are staying here for their mountain climb (no we did not climb Ben Nevis!). This means there’s loads of amenities including a huge Morrisons shopping centre which was perfect to restock for our last few days.

If you’re staying the night here too, I highly recommend visiting the Black Isle Brewery (the same company that we bought pizza from in Inverness). They have a bar and brewery here too which is in a converted church! We enjoyed a rare evening out with pizza and beer after having camp food and sandwiches for the last few days while we were in Skye!


Fort William hotel recommendations:

We stayed at Cruachan Hotel on the waterfront which was lovely and came with free parking and breakfast included.

Fort William camping, caravanning and overnight parking recommendations:

There’s a multitude of campsites and RV parks nearby because of Ben Nevis being here. 

If I’d have known that Invercoe Caravan & Camping Park existed before our trip, I would have driven here and camped up, it’s on the shores of Loch Leven (see day 9) in an absolutely stunning location for camping, RVs and caravans.

The Glenfinnan viaduct car park also didn’t seem to have any overnight parking restrictions so that would have been an option for us as well as a few laybys on the same road.


Day 8  - Glencoe, Glen Etive and the Three Sisters

Quick overview:

  • Glencoe

  • Three Sisters of Glencoe walk

  • Glen Etive

  • Kilchurn Castle

This is a day for more beautiful scenery and a walk or two if you’re up for it!

Next stop: Glencoe

Journey time: 30 minutes



Yet another beautiful drive for your road trip itinerary in Scotland is from Fort William to Glencoe. Glencoe is a small, picturesque town that sits on Loch Leven which was still as glass when we arrived. On the waterfront here is Invercoe Caravan & Camping Park which I would have stayed at last night had I known it existed - I’ve never seen a more picturesque setting for a campsite!!

We didn’t stop in Glencoe, just enjoyed the drive along the water then continued on.


The Three Sisters of Glencoe

The dramatic landscape of the Three Sisters Glencoe, with towering mountains on the left side of the shot and more in the distance

Three Sisters Glencoe

Another famous walk in the Highlands and it’s easy to see why! As we continued on the A82 from Glencoe, we were absolutely blown away by the scenery here! I would suggest arriving early as this was the only place on our trip in November that the car parks were already completely full before midday!

The Lost Valley walk is not an easy walk but it is fairly short! 3.5km/2 miles will take you around 2 hours from the car park. You can find the route details here. Don’t forget good sturdy walking boots and water!

Even if you don’t plan to walk, I recommend stopping and enjoying the incredible views of the valley and snap a photo or two. It is a breathtaking landscape!

Next stop: Glen Etive

Journey time: 45 minutes - 1 hour


Glen Etive

One of the most recommended places by Scottish people for my 10 day Scotland road trip was Glen Etive and the landscape is just incredible. I recommend just going there to enjoy the drive, although there are plenty of walking options you might not feel up for it after the Three Sisters!

It is a bit out of the way, around 45 minutes off the main road and you’ll have to come back out the same way, but it’s so worth it!

If you are visiting in winter, I would check conditions before driving as snow here can make the roads dangerous.

Next stop: Kilchurn Castle

Journey time: 1hr 30 mins


Kilchurn Castle

Looking across a lake with the ruins of Kilchurn Castle on the opposite side, backed by mountains

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle is another picturesque castle on a loch. You’ll need to take the A85 road off the A82 and you’ll come back out the same way again.

Unless you specifically want to visit inside the castle itself, I recommend taking the first turn on the left as you approach the loch, so enjoy the viewpoint of the castle from the opposite side with the hills in the background. This location is marked on Google Maps as ‘Kilchurn Castle Panorama viewpoint’.

The field is muddy if you walk down to the water's edge so beware! There is also limited parking along the side of the road but it is free.

Next stop: Loch Lomond

Journey time: 20 minutes+

You’re now in the Loch Lomond National Park which is subject to bylaws and is the only area in Scotland where wild camping or roadside camping is not permitted. 

So once you get back to the main A82 road, which takes around 20 minutes, there are dozens of options for the night’s accommodation around Loch Lomond, but if you are camping - please find a proper campsite.

Loch Lomond hotel recommendations:

The Drovers Inn

Ardlui retreat

Loch Lomond campsite and caravanning recommendations:

By The Way Hostel and campsite is at the Green Welly road stop as soon as you return from Kilchurn Castle onto the main A82 road.

Or if you want to head further towards Loch Lomond Beinglas Farm Campsite is on the west side of the loch with brilliant reviews.

On the east side of the loch is the picturesque Cashel Campsite or Sallochy Campsite. But there are also dozens more to choose from to suit your needs.


Day 9 - Loch Lomond and the drive to Glasgow

Quick overview:

  • Falls of Falloch

  • Loch Lomond

  • The Devil’s Pulpit


Falls of Falloch

A large waterfall leading to a pool surrounded by rocks and trees with orange and red leaves

Falls of Falloch

If you’re looking for powerful waterfalls in Scotland, this is the one. Located at the northern end of Loch Lomond, this is an easy 5 minute walk from a free car park and has brilliant views of the falls and the pool below it. There were also people fishing here and enjoying some paddling in the water!


Loch Lomond

Looking out across still waters of Loch Lomond with hills on either side and the water as far as the eye can see

Loch Lomond

There are plenty of activities around Loch Lomond, sadly a lot were closed on our trip due to Scotland’s restrictions and also the end of the season. But we did enjoy a walk along the waterfront near Inverbeg.

If it had of been open, I would have loved to do a Loch Lomond cruise. Seeing the dramatic hills and craggy landscape from the still water would have been beautiful! 


The Devil’s Pulpit

This unique mossy gully is magical and so much fun in the summer! It’s part of Finnich Glen and does involve paddling through the stream to reach the waterfall so don’t do this if you don’t have proper footwear or if the weather is bad! There are also some steep steps down so proceed with caution!

Unfortunately there is no dedicated parking and space on the roadside is limited, you may need to park further away and walk there. There is a small layby opposite the entrance which fills up quickly.

Next stop: Glasgow

Journey time: 45 minutes - 1 hr


Day 10 - Glasgow

Eglinton Castle ruins

Eglinton Castle ruins

Sadly we did not spend time in Glasgow on this trip as new restrictions came into place in Scotland. However we did enjoy visiting some nearby castles which you might want to add to the end of your Scotland road trip route:

  • Eglinton Castle ruins

  • Culzean Castle

  • Rowallan Castle

From our previous trips to Glasgow, I highly recommend adding these locations to your 10 days in Scotland:

  • University of Glasgow: the self-guided tour this tour allows you to take yourself to all the most famous and historic places on campus, including the Quadrangles and Cloisters.

  • Glasgow Botanic Gardens. The garden are perfect for a sunny day with incredible glasshouses and pathways to explore

  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. I love the outside of this building as much as the inside! Entry is free and the exhibitions are incredible.

  • There are countless free walking tours in Glasgow and are a great way to learn about the city.


Summary: Scotland itinerary 10 days

I hope this 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary is useful and helps you plan your 10 day road trip to Scotland or gives you more ideas for your Scotland driving itinerary.

A lot can depend on the time of year you’re visiting, but hopefully this guide shows you that there are plenty of options even when attractions are closed! 

A 10 day self-drive tour of Scotland gives you the best option for being flexible, stopping where you want and maximising how much you can see during your 10 day trip.

If you have any questions about planning a Scotland 10 day itinerary or would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.

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Planning 10 days in Scotland? This 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary includes everything from travel distances, advice for weather conditions, Scottish attractions to visit, plus accommodation throughout to plan the ultimate Scotland itinerary | sc
Planning 10 days in Scotland? This 10 day Scotland road trip itinerary includes everything from travel distances, advice for weather conditions, Scottish attractions to visit, plus accommodation throughout to plan the ultimate Scotland itinerary | sc

Want some help travelling like me? These are my favourite resources I use for planning my trips:

Flights: I use Expedia to find great flights and the best deals all over the world, they have regular sales and offers so I always check their website. I also check CheapOair to find cheap deals on round trip flights.

Car Rental: I love the customer service I've always gotten and the variety of options with Rental Cars. But for short notice rentals, I've been using Expedia for the last year, they always seem to have great one-day rates or last-minute rates from the main rental companies.

Accommodation: I prefer the flexibility of booking accommodation with so I can cancel or change my reservation without a fee or only pay on arrival for most properties. For longer or more unique stays I prefer AirBnB because you can get the long stay discount, you can also find more unique properties and book experiences with talented locals and businesses. For my budget trips, I always stay in hostels and book through Hostelworld because they have great guarantees if anything does go wrong. If you arrive and your booking is not at the property, they refund the full deposit AND give you $50 extra credit.

Tours and organised trips Although I don’t use tours that often, I do like to book local experiences or day trips once I reach my destination. For that I use GetYourGuide because it has the biggest selection and variety of tour and experience options.

Travel Insurance: I currently use SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. Which allows me to pay a rolling monthly fee to cover my long term travels.

My camera gear and equipment: I use a Canon 77D with an 18-135mm lens or a 50mm lens. And a DJI Mavic Mini Drone. For all my gear including laptops, tripods and more camera accessories read my travel photography gear guide.