An Ultimate Road Trip to the Scottish Highlands

Begin the journey by choosing a low cost airlines and evaluating flights to Edinburgh. Remember that driving in the U.K. means travelling down the opposite side of the road. When looking for nightly accommodations, consider a room at a local bed & breakfast, which often times cost little more than hostels and commonly provide a hearty Scottish breakfast the next morning. Make reservations in advance, especially during the busy summer season.

Highlands in Scotland - Flickr CC craigdfreeman

Edinburgh

Rent a vehicle at the airport and head to the classic city of Edinburgh. Explore the vast fortress of Edinburgh Castle while learning remarkable tales of the royal families that lived there and the military forces that protected the community. Covering over 70 hectares, the Royal Botanic Gardens provide the perfect place to picnic, relax or explore the beautiful and fascinating themed gardens.

Stirling

The distance from Edinburgh to Stirling is approximately 37 miles. Take the M8 to Glasgow, and then take the A80 to the M9 into Stirling. Road trips remain synonymous with leisurely travel. Take your time and enjoy the interesting communities and sights along the way. Mel Gibson filmed “Hamlet” at the Blackness Castle on the Firth of Forth and Robert the Bruce defeated the English army at Bannochburn in 1314. Mountains in the background and the River Forth meandering through the community are but some of the landscape features of this green city that offers numerous outdoor activities.

Aviemore

From Stirling, take the A9 to Aviemore, a distance of about 114 miles. The community developed centuries ago surrounded by the protection of the Cairngorms Mountain Range in the spectacular Cairngorms National Park. Explore the history of Scotch whiskey by taking the local whiskey trail that includes stop at six functioning distilleries. Visit the Benromach, the Cardhu and the Glenfiddich along with the Glen Grant, the Glenlivet and the Strathisla distilleries.

Loch Ness

Take the A9 from Aviemore to Loch Ness for a distance of about 43 miles. When driving through the highlands, remember that petrol stations are far and few, so top off the tank every morning. Though the region remains famous for the legendary sea creature that inhabits the loch, the area has numerous points of interest. The ruins of Urquhart’s Castle stand beside the loch and offers commanding views over the water.

Plockton

From Loch Ness, take the A87 to the A82 to the A887 for a total of 77 miles. The picturesque views found in this seaside village often attract artists and photographers. The pleasant sandy beaches welcome swimmers, sunbathers or those just desiring a stroll. Sail around the harbour and take in the view from the sea. Walk along the lock to Duncraig Castle. Rent a bike and explore the mountain trails.

Portree

From Plockton, take the A87 for a distance of 66 kilometres or 41 miles into Portree. See the ruins of the Armadale Castle and the surrounding gardens. Tour Dunvegan Castle, established by the MacLeod clan. The Isle features a number of museums that include the Museum of the Isles, the Colbost Croft Museum and the Borreraig Park Folk Museum.

Fort William

Leaving Plockton, take the A87 to the A82 into Fort William for a distance of 107 miles. Home of the tallest peak in the country, Ben Nevis, Fort William became known as the outdoor sports capital of the U.K. Before returning to Edinburgh, visitors enjoy a wide range of activities here that include everything from scuba diving to hot air balloon flights. Enjoy any number of water sports, explore the local countryside or go cycling in the mountains.

 

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