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10 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: 5/23/24 | Could 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 believe taking a highway journey is one of the simplest ways to discover the nation. Residence to only 5.5 million individuals, it’s a sparsely populated land, a lot of your driving right here will probably be out within the countryside. The nation is simply constructed for it.

However there are nonetheless a number of issues to remember 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 (primarily based on my expertise at the least):


1. Get Journey Insurance coverage

I by no means depart dwelling with out journey insurance coverage. And I by no means lease a automobile with out complete insurance coverage both.

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

However what occurs should you do want it and it’s not there? You’ll be paying out of pocket for harm. And that might price you 1000’s.

Scotland has a number of slender, rugged, or single-track roads (extra on these later) that may be tough to navigate. Tire and windshield harm is widespread. Throw within the ever-changing climate, and also you’ve received recipe for bother.

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

On the subject of renting a automobile, I like to recommend Uncover Automobiles. Once you guide, it’s simple so as to add automobile insurance coverage onto your buy with the press of a button. The location makes it clear what is roofed and the way a lot it prices.

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


2. Hire the Proper Automobile

You basically have two decisions in terms of renting a car in Scotland — and selection will drastically affect your journey. Your choices are a automobile or a campervan.

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

Each choices make for a tremendous journey, so there isn’t any incorrect reply. Simply remember the fact that handbook transmissions are the default in Scotland, so if you need a car with computerized transmission, you’ll have to 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 nearly all of Europe (solely Eire, the UK, Malta, and Cyprus drive on the left in Europe).

In case you lease a handbook car, you’ll be switching gears together with your left hand as an alternative of your proper, which has a little bit of a studying curve. (Personally, I want an computerized).

Outdated habits die onerous, so should you’re used to driving on the right-hand facet of the highway, drive cautiously. Driving on the left might be particularly difficult while you arrive at a roundabout (extra on that beneath) or in a metropolis. Take it gradual at first, till you alter.

4. Perceive Roundabouts

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

Roundabouts are quite common in Scotland. They usually move in the wrong way (clockwise) than do these within the US (counterclockwise). When approaching a roundabout, decelerate drastically and yield to site visitors within the roundabout till you’ve got a gap to enter the site visitors circle. All site 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 interior lane of the roundabout is for vehicles not exiting instantly.

Once you’re able to exit the roundabout, sign so vehicles behind you can be turning.

In case you’re not snug while you arrive at a roundabout, simply take it gradual and sign your intentions. They’re much simpler to deal with than you suppose!

5. Know the Pace Limits

Posted velocity limits in Scotland are written in miles. Whereas that is useful for People like me, vacationers from international locations that use kilometers will need to pay further consideration.

Frequent velocity limits are:

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

These numbers are simply guides, nonetheless. All the time observe native signage to make sure security. When unsure, it’s all the time higher to go slower reasonably than sooner till you confirm the velocity. I’d write down some widespread conversions so you’ll be able to have them useful should you get confused.

6. Add in Time for Scenic Stops

I do know numerous vacationers like to actually plan out their routes and itineraries. Once you solely have a number of days, it may be tempting to plan all the things to a T (I used to do that lots). Nevertheless, 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 jiffy for a vista, mountain, loch, or deserted fort. The panorama is so stunning that even the common sights are Insta-worthy. For that purpose, construct in buffer time in your itinerary in order that, should you determine to cease or take slightly diversion, you’ll have the time. I can’t suggest this sufficient. Generally, one of the best elements of a visit are those you stumble into. And also you positively don’t need to be dashing 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 telephone so you’ll be able to benefit from the native tradition and gorgeous views. Nevertheless, there are many apps on the market that may make it easier to get monetary savings, keep protected, and save time. Everybody road-tripping round Scotland ought to have the next apps downloaded to their telephone:

  • Met Climate – That is one of the best climate app for the UK. Circumstances can change drastically in Scotland, so plan accordingly.
  • Google Maps – The perfect app for trying up instructions. Make sure that to obtain your maps so you’ve got 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 fuel costs for when it is advisable refuel.

8. Convey a Paper Map

At any time when I am going on a highway journey, I all the time deliver a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is straightforward and free, and cellular knowledge protection in Scotland is usually dependable. However it’s higher to be protected than sorry. You by no means know when your telephone goes to interrupt, in case your sign will probably be misplaced (prone to occur should you’re driving by means of distant areas), or if there will probably be an emergency.

Give your self peace of thoughts: deliver a paper highway map, and simply depart it within the glove field. You probably gained’t want it, however should you do, you’ll be glad you’ve got it (they make good souvenirs after a visit too).

9. Perceive Tips on how to Drive on Single-Monitor Roads

When you get out of the cities, chances are you’ll encounter single-track roads. These are basically two-way roads that solely have area for one car. Which means should you encounter oncoming site visitors, there isn’t any room so that you can move each other.

Thankfully, these roads often have passing areas constructed into them at common intervals, permitting vehicles to tug over to make room. Benefit from these while you see site visitors coming, so that you could simply move each other.

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

Lastly, remember the fact that many single-track roads are a bit rugged. Blowing a tire can occur simply, particularly should you’re pulling off to the facet to make room for passing automobiles. For that purpose, ensure you have a spare tire and that you simply even have insurance coverage protection in your tires, simply to be protected.

10. Don’t Rush

Whereas Scotland isn’t big, there are nonetheless numerous issues see and do right here. It could be tempting to hurry, so you’ll be able to 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 around the globe, and slower is all the time higher. Meaning driving much less and spending extra time at every cease. Try this, and also you’ll be capable to soak in much more of Scotland’s distinctive tradition.

Moreover, likelihood is you’ll be driving on numerous smaller, winding roads right here, typically surrounded by ambling cattle to be careful for. Meaning, for security causes, you’ll have to decelerate and actually deal with the drive. Admire the sights, depart room for spontaneous detours, and overlook about dashing from sight to sight. You gained’t remorse it!

Instructed Routes

There are a number of common highway journey routes in Scotland. They every provide various things to see and do, and every require completely different quantities of time to finish. To benefit from your time, choose the route that most closely fits your journey pursuits.

Right here’s a fast have a look at a number of of one of the best highway journey routes in Scotland:

North Coast 500 – That is in all probability 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 Citadel.

You’ll need at the least 5 days, although seven days could be preferable. Simply remember the fact that it may well 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’ll be able to 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 an important various to the North Coast 500, because it’s much less common (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 at the least three days. That will provide you with time to see the highlights with out dashing.

Highlands Vacationer Route – Chopping throughout the jap facet of the nation, from Aberdeen to Inverness, this route is a well-liked selection 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 at the least 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 trip
How lengthy do you want for a Scotland highway journey?
Ideally, at the least 5-7 days. Clearly, the size will rely in your itinerary, however that may be a strong begin.

In case you 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, your entire North Coast 500, and the Highlands Vacationer Route.

Is driving in Scotland tough?
Whereas driving within the cities could be a ache, when you get out into the countryside, it is rather simple. Simply use warning on single-track roads and in roundabouts — and keep in mind that you need to drive on the left!

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

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


Scotland is an attractive vacation spot and ideal for highway journeys. With gorgeous surroundings, historic sights, plentiful mountaineering alternatives, and doable Loch Ness monster sightings, I believe renting a automobile to discover is one of the simplest ways 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 inexpensive. Simply observe the guidelines above and also you’ll remember to have a tremendous time!


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Ebook Your Flight
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Need Extra Info on Scotland?
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