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11 Scotland Street Journey Tricks to Know Earlier than You Go

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11 Scotland Road Trip Tips to Know Before You Go

Posted: 5/23/2024 | Could twenty third, 2024

Scotland is a rugged and delightful nation that’s good for exploring on a street 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 lovely 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 street journey is one of the best ways to discover the nation. House to simply 5.5 million individuals, it’s a sparsely populated land, a lot of your driving right here might be out within the countryside. The nation is simply constructed for it.

However there are nonetheless a number of 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 at the least):


1. Get Journey Insurance coverage

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

I do know, it’s an added expense. And chances are high you received’t even want it.

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

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

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

With regards to renting a automotive, I like to recommend Uncover Automobiles. Once you e book, it’s simple so as to add automotive 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 use the widget under to get a quote. It’s quick and free:


2. Hire the Proper Car

You primarily have two decisions on the subject of renting a car in Scotland — and selection will drastically influence your journey. Your choices are a automotive or a campervan.

A automotive might be cheaper and use much less fuel, however you’ll have to seek out lodging every evening. A campervan/RV might be extra money and require extra gasoline, however you may 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 a improper reply. Simply remember the fact that handbook transmissions are the default in Scotland, so if you would like a car 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, identical to the remainder of the UK. That is the alternative of the US, Canada, and the vast majority of Europe (solely Eire, the UK, Malta, and Cyprus drive on the left in Europe).

Should you hire 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 favor an automated).

Previous habits die arduous, so when you’re used to driving on the right-hand facet of the street, drive cautiously. Driving on the left will be particularly difficult if 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 site visitors circles that function intersections, as an alternative of cease lights or cease indicators. They pressure automobiles to decelerate with out stopping the movement of site visitors. Whereas they aren’t particularly widespread within the US, they’re extremely common in Europe (they scale back critical site visitors accidents by upwards of 90%).

Roundabouts are quite common in Scotland. And so they movement in the other 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 gotten a gap to enter the site visitors circle. All site visitors flows the identical course in a roundabout.

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

Once you’re able to exit the roundabout, sign so automobiles behind you realize you may be turning.

Should you’re not comfy if 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 Pace Limits

Posted pace limits in Scotland are written in miles. Whereas that is useful for Individuals like me, vacationers from nations that use kilometers will wish to pay further 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, nonetheless. All the time comply with native signage to make sure security. When doubtful, it’s at all times higher to go slower slightly than sooner till you confirm the pace. I’d write down some widespread conversions so you may have them useful when you get confused.

6. Add in Time for Scenic Stops

I do know plenty of vacationers like to essentially plan out their routes and itineraries. Once you solely have a number of days, it may be tempting to plan every part to a T (I used to do that quite a bit). Nevertheless, there are many diversions to discover in Scotland, from quaint cities to scenic vistas to brief hikes.

You’re going to wish to pull over each couple of minutes for a vista, mountain, loch, or deserted fortress. The panorama is so lovely that even the typical sights are Insta-worthy. For that motive, construct in buffer time in your itinerary in order that, when you determine to cease or take just a little diversion, you’ll have the time. I can’t advocate this sufficient. Typically, the most effective components of a visit are those you stumble into. And also you positively don’t wish to be dashing from sight to sight both, so plan to be diverted.

7. Obtain the Proper Apps

I do know, if you head out on a street journey, the purpose is to get away out of your telephone so you may benefit from the native tradition and gorgeous views. Nevertheless, there are many apps on the market that may aid you 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 the most effective climate app for the UK. Circumstances can change drastically in Scotland, so plan accordingly.
  • Google Maps – The very best app for wanting up instructions. Be sure to obtain your maps so you’ve gotten them for offline use.
  • Park4Night – A useful app for locating spots to park to 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 you should refuel.

8. Convey a Paper Map

At any time when I am going on a street journey, I at all times convey a paper map. I do know, Google Maps is straightforward and free, and cellular information 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 might be misplaced (more likely to occur when you’re driving via distant areas), or if there might be an emergency.

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

9. Perceive Methods to Drive on Single-Observe Roads

When you get out of the cities, it’s possible you’ll encounter single-track roads. These are primarily two-way roads that solely have house for one car. Which means that when you encounter oncoming site visitors, there isn’t a room so that you can move each other.

Thankfully, these roads normally have passing areas constructed into them at common intervals, permitting automobiles to tug over to make room. Make the most of these if you see site visitors coming, so that you could simply move each other.

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

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

10. Don’t Rush

Whereas Scotland isn’t large, there are nonetheless plenty of issues see and do right here. It might be tempting to hurry, so you may pack extra into your itinerary, however I strongly encourage you to not achieve this. High quality, not amount, is the secret. I’ve been on numerous street journeys world wide, and slower is at all times higher. Meaning driving much less and spending extra time at every cease. Do this, and also you’ll be capable of soak in much more of Scotland’s distinctive tradition.

Moreover, chances are high you’ll be driving on plenty of smaller, winding roads right here, typically surrounded by ambling cattle to be careful for. Meaning, for security causes, you’ll must decelerate and actually give attention to the drive. Admire the sights, go away room for spontaneous detours, and neglect about dashing from sight to sight. You received’t remorse it!

Recommended Routes

There are a number of common street journey routes in Scotland. They every supply various things to see and do, and every require completely different quantities of time to finish. To profit from your time, decide the route that most accurately fits your journey pursuits.

Right here’s a fast have a look at a number of of the most effective street journey routes in Scotland:

North Coast 500 – That is in all probability the preferred street journey route within the nation. It loops across the northern tip of Scotland, normally beginning and ending in Inverness. In style stops embrace Bealach na Bà, Cape Wrath, Smoo Cave, John o’ Groats, and Dunrobin Fortress.

You’ll need at the least 5 days, although seven days can be preferable. Simply remember the fact that it could possibly 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 preferred 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 may actually take in the views). It’s additionally part of a number of street 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 amazing different to the North Coast 500, because it’s much less common (and thus much less crowded). In style stops alongside this route embrace the Inveraray Jail, the cairns of Kilmartin Glen, Glen Coe, and Ben Nevis.

When you might 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 – Slicing 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 fortress and museum stops, in addition to the positioning 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 tripA rugged shores of Scotland on a beautiful day exploring on a road trip
How lengthy do you want for a Scotland street journey?
Ideally, at the least 5-7 days. Clearly, the size will rely in your itinerary, however that could be a stable begin.

Should you decide a shorter route or simply wish to do a weekend street journey to camp, three days will suffice.

What’s the most scenic drive in Scotland?
A few of the most scenic drives in Scotland embrace the Argyll Coastal Route, your entire North Coast 500, and the Highlands Vacationer Route.

Is driving in Scotland troublesome?
Whereas driving within the cities is usually 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 it’s a must to drive on the left!

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

What’s the finest month for a Scotland street journey?
Typically, April-October is the most effective 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 might be decrease and every part might be much less busy.


Scotland is a wonderful vacation spot and ideal for street journeys. With gorgeous surroundings, historic sights, plentiful mountain climbing alternatives, and attainable Loch Ness monster sightings, I feel renting a automotive to discover is one of the best ways to expertise the nation. Whether or not you wish to uncover the rugged coast or weave in regards to the Highlands, having a automotive or campervan will make it each attainable and reasonably priced. Simply comply with the guidelines above and also you’ll you’ll want to have a tremendous time!


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