An Epic Scotland Road Trip – Part 1

Scotland has so much to offer, out of this world landscapes, cool cities (large and small), culture and history, good food and drink in both pubs and upscale restaurants. And while trains and buses are available, Scotland has some remote and out of the way places that really should be explored. This makes Scotland a perfect place for an Epic Road Trip.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you have seen some of the amazing pictures from my recent 14 day Scotland adventure. Since I have been back I have been receiving quite a few inquiries regarding my itinerary. Therefore I have decided to share a condensed version of it here for all to see. Hopefully it will inspire you to plan your own epic Scotland road trip.

Streets of Edinburgh - Victoria Street
Streets of Edinburgh – Victoria Street

Day 1 – EDINBURGH

We arrive by train at Edinburgh Waverly Station. The day is spent walking around the city and seeing some of its attractions. Activities and sites for the day include:

We explore the Royal Mile with all of its charm and stores filled with little knick-knacks and tourist souvenirs.  One of the best parts of the city is exploring all the hidden closes which are narrow alleyways that run south and north off the Royal Mile. Don’t be afraid to wander through these and get off the main Royal Mile. We also venture to Princess Street Gardens for an afternoon stroll.

One of the Closes of Edinburgh
One of the closes of Edinburgh

We are lucky to meet up with family from Sweden. Our cousin Barry joins us on some tours and then for dinner and magnificent sunsets from Calton Hill.

Calton Hill
Calton Hill

Tip – You cannot avoid lots of walking while in Edinburgh and most of it is up and down hills so I highly suggest a pair of very comfortable shoes.

Overnight in Edinburgh: Holiday Inn Express The Royal Mile

 

Day 2 – EDINBURGH

Another full day in this fantastic city which is full of old charm.  We start the day with a morning hike up Arthur’s Seat it is a fun hike with beautiful views.

Arthurs Seat in the distance
Arthurs Seat in the distance

 

Views from the top of Arthurs Seat
Views from the top of Arthurs Seat

We also get to explore our first castle in Scotland and discover all the places that influence J.K. Rowling while writing her Harry Potter series.

Our family from Sweden meet up with us for dinner and for a walk to Dean Village at the end of the day. The highlights today are:

Dean Village
Dean Village

Overnight in Edinburgh: Holiday Inn Express The Royal Mile

Read More: City Guide – Edinburgh for First Timers

 

Day 3 – EDINBURGH TO STIRLING

Today we rent a car from EuropCar and start the drive to Stirling.  Approx driving distance 45 miles.

Our stops along the way are:

  • Linlithgow Palace
  • Kelpies
  • Battle of Bannockburn
Kelpies
Kelpies

Overnight in Stirling: Broomhall Castle

 

Day 4 – STIRLING

Approximate amount of miles driven today is 25 miles.

Today we spend the day around the Stirling area and the sites we visit are as follows:

  • Doune Castle
  • Stirling Castle
  • William Wallace Monument

You can read here to find out which castles make up my daughters top picks of Scottish castles for kids

Doune Castle
Doune Castle

 

Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle

 

William Wallace Monument
William Wallace Monument

We also walk around the town of Stirling discovering the shops, restaurants and pubs, churches and cemeteries.

Overnight in Stirling: Broomhall Castle

 

Day 5 – STIRLING TO OBAN

Approximate amount of miles driven today is 108 miles.

Today we travel into the highlands along the shores of Loch Lomond with a stop in the quaint Luss Village.

Luss Village
Luss Village

Then we drive across the mountains and by Loch Fyne to visit Inveraray Castle.  We continue our journey North West with a stop at Kilchurn castle on Loch Awe before settling for the night outside of Oban.  The highlights and sights are:

  • Luss Village
  • Loch Fyne
  • Inveraray Castle
  • Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle

Overnight in Oban: The Falls of Lora

 

Day 6 – DAY TRIP TO MULL, TRENISH ISLES, & STAFFA

This was a day I was really looking forward to and it would provide my husband a rest on the driving as the tour was operated by Staffa tours and provided all transportation. The tour includes a ferry crossing from Oban to Mull where we board a bus that takes us all the way up the Island to the port of Tobermory.

Tobermory
Tobermory

Here we board a smaller boat to the Isle of Lunga to see the puffins. Enough time is provided on the Island to see the birds, have a packed lunch and walk around the Island.

Puffin in Lunga
Puffin in Lunga

The boat picks us up again for a ride to Staffa and Fingals Cave.  We are allowed some time to explore the cave and Island before we are taken back to Tobermory. Once on Tobermory we are allowed 1 hr for dinner or to explore before the bus takes us back to the port of Craignure for the ferry ride back to Oban. It is a long day (12 hrs in all) with lots of bus and boat travel.  The seas can get a bit rough even on a beautiful day so if you tend to get sea sick I suggest you have Dramamine or other comparable medication with you.  Highlights:

DSC_0577
Staffa

Overnight in Oban: The Falls of Lora

 

Day 7 – ROAD TO THE ISLES & SKYE

Approximate amount of miles driven today is 127 miles.

Today we begin our drive to Skye.  We take the famed road to the isles. The journey takes us through Glencoe, a spectacular glen made famous by the Massacre of Glencoe of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, and then we board a ferry crossing from Mallaig to Armadale. Highlights today are:

  • Castle Stalker
  • Glencoe
  • Glenfinnan
  • Ferry ride to Skye
  • Archery at A.C.E.
  • Portree

DSC_0658

Because of heavy rain we are unable to walk around in Glencoe and we only get a glance at Castle Stalker from the car. However this allows us to board an earlier ferry and arrive in Skye a few hours early for our archery session with Matt at A.C.E.  Target Sports. We luck out and not only enjoy a fantastic Archery session but we also get to throw a few axes.  This is definitely a highlight of the day and a fantastic family activity.

Overnight in Portree: Garalapin House

For more information on Garalapin House check out my review here.

Epic Scotland Road Trip

For the next 7 days of this Epic Road Trip you can read – An Epic Scotland Road Trip Part 2.

Hope you have enjoyed this overview of the first 7 days in the Epic Scotland Roadtrip. If you are planning your trip to Scotland and want more details leave me a message below or reach out to me via Instagram or Facebook.  I am always happy to chat about Scotland.

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29 Comments

    1. Thank you so very much. I was a fantastic adventure for the entire family. I hope to share the next 7 days soon. Happy Roving!!!

  1. You have really inspired me to take a road trip here! I already love road trips, but these photos of the castles and villages are amazing. I’m also a huge fan of Scotch Whiskey, so I need to go to the homeland for this 🙂

    1. So glad this could provide inspiration as road trips can be lots of fun. I did not cover many distilleries as we went with 2 small children but we still enjoyed some great whiskey. There are tons of Distilleries you can tour and of course scotch whiskey is available at any pub. How do you like your Whiskey? Fruity, peaty, mild, bold?

  2. What a great trip. Your photos are fantastic and so inspiring. My grandmother was Scottish so it is a place that always holds some fondness for me. What was your daughters’ favourite experience of the trip? Apart from the castles!

    1. Katy – so great that you have a Scottish connection. Have you visited Scotland yet? My daughters favorite experience was in the Isle of Skye. We did an Archery session with A.C.E Target Sports and it was just a fantastic experience. Not only did we learn some great archery skills but we had the opportunity to throw some axes. So much fun. And for me the hiking was the best. I enjoyed the castles because I love history but being outdoors and hiking in surroundings that are just out of this world beautiful and doing it as a family was just the best.

  3. I had no idea that there were puffins in Scotland!!!!! That is incredible. My mother-in-law is going to Scotland tomorrow for the first time so I have sent this to her to check out.I love those horse heads as well – so cool!

    1. Oh yes there are Puffins in Scotland and they are not hard to get to. So many wonderful experiences to be had there. The horses are actually called Kelpies and if you see them at night they light up in different colors – very cool indeed. If your MIL has any questions let her know she can email me at rovingjo@gmail.com or pm me through facebook or on istagram if she is on social media. I will be happy to help in any way that I can. Hope she has a wonderful time. Do you have any plans to visit Scotland?

  4. What a great road trip itinerary! So much good stuff. I visited Edinburgh last year and we did a road trip up to Glencoe. I was amazed by how gorgeous the scenery was. Reading this makes me realize that I need to go back and explore more! 🙂

    1. So glad you liked the itinerary. I wish I would have had more time to explore Glencoe. It was raining really bad when we drove through so I did not get to experience all its beauty. I left a part of my heart in Scotland and hope to return to see it.

  5. OMG These pictures are simply stunning. I loved Dean Village, Calton Hill, Kilchurn and so much more. Unfortunately, I was in Edinburgh just for a weekend so could not explore as much. Scotland is beautiful though and I would love to go back and follow your footsteps.

    1. I was only in Edinburgh for a few days myself and my feet hurt at the end of each day because of all the walking. And even though I feel like I got to see quite a bit I did not even scratch at the surface of what Edinburgh has to offer. We should all go back and see some more.

  6. Oh man, could your photos be any more enticing? I’ve never been to Scotland (what am I waiting for?), but I would love to hike up Arthur’s Seat and stroll around Edinburgh. Oh, and those castles! My kids would be in heaven!

    1. Thank you for the nice comment on my photos. I hope they provided inspiration to plan your trip to Scotland. The scenery, the culture, and even the food was amazing. You would love it and so would your kids.

  7. Great itinerary! I think when we go to Scotland I would also like to do a self-drive so I will definitely be referring to this post. What do you think is the best month to visit to minimize the rainy days? Although the heavy clouds do make for some cool shots!

    1. So I am sitting here laughing because if you go to Scotland you will just have to get used to the idea that it rains. And the rain is quite frankly what makes Scotland – well Scotland. It is green and beautiful because of it. However it usually does not rain for long. And even though it may be raining in one place it may not be raining 5 miles away or in the next 10 minutes. The weather is ever changing. And most of the time the rain is more of a annoying drizzle than heavy downpours. I found the best thing to do is always have your rain jacket with you and wear comfortable weather proof shoes. If you still want me to give you a month then I would say that statistically and traditionally the driest months are May, June and September but there are no real guarantees.

  8. You did so many fun things on this trip. I am dying to go to Scotland and this looks like a great itinerary. I would love to visit Edinburgh Castle and go on a Harry Potter walking tour. But I would also love to see those cute puffins!

    1. No mater what you choose to do you cannot go wrong with a trip to Scotland. Glad I was able to inspire you for a future trip. Happy Roving!!!

  9. This is an absolutely beautiful trip indeed! Scotland is at the top of my Europe list, and I wanted to study abroad in Stirling, but I have yet to make it! This is some extra inspiration!

    1. So glad that you enjoyed following along in my itinerary and that is providing some inspiration to you. Stirling has a wonderful school and the location is excellent to use as a base while you explore the rest of Scotland. I hope you can make that happen. Happy Roving!!!

  10. Dean Village looks straight out of a fairytale book from my childhood. I’m itching to visit Scotland and drive route 500. It’s super high on my list. I’m also a big fan of ruins so I would also love visiting Kilchurn Castle.

    1. It is hard to imagine that Dean Village is in Edinburgh, it looks more like you said a a town from a fairy-tale than part of a big city.
      If you are a fan of ruins you should check out Dunnottar it is spectacular. And next time I go to Scotland I want to do route 500 the north west is just amazing and I would love to spend more time there. I hope you get to go soon. Happy Roving!!!

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