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Edinburgh - Scotland

Classic Scotland

(10 days / 9 nights)

4.8
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See the gems of Scotland at your own pace

Take a road trip through the famous landscapes, ancient ruins and old settlements where Scotland’s greatest stories come to life. This independent self-drive journey includes some of Scotland’s most famous sights and routes, from the capital city to the rugged Highlands. Experience the beautiful Isle of Skye and other legendary places, such as Loch Ness, Glenfinnan, and the Trossachs National Park, along with the historical cities of Edinburgh and Inverness.

Interested in exploring Scottish gems on a privately guided tour?

Are you looking to join like-minded travellers on a guided small group version of this tour?

4.8

10 days / 9 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in GBP

Approx 1879 GBP

— Why book with Nordic Visitor

  • Seamless travel experience
  • Handpicked hotels and routes designed by local experts
  • Reliable rental cars with trusted Scottish partner
  • Comprehensive itinerary, personalised map & travel guide
  • 24/7 helpline during your tour
  • Service from local travel experts in Scotland
  • Great customer reviews
  • Carbon offsetting included

Read more

— Cancellation Protection

  • Rebook your tour on one occasion, or
  • Cancel for any reason and receive a partial refund and travel credit

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Explore some of Scotland’s top sights on the famous and breathtaking Isle of Skye
  • Walk along the mysterious Loch Ness and visit the castle on its shores
  • Stroll up the Royal Mile and discover the capital city Edinburgh
  • See the striking natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands
  • Enjoy some quiet time in nature at the Trossachs National Park
  • Photograph the picturesque Dunnottar Castle
  • Explore the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness, and its surroundings
  • Visit as many castles as you can on the Castle Trail in Aberdeenshire
  • Enjoy a road trip with peace of mind with your personal itinerary from a local travel expert

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Best Seller i, Castles and Royalty i, Classic i, Culture and History i, Highlands i, Honeymoon & Romance i, Isles i

Season

Apr - Oct

Departure

Daily

Interest

Best Seller i, Castles and Royalty i, Classic i, Culture and History i, Highlands i, Honeymoon & Romance i, Isles i

Driving distance

892/557 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

  • Day 1: Arrival in Edinburgh

    Make your way into Edinburgh city centre where your hotel will be located. Many travellers opt to take a taxi or use public transport, but for a more direct and comfortable ride, we will be happy to organise a private airport transfer for you. For those arriving early in the day, we recommend spending the afternoon walking through the city, strolling along the Royal Mile and exploring the Old and New Towns, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also plenty of museums and landmarks to visit within the city centre, including the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

    Spend the night in Edinburgh.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 2: Scotland's Dramatic East Coast

    Today, start your road trip driving up to Fife. Your first stop will be the quaint village of Falkland, where you can explore its Renaissance palace. From there, drive east to the town of St Andrews, famous for being the home of golf and of the oldest university in Scotland. As you continue north, pass by Dundee, a UNESCO City of Design. You can then take the direct route to Aberdeen, or take the coastal scenic route, which will take you past the St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve and the spectacular Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven.

    Spend the night in the Aberdeen area.

    Average driving distance: 235 km / 135 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Royal Deeside, Castles & Whisky

    Today will take you into the Scottish Highlands. First drive along the “Deeside Tourist Route”, an enchanting route through the Cairngorms National Park. On the way, there is a plethora of castles you could visit, including 16th-century Crathes Castles, and of course, the Scottish residence of the Royal Family, Balmoral Castle, which you can visit from April to July. You will then continue to Speyside, which is famous for its whiskies. You may want to visit one of the many distilleries (there are over 40 to choose from!), such as Glenfiddich or Aberlour.

    Spend the night in the Inverness area.

    Average driving distance: 240 km  / 150 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 4: Highlights of the Northwest Highlands

    Today you get the choice between spending the day exploring Inverness surroundings or getting a taste of the North Coast 500, one of Scotland’s most scenic driving routes. Around Inverness, you can visit the famous Battlefield of Culloden Moor and roam the Bronze-age cemetery Clava Cairns. You can also visit Cawdor Castle or take a walk at one of the golden sand beaches.

    If you journey to the North Coast, we recommend visiting the breathtaking Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach. Explore the Inverewe Garden, a botanical garden which boasts over 2500 exotic plants and flowers. You can also drive through the imperious landscape of the Torridon Hills before returning to Inverness.

    Spend another night in the Inverness area.

    Average driving distance along the west coast: 255 km / 160 miles
    Average driving distance around Inverness: 105 km / 65 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 5: Loch Ness & Castles

    Drive along the shores of Loch Ness where you can visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. You might also wish to take a boat tour to admire the views of the loch and try to catch a glimpse of Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, or go explore the nearby Urquhart Castle ruins. From there, continue your drive west toward the breathtaking Isle of Skye. On the way, you may want to stop at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a sight you will surely recognise from many films and TV shows.

    Spend the night on the Isle of Skye or nearby.

    Average driving distance: 185 km / 115 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 6: The Isle of Skye

    Today take full advantage of your day on Skye, a haven for nature lovers. You can visit the village of Portree, with its colourful buildings and boutiques before going on a drive around the northern part of the island via the breathtaking Trotternish Peninsula. There you can enjoy a walk up to “The Old Man of Storr” rock pinnacle and see the beautiful Kilt Rock Waterfall. Other highlights include the Quiraing, the An Corran Beach at Staffin, where you may spot ancient dinosaur footprints, and the mystical Fairy Glen.

    Spend another night on the Isle of Skye or nearby.

    Average driving distance: 70 km / 45 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 7: Sleat Peninsula & Glenfinnan

    Head south to the Sleat Peninsula, admiring the beautiful beaches, lochs, and glens of the region. You may wish to stop on the way to enjoy a walk to the crystal-clear Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Cuillin Hills or to sample Single Malt Whisky at the Talisker Distillery. In the afternoon, catch a ferry from Armadale to Mallaig on the mainland. On your journey, we recommend a stop at Camusdarach Beach. At Glenfinnan, you can admire the Glenfinnan Monument and Viaduct, the latter of which features in the Harry Potter film series.

    Spend the night in the Fort William area.

    Ferry duration: 30 minutes

    Average driving distance: 135km / 85 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 8: Travel along Dramatic Glens

    Today’s journey takes you past Scotland’s most famous valley, Glen Coe, which offers world-famous scenery. You could stop at the grave of Rob Roy at Balquidder and the beautiful Falls of Dochart in the village of Killin. Alternatively, you could travel the longer scenic route via the seaside town of Oban onto the historical valley of Kilmartin Glen and past the charming village of Inveraray. This region is considered to have one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland, including cairns, standing stones, and castles.

    Spend the night in the Trossachs National Park area.

    Average driving distance via Glen Coe: 130 km / 80 miles
    Average driving distance via Kilmartin Glen/Inveraray: 285 km / 180 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 9: Trossachs National Park to Edinburgh

    Today’s drive will bring you back to Edinburgh (you can choose to end your trip in Glasgow in the optional activities below). Drive through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where you could stop to take a walk in nature, enjoy an optional steamship tour on Loch Katrine, or visit a local whisky distillery. For a fun photo opportunity, don’t miss Doune Castle, featured in Monty Python & the Holy Grail and Outlander. If time allows, you could also stop by Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s top attractions, or the Kelpies, two impressive horse-head sculptures.

    Spend the night in Edinburgh.

    Average driving distance: 130 km / 80 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 10: Departure from Scotland

    On your day of departure, we recommend taking the Airlink bus or a taxi directly from your hotel to reach the airport. If you would like to add any additional nights to your trip or to arrange a private transfer, you can do so during the booking process. If your flight is in the afternoon, you may have time for some last-minute shopping, to visit one of Edinburgh’s museums, or take one last stroll through the charming city centre.

    See Activities for this day

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

We recommend adding your extra activities to the tour now for the best booking experience and to secure your spot, as activities are likely to sell out.

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Essential information

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this self-drive tour in Scotland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Scotland Travel Guide.

On a self-drive tour, Nordic Visitor supplies you with a quality rental car and a detailed personal itinerary. You act as your own tour guide and driver, and you get to pick the road trip music!

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your rental car and accommodation in Scotland, along with planned activities, as specified in the itinerary.

As this is a self-guided tour, you’re welcome to stop whenever and wherever you wish along the way. Except for accommodation and booked activities, other highlights we’ve listed in the itinerary are suggestions based on Nordic Visitor favourites.

And rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive personalised information, including an itinerary, hand-annotated map and our very own Scotland Travel Guide. Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us.

The minimum age to hire a car in Scotland is 23. Please note that if you are 25 or younger, an additional fee and extra conditions apply.

For example, you need to have held your driving licence for at least 4 years. If you are 23 or 24, you can only hire vehicles up to the SUV category.

Scotland is beautiful all year long. That said, it’s good to be aware that the summer is the high travelling season, with July and August being peak months.

This means many of the highlights, such as the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh, will be extremely popular and might have limited availability. This could impact your booking of attractions, accommodation, restaurants, excursions and more.

For a more relaxing experience, we recommend booking your tour, plus any extra excursions, activities or entrance tickets, well in advance. You also might prefer to arrive during the shoulder season, which is during April–June and September–October.

If you do wish to travel in July or August, we will be happy to help you plan your trip to make it as smooth as possible.

During your Scotland tour, you’ll stay in accommodation hand-picked by our local travel experts. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience.

In Scotland, you can choose from single or double rooms. Twin, triple and family rooms are not commonly available. Please also note that in Scotland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America.

For example, a double room often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. And single rooms are often smaller than the standard double.

Due to the historic nature of the properties we usually select, most of the rooms are only accessible by stairs. Lifts are not common in Scottish hotels. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are not able to walk up stairs.

Travelling with your kids? No problem! Just let your travel consultant know during the booking process. We’ll arrange any cots needed at your accommodation.

If you need multiple rooms, please note that we can't guarantee family rooms or interconnecting rooms at all accommodation. You may even have rooms on different floors.

If you'd like us to arrange for a car seat to be provided for your trip, please let us know ahead of time. This will incur a small extra cost.

The roads in Scotland are usually in good condition all year long and are renowned for their road trip worthiness. In winter, though, storms, rain, snow and ice can cause adverse conditions. We recommend checking weather forecasts daily and not taking any risks when it comes to driving.

Please be aware that in the UK motorists drive on the left side of the road (and on the right side of the car). If you are not used to driving on the left, we highly recommend choosing a vehicle with automatic transmission for your self-drive tour.

If you want a manual transmission vehicle, keep in mind that you will need to shift gears with your left hand (floor pedals are the same).

Drivers will need to get used to the narrower roads of the UK as well as the rural single-track roads. If you meet another driver on one of these single-track roads, one of you needs to tuck into a passing place, which might be behind you. In these areas, you should also be careful of animals on the road.

It’s also a good idea to plan how you will navigate around Scotland ahead of time. Your travel consultant will prepare a detailed hand-annotated map of your route to help you stay on track.

We also recommend using navigation apps on your phone, such as Google Maps. Make sure to download the route ahead of time, in case you don’t have signal in the more rural areas.

For inexperienced drivers who still want to explore and discover Scotland, we recommend one of our guided small group tours or privately guided tours. On these tours you’ll have a local, experienced driver at the wheel.

This itinerary includes a ferry crossing. To board, you’ll need to arrive at the port marked in your voucher and on your map. You will need to arrive a certain amount of time ahead of your departure, and this time will be noted on your voucher. Simply drive your car in the queue to board the ferry at the right time.

Summer in Scotland might be warmer than you expect! While temperatures are unlikely to reach higher than 20°C (68 °F), heatwaves in Scotland are usually humid. This means it can feel hotter than it is, especially in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

That said, the weather is also very changeable, so you’ll want to come prepared for anything. Rain is always a possibility, and when the sun sets a warm jumper or jacket is a must. We’ve prepared a useful packing guide to help you decide what to bring with you.

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. This means that your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit. If something unexpected occurs, you can call our 24/7 helpline to speak directly with a Nordic Visitor staff member.

Whatever time of year you’re in Scotland, you’re likely to see lots of different types of weather. As you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors it’s a good idea to come prepared for a combination of weather conditions.

Here is a recommended packing list for a summer trip:

  • A warm jumper or fleece
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Good walking shoes or boots (especially if you intend to hike and go on nature walks)
  • Light scarf or thin sweater
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat

In some areas of Scotland, such as the Highlands and islands, you might notice small, pesky insects called midges. They’re most active on summer evenings and tend to swarm near still water. You can avoid bites by wearing long-sleeves and trousers and by packing an insect repellent.

And here’s our recommendations for a winter getaway:

  • A warm, windproof and waterproof jacket
  • Thermal base layers and cosy jumpers
  • A scarf, gloves and hat
  • Sturdy boots and some woollen socks

For more information, check this packing list suggestion.

There are limited laundry facilities in Scotland’s countryside, though you’ll find laundrettes in the cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. Some hotels do offer dry cleaning for an additional cost.

On your Scotland road trip, you should budget for petrol costs of around £1.60–£2 per litre.

As for meals, your breakfast is included at all your accommodation in Scotland. For the rest of your food, your spending money will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to.

Budget between £15–£20 per person for each day’s lunch. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between £20–£25. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay £40–£50 or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

If you’re arriving from Canada, the United States, Australia or the European Union, you won’t need a visa to visit Scotland.

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Scotland on the website of the UK government.

Your passport must also be valid during the entirety of your stay in Scotland. It’s a good idea to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it.

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline.

During your tour, there will always be an Edinburgh-based travel expert on call to handle any unforeseen situations, such as unusual weather or events.

Yes, you can customise this tour online. During the booking process, you can easily add extra nights to your itinerary as well as optional day trips, excursions and upgrades.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the availability calendar to see which months are open for booking. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking. 

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits so you can reserve your trip as early as it’s convenient for you. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel. 

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well ahead. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

You can get in touch with our Scotland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Scotland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll send you e-copies of your travel documents.

Upon your arrival in Scotland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Scotland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Scotland?

After picking up your luggage, make your way to your accommodation in the Edinburgh city centre. If you’ve come from another airport, such as Glasgow, you can take the train or book a private transfer.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2–4 PM.

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel if you have to wait. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching public transport or a taxi to the airport.

All bookings are billed in British Pounds (GBP), the local currency in Scotland and the UK.

Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate. This means conversions from GBP to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

Reviews

We don’t like to brag, so we’ll let our happy customers do it for us.

Everything was excellent!

Duncan was extremely helpful responding to all my questions and providing suggestions on all the areas I asked about. Everything on the 10-day u-drive trip was exactly what we needed and expected from the accommodations to the rental and the ferry connections. A full list of activities and places to visit with a well laid out route to see as much as possible in our stay. Overall everything was excellent!

Very helpful

Duncan was an excellent help. Very helpful, prompt and personable.

Impeccable

Absolutely stunning tour! The cost to value was amazing, for a 10-day trip around the entire country it was so affordable. Our car rental was great, it gave us the room to tour around on our own time with optimal fuel efficiency. I filled up maybe twice. Our accommodation were impeccable. Each place was well kept, comfortable and the hosts/staff were incredibly kind. The extra tours we booked like the food and wine tour and Loch Ness cruise were wonderful additions to our touring and super fun. The entire tour was breathtaking, our guide gave us the most amazing options that we could tailor to our daily needs depending on how much driving, sightseeing, hiking, etc. we wanted to do.

Excellent experience

This has been our second vacation with Nordic Visitor. Iceland and now Scotland. Our experience was excellent! Thank you for your wonderful planning and your guide book.

Everything went well

Everything was well planned out. We had no hiccups and everything went well.

Flexibility

The tour was planned out so that we had the flexibility to stop and check out sites related to our interests. We had time to make it to our next accommodation while stopping along the way.

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Comfort Plus

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in good quality 3-star guesthouses or country hotels.

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Superior

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in 4-star hotels or boutique guesthouses.

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Rental car

Enjoy your road trip with 2 authorised drivers and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to reduce liability.

Vauxhall Astra (manual)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x2
  • M

Vauxhall Astra (manual)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Economy
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Standard
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Limited availability between 1 June - 30 June 2024
  • Description: Premium
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Vauxhall Grandland (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Vauxhall Grandland (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Intermediate SUV
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Mercedes Vito (automatic)
or similar

  • x8
  • x3
  • x5
  • A

Mercedes Vito (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Premium Passenger Van
  • Passengers: 8
  • Luggage: 5
  • Doors: 3
  • Transmission: Automatic*
  • *manual option available upon request

Price per person from

The amount will be charged in GBP

Approx 1879 GBP

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2024
2025

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