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Roadtrip through Scotland

A map to navigate you through Scotland

This summer I had an incredible road trip through Scotland, which I no longer can wait to share with you in this post. With the top 10 destinations in mind, here comes a review of my Scotland road trip with tips on where to go and what to see.

Glasgow is a must-see in Scotland

1. Glasgow

First things first – If you want to go on a roadtrip to Scotland you need to get there first. Where to land and where to commence your journey from? I’d recommend either Glasgow or Edinburgh, the two largest cities of Scotland, which are a great starting point for your trip. Glasgow was our choice and we spent, after arriving the evening before, the whole next day in this beautiful city. I regret deeply not spending more time there since the city is at least a three-day-trip worth of your time. Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city, though less touristic compared to Edinburgh and a rather down-to-earth kind of city. It is less polished and more modest, it is real and it is raw. Glasgow and Edinburgh couldn’t be more contrasting cities which is why they both are worth a visit. Glasgow is a city with a big industrial history which over time has transformed itself into a city of culture, art and creativity. So much is happening in this city, so one thing is sure, you’ll definitely not get bored!

Not far from Glasgow - the Devil's Pulpit

2. The Devil's Pulpit

Not too far from Glasgow you have this beautiful gorge through which flows a ruby coloured river, the Devil’s Pulpit. This is a magical location and goes under two names, you will find it both under Finnich Glen and the Devil’s Pulpit.

This is a lot of nature at once so you better be well prepared with rain boots, hiking shoes and all the equipment you possibly can gather because it might be wet, muddy and slippery. It is somewhat a mission to both find it and to get down there since it is not well signposted and once you get there you’ll have to climb down some slippery, eroded steps, also called the Devil’s Steps. I assure you though that every drop of sweat and tear will be rewarded with a beautiful view of nature. The Devil’s Pulpit is one of the shorter sightseeing trips which is why you easily can have more planned for that day.

Kilchurn Castle - one of Scotland's many castles

3. Kilchurn Castle

You can’t visit Scotland without having seen at least a hand full of its amazing castles, and Kilchurn Castle is one of them. Kilchurn Castle is more of a ruin though but hey, it’s been standing there for like 500 years, been struck by lightning, withstood storms and everything else the Scottish weather brings on a daily basis. Once it belonged to one of the most powerful clans of the Highland it was then abandoned by the Campbells in 1740 when the struggle of conversion was too much trouble for them so they found a better accommodation in the Taymouth Castle (don’t google it…it’s a way too amazing castle). It was built in 1450 by Sir Colin Campbell as a fortress and over time underwent several changes and additions transforming it into a more comfortable residence and a garrison stronghold. Do yourself a favour and take a walk along this picturesque castle in its picturesque landscape which also happens to be one of the most photographed castles in Scotland due to the castle’s dramatic situation.

Exploring the Scottish Highlands

4. Glencoe

If there’s one thing you need on your bucket list for your road trip through Scotland it should of course be at least a couple of hiking trips – and no, the Devil’s Pulpit doesn’t count. If you take your trip further north you will be welcomed by the famous and most amazing Highlands. In the Western Highlands of Scotland is where Glencoe lays; an hour’s drive from Kilchurn Castle, this place is a great base to head out on some hiking tours, waiting for you to be explored. From shorter strolls to a full-day hiking adventure, this place got you covered as the natural playground that it is. The deep valley and towering mountains will take away your breath, like literally, you will be out of breath from the hiking tours. And can you imagine that people actually life here? Like, they get to wake up to this beautiful view every morning.

The highest and most iconic mountain in whole Great Britain - Ben Nevis

5. Ben Nevis

From Glencoe the journey continues further on to the highest and most iconic mountain in whole Great Britain, Ben Nevis. Luckily Ben Nevis is quite close to Glen Coe, a 45 minutes’ drive away, and makes therefore for a perfect stop along the way. Ben Nevis is a 1345 meters high mountain and even though you might not have any climbing or hiking experience you can still manage to climb this mountain as there is a route called “the tourist trail”. You can imagine that this means that Ben Nevis is indeed attracting a lot of tourists. Some parts of the track are harder to climb than others as they get stony and rocky, so be again well prepared with proper shoes. Even if you shouldn’t make it to the top (we didn’t either) do not despair, you will still be able to enjoy an incredible view over the Highlands from the lower heights.

The famous Harry Potter-Bridge

6. The Glenfinnan Viaduct

If it wasn’t for Harry Potter this place would probably be only half so much populated by tourists but everyone who has visited this place can’t deny that it is somehow a magical view. The Glenfinnan Viaduct is the next ultimate pit stop on our Scottish road trip but you might rather know it under the name “Harry Potter Bridge” as this is the bridge where the train to Hogwarts goes, also called the Jacobite Steam Train. The bridge is indeed very impressive standing 30 meters tall and being the largest railway bridge in Scotland. Unfortunately we missed the train that day and our car wasn’t flying either, so we took our wands and continued our journey further on to the Eilean Donan Castle instead of Hogwarts.

Another famous Scottish castle

7. Eilean Donan Castle

Because visiting one castle in Scotland is not enough we’ll visit another castle on our route which fits perfectly in the schedule on the way to the Isle of Skye, the Eilean Donan Castle. This picturesque castle (well, maybe we can agree that ALL castles in Scotland are picturesque?) lies on a small tidal island where three sea lochs meet and is connected to the mainland only by a footbridge. It is without doubt one of THE most iconic castles in Scotland and therefore a must-visit on your trip. The castle was founded in the 13th century although this small island was first inhabited by a Bishop who created a monastic cell in the 6th century. It has been surviving a lot of history ever since, being ruined and rebuilt. Some say that the Eilean Donan Castle is the most beautiful of them all but I think you should come along and decide for yourself.

Hiking on the Isle of Skye - remember proper shoes

8. Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is the largest isle of the “Inner Hebrids”. The landscape and scenery is so breathtaking that there is no possible way to neither describe it in words nor pictures; you need to just be there. The Isle of Skye is definitely worth at least a two-day visit because you will be hiking more than you have ever done in your entire life. There is the Quiraing which will occupy like half a day of your time. Another beautiful must-see destination on your trip to the Isle of Skye is the Fairy Pools. The Fairy Pools are a natural waterfall phenomenon with crystal clear water. I desperately wanted to take a swim in the super cold water but I thought I’d let someone else do it for me. But if you are braver than me bring you swimsuit and go for a dive! I was less brave and only took some pictures from the safe and warmer landside.

Dunnottar Castle - where history took place

9. Dunnottar Castle

From the west side of Scotland our trip takes us to the east side, Dunnottar Castle to be exact. From the Isle of Skye this is roughly a 7 hour drive, depending on how fast you can go on the narrow, windy, wet roads and how many breaks your bladder needs. Dunnottar Castle is a must-see if the movie “Braveheart” means anything to you. This is a place that William Wallace captured from the Englishmen in 1297 during the Wars of Scottish Independence. It is said that he defeated 4000 English soldiers and burned them alive in the church. The church obviously has no roof anymore. But besides that Dunnottar Castle is one of the most dramatic castles regarding its location. Situated on this dramatic and evocative ruined cliff you can only access it via one narrow path.

Edinburgh - a city I most defenitely will return to on day

10. Edinburgh

From Dunnottar Castle the way to Edinburgh, the final destination on this road trip, is not far anymore, only a two hours’ drive! Since the best always comes last we conclude this road trip in Edinburgh, a magnificent city! Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. This city screams ‘Harry Potter’, the streets, the buildings, just everything seems so magic and old but also very well preserved. The city is filled with history, amazing architecture and plenty of Scottish culture – this really was the place which fulfilled my dreams of Scottish clichés including guys with their Scottish uniforms playing bagpipes and drinking lots of Scottish whiskey. I can recommend staying at Edinburgh for at least 3 days since there is sooo much to see.


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