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The west coast of Scotland has tranquil lochs, idyllic isles, towering peaks and quintessentially Scottish cuisine in abundance. But, it’s the serenely untamed routes in between that make it the ultimate road trip to add to your bucket list whether travelling by car, motorhome or motorcycle.

With so many spectacular options, hidden gems and must-see delights it can be hard to know where to start. So, let us help you create your itinerary as we explore the best scenic routes in Scotland.

What is the famous coastal road in Scotland?

The North Coast 500 (NC500), often hailed as Scotland’s Route 66, is a 500 (516 to be exact!) mile drive through the Scottish Highlands promising an adventure of a lifetime.

A round trip starting and ending in Inverness, the route showcases the very best that the Scottish Highlands has to offer. Passing through “The Sanctuary” that is the Applecross peninsula, the lovely fishing town of Ullapool, some of the northernmost coastal points at Caithness and John O’Groats and the beautiful market town of Dingwall with many opportunities to stop along the way.

With plenty of culture, history and the most charming scenery waiting for you to discover, it is easy to see why the North Coast 500 is recognised as one of the world’s top coastal touring routes.

Applecross Pass in Scotland

Applecross Pass

What is the “wee mad road” in Scotland?

The B869 Drumbeg Road, affectionately known as “The Wee Mad Road” by locals, is not for the fainthearted…

A small detour on the exciting North Coast 500, this hidden gem runs in the northwest from Achiltibuie to Lochinver and it’s easy to see how it got its namesake. Single-track roads, steep hills, sharp bends and the occasional encounter with local wildlife make this route truly unique.

It is recognised as one of the finest scenic roads in the country, and if you’re brave enough, you’ll be rewarded with endless coastlines and unrivalled wild views of the countryside.

Where are the best driving routes around West Scotland?

The Argyll Coastal Route is hailed as one of the top choices for an exhilarating driving experience around the west coast of Scotland.

With over 120 miles of pure Scottish magic, from Tarbet to Fort William, your itinerary will be bursting with incredible must-see stops and hidden gems. There’s something for everyone on this adventure, whether you’re travelling solo, with friends or bringing the entire family along.

The adventure starts in Tarbet on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, where there are endless outdoor activities to enjoy. Recognised as one of the most popular destinations in Scotland, be sure to extend your road trip here by experiencing one of the many walking or cycling trails, relax on a boat trip, go wildlife spotting, and try out some water-based activities. For the best views of the largest inland stretch of water in the UK, head 4 miles towards Crianlarich and climb the 31 steps to the top of the Inveruglas Pyramid.

As you return to the Argyll Coastal Route and journey north towards the next stop at Inveraray, be sure to make a stop at the “Rest and Be Thankful” viewpoint to soak up the incredible natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands. Inveraray, on the shores of Loch Fyne, is a town brimming with history. You can experience life in a 19th century prison at the famous Inverary Jail, and visit the iconic Inverary Castle which was showcased in Downton Abbey.

Resta andBe Thankful View in Scotland

Rest and Be Thankful Viewpoint in Scotland

The next major town on the Argyll Coastal Route is Oban, a dramatic seaside location popular with tourists. You will be spoiled for choice with things to do from walking to sailing. This beautiful town is also known as the “gateway to the isles” where the Hebridean Islands such as Kerrera, Mull and Tiree are just a short ferry ride away.

From there, you will head north to Ballachulish and can choose to take a short diversion to Glencoe. One of the best drives in Scotland – and rightly so, showcasing breathtaking mountains, glens and valleys. Once you see the beauty on offer, it is easy to understand why it was featured in James Bond’s Skyfall.

The Three Sisters Glencoe

The Three Sisters, Glencoe

Returning to the route, your adventure will come to an end at the “Outdoor Capital of the UK” Fort William, where Britain’s highest mountain – Ben Nevis – awaits.

With so much to see and do, you will want to take your time to soak up everything the West Coast has to offer. Situated on the glittering coastline of Argyll, Loch Melfort Hotel is one of the best places to stay and an ideal stop for exploring the west. Our country house hotel is located only a short drive south of Oban and acts as a brilliant base for travellers exploring the area with views of the Sound of Jura, the Inner Hebrides and beyond.

Why not make one of our sea-view bedrooms and hearty Scottish breakfasts part of your road trip to the west coast of Scotland?