Scotland is such a unique and beautiful country that it really deserves a lot of your time. there is so much to see and do that fitting it all in is quite impossible.
However, if you are pushed for time but want to explore Scotland by car and do a road trip then we highly recommend this looped route from Loch Lomond through Glen Coe, Fort William, Oban, Inveraray and back.
Of course, you can break up the journey by staying overnight and below we’ve listed a few places we would recommend.
We have a deep appreciation for Scotland, and our number one area is Loch Lomond, closely followed by the road to and including Glencoe.
This road trip is one of our all time favourites and we are lucky enough to have done it multiple times already, and we can verify any season is perfect for this trip (but do note if there is heavy snowfall some of the roads may close but there is always alternative routes).
Why do we love this road trip so much? There is everything that makes Scotland so beautiful and magical – from lochs and mountains to quaint villages and ruined castles, and from James Bond and to Harry Potter, with majestic deer’s thrown into the mix too!
You can start this route anywhere be it Edinburgh, Glasgow or further afield. We are starting in Loch Lomond, and definitely feel free to stop here and explore for longer.
We have a Comprehensive Loch Lomond Itinerary for you to check out too!
Luss, Loch Lomond
Luss is a picturesque conservation village in the heart of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, take a wander through the village passing stone cottages which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries to house workers in the nearby quarry, and make your way to the pier which overlooks Loch Lomond, spot Ben Lomond and marvel at the islands dotted around. You can also get out on the water here on kayak like us!
Stay here overnight: Lodge on Loch Lomond. Rooms from £150. Loch Views and even a sauna in the Deluxe Corbett’s and Suites
> Luss – Inveruglas 18 min / 12 miles
There are many viewpoints along the A82 which takes you through Loch Lomond but one we suggest is Inveruglas. There is a short woodland trail that leads you to An Ceann Mòr – the Inveruglas Pyramid which is a viewing platform / art installation. There is also a shop and café at the carpark and from here you can hike some of the many nearby hills and mountains or hop on a Loch Lomond Cruise boat which takes you around the loch with commentary of the local areas history
> Inveruglas - The Drovers Inn 11 min / 6 miles
The Drovers, Inverarnan
If you like ghost stories then stop by the Drovers Inn which is rumoured to be one of the most haunted hotels in Britain. If nothing else it certainly is a quirky place to stop in for a drink or a bite to eat
> The Drovers Inn - Falls of Falloch 3 min / 2.2 miles
Falls of Falloch
Situated at the north part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park you will find the easily accessible Falls of Falloch which is a stunning 30ft high waterfall surrounded by woodlands
Views enroute near the village of Crainlarich 'the gateway to the Highlands'
> Falls of Falloch - Loch Tulla viewpoint 25 min / 20 miles
Loch Tulla Viewpoint
Staying on the A82 and passing through the small village of Bridge of Orchy you will soon drive past Loch Tulla where you start to gain height as the roads starts an ascent to Rannoch Moor and Glencoe
At the top of the road there is a viewpoint, be sure to pull in here to apricate the valley and road you’ve just travelled along. Loch Tulla is set against the backdrop of mountains and more often than not you will also find deer strolling around here!
View our blog post of stunning winter scenes
> Loch Tulla Viewpoint - Rannoch Moor 6 min / 4.2 miles
So called, one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe, Rannoch Moor is an extensive area of boggy moorland and lochs. Try to stop somewhere safe or just drive at leisure and take in the scenery which looks like a film crew ought to use this area for filming some other worldly scenes
> Rannoch Moor - Glen Etive 37 min / 15 miles
Detouring off the main road you will now be on single track roads with ‘passing places’ and this road is very popular with tourists, so it can get congested in peak season, but it is totally worth it. Glen Etive is astonishingly beautiful with the road winding along mountain sides and the Etive river flowing into Loch Etive. In Glen Etive in the right season you will spot deer - hundreds of them! Also this area is so popular as it starred in the James Bond film Skyfall – where M and James Bond stopped in his Aston Martin to look down the misty glen
Check out our post all about Glen Etive
> Glen Etive – Glencoe 39 min / 16 miles
Back on the 82 you are now heading for Glencoe, the well surfaced road winds its way around mountains and valleys, look out for waterfalls too and be sure to pull into the Three Sisters viewpoint carpark and take time to stretch your legs and marvel and the scenery all around you. For Harry Potter fans head to Clachaig Gully and Clachaig Inn where Hargrid’s Hut was set for the film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, whilst his hut is long gone you can still appreciate and recognise the backdrop
> Glencoe – Loch Leven Ballachulish 11 min / 6.8 miles
Loch Leven, Ballachulish
From Glen Coe the road leads along the shores of the pretty Loch Leven and over the Ballachulish Bridge to take you to Fort William (or take the road to Oban if missing out on Fort William)
> Loch Leven, Ballachulish - Fort William 24 min 15 miles
Fort William is known as the outdoor capital of Scotland, and it is home to Scotland and indeed the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, which at 1345 metres is a spectacular climb
Fort William town centre is full of tourist shops, whiskey stores, outdoor clothing boutiques, bars and restaurants, it is also where the hiking route – the West Highland Way finishes after 96 miles from Milngavie and takes in a huge variety of scenery along the way
Also nearby be sure to visit the ruins of the 13th-century Old Inverlochy Castle, it is one of the the best-preserved castles of its age in Scotland
If you are a Harry Potter fan or a train spotter then a highlight is to visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct and twice daily during the summer months the Jacobite Steam Train, most commonly known as The Harry Potter Train passes by, this was featured on the way to Hogwarts when Ron and Harry fly Mr Weasley’s car. You can also take a trip from Fort William to Mallaig on the steam train, just check times for both the journey and the when to spot it from the vantage point on the hillside overlooking the viaduct
> Fort William – Castle Stalker 37 min / 25 miles
Return from Fort William and make your way to Oban but be sure to stop off in Appin and more precisely ‘Castle Stalker View’ which is a lovely café that overlooks Castle Stalker, which is a restored 15th century tower house. The castle is super picturesque and stands on a small island in Loch Laich
Castle Stalker features on our top Scottish Castles to visit, check out our post!
> Castle Stalker - Oban 31 min / 18 miles
We are now heading for Oban but first, as you travel over the pretty bridge over the Firth of Lorn look out for Dunstaffnage Castle, and pop in for a visit too. It was once the stronghold of the MacDougall clan and one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland, interesting fact that – in 1746, Bonne Prince Charlie’s heroine, Flora MacDonald, was held prisoner here for a short time
The pretty port town of Oban is the largest town in Argyll & The Isles and has plenty to offer visitors, simply stroll along the esplanade, popping into one of the many restaurants for freshly caught seafood and look across to the many islands which you can visit wither on a wildlife boat trip, scenic loch and island tour or even by kayak, the local ferry company also takes you to the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides if you wish to extend your stay A highlight is visiting McCaig’s Tower, a coosseum like folly built by local wealthy banker John Stuart McCaig between 1897 and 1902, with the purpose of giving locals a job. You can climb up to the tower or take the car. The views from the tower are spectacular as you get panoramic views across the water to the islands
Stay here overnight: Situated 30 minutes drive from Oban on the shores of Loch Awe is the recently refurbished Kilchrenan Inn was once an 18th century trading post. Rooms from £110 pn
> Oban - Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle 36 min / 23 miles
Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle
A must visit is the 15th century ruins of Kilchurn Castle, whilst the castle itself is impressive, it is the castles dramatic location, situated on a peninsula at the head of Loch Awe
Check out our post about Scotland's best castles
> Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle – Inveraray 19 min / 14 miles
Next up is the pretty town of Inveraray, the charming black and white façade buildings hold whiskey tasting shops, cafes and pubs. Visit the 18th century Inveraray Castle where you can take a guided tour around this intact castle, or from the castle take a short hike to Dun na Cuaiche which has stunning panoramic views across Loch Fyne. If you fancy seeing inside a 19th century prison and courthouse then visit Inveraray Jail which is now a living museum and gives an eerie insight into the harsh punishments of inmates and the witches trials of the day
> Inveraray - Loch Fyne Oysters 13 min / 8.2 miles
Loch Fyne Oysters
Following Loch Fyne you will soon arrive at Loch Fyne Oysters, a rather famous oyster and seafood bar that sells its produce to some of the worlds top hotels and restaurants. You can stop in for lunch or head to the deli counter and pick up a treat for the rest of your journey
> Loch Fyne Oysters - Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint 12 min / 7.2 miles
Rest and Be Thankful
The road from Inveraray to Arrochar should not be overlooked, the area is as stunning as you have seen throughout your road trip and now you are heading for the famous beauty spot of the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint, which offers stunning views across the valley and is the gateway to the Argyll Forest. You can see the old military road engineered by General Wade during the subjection of Scotland following the Jacobite rebellion whilst you ‘tak the high road’ although there has been recent landslides and you may get the chance to take the low road. The name comes from the travellers that would stop for a rest after they had reached the top and literally rest and be thankful
> Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint – Arrochar 14 min / 6.8 miles
Detour - Beinn Ime and The Cobbler
Taking the left at Tarbet and joining the A83 you will drive through Arrochar, a lovely little village with a carpark and views across the head of Loch Long, from here you can climb The Cobbler (around 5 hours return) in the Arrochar Alps or carry on to the Rest and Be Thankful viewpoint, which offers stunning views across the valley and is the gateway to the Argyll Forest Park, from here your choices are endless, a favoured route of ours is to Inveraray then Oban- also from there you can travel north to the Isle of Skye and beyond…
Arrochar and Loch Long
The village of Arrochar is set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery on the Cowal peninsula on the banks of Loch Long, pop into a local pub and sample some of the local beers or take time to appreciate the gorgeous landscape
> Arrochar, Loch Long – Tarbet 13 min / 1.5 miles
> Tarbet – Luss 10 min / 8.1 miles
From Arrochar you can take the quick route back to Luss passing by Tarbet, which is another vantage point of Loch Lomond or...
Or > Arrochar, Loch Long – Helensburgh 31 min / 17 miles
Or drive alongside Loch Long, passing Garelochhead for some stunning scenery, past the Naval Base of Faslane - where you might even spot a submarine in Gare Loch, before heading to the seaside town of Helensburgh. Stop off for an ice cream and wander the promenade which looks is set on the river Clyde and looks over to Greenock and Port Glasgow. If you are into architecture we highly recommend visiting one of Scotland's most famous architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh sites- The Hill House
Read more about the Hill House here
This road trip can be completed in around 6 and half hours but you will definitely want to stop along the way, so don't rush this trip and enjoy being on the
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