After leaving Budapest and coming back to the United States (for now), E and I knew we needed one more road trip before saying adieu to Europe.
The timeline also lined up with E’s 30th birthday, so we ended up taking one of his “dream vacations,” a road trip through the Scottish Highlands.
Since we had spent close to a week in Edinburgh in the past, we decided to hit the road immediately upon our arrival to better focus on the Highlands. Here is our itinerary, with this disclaimer–I wouldn’t change a thing. Seriously. It was one of our best. trips. ever.
p.s. This itinerary was difficult to detail, as well, because it doesn’t include the many unplanned stops in small towns for tea or food or views…but I’ve covered the highlights!
OBAN via Luss–Two nights
We drove to Oban from the Edinburgh airport, taking the scenic route along Loch Lomond and stopping at the truly charming village of Luss, as well as several old sites and waterfalls along the way (seriously, Scotland is the best). We used Oban more as a base for exploring the area–see below–but it’s such a nice town right on the coast! With amazing seafood.
DAY TRIP FROM OBAN: Isle of Mull
We took the ferry from Oban (without our car) to the Isle of Mull for one day, visiting the ridiculously adorable town of Tobermory for whisky, haggis, and more. Since we were reliant on bus schedules that day, we didn’t see much of the island–but the ferry ride there and back sure is a treat!
LOCH NESS via Fort William and the Glenfinnan Viaduct–One night
We left Oban early to visit the outdoorsy town of Fort William, and to get to the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct (Harry Potter fans should know what I’m talking about!) to see the Jacobite Steam Train (aka Hogwarts Express) travel across the bridge. Of course, we timed it poorly and missed the train–but we still took a little hike right to the train bridge anyway.
We traveled on to the tiny village of Foyers for this truly unique Airbnb. One of the best parts is the location, right on Loch Ness. Gotta be in a prime spot for a glimpse of Nessie ;).
PLOCKTON via Eilean Donan Castle–Four nights
One thing about Scotland is that it’s not cheap, and even though it didn’t feel crowded, the best rooms get booked up quickly in the summer. When we saw a cancellation for this little cottage, we jumped on the chance to stay there for as long as we could–to save some money and time. I’m so glad we did, as we fell in love with the tiny little house and the tiny village of Plockton.
On our way to Plockton, we happened upon the famous Eilean Donan Castle, an absolute must-see if you go to the area! It’s just iconic Scotland, don’t you agree?
DAY TRIPS FROM PLOCKTON: Isle of Skye (two days), Applecross (one day)
We used Plockton as a base to visit Isle of Skye–originally because the entire island was booked months in advance–and then we loved the island so much we ended up taking two day trips there. We also drove over an incredible mountain pass to the lovely village of Applecross.
From Plockton, we took a long trek (with quite a few stops) back to a hotel near the Edinburgh airport, where we stayed one night before flying out to Iceland early the next morning.
Our route didn’t always make the most sense, and there were spots we missed because THERE IS JUST NEVER ENOUGH TIME, but this road trip to Scotland was one of our top experiences in Europe! The food, the scenery, the people…it just doesn’t get much better.
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