There’s so much to see and do on a touring holiday in Scotland that picking out highlights is a tricky task. Choosing one of the recognised road trips is a good place to start. In this guide, we look at two routes that take in beautiful beaches, rugged mountains, historic sites and fine malt whisky.
The North Coast 500
The NC 500 is a must do route for tourers. Starting and finishing at Inverness Castle, it covers 516 miles of scenic roads in a loop around the Scottish Highlands. You’ll want to allow a week or even two to make the most of it, and you can choose which way round you want to go. Be sure not to miss these highlights:
1. Smoo Cave, Durness
Not just the largest but also the most spectacular cave in Scotland, Smoo Cave is a popular stopping off point on the north coast. Tours are available during the summer months and there’s a car park and toilets nearby.
2. Chanonry Point
This is one of the best places on mainland Scotland to view Bottlenose Dolphins. Your best chance of seeing them is when they are chasing fish in on a rising tide. It’s a beautiful spot to spend some time even if you don’t manage to see the dolphins.
3. Clachtoll Beach Campsite
This is a quiet, family run campsite with 20 serviced pitches. What makes it really special, is the stunningly beautiful beach with its white sands and sea so blue you won’t believe it’s the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Inverewe Gardens
Established on barren land in 1862, Inverewe is home to exotic plants from all over the world. The warming effects of the gulf stream allow plants to thrive that you wouldn’t normally expect to see in northern Scotland.
The North East 250
Taking in the Cairngorms, Speyside, the Moray Firth, and the granite city of Aberdeen, the NE 250 packs a lot in. You can combine climbing Munros, visiting distilleries and playing golf with exploring castles and eating freshly caught seafood.
5. Balmoral Castle
Balmoral has been the Royal Family’s Scottish Home since 1852. The extensive grounds and gardens are well worth a visit, and you can explore the nearby moors and mountains in a guided Land Rover Safari.
6. The Malt Whisky Trail
More than half of the malt whisky distilleries in Scotland are in Speyside. The 74-mile trail takes in seven world-famous distilleries, as well as Speyside Cooperage, and is a treat for any whisky lover.
7. Bullers of Buchan
The name refers to both a village and a collapsed sea cave 30 metres deep. It’s a lovely spot with a convenient car park. In spring, the cliffs provide nesting sites for a host of different seabirds and you may also see grey seals and dolphins.
These are just a few highlights, you’re sure to find many more on your motorhome tour around Scotland, whatever route you take.