Self-drive Tours in Scotland
Scotland has now lifted travel restrictions! Enjoy its treasures at your own pace. When the scenery is this incredible, you’ll love the freedom to take all the photo breaks you want. These Scotland self-drive tours include rental car, accommodation, maps and more, but the road trip music is up to you!
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About Your Driving Tour of Scotland
Explore Scotland independently, driving scenic routes through the country’s captivating landscape of lochs and glens. Immerse yourself in the local culture and soak up views of white sand beaches, ancient castles and heather-clad mountains as you go.
When you book a Nordic Visitor self-drive package, you can expect:
• An Edinburgh-based travel consultant who’ll arrange your tour
• A tailored itinerary, route and hand-marked map with personal recommendations
• 24/7 phone support during your adventure for peace of mind
• Handpicked accommodation at your chosen price point
• Car rental with GPS, unlimited mileage and CDW insurance
• Special themed and seasonal tour itineraries crafted to suit your interests
To begin your adventure with Nordic Visitor, simply follow these steps:
1. Pick your favourite Nordic Visitor tour
2. Confirm your package
3. Check your confirmation email
4. Book your flights
5. Get ready for your trip
Why choose Nordic Visitor
Book With Confidence
Plan your trip risk-free with Nordic Visitor's cancellation insurance. Add it to your booking to enjoy flexible terms and peace of mind. Purchase it with your package or secure it free of charge by booking a tour with 20% deposit or more. Terms & conditions apply.
Trusted local travel experts
Nordic Visitor has been creating unforgettable travel experiences in Northern Europe since 2002. Every aspect of your trip to Scotland is carefully handpicked and vetted by our experts. Your dedicated travel consultant is based in Edinburgh will share their insider knowledge with you.
Car insurance included
Embrace the adventure of a road trip, knowing that you are protected when you book with us. Collision Damage Waiver insurance is included as standard on our trips so you can take the wheel with confidence. You’ll also benefit from unlimited mileage, and a rental vehicle from a tried-and-tested partner.
You are in good hands
You can reach us 24/7 if anything crops up during your trip. Whether it's an unexpected event or weather issue, we will update your tour arrangements while keeping you safe and informed. With help just a call away, you can take the wheel with confidence and enjoy a worry-free travel experience.
Our dedicated teams deliver excellent service quality, and this is reflected year after year when TripAdvisor awards us with their Certificate of Excellence. We also take great pride in our customer feedback: 97% of our travelers say they would recommend us to friends and family.
Flexible tour options
Nordic Visitor packages are created to delight guests on their adventures and our travel experts can customise tours to suit your wish list. Whether you’d like some extra nights or a special diversion to a must-see attraction, we can change your travel itinerary the way you want.
There’s nothing like a good sleep after a day of exploration, so one of our top priorities is providing the perfect home-from-home where you can recharge your batteries. We carry out regular inspections on hotels and guesthouses for all our tours. Rest easy knowing your accommodation is high quality.
Full financial protection
With Nordic Visitor, you have peace of mind knowing your holiday arrangements with us are 100% financially protected. Your payments are safeguarded as we comply with European Union laws on Package Travel regulations. This guarantees you a refund in the unlikely event of insolvency.
Our Self Drive Customer Reviews
Here’s feedback from our wonderful guests who have driven across beautiful Scotland.
AMAZING. We stayed in hotels we probably would not have booked on our own and the host were fabulous and told us that... read more
AMAZING. We stayed in hotels we probably would not have booked on our own and the host were fabulous and told us that Annie was a pleasure to work with when booking our stay. All the hotels knew who we were and expected us. When our ferry got cancelled Annie made sure to call the hotel and notify us of a change of plans and gave us a very detailed route and got in contact with our next hotel to notify them that we would be late. We were very impressed!
We had a very successful trip and I attribute a lot of this to the preparations put into place by Nordic. It was nice... read more
We had a very successful trip and I attribute a lot of this to the preparations put into place by Nordic. It was nice to know everything was laid out for us and a map highlighted with our trip and hotels marked was a great thing to have. Also, the suggestions of things we might like to see was great!! Once again, thanks for a great trip!
Certificate of Excellence
Scotland Self-Drive Tour Highlights
Experience the best of Scotland on a road trip and you’ll discover romantic castles, rugged mountains and whisky distilleries aplenty. Soon you could…
Embark on the renowned North Coast 500 road trip, where remote mountains and white sand beaches await you
Seek out the real-life locations of film classics, like Glenfinnan which features in Harry Potter and Braveheart
Hike through forests and look out for the herd of resident reindeer in the Cairngorms National Park
Take a distillery tour in Scotland's whisky capital of Speyside and find out how this iconic drink is made
Advice For Self-Guided Tours
Raring to go? Read over our driving and travel guides so that you’re prepared for the Scotland road trip of a lifetime.
Frequently Asked Questions About
Scotland Self-Drive Tours
You may have a few questions about your Scotland self-drive tour package, so we’ve collected and answered the most important ones for your peace of mind.
It’s good to know that when you choose Nordic Visitor, you can Book With Confidence, safe in the knowledge that your payments are protected. You can also find out what we are doing to protect your safety and wellbeing on our Travel With Confidence page.
Yes, getting about by car in Scotland is simple thanks to the country’s good road network.
The cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow are connected to the Highlands via two main routes north. This means that you can easily combine city sightseeing with discovering Scotland’s more untouched regions.
To stay safe on your driving tour of Scotland, there are some rules and guidelines to be aware of:
- Remember to drive on the left-hand side of the road in Scotland, and the rest of the UK.
- Do not drink and drive as there are zero tolerance laws in Scotland.
- Wearing seatbelts is compulsory for the driver and any passengers.
- Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal, but you can use your phone if it’s fully hands-free.
The maximum speed limit is 70 miles per hour (113 kilometres per hour). In residential areas the speed limit tends to be 20-30 miles per hour (32-48 kilometres per hour).
You can refer to this guide to driving in Scotland for more information.
There are plenty of scenic driving routes waiting for you in Scotland. Take the wheel and you’ll soon be soaking up incredible views, whether you stick to the mainland or opt for an island adventure.
Our local travel consultants have driven around the country and have added their favourite routes to each package. Here are some of their top road trip recommendations:
- North Coast 500, Northern Highlands
- Glen Coe, Central Highlands
- Trossachs National Park, Southern Highlands
- Deeside Tourist Route, Speyside
- Kilmartin Glen, Argyll
- Trotternish Peninsula, Isle of Skye
The Golden Road, Isle of Harris
You can get inspired for your journey by reading these blogs:
Take the wheel on a self-drive tour of Scotland from Edinburgh or Glasgow and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views. After some time spent discovering the city sights, it’s time to explore Scotland’s captivating natural landscapes.
Imagine driving scenic Highland roads, strolling along golden beaches, and gazing out across island archipelagos. You’ll find some of Scotland’s most iconic views in these stunning locations:
- Cairngorms National Park
- Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
- Loch Ness
- Glen Coe
- Isle of Skye
- Orkney Islands
- Outer Hebrides
Find out what you can expect in some of the most beautiful places in Scotland and check out the best Scottish beaches. Or start to plan your trip by checking out these recommended Scottish attractions.
The amount of time it takes to drive around Scotland depends on the sights and attractions you’d like to see along the way.
With 1 week in Scotland, you can experience some of the country’s most iconic places. For ease we recommend beginning your trip in Edinburgh before driving north to the Scottish Highlands.
When you leave Edinburgh behind, you could drive through the fishing villages of Fife and explore the Cairngorms National Park. You could visit the Isle of Skye and journey between Inverness and Fort William.
If you’ve got 2 weeks in Scotland, that’s even better. You’ll be able to see the top attractions at a more leisurely pace, or discover more beautiful scenery further afield.
2 weeks will give you time to combine Scotland’s renowned North Coast 500 (NC500) road trip with even more gorgeous locations. You could add stays on Scottish islands like the Isle of Skye, the Outer Hebrides and the Orkney Islands.
Otherwise, simply spend longer exploring the mainland, taking in everything from Edinburgh Castle to the untouched landscapes of Scotland’s far north.
If you’re lucky enough to have 3 weeks in Scotland, then you can enjoy driving around Scotland at a relaxed pace. You could even seek out far-flung spots like the Shetland Islands. Alternatively, opt for a holiday package to Scotland and Ireland.
The North Coast 500 (also known as the NC500) is Scotland’s answer to Route 66 and is the ultimate Scottish road trip. This popular route takes in around 830 kilometres (516 miles) of scenic roads in the wild landscapes of northern Scotland.
Scotland’s far north has so much to offer you, so why not head to the Highlands and experience them for yourself? Soon you could be soaking up views of rugged mountains, towering sea cliffs, and incredible west coast sunsets.
At 830 kilometres (516 miles) long, the North Coast 500, or Scotland's Route 66, could be driven in 2-3 days without stopping. That said, this would certainly not give you enough time to savour the journey or see the best of the region.
We recommend allowing yourself at least 1 week, so there’s time for you to appreciate the epic scenery and visit the top sights. Delve into this guide to Scotland's Route 66 for itinerary recommendations and ideas for things to see and do along the way.
Scotland has strict drinking and driving laws, with an almost zero tolerance policy. The legal blood alcohol limit for driving is up to 50 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood. This low level means that we recommend not drinking any alcohol at all before driving.
Please check the Scottish Government’s advice for more information about the legal alcohol limit for driving in Scotland.
When in Scotland, and the rest of the United Kingdom, you should drive on the left-hand side of the road. This means that you’ll be using a right-hand drive car, and changing gears with your left hand.
It’s also possible to rent an automatic car for ease of use, which we recommend if it’s your first time driving in the UK.
If you can, take advantage of our two-driver allowance. That way, you can both take breaks to enjoy the scenery as well as drive on some of the most stunning routes in the world.
Exploring by car is one of the best ways to discover Scotland at your own pace. But how do you know when you need an international driving licence (often referred to as an international driving permit or IDP)?
You don’t need an IDP if your national driving licence is valid and recognised in the UK. In this case you’ll be able to drive any small vehicle (including our rental cars) that’s listed on your licence.
If you’re visiting from the below places, and you have a valid driving licence, then you don’t need an IDP as your national licence will suffice:
- European Union or EEA
If your country’s driving licence is not recognised in the UK, then you can apply for an IDP. Please check your government’s website for up-to-date information on whether or not you need an IDP to drive in the UK.
If you have a valid driving licence in the USA then you can drive any small vehicle (including all of our rental cars) in Scotland. Your US licence will also be valid in the rest of the UK.
It’s worth remembering that cars in the UK are right-hand drive, with the gear stick on your left-hand side. You’ll also be driving on the left-hand side of the road throughout your time in the UK.
Read this guide to driving in Scotland for more advice. Here you’ll find out how to get around Scotland by car, along with information on local driving laws.
When you rent a car for your self-drive tour of Scotland with Nordic Visitor, there are some requirements that you should be aware of.
To rent a car in Scotland, you must hold a valid and full driving licence for a minimum period of 4 years. This reduces to 1 year if you are over 23 years of age.
Drivers aged 23 or 24 can take a self-drive tour with Nordic Visitor, subject to a young driver surcharge of £25 per day. You can hire vehicles in our rental car groups A, B, C or F.
The minimum age to rent a car in Scotland is 21. So if you're aged 21 or 22, we would be delighted to arrange your tour and provide you with information on how you can arrange your own car rental with specific suppliers who can cater to those aged 21 and 22.
If you are aged 80 or above, you can rent a car in Scotland so long as you provide medical proof that you are fit to drive. Please note this should be issued no earlier than 4 weeks before your travel date. You can hire vehicles in our rental car groups A, B or C.
Learn more about vehicle groups and car rental in Scotland on our travel guide.
When you’re planning your driving vacation, factors such as insurance and mileage can come to mind. We’ve got you covered, though, as all the car hire essentials are included in our Scottish self-drive tour packages. Read our rental information for the terms, conditions and full details.
In short, you receive a collision damage waiver (CDW), unlimited mileage, authorisation for 2 drivers, and a GPS navigation system for peace of mind. We don’t cover your road trip music: that’s all up to you!
You can indeed drive to England from Scotland and vice versa. But as Ireland is separated from Scotland by the Irish Sea, you would need to take the ferry to drive to Northern Ireland.
That said, you can easily combine Scotland and Ireland self-drive holidays by taking a short flight. This is included in your Nordic Visitor package and you'll have a dedicated travel expert to arrange it for you.
You can fly from Scotland’s two largest airports, Edinburgh and Glasgow, to the Irish capital, Dublin. Your flight would take around 1 hour.
In Dublin you'd pick up your rental car and set off on your self-drive adventure around Ireland.
With travel between Scotland and Ireland being so quick and easy, a combination tour is a great way to discover both Celtic countries in one trip. Get help from the experts, and let us plan an unforgettable journey to Scotland and Ireland for you.
Deciding when to go to Scotland depends on where you’d like to go and what you want to do on your trip. Scottish weather is often variable and can be described as “four seasons in a day”, so you can’t always rely on a clear forecast.
That said, from April to September, you can expect mild temperatures and the most sunshine, along with brighter, greener landscapes. Visit in August, and you can enjoy Scottish festivals such as the Fringe that bring the capital, Edinburgh, to life.
Scotland is equally beautiful in autumn, from October to November, when you can appreciate the fiery autumnal foliage on the trees. If you’re more keen on brisk walks, frosted fields and snow-dusted mountains though, December to March are ideal.
If you decide to travel to Scotland around Christmas and New Year, you can join in with special festive activities. Some of the most famous include Edinburgh’s Christmas Market and the Hogmanay street party.
Discover which of our tours suit you best by using our tour filters to choose packages by seasons or dates. Come rain or shine, you’ll enjoy all that Scotland has to offer.
Yes, people do tip in Scotland. Below you’ll find a summary of standard tipping practices:
- Eating out: it’s normal to tip around 10% of the food bill when you get table service at a café or restaurant.
- Bars: tips aren’t expected when you are buying drinks, as you’ll usually order at the bar.
- Taxis: you can round the fare up to the nearest pound, or give a bigger tip if you feel it's appropriate for a longer journey.
- Hotels: it’s common to tip your concierge, porter and house-keeping staff depending on the level of service.
Absolutely, Scotland has a few luxury castle hotels dotted around the Highlands where you can spend the night.
Get in touch with us to fulfil your dream of staying in a Scottish castle or to add a special touch to your romantic break. Your local travel expert will let you know where you can add a castle stay to your itinerary and make the arrangements for you.
Perhaps you don’t want to stay in a castle, but you’d like to visit as many as you can during your trip. In this case, you’ll find your perfect Scottish getaway in our range of castle tours in Scotland.
We’d advise that you look over flights for timings and dates, but hold off on purchasing until you’ve booked your preferred tour. Once you’ve had a confirmation email from your personal travel consultant, you can then choose and pay for your flights.
Why? Once you’ve been introduced to your travel consultant, you’ll have all the information you need to make informed choices on timings. If you have any questions, you can always contact your consultant for advice.
Our local experts have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to you, ensuring every sight or attraction you visit is one that you won’t forget. When creating packages, our consultants plan routes carefully with this in mind, so that you see the best of Scotland.
You can get in touch with us if you’d like to add something to your trip. For example, if there’s a particular attraction you’re keen to see, or a specific region you’d like to spend time in. We can also include extra nights at some of your overnight stops, so you can experience more of Scotland.
Alternatively, you can request a customised tour. Depending on the timeframe and things you’d like to do, your travel consultant will work with you to create your ideal road trip around Scotland.
If you would prefer to explore the highlights of Scotland while someone else does the driving then look into our guided small group tours. With a maximum of just 15 travellers on the tour, you’ll get to meet like-minded guests while benefiting from the knowledge of your guide.
Or you could opt for a private tour of Scotland. This way, you and your loved ones can make the most of your time with a personalised experience from your guide.
In Scotland you could experience everything from glorious sunshine to rain, all in one day. As a result, it’s best to be prepared for every season when deciding what to pack for your trip.
So, no matter the season, we recommend that you bring:
- Walking boots or shoes with good grip
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Warm, insulated jacket
- Warm fleece or jumper
- Light base layers
- Warm hat, scarf and gloves
- Reusable water bottle
- UK plug adapter
You might also like to bring an umbrella, handy for city sightseeing on a rainy day. And, birdwatchers, don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars. For more information, read our useful packing guide for Scotland, complete with advice on what to bring depending on the season.
Get in touch if you have a question about our self-drive tours, or if we create a customised travel package for you. We’re happy to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our main phone number is
+354 578 20 80
How about a live chat with one of our local travel experts?