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Inverness Castle

Scenic Scotland - Express

Loch Ness & the Highlands

(5 days / 4 nights)

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From Edinburgh to the Highlands

Spectacular sights await you on this captivating Scotland road trip. Begin in the historic capital Edinburgh, where you’ll explore winding streets and get your first taste of Scottish hospitality. Then, hit the road and head north into the iconic Highlands. Travel from Inverness past the vivid shores of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond, witnessing the spectacular nature of Glen Coe and immersing yourself in the region’s history. Finish up back in Edinburgh with incredible memories of a rugged Celtic land.

To travel with a knowledgeable guide, check out the private version of this tour instead.

5 days / 4 nights

Price p.p. from

The amount will be charged in GBP

Approx 930 GBP

— Why book with Nordic Visitor

  • Seamless travel experience
  • Handpicked hotels and routes designed by local experts
  • Reliable rental cars with trusted Scottish partner
  • Comprehensive itinerary, personalised map & travel guide
  • 24/7 helpline during your tour
  • Service from local travel experts in Scotland
  • Great customer reviews
  • Carbon offsetting included

Read more

— Cancellation Protection

  • Rebook your tour on one occasion, or
  • Cancel for any reason and receive a partial refund and travel credit

Terms and conditions apply

Tour Highlights

  • Explore the historic Scottish capital, Edinburgh
  • Follow in the footsteps of kings and queens on the Royal Mile
  • Witness the striking natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands
  • Discover historic sites such as the Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns
  • Walk the shores of mysterious Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle
  • Be awed by the scenery of the iconic Glen Coe valley
  • Breathe in the tranquil atmosphere of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
  • Delve into Scottish history at the majestic Stirling Castle

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Castles and Royalty i, Countryside and natural scenery i, Heritage i, Highlands i, Hiking i, Whisky i

Season

Apr- Oct

Departure

Daily

Interest

Castles and Royalty i, Countryside and natural scenery i, Heritage i, Highlands i, Hiking i, Whisky i

Driving distance

662/412 km/mi

Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

  • Day 1: Arrival in Edinburgh

    Upon your arrival in Scotland, make your way into Edinburgh city centre where you’ll find your accommodation. You might decide to take a taxi or hop on public transport, but for a more direct and comfortable ride, we can organise a private airport transfer for you.

    If you’re arriving early in the day, we recommend spending the afternoon walking through the city, strolling along the Royal Mile and exploring the Old and New Towns, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also plenty of museums and landmarks to visit within the city centre, including the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

    Spend the night in Edinburgh.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 2: INTO THE HIGHLANDS & INVERNESS

    Start your road trip by picking up your rental car and setting off! On the way you’ll have many possible stops, such as the picturesque village of Dunkeld and the 13th-century Blair Castle. Driving through the Cairngorms National Park you could also stop at the Highland Folk Museum.

    Arriving near Inverness, you can drive to the Battlefield of Culloden Moor, to see where the last battle on British soil occurred in 1746, marking "the beginning of the end for the Highlands." Nearby you can also visit Clava Cairns, a series of tombs and standing stones dating back roughly 4,000 years.

    Spend the night in the Inverness area.

    Average driving distance: 251 km / 156 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 3: LOCH NESS & GLENFINNAN

    Leave Inverness behind and drive south along the shores of the vast and mysterious Loch Ness. Admire the famous waters and look out for glimpses of Nessie, the elusive monster. Make sure to stop by the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition to learn more about this atmospheric place.

    As you explore, you’ll soon spot the magnificent ruins of Urquhart Castle on the shores of the loch, which you can explore.

    Continue on to Glenfinnan, where a monument to the first Jacobite uprising stands on the shores of Loch Shiel. This village is also home to the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, featured in the Harry Potter films.

    Spend the night in the Fort William area.

    Average driving distance: 150 km / 94 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 4: GLEN COE & STIRLING CASTLE

    Today, you’ll drive across the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and back to Edinburgh.

    This journey takes you past the magnificent Glen Coe, Scotland’s most famous and scenic valley. Then you’ll cross the splendour of the national park. For a fun photo opportunity, don't miss Doune Castle, featured in many films and TV series. If time allows, you could also stop by Stirling Castle, one of Scotland’s top attractions, or at the impressive Kelpies, two giant horse-head sculptures.

    Spend the night in Edinburgh.

    Average driving distance: 261 km / 162 miles

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions See Activities for this day
  • Day 5: DEPARTURE FROM SCOTLAND

    It’s time to say goodbye to Scotland. When you need to head to the airport, take the Airlink bus, the tram or a taxi. If you would like to add any additional nights to your trip or to arrange a private transfer, you can do so during the booking process.

    If your flight is in the afternoon, you may have time for some last-minute shopping, to visit one of Edinburgh’s museums, or to take one last stroll through the charming city centre.

    See Activities for this day

Optional extras

Customise your adventure with these Optional Extras.

We recommend adding your extra activities to the tour now for the best booking experience and to secure your spot, as activities are likely to sell out.

Map

Here’s a map of your travel route, to help put things in perspective.

Essential information

We recommend that you read carefully through the following information before booking this self-drive tour in Scotland. We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions here so you know what to expect. You’ll also find more practical advice and attraction recommendations in our online Scotland Travel Guide.

On a self-drive tour, Nordic Visitor supplies you with a quality rental car and a detailed personal itinerary. You act as your own tour guide and driver, and you get to pick the road trip music!

All your services will be pre-booked by your personal travel consultant at Nordic Visitor. This includes your rental car and accommodation in Scotland, along with planned activities, as specified in the itinerary.

As this is a self-guided tour, you’re welcome to stop whenever and wherever you wish along the way. Except for accommodation and booked activities, other highlights we’ve listed in the itinerary are suggestions based on Nordic Visitor favourites.

And rest assured that we’re with you every step of the way. Upon your arrival, you’ll receive personalised information, including an itinerary, hand-annotated map and our very own Scotland Travel Guide. Plus, you’ll have access to our 24/7 helpline during your trip should you need to contact us.

The minimum age to hire a car in Scotland is 23. Please note that if you are 25 or younger, an additional fee and extra conditions apply.

For example, you need to have held your driving licence for at least 4 years. If you are 23 or 24, you can only hire vehicles up to the SUV category.

Scotland is beautiful all year long. That said, it’s good to be aware that the summer is the high travelling season, with July and August being peak months.

This means many of the highlights, such as the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh, will be extremely popular and might have limited availability. This could impact your booking of attractions, accommodation, restaurants, excursions and more.

For a more relaxing experience, we recommend booking your tour, plus any extra excursions, activities or entrance tickets, well in advance. You also might prefer to arrive during the shoulder season, which is during April–June and September–October.

If you do wish to travel in July or August, we will be happy to help you plan your trip to make it as smooth as possible.

During your Scotland tour, you’ll stay in accommodation hand-picked by our local travel experts. We’ve partnered with local businesses and selected hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses based on excellent ratings, comfort and our personal experience.

In Scotland, you can choose from single or double rooms. Twin, triple and family rooms are not commonly available. Please also note that in Scotland room types are based on European standard sizes, which means they are smaller than in North America.

For example, a double room often consists of 2 single beds pushed together. And single rooms are often smaller than the standard double.

Due to the historic nature of the properties we usually select, most of the rooms are only accessible by stairs. Lifts are not common in Scottish hotels. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are not able to walk up stairs.

Travelling with your kids? No problem! Just let your travel consultant know during the booking process. We’ll arrange any cots needed at your accommodation.

If you need multiple rooms, please note that we can't guarantee family rooms or interconnecting rooms at all accommodation. You may even have rooms on different floors.

If you'd like us to arrange for a car seat to be provided for your trip, please let us know ahead of time. This will incur a small extra cost.

The roads in Scotland are usually in good condition all year long and are renowned for their road trip worthiness. In winter, though, storms, rain, snow and ice can cause adverse conditions. We recommend checking weather forecasts daily and not taking any risks when it comes to driving.

Please be aware that in the UK motorists drive on the left side of the road (and on the right side of the car). If you are not used to driving on the left, we highly recommend choosing a vehicle with automatic transmission for your self-drive tour.

If you want a manual transmission vehicle, keep in mind that you will need to shift gears with your left hand (floor pedals are the same).

Drivers will need to get used to the narrower roads of the UK as well as the rural single-track roads. If you meet another driver on one of these single-track roads, one of you needs to tuck into a passing place, which might be behind you. In these areas, you should also be careful of animals on the road.

It’s also a good idea to plan how you will navigate around Scotland ahead of time. Your travel consultant will prepare a detailed hand-annotated map of your route to help you stay on track.

We also recommend using navigation apps on your phone, such as Google Maps. Make sure to download the route ahead of time, in case you don’t have signal in the more rural areas.

For inexperienced drivers who still want to explore and discover Scotland, we recommend one of our guided small group tours or privately guided tours. On these tours you’ll have a local, experienced driver at the wheel.

Summer in Scotland might be warmer than you expect! While temperatures are unlikely to reach higher than 20°C (68 °F), heatwaves in Scotland are usually humid. This means it can feel hotter than it is, especially in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

That said, the weather is also very changeable, so you’ll want to come prepared for anything. Rain is always a possibility, and when the sun sets a warm jumper or jacket is a must. We’ve prepared a useful packing guide to help you decide what to bring with you.

Please note that sightseeing is dependent on weather and road conditions. This means that your itinerary might need to be altered if these conditions are not favourable during your visit. If something unexpected occurs, you can call our 24/7 helpline to speak directly with a Nordic Visitor staff member.

Whatever time of year you’re in Scotland, you’re likely to see lots of different types of weather. As you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors it’s a good idea to come prepared for a combination of weather conditions.

Here is a recommended packing list for a summer trip:

  • A warm jumper or fleece
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Good walking shoes or boots (especially if you intend to hike and go on nature walks)
  • Light scarf or thin sweater
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and a sunhat

In some areas of Scotland, such as the Highlands and islands, you might notice small, pesky insects called midges. They’re most active on summer evenings and tend to swarm near still water. You can avoid bites by wearing long-sleeves and trousers and by packing an insect repellent.

And here’s our recommendations for a winter getaway:

  • A warm, windproof and waterproof jacket
  • Thermal base layers and cosy jumpers
  • A scarf, gloves and hat
  • Sturdy boots and some woollen socks

For more information, check this packing list suggestion.

On your Scotland road trip, you should budget for petrol costs of around £1.60–£2 per litre.

As for meals, your breakfast is included at all your accommodation in Scotland. For the rest of your food, your spending money will depend on the standard of restaurants you decide to go to.

Budget between £15–£20 per person for each day’s lunch. Dinners at casual restaurants might cost between £20–£25. Meanwhile at upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay £40–£50 or more. This does not include the cost of alcoholic beverages.

If you’re arriving from Canada, the United States, Australia or the European Union, you won’t need a visa to visit Scotland.

Visiting from another country? You can find the complete list of countries whose nationals require a visa to enter Scotland on the website of the UK government.

Your passport must also be valid during the entirety of your stay in Scotland. It’s a good idea to check your passport expiry date early in case you need to renew it.

By booking with Nordic Visitor, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that there’s always someone there for you throughout your trip.

For support and advice during the day, you can call our office. And if anything unexpected happens outside working hours, you can reach us on our 24/7 helpline.

During your tour, there will always be an Edinburgh-based travel expert on call to handle any unforeseen situations, such as unusual weather or events.

Yes, you can customise this tour online. During the booking process, you can easily add extra nights to your itinerary as well as optional day trips, excursions and upgrades.

It’s best to book as soon as you can to secure your preferred travel dates. Once you have picked your tour, check the availability calendar to see which months are open for booking. Then, select the date you want and complete your booking. 

Nordic Visitor offers 10–20% deposits so you can reserve your trip as early as it’s convenient for you. The remaining balance is due 30 days before you travel. 

Many tours are also open for the following year if you like to plan well ahead. And if you have any questions or need advice, you can always contact us

After booking your tour package online, you will be contacted within 2 business days by your own dedicated travel consultant. They will be your point of contact for all your travel needs before, during and even after your trip. 

At that time, they’ll confirm the availability of your tour. Then the booking process starts, which may take a few weeks. Once this is done, your travel consultant will provide you with all the details of your trip. You will also receive more information about what to expect during your trip.

No need! Nordic Visitor is already working on offsetting the estimated carbon footprint of your package. We’ve partnered with an environmental fund in Iceland to carbon offset all our tours.

Carbon offsetting your international flights is not included, but we highly recommend you look into possibilities with your airline or directly through a local environment fund. 

You can get in touch with our Scotland travel experts ahead of your trip if you have any questions. The live chat option is useful for getting a quick reply as someone answers live every day during office opening hours.

Once you’ve booked, we’ll provide you with a travel guide packed full of local tips and top attractions for your visit. You can also check out our online Scotland Travel Guide where we’ve compiled useful information about topics, including:

After you have booked your tour, it will only take a few days to confirm its availability. But it may take a few weeks to create your itinerary and book everything. Once your trip details are finalised, we’ll send you e-copies of your travel documents.

Upon your arrival in Scotland, you’ll receive a welcome bag with hard copies of your itinerary, attraction and tour vouchers, the Nordic Visitor Scotland Travel Guide and more.

So when do you check in? And what can you expect upon landing in Scotland?

After picking up your luggage, make your way to your accommodation in the Edinburgh city centre. If you’ve come from another airport, such as Glasgow, you can take the train or book a private transfer.

Check-in times vary between hotels and guesthouses, but it normally starts between 2–4 PM.

You are welcome to request an early check-in for an additional fee. Although this isn’t always available, you’ll be able to store your luggage at the hotel if you have to wait. Please contact your travel consultant well in advance of your arrival if you’d like an early check-in.

When you depart may depend on the time of your return flight. Check out early if you’re heading to the airport for a morning flight. On the other hand, if you’re flying home later in the day, you might like to enjoy a leisurely day or visit one more attraction.

You will need to check out from your room, but will be able to store your luggage at the hotel reception. Simply return later to collect your bags before catching public transport or a taxi to the airport.

All bookings are billed in British Pounds (GBP), the local currency in Scotland and the UK.

Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate. This means conversions from GBP to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Comfort Plus

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in good quality 3-star guesthouses or country hotels.

View

Superior

In this category, you can expect standard rooms in 4-star hotels or boutique guesthouses.

View

Rental car

Enjoy your road trip with 2 authorised drivers and Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to reduce liability.

Vauxhall Astra (manual)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x2
  • M

Vauxhall Astra (manual)
or similar

  • Description: Compact
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Economy
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Standard
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x4
  • A

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Limited availability between 1 June - 30 June 2024
  • Description: Premium
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Vauxhall Grandland (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Vauxhall Grandland (automatic)
or similar
limited availability

  • Limited availability between 1 June - 30 June 2024
  • Description: Intermediate SUV
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Mercedes Vito (automatic)
or similar

  • x8
  • x3
  • x5
  • A

Mercedes Vito (automatic)
or similar

  • Description: Premium Passenger Van
  • Passengers: 8
  • Luggage: 5
  • Doors: 3
  • Transmission: Automatic*
  • *manual option available upon request

Price per person from

The amount will be charged in GBP

Approx 930 GBP

Monthly price comparison

Our best price per person when booking for two.

2024
2025

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