I love going abroad to a hot country as much as the next person, but this year I decided to forfeit going to Croatia to spend six days driving up the west of Scotland instead – and it was the best holiday I've been on.
To some people that probably sounds crazy, especially as holidaying abroad is usually cheaper than in the UK (and in this case it definitely would have been). But it’s a destination I’ve always wanted to visit, probably as a result of watching Outlander. Plus, I thought, wouldn’t hiring a car, taking to the road and exploring what gems are (almost) on our doorstep be way more fun and memorable?
Initially, I wanted to do the popular North Coast 500 route. But with only six days at my leisure I decided it was best to do my own mini version instead, rather than trying to squeeze in too much in too little time and not get to see things properly. This was the best way to go, so me and my partner decided we’d do the West Scottish Highlands then go over to Isles of Skye and Loch Ness before returning home. After weeks of making continuous comments about how he ‘hadn’t been abroad since Covid’, even my partner was saying it’s one of the best holidays he’s been on.
If you've never considered it, don't knock it till you try it and if you are keen, but are still a little uncertain, here's five reasons why you should.
Activities are endless
If laying on a sunbed for hours getting tanned (or burnt) isn’t your ideal type of holiday and you’re more of an ‘active adventurer’, then a road trip around Scotland is for you. Whether you decide to venture up North, East, West or do it all, there’s so much to do. From walks to water sports, boat trips, museums, must-visit food destinations, castles, mountains, lochs, beaches – the list really is endless. One of my highlights was visiting Chanonry Point where we sat on the beach and watched a family of bottlenose dolphins come close up to shore to feed, an experience I'll never forget. Oh, and of course visiting the Glenfinnan Viaduct, aka the Harry Potter bridge.
The scenery is like no other
I don’t feel the pictures will ever do West Scotland justice, but it is simply breathtaking, especially the Isle of Skye. If you’re someone who loves being outdoors and haven’t been, then you must. I thought living in the countryside was pretty enough, but this is next level stunning. It's a trip you want your best travel camera for, that's for sure.
Tip: If you're only going for a short amount of time (six to seven days), make your trip blueprint smaller, so you aren't driving for entirety of it and actually have time to stop off and appreciate what you're surrounded by.
You’ll have a great time in all weathers
Yes, even the rain. ‘But how is this so?’ you ask. It’s simply down to the fact that everything else around you is so mesmerising – the mountains, the lochs, the landscapes – that the weather almost becomes an afterthought. I only experienced one day of sparkling sunshine, the rest were just dry or drizzly and there was even one day of horrific rain. Just make sure you take your best waterproof jacket, best hiking boots and you’re good to go.
Tip: Making sure you’re in good company is key here too!
If you’re a bit of a motorhead, then you’ll love the drives around Scotland. When travelling from Oban up to Isles of Skye, my partner said it was the best drive he’s ever done. You’re spoiled by winding roads with panoramic views of massive mountains and never ending lochs. The road conditions weren’t bad either and there’s loads of spots where you can just park up and explore, for that added sense of adventure.
It’s home to the Isle of Skye
Road tripping around Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Skye. Lots of people had told me prior to make time to go and I’m so glad I did. You don’t really understand why until you’re there but, again, it’s really down to its beautiful surroundings and amazing sights, like the Fairy Pools (a set of crystal clear blue waterfalls), the Storr (a popular walk to see the spiky pinnacles of rock layered against rolling hills and coastline), Dunvegan Castle and so much more. My only regret was not taking a towel to swim in the Fairy Pools.