Home to some of the most stunning scenery in the world, Scotland’s aweinspiring landscape is made up of mighty mountains, wild woodland and some of the most incredible stretches of coastal water in the British Isles.
But it‘s the country‘s west coast that offers some of the most dramatic scenery, which is why we have put together a road trip – starting from Glasgow - that explores the Inner Hebrides, a collection of unspoiled islands with beautiful beaches, stunning seascapes and oodles of wildlife. We have several pick-up locations including one at Glasgow Central Railway Station.
Glasgow – Isle of Skye
231 miles / 5 hours 44 minutes
With the stark and dramatic backdrop of the Cuillin Ridge, tiny villages, inlets, bays and beaches, the Isle of Skye – the largest of the Inner Hebridean islands - is distinctly ‘Highland’ in its features. Voted ‘The Fourth Best Island in the World’ by National Geographic, the Isle of Skye is crammed full of wildlife, incredible views and winding walking trails.
For a snapshot of the island’s inner beauty, head to the foothills of Quiraing, where you can complete a difficult but rewarding walk with spectacular views of Skye. For those who would rather not scramble up hillsides to experience the wilderness there is much to enjoy and discover on lower ground, including a rich history (think dinosaur fossils and clan warfare), while it is possible to see red deer, Scottish wildcats and mountain hares, as well as golden and sea eagles here.
Top Detour: Pass through Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park on the way to the Isle of Skye. Loch Lomond was Scotland’s first national park, and comprises some of the most stunning glens, lochs and mountains in the country.
Route: A simple and sensational drive out of Glasgow on the Great Western Road (A82) takes you past Loch Lomond, where you pick up the A85 and take the A87 over the Skye Bridge straight to Portree – the main town.
Isle of Skye – Isle of Mull
236 km / 5 hours 46 minutes
As the second largest island in the Inner Hebrides, the Isle of Mull’s mountainous terrain makes it another hiking hotspot. Standing proud at its heart lies Ben More, the highest of the Crianlarich Hills that literally means ‘The Great Mountain’. This is one ‘munro’ - a mountain measuring over 3,000ft in height - that certainly lives up to its name.
Mull’s largest town, Tobermory, is framed by a natural harbour and lined by brightly painted houses, with views of the Sound of Mull. The island’s coastline has some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, including Calgary Bay with its shimmering white shell beach, pale blue waters and lush meadowland. It is also possible to see dolphins on Mull, which is home to the UK’s largest eagle population.
Top detour: Catch the Jacobite steam train featured in the blockbuster Harry Potter films from Mallaig to Fort William in the summer months. You can even eat in one of the old dining cars and stay in a restored carriage.
Route: Take the A87 and the Mallaig ferry back to the mainland, then the A861 coastal road before picking up the A884, and a second ferry this time from Lochaline to Fishnish on Mull.
Isle of Mull – Isle of Arran
176 km / 5 hrs
Widely known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, the Isle of Arran encompasses just about every element of this incredible country – while it is located just 55mins from the mainland and 2.5 hours from Glasgow.
Arran’s noteworthy heritage dates back to the Stone Age, and many of the island’s attractions feature ancient ruins and magical castles with Machrie Moor Stone Circles one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the whole of Scotland.
Brodick is the island’s main town, with sweeping views of the coastline, and the only country park island of its kind in Britain. Set amongst the backdrop of Goatfell Mountain is its beautiful castle, which dates back 800 years and is surrounded by woodland walks.
Top Detour: If there is time on your way back to Glasgow it is well worth taking a detour to the historic town of Rothesay, on the nearby Isle of Bute. Boat trips and fishing trips are a must at this quaint Victorian seaside resort.
Route: Take the Craignure-to-Oban ferry back to the mainland, and pick up the A816 to Lochgilphead, the A83 to the Claonaig-Lochranza ferry crossing and the A841 straight to Brodick on Arran. On your return journey, Glasgow is a 1.5hr drive back once you arrive back onto the mainland after an hour’s ferry ride across the Firth of Clyde.