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A classic 10 day Scotland itinerary

A classic 10 day Scotland itinerary

First time visitor to Scotland and looking for a classic 10 day Scotland itinerary? I’m here to help!

Starting from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness, this 10 day Scotland itinerary takes you around the main attractions in Scotland including Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye – with lots of my favourite hidden gems and off the beaten track stops along the way.

With where to stay at each stop and tips on driving distances, here is how to plan your perfect self-drive 10 day classic Scotland tour with my guide. 

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A classic 10 day Scotland itinerary from Edinburgh

This self drive 10 day Scotland itinerary starts in Edinburgh and finishes in Glasgow, but alternative routes can be found at the bottom of the post.

This classic Scotland itinerary is a 10 days / 9 nights trip but can also be made into a longer trip with additional nights in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Inverness or longer on the Isle of Skye.  

This Scotland itinerary purposely keeps driving distances short at the start – if you haven’t driven in Scotland before, it is worth familiarising yourself before you head off on long distances. All driving times are with no traffic and by standard google map routes. 

From Edinburgh my suggested 10 day Scotland itinerary,  is:

  • Day 1 – Edinburgh 
  • Day 2 – Highland Perthshire (1.5 hours) 
  • Day 3 – The Cairngorms National Park (1.5 hours) 
  • Day 4 – Inverness (40 mins) 
  • Day 5 – Loch Ness (1 hour) 
  • Day 6- 7 – Isle of Skye (2 hours) 
  • Day 8 – Glenfinnan to Glencoe (3 hours or 4 hours by the ferry) 
  • Day 9 – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (1.5 hours)
  • Day 10 – Glasgow (1 hour) 

This Scotland itinerary recommends hotels as places to stay – most other forms of accommodation in Scotland require a 2 nights or more stay. I don’t recommend AirBnb in Edinburgh due to its impact on housing costs. This post contains affiliate links.

Classic 10 day Scotland Itinerary Map

Download my map of this 10 day Scotland Itinerary to your google maps app.

Edinburgh - Scotland Itinerary

Day 1 – Edinburgh 

Scotland’s capital truly needs no introduction. With an incredible castle, historic old and new towns, the Edinburgh art, film and comedy festivals, fantastic restaurants, quirky bars and great shopping – a visit to Edinburgh is a must-do on a trip to Scotland! 

Spend your first day in Scotland soaking up the sights and exploring with my local’s guide to things to do in Edinburgh.

Got one day in Edinburgh? In the morning take a stroll to fashionable Stockbridge, Dean Village or the Edinburgh Botanical Garden, and then find a cute cafe for lunch. In the afternoon, head back to the Old Town and go underground at The Real Mary King’s Close, before exploring the Royal Mile and the Castle. At night head to a classic Scottish bar for a real ale and a whisky. 

My recommended places to stay in Edinburgh: 

Perthshire - Loch Voil

Day 2 – Highland Perthshire 

Driving time Edinburgh to Dunkeld – 1.5 hours

It is time to check out of your Edinburgh hotel and get on the road. Your destination is Highland Perthshire, otherwise known as big tree country – it is Scotland’s New England – and it is just a couple of hours north from Edinburgh.

On arrival in Perthshire, spend your day exploring the lochs and glens of this beautiful region with my guide to Perthshire. If you have just got one day:

  • take a stroll at the Hermitage at Dunkeld, home to some of the tallest trees in Scotland
  • if you are feeling energetic hike Ben A’an, a ‘mountain in miniature’ for an incredible view across Loch Katrine
  • Hike The Birks of Aberfeldy, made famous by Robert Burns’ famous 1787 poem.

Dunkeld is a great spot for lunch at one of the hotels alongside the Tay, or head to The Grandtully Hotel for a stylish lunchtime stop. 

My recommended places to stay in Perthshire: 

Scotland Itinerary - the Cairngorms

Day 3 – The Cairngorms National Park

Driving time – Dunkeld to Aviemore – 1.5 hours

With forests pepper-potted with deep green lochans, a seemingly endless Arctic tundra where the temperature can drop as low as -27 degrees in the depths of winter, and home to ospreys, reindeer, pine martens and red squirrels, the Cairngorms National Park is one of Scotland’s true wildernesses.

Much of the National Park is only accessible by foot or bike, ensuring that the park is a safe home for red squirrels, golden eagles, crested tits, crossbills and, of course, hikers and bikers! 

Spend the day in the national park with my guide to The Cairngorms, however, if you are short on time,

  • Stroll up to the ‘green lochan’ to try to spot the fairies at the beautiful Lochan Uaine
  • Stroll around Loch Vaa with its pretty boathouse
  • Feed the birds by hand at RSPB Loch Garten, looking out for crested tits.
  • Gt the paddleboards or bikes out at Loch Morlich, the UK’s highest beach. 

My recommended places to stay in the Cairngorms:

North Coast 500 route - Inverness
Culloden Battlefield

Day 4 – Inverness

Driving time – Aviemore to Inverness – 40 mins

The capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is a great base to explore Scotland’s Moray Firth, or a stopping point before you head off on the North Coast 500. It is also a bustling city with lovely river walks and is home to over 45,000 people.

Spend the day in Inverness and its surrounds, including taking a stroll along the River Ness to the Ness Islands, discover Leakey’s Bookshop, or head further afield and visit the Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, and Fort George. 

My recommended places to stay in Inverness

Caledonian Canal boat hire

Day 5 – Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal 

Driving time (Inverness to Fort Augustus – 1 hour) 

Beyond the day-tripping tour buses and hoards of selfie-taking Nessie fans, lies one of Scotland’s most beautiful lochs waiting to be discovered. With its location halfway up Scotland’s famous 62-mile ‘Great Glen’,  there aren’t many more places in Scotland more iconic. A monster myth. A loch with uncharted depths. Loch Ness is a Scottish landmark, famous across the world, no wonder thousands of people a year visit. 

Explore Loch Ness with my guide to Fort Augustus and Loch Ness, but don’t miss a visit to spectacular Urquhart Castle, a RIB trip out on Loch Ness (or a cruise for those who prefer things more sedate), a stroll along the Great Glen Way with a 3 mile round trip to the pretty Kytra Locks, and a drink on the canal side watching the boats go through the Fort Augustus Locks. 

My recommended places to stay at Loch Ness:

Isle of Skye - Scotland Itinerary

Day 6- 7 – Isle of Skye

Driving time (Fort Augustus to Portree – 2 hours) 

The Isle of Skye is top of most people’s lists of Scottish islands to visit – and it is no wonder. With the natural wonders such as the Black Cuillin, the Fairy Pools, the majestic Quiraing and Old Man of Storr, remote Neist Point Lighthouse and the waterfall pouring over the cliff (or Kilt Rock) to visit, the Isle of Skye’s outdoor attractions are legendary.

Explore with my guide to the Isle of Skye, but don’t miss a walk around the Elgol Peninsula to view the dramatic Cuillin mountain range in all its magnificence or take a boat trip to Loch Coruisk. Then head to Glenbrittle to swim at the Fairy Pools, a natural series of pools which lead down out of the Black Cuillin.

My recommended places to stay on the Isle of Skye:

Glencoe - Scotland Itinerary

Day 8 – Glenfinnan to Glencoe

Driving time Portree to Glencoe – 3 hours, or by ferry – 4 hours including crossing

No visit to Scotland is complete without a drive through the spectacular Glen Coe. The ‘Glen of Weeping’ is one of the Scottish Highlands most famous natural attractions.

Before you get to the Glen it is worth taking a drive down the Road to the Isles – either by catching the Skye ferry to Mallaig (see Calmac updates to see if the ferry is running) – or by heading to Glenfinnan – where you can watch the Jacobite Express (the Harry Potter Train) go over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

In Glencoe, explore with my guide to Glencoe, but spend your time at Glencoe Lochan where you can take a walk amongst the trees overshadowed by two of Glencoe’s most famous peaks; the imposing Pap of Glencoe which guards the entrance to the glen and Beinn a’Bheithir, the Mountain of the Thunderbolt.

If you have walking boots, then you can find the Lost Valley, hidden between the imposing peaks of the Three Sisters lies a path that leads to a valley with a grim history that led to the Jacobite uprisings.

My recommended places to stay in Glencoe:

Loch Lomond - Scotland Itinerary

Day 9 – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Driving time Glencoe to Loch Lomond – 1.5 hours

Covering 720 stunning square miles, with two forest parks, 22 large lochs, 40 hills over 2000ft, and one of the UK’s largest nature reserves (phew!) a visit to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park should be much more than a day trip. However, you do have time for a quick visit on this 10 day Scotland Itinerary so here’s my guide to getting outside and exploring the lochs, glens, and Munros around Loch Lomond.

Spend your visit to Loch Lomond by driving the Loch Lomond Scenic Route to find the best views of the loch, hike Conic hill for coos and incredible sunset views, Head to the Lodge visitor centre, explore the footpaths around pretty Loch Ard, and walk the Millennium Forest Path. 

My recommended places to stay at Loch Lomond

Glasgow - Scotland Itinerary

Day 10 – Glasgow

Driving time – Loch Lomond to Glasgow – 1 hour

Edinburgh might be the capital, but Glasgow is Scotland’s biggest city – nearly two million people live in the greater Glasgow area. Emerging fresh from decades of urban regeneration, Glasgow has a lively music scene, a huge art community and people who can make a party out of anything, Glasgow has a natural vibrancy which most cities dream of. 

Explore with my guide to Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, but don’t miss out on afternoon tea in Glasgow at Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tea Rooms, climb up the Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and Design, for a view of the city, head to an event at SWG3 and street food at Big Feed, take a tour of the Glasgow Murals, and visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. 

My recommended places to stay in Glasgow:

Final stop – return to Edinburgh

A 10 day Scotland Itinerary From Glasgow

  • Day 1 – Glasgow
  • Day 2 – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
  • Day 3 – Glencoe to Glenfinnan
  • Day 4- 5 – Isle of Skye
  • Day 6 – Loch Ness 
  • Day 7 – Inverness
  • Day 8 – The Cairngorms National Park
  • Day 9 – Highland Perthshire 
  • Day 10 – Edinburgh 

A 10 day Scotland Itinerary from Inverness

  • Day 1 – Inverness
  • Day 2 – Loch Ness 
  • Day 3- 4 – Isle of Skye
  • Day 5 – Glenfinnan to Glencoe
  • Day 6 – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
  • Day 7 – Glasgow
  • Day 8 – Edinburgh 
  • Day 9 – Highland Perthshire 
  • Day 10 – The Cairngorms National Park


Tuesday 30th of January 2024

Excellent blog! I’m particularly interested in the 10 day classic road trip. Can you suggest where to plan overnights so you don’t have to check in to a new hotel every day. Maybe locations where one could spend two nights to see local areas of interest. Thanks! Cheryl