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A 7-day Classic Scotland Itinerary

A 7-day Classic Scotland Itinerary

If you only have a short time in Scotland but still want to get a taste of the ‘best bits’ then this 7-day classic Scotland Itinerary is for you.

Starting in Edinburgh (or Glasgow) and taking in Stirling, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Loch Ness and Highland Perthshire over 7 days, this tour of Scotland takes in some of my favourite parts of Scotland. Let’s go on a Scotland Road Trip!

I have popped the route onto a google map with all the stops marked.

Day 1 / Edinburgh to Stirling

Starting in Edinburgh head north to Stirling via the Firth of Forth. First, on your 7-day Scotland Itinerary is visiting the stunning town of South Queensferry. Whilst you could spend a day admiring the Forth Bridges, the best view of the bridge is from just outside the town on the road to the village of Newton. Look out for the car park on the right-hand side, but watch for traffic as you turn.

After a few snaps head to Blackness Castle, just west along the A904. Blackness Castle, otherwise known as the ‘ship that never sailed’ was also used as Fort William in the TV series Outlander.

7-day Scotland Itinerary - Blackness

Leaving Blackness, it is time to join the M9 motorway for a visit to the largest equine sculpture in the world – The Kelpies. Set beside the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk, there is also a cafe on-site for a morning pick me up.

Returning to the M9 motorway head towards northwards to explore the historic town of Stirling with its famous castle and the Wallace Monument. Stirling is your base for the night, so park up before you head off to explore Stirling’s Old Town. I’ll leave it to you to decide which castle is better – Edinburgh, Blackness or Stirling!

Day 1 / Itinerary

  • Driving time: Edinburgh to Stirling – 1 hour
  • Visit: Forth Bridges, Blackness Castle, The Kelpies
  • You might also want to visit: Linlithgow Palace, The Wallace Monument, and the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre.
  • Where to stay in Stirling*

Day 2 / Stirling to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Leaving Stirling behind it’s time to head into the beautiful Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, but on the way, you have a few options for stops on your 7-day Classic Scotland Itinerary.

For Outlander fans, Castle Leoch otherwise known as Doune Castle is just to the north of Stirling, and to the west Inchmahome Priory sits peacefully on Scotland’s only lake.

If you prefer to head straight to Loch Lomond take the A811 to Balloch. Loch Lomond is the UK largest inland stretch of water, and the best views of the loch, in my opinion, are from the east side of the Loch.

Visit the tiny (but popular in the summer) villages of Rowardennan and Balmaha, find a spot on one of the beaches or get active climbing Conic Hill for incredible views of the Loch – and to spot your first Highland Coo.

For those who fancy bagging a Munro (a Scottish mountain over 3000ft) then try the 3195ft high Ben Lomond.

Read my guide to all the things to do in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Day 2 / 7-day Scotland Itinerary

  • Stirling to Loch Lomond Driving time – 1 hour.
  • Itinerary – Doune Castle or Inchmaholm Priory, Loch Lomond, Conic Hill
  • Other stops you might like: Blair Drummond Safari Park and Glengoyne Distillery.
  • Where to stay at Loch Lomond*
7-day Scotland Itinerary - Loch Lomond

Day 3 / Loch Lomond to Fort William and Glencoe

It is time for a real taste of the highlands as we head north to Glen Coe for the next stage of your 7-day Scotland Itinerary. However, before you leave Lomond make sure you stop at  Loch Lomond Shores to pick up some presents and then visit the small village of Luss with its quaint cottages and waterside setting before joining the A82 north via Crianlarich and Tyndrum.

Stop at either the very quirky Drovers Inn or the Green Welly Stop for a coffee break before you drive the most spectacular part of this road trip. Let’s go to Glen Coe!

Glencoe is Scotland’s most famous glen, and home to Buachaille Etive Mor, one of Scotland’s most photographed mountains. Whilst climbing the mountain is not for the faint of heart, there are lots of walks you can do in Glencoe without breaking a sweat.

Stop for a selfie with the glen’s friendly deer or in front of the Three Sisters (above) or discover one of my favourite walks around Glencoe Lochan.

Day 3 / 7 day Scotland Itinerary

  • Loch Lomond to Fort William Driving time – 1.45 minutes
  • Itinerary – Luss, Glencoe
  • Where to stay in Fort William*

Day 4 & 5 / Fort William to Loch Ness

From Fort William head north to Fort Augustus and Loch Ness where you can watch the boats sail down the Caledonian Canal and tackle the huge flight of locks. I recommend taking a boat trip out on to Loch Ness to spot Nessie and see Urquhart Castle. Cruise Loch Ness also run RIBs (fast speed boats) that whizz up the loch – great fun.

I recommend staying a second night so you can take the time to drive up to Eilean Donan – Scotland’s most famous castle! It is a 1-hour drive from Fort Augustus.

You could also explore Glenfinnan to watch the Harry Potter train go over the viaduct or visit the eight canal locks at Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal.

Mountaineers won’t want to miss climbing Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain.

Day 4 & 5 / 7-day Scotland Itinerary

  • Fort William to Loch Ness Driving time – 50 minutes
  • Itinerary – Loch Ness boat trip
  • Where to stay in Fort Augustus*
best places to visit in Scotland - 7-day Scotland Itinerary

Day 6 / Loch Ness to Pitlochry

Leaving Loch Ness turn east back across Scotland for day 5 of your 7-day Scotland Itinerary and to discover Highland Perthshire. The road will take you past Loch Laggan where I recommend stopping for a photo of Ardverikie Castle, now a private venue.

Reaching the A9, it’s time to visit my favourite distillery in Scotland – Dalwhinnie. Don’t miss out on a tasting tour, although sadly the driver will have to miss out. 

The A9 south is one of Scotland’s busiest roads so spend your time exploring off the A9 as you drive south. Options include Blair Castle, feeding red deer or going out in a 4×4 with Highland Safaris, stopping for photos at the gorgeous Queen’s View over Loch Tummel or visiting Loch Tay. 

For the evening stay by one of the lochs or in the pretty Perthshire town of Pitlochry.

Day 6 / 7-day Scotland Itinerary

  • Fort Augustus to Pitlochry Driving time – 2 hours
  • Itinerary – Dalwhinnie whisky distillery, Blair Castle, Queens View, Highland Safaris
  • Where to Stay in Perthshire – try Pitlochry or beside one of the lochs – Loch Tay or Loch Tummel.
7-day Scotland Itinerary

Day 7 / Pitlochry to Edinburgh – Big Tree Country

Sadly it is time to return to Edinburgh, but there is lots more to take in on your way ‘home’. Before you leave Pitlochry, make sure you take a wander in Faskally Wood – best seen in Autumn!

On your way down the A9 there are more pretty towns to explore, including the lovely Dunkeld. From Dunkeld take a walk up into The Hermitage, one of Scotland’s best pleasure gardens, alongside beautiful waterfalls.

Visit the crowning place of the King of Scots, Scone Palace – pronounced “Scoon” – with its peacocks wandering the grounds or head to Loch Leven and discover Loch Leven castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned before she was beheaded.

At Loch Leven, you take a 13mile walk around the loch to RSPB Loch Leven where along with the birds you can spot Highland Cows.

Day 6 / 7-day Scotland Itinerary

  • Pitlochry to Edinburgh Driving time – 1.30 minutes
  • Itinerary – Dunkeld, The Hermitage, Scone Palace, Loch Leven, North Queensferry
  • Where to stay in Edinburgh*

Return to Edinburgh via the M80, before a final stop at North Queensferry to view the Forth Bridge from close up – the perfect last memory of your central Scotland road trip!

Ready to take on your own Scotland road trip?

If you fancy planning your own itinerary have a look at my guide to planning a Scotland road trip.

Love, from Scotland x

Jen Ellis

Tuesday 10th of August 2021

Going to scotland this weekend..starting in edingburgh then to loch ness ..then on to fort William.. any other suggestions of places to stay would be greatly appreciated


Tuesday 20th of February 2018

Hi there, do you have a printable version in a pdf that you would share of this 5 day roadtrip?

Gregory Cooper

Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Hello there, a great post and very decent website by the way. I've seen the featured photo of the castle on this blog so many times over the past couple of years. And I keep saying that I'm going to go there. After reading this travel blog I'm going to use it to motivate me to get there in the next few months. Thanks for posting.


Thursday 24th of August 2017

So helpful thank you! Planning a spontaneous four day road trip up to Scotland next week and I'll definitely be taking a few ideas from this, can't wait!

Love from, Smidge

Monday 28th of August 2017

I hope you had a fab road trip. Let me know where you end up!

Errol Saldanha

Thursday 23rd of March 2017

Doing a road trip across Scotland in April and this is a brilliant guide. It covers part of the route I intended so saved me from lot of hassle to research about the places... Cheers.