This 14-day road trip takes you across the enchanting landscapes of Scotland and Ireland. Start in the historic city of Edinburgh, and journey across the country from Cairngorms National Park to the mystical Isle of Skye. Then fly over to Dublin, where you'll drive south to lap the Ring of Kerry. With two weeks to spare, you can tick off castles, whisky tasting, hikes, wildlife cruises, and rich cultural experiences that reveal the best of both countries.


  • Take a musical walking tour of Edinburgh and discover history through song
  • Visit Blair Castle, then tour the Blair Athol Distillery, which dates back to 1798
  • Take a two-hour hike to the Fairy Pools on the mystical Isle of Skye
  • Lap the Ring of Kerry and Skellig Ring in Ireland
  • See the famous Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Edinburgh (Scotland), Musical Walking Tour Edinburgh
Day 2 Drive to Pitlochry via Scone Palace & The Hermitage Pitlochry
Day 3 Visit Blair Castle & Tour Blair Athol Distillery Pitlochry
Day 4 Drive to Inverness via Rothiemurchus Estate in Cairngorms National Park Inverness
Day 5 Highland Folk Museum, Free Time in Inverness Inverness
Day 6 Visit Urquhart Castle, Drive to Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools Walk Isle of Skye
Day 7 Ferry to Mallaig, Wildlife Boat Trip, Drive to Oban Oban
Day 8 Hike Glen Nevis: Steall Falls & Nevis Gorge Walk, Drive to Glasgow Glasgow
Day 9 National Piping Centre, Fly to Dublin (Ireland), Dublin Walking Tour Dublin
Day 10 Drive to Cork via Rock of Cashel, Tour Blarney Castle Cork
Day 11 Explore the Ring of Kerry & Skellig Ring Killarney
Day 12 Drive to Kilkenny, Visit Dunmore Cave & Local Orchard Kilkenny
Day 13 Drive to Dublin, Food & Drink Tour Dublin
Day 14 Book of Kells & Trinity Long Room, Depart Dublin  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh (Scotland), Musical Walking Tour

Old Town Edinburgh
The skyline of Edinburgh's medieval Old Town

Welcome to bonnie Scotland! You've landed in Edinburgh, a captivating historic and modern city known for its festivals, thriving arts scene, and friendly locals. On arrival, meet your private driver for a transfer to your hotel. En route, you might catch a glimpse of the historic Edinburgh Castle, sitting atop an ancient volcanic hill and overlooking the Old and New Town centers. Drop your bags, refresh, and lace up your walking shoes.

This afternoon you'll set off on a musical journey, discovering the Old Town vibrant with life, music, and the occasional murder! Your host, an Edinburgh native, will perform traditional and modern songs that relate to real events and characters. Wander the Royal Mile, hearing the history and stories of the city as your guide breaks into the occasional song to recount key events. They say the small closes, streets, and courtyards of the Old Town have great acoustics!

Day 2: Drive to Pitlochry via Scone Palace & The Hermitage

Scone Palace built of red sandstone with a castellated roof, it is one of the finest examples of late Georgian Gothic style in Scotland
Scone Palace is built of red sandstone and is a fine example of late Georgian Gothic style

After breakfast, go collect your rental car—your Scotland road trip begins today. Hit the road north for an hour until you reach the sumptuous Scone Palace. Discover one of Scotland's most important stately homes and its history when you pause for a light lunch at the tea room and explore the palace and gardens. Scone has served as the capital of the Pictish Kingdom, the seat of Parliaments, and the crowning place of the King of Scots, including Macbeth and Robert the Bruce. See where the Stone of Scone, known as the Stone of Destiny, once stood, which now resides in Edinburgh Castle.

After, continue north to The Hermitage at Dunkeld. This mystical stretch of Perthshire forest is an 18th-century park designed for the Dukes of Atholl. Here giant Douglas firs tower over you as you walk to the roaring Black Linn waterfall. Deep in the woods, discover the picturesque 18th-century folly known as Ossian's Hall, which overlooks the stunning cascade. After, continue north to Pitlochry, one of Scotland's most beautiful and vibrant places to visit.

Day 3: Visit Blair Castle & Tour Blair Athol Distillery

Blair Atholl Castle
The current Duke of Blair Castle has the only private army in Europe, the Atholl Highlanders

The Atholl family has called Blair Castle home for over seven centuries, and today you'll explore the fine 18th-century interiors and Scots Baronial architecture. After wandering the grand halls, venture out into the 9-acre (3.6 ha) gardens, where you'll find a large wooded grove, a ruined church, a red deer park, and a Gothic folly. Admire Highland cows grazing in nearby fields and look for native red squirrels and peacocks.

Then, visit the Blair Athol Distillery, which dates back to 1798, and draws its water from the ancient Alt Dour that flows from the heights of Ben Vrackie. This local pure mountain water contributes to the whisky's mellow quality and smooth finish. Join a tasting tour to explore behind-the-scenes at the distillery and sample a few golden drams. If you're driving, ask for their takeaway packs. On the return to Pitlochry, you could stop at Queen's View. This famous vantage point looks out over one of the most iconic panoramas in Scotland, directly to the west along Loch Tummel.

Day 4: Drive to Inverness via Rothiemurchus Estate in Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park
Explore the wild beauty of Cairngorms National Park today
Plan your trip to Scotland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Set your GPS for Rothiemurchus Estate, a family-run estate in the heart of Cairngorms National Park with a 13th-century island castle, abundant wildlife, and fun activities. The one-hour drive laps the western edge of the park, past the beautiful verdant farmland and historic granite villages. Rothiemurchus is home to one of the largest areas of natural forest in Britain and an extraordinary variety of wildlife calls this area home.

These animals have been under the protection of 18 generations of the Grants of Rothiemurchus, who have cared for this estate for more than 450 years. Your visit helps the family continue their sustainable stewardship of the forest. Choose to walk or cycle along carefully maintained paths or join an outdoor activity such as clay shooting, fishing, quad bike trekking, pony hacking, off-road driving, archery, and canoeing. After your visit, continue to the charming riverside city of Inverness, your home for the next two nights.

Day 5: Highland Folk Museum, Free Time in Inverness

Say hello to the fluffy Highland cows
You'll meet a couple of fluffy Highland cows at the museum today

For a touch of culture and history, today you'll visit the Highland Folk Museum, a 50-minute drive south of Inverness. Britain's first open-air museum takes you on a journey into the past with heritage buildings and highland cows. Wander around the various townships exploring how life in Scotland was in centuries past. See a tailor shop and sweets shop, and then explore the 1700s-era township. A highlight of any visit, the authentic thatched houses were even used in the "Outlander" TV series.

Nearby you could visit the Clan Macpherson Museum or return to Inverness, where you can explore the city's rich historical sites, such as the Inverness Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the River Ness. Seek out a show at the Eden Court Theatre or visit a local art gallery. Go hiking in Glen Affric, or visit the legendary Loch Ness to spot the famous Loch Ness Monster, or "Nessie." End the day with a hearty Scottish meal at a cozy local pub, finishing with a dram of whisky.

Day 6: Visit Urquhart Castle, Drive to Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools Walk

Castle Urquart overlooking Loch Ness.
In 1692, Urquhart Castle was deliberately blown up so that it could never again be a military stronghold

Discover more than 1,000 years of history at the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Set on the shores of the mysterious and legendary Loch Ness, this was once one of Scotland's largest castles, and it's seen plenty of conflict during its 500 years. During the Wars of Independence, this medieval fortress passed back and forth between the Scots and the English. Snap panoramic pictures with the loch from the Grant Tower, imagine the banquets that once took place in the Grand Hall, and peer into a gloomy prison cell said to have held legendary Gaelic bard Dòmhnall Donn.

Back in the car, continue west for 2.5 hours to reach the often dramatic and ethereal Isle of Skye. This afternoon you'll embark on a must-do two-hour hike to the spectacular Fairy Pools walk. Wander a well-marked trail across rolling hills, heather-covered moorland, and river crosses with a backdrop of the dramatic Cuillin Mountains. Soon you'll reach the azure Fairy Pools, a beautiful destination with vivid blue water. If you dare, take a dip in the inviting pools formed by the cascading Allt Coir a' Mhadaidh stream. After, seek out your accommodation for the night.

Day 7: Ferry to Mallaig, Wildlife Boat Trip, Drive to Oban

The Harbour of Oban and the Mccaig's Tower reflecting in the Water
Oban's harbor with the McCaig Tower reflecting in the water

Make your way to Armadale this morning and wave goodbye to the Isle of Skye as your ferry crosses over to Mallaig on the mainland. From this small fishing port, you'll join a wildlife tour to discover the creatures that call this part of Scotland's west coast home. Board a specialist boat that will take you all around the small isles and Loch Nevis. You'll travel to Green Island on Knoydart Peninsula, where you might see a variety of birds, seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales, and basking sharks. Since it's Scotland, your boat has a whisky bar, and you can bring a picnic lunch from a local café.

Back on dry land, continue two hours south to Oban. The "Seafood Capital" of Scotland is a quaint waterfront town with sweeping views to Kerrera and Mull. En route, you could pause at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the longest concrete railway bridge in Scotland at a whopping 1,250 feet (380 m) long. Made famous by the "Harry Potter" movies, the Jacobite Steam Train runs twice a day, so time it right to experience a little magic of your own. Once in Oban, check into your accommodation, then go enjoy Scotland's top-quality fish and shellfish at a waterfront restaurant as the sun sets.

Day 8: Hike Glen Nevis: Steall Falls & Nevis Gorge Walk, Drive to Glasgow

Glen Nevis
Immerse yourself in the lush green wilds of Glen Nevis today

Today starts with an hour's drive north to experience Glen Nevis, one of the most spectacular glens in Scotland. Set at the foot of Ben Nevis, this verdant area offers peace, tranquility, and trails. Follow the River Nevis just a few minutes from the town of Fort William into the glen, where waterfalls cascade off the towering mountain landscape. Embark on an easy yet rewarding walk to Steall Falls, a 2.2-mile (3.5 km) trek that's one of the best short walks in the country. This special route heads through the dramatic and beautiful Nevis Gorge, leading to the Steall Falls.

See erosion at work as the force and volume of water cascades over and down through deep rock pools. Farther downstream, the Lower Falls is a great place to watch millions of gallons (or liters) of freshwater pour over the rock on its way to the sea. Spend the rest of the day in the glen, hiking other trails or enjoying a picnic. Later, continue south to Glasgow, a 2.5-hour drive. Scotland's largest and most buzzing city has been shaped by its rich industrial heritage, reflected in the grand Victorian architecture that's now juxtaposed with modern structures.

Day 9: National Piping Centre, Fly to Dublin (Ireland), Dublin Walking Tour

Dive deeper into Scotland's bagpiping heritage today

Explore 300 years of bagpipe heritage at the National Piping Centre this morning. Here the museum highlights the Scottish musical tradition, with bagpipes thought to date back to the 18th century and other special artifacts. Curiously, the museum also has instruments from the European bagpipe tradition, with examples of Polish, Hungarian, Spanish, and Italian bagpipes. After, it's time to swap Scotland for Ireland, so drive to the airport with enough time to return your rental car before your flight to Dublin.

On arrival, collect another rental car, settle into your accommodation, and lace up your walking shoes. Your first Irish adventure is a two-hour walking tour exploring Dublin's history and culture with a local historian. You'll learn about Dublin's growth from a Gaelic village and a settlement by the Vikings, Normans, and English to the modern city it is today. See the statue of James Joyce, the Spire of Light, the O'Connell monument, the Silicon Docks district, the Temple Bar neighborhood, the Olympia Theatre, and Dublin Castle

Day 10: Drive to Cork via Rock of Cashel, Tour Blarney Castle

Rock of Cashel
It's thought the Rock of Cashel was home to the Kings of Munster

Today you'll get to know why it's called the Emerald Isle on a three-hour drive southwest to Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. En route, don't miss a stop at the famous Rock of Cashel. Set on a dramatic outcrop of limestone in the Golden Vale, the Rock of Cashel possesses the most impressive cluster of medieval buildings in Ireland. Stroll among monuments like a Romanesque chapel, a Gothic cathedral, the Hall of the Vicars Choral, and a 15th-century tower house. Take your time exploring the site, then continue to Cork.

Just outside Cork, you'll find the 15th-century Blarney Castle. This famed castle was built nearly 600 years ago and contains one of Ireland's greatest treasures: the Blarney Stone or "Stone of Eloquence." Legend has it that anyone who kisses the stone receives the gift of words and eloquence, so climb to the top of the castle's tower, kiss the stone, and see if you get some of its magic. Blarney Castle offers many other fascinating sights, such as an exactly-what-it-sounds-like Poison Garden of toxic plants, a beautiful (and less dangerous) Fern Garden, and the spooky Witch Stone.

Day 11: Explore the Ring of Kerry & Skellig Ring

Scenery along the stunning Ring of Kerry route
Enjoy the lush and ever-changing scenery along the postcard-perfect Ring of Kerry route

Today you'll experience one of Ireland's most iconic scenic drives—the 100-mile-long (179km) Ring of Kerry—but with an added exciting twist: the Skellig Ring. This is one of Ireland's great drives, with everything from mountain passes and steep clifftop-hugging roads to quaint villages offering delicious food, relaxing drinks, and friendly locals. Make the 90-minute drive to Kenmare, a cute town known for its crafts, artisan shops, and beautiful houses. Divert to see the dramatic Ladies View, nearby Torc Waterfall, and spectacular Moll's Gap. Travel onward along the coast to Sneem.

Explore colorful Sneem village, then drive by Whitestrand, Castle Cove, and Caherdaniel. Continue to Waterville, followed by the rugged Skellig Ring to beautiful Balinaskellig. From here, the rugged coast winds over mountain crevices and craggy cliffs and down into St Finians Bay. From the beach, travel up the horseshoe road onto the top of the Kerry Cliffs and into Portmagee for lunch with a view. After, follow the coast to Cahirsiveen and onto Kells Bay. Head on to Glenbeigh along one of the country's most picturesque roads.

Finally, at Killorglin, turn south toward Killarney and then to Beaufort. Head up to the spectacular Gap of Dunloe, where you can park the car and walk up the incredible canyon, then make your way to Killarney. if you have time, squeeze in a quick visit to nearby Ross Castle for sunset over beautiful Lough Leine. Freshen up before at Courtney's Bar for dinner, then stay for the music or have a drink at some of the other famous bars, the Laurels, Murphy's, or Buckley's.

Day 12: Drive to Kilkenny, Visit Dunmore Cave & Local Orchard

Calcite formations in Dunmore Cave
Dive underground to explore calcite formations in Dunmore Cave

After breakfast, the road trip continues. Make your way to Kilkenny, a 2.5-hour drive away. For something adventurous, go underground at Dunmore Cave. It's filled with impressive calcite formations and was first mentioned in the ninth-century Triads of Ireland, where it's referred to as "one of the darkest places in Ireland." This isn't just because of its dark chambers, as the 17th-century Annals of the Four Masters describe how a Viking leader massacred 1,000 people here in 928 CE. While the tragic event remains unconfirmed, archaeologists have found other evidence of Viking activity here.

After doing some light spelunking in the cave, you could visit the 17th-century Highbank Organic Farm. At this present-day working farm and orchard, you can gather apples and make a refreshing apple drink or enjoy the whiskey or cider straight from the farm, which is known as Ireland's smallest distillery. Return to Kilkenny, which is best known as the medieval town of Ireland, and check into your accommodation for the evening.

Day 13: Drive to Dublin, Food & Drink Tour

Dublin Food and Drink tour
Explore Dublin's food and drink scene this afternoon

Jump behind the wheel again this morning and make the 95-minute drive back to Dublin. Once back in the Irish capital, get ready to eat! The days of the potato famine are long gone—today, Dublin is a major food destination. On a 3.5-hour food tour, you'll discover how a country once known for its poor eating standards is now leveraging the locavore movement and digging into its traditions to create a rich and diverse culinary scene. Learn about Dublin's food evolution with a local expert as you taste fresh seafood and classic soda bread, and enjoy a good pint or dram for good measure.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are yours to enjoy as you wish. Venture to the vibrant Temple Bar district, where colorful streets beckon with galleries, pubs, and pints. Wander along the scenic River Liffey, admiring its iconic bridges, or take a cruise for a different perspective. Visit Dublin Castle to glimpse into the city's history, shop Grafton Street and watch lively street performers, or step through museums like the National Gallery and IMMA.

Day 14: Book of Kells & Trinity Long Room, Depart Dublin

Long Room Trinity College
Do you recognize the Long Room at Trinity College?

The Book of Kells at Dublin's university, Trinity College, is a must-see. On your final morning in Ireland, make time to visit the grounds and see one of the oldest books in the world, dating back to 800 CE. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and was created by Irish monks using local organic paints and inks. Walk through the library's wooden Long Room among 250,000 of Ireland's oldest books and documents and the original 15th-century Brian Boru Harp. You'll recognize this space from the "Harry Potter" movies!

Finally, your great road trip across Scotland and Ireland comes to an end today. Hop in the car one last time and make the journey to Dublin's airport. Make sure you allow enough time to drop off your rental car ahead of your flight home or onward. Safe travels!

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Map of Ultimate Scotland & Ireland Road Trip - 14 Days
Map of Ultimate Scotland & Ireland Road Trip - 14 Days