Guide to Self Drive Tours Ireland Scotland

Self Drive Tours Ireland Scotland

Self Drive Tours Ireland Scotland – Self-drive tours are an exciting and flexible way to explore the stunning landscapes, historic sites, and charming towns of Ireland and Scotland. With a self-drive tour, you have the freedom to create your itinerary, stop when and where you want, and discover hidden gems that are off the beaten path. In Ireland and Scotland, self-drive tours are particularly popular because of the diverse and picturesque landscapes, from rugged coastlines to rolling hills and historic cities.

Car on road in Ireland Highlands

Self Drive Tours Ireland Scotland

Advantages of self-drive tours

Self-drive tours offer several advantages over other types of travel. Firstly, you have complete control over your itinerary, which means you can explore at your own pace and take as much time as you want at each destination. Additionally, self-drive tours offer the flexibility to stop wherever you like, take scenic detours, and make unplanned stops. This means you can discover hidden gems that are off the beaten path and experience the local culture and traditions.

Moreover, self-drive tours offer a more intimate and authentic travel experience, allowing you to interact with locals, sample local cuisine, and gain a deeper understanding of the local history and culture. With a self-drive tour, you can also choose the type of accommodations that suit your budget and preferences, from cozy B&Bs to luxurious hotels.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for anyone who wants to explore the stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture of Ireland and Scotland on their own terms. Self-drive tours are perfect for independent travelers who want to discover new destinations at their own pace and immerse themselves in the local culture. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple, or a family, a self-drive tour is an excellent way to create lifelong memories and experience the magic of Ireland and Scotland. With this guide, you will have all the information you need to plan your itinerary, rent a car, and discover the best destinations and hidden gems in these beautiful countries.

Deciding on a route

Deciding on a route is one of the most important steps in planning a self-drive tour in Ireland and Scotland. Both countries have a wealth of attractions and destinations to explore, and it’s essential to choose a route that fits your interests, time frame, and driving experience. Consider factors such as the duration of your trip, the type of landscapes you want to see, and the types of activities you enjoy. You can use travel guides and online resources to research popular routes, or you can create your own itinerary.

Renting a car

Renting a car is an essential part of planning a self-drive tour. Both Ireland and Scotland have excellent road networks, and renting a car gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Before you rent a car, be sure to research the local driving rules and regulations, and make sure you have the appropriate driver’s license and insurance. You can rent a car from a variety of companies, including international rental agencies and local providers.

Choosing accommodations

Choosing accommodations is another critical aspect of planning a self-drive tour. In Ireland and Scotland, there are many options for accommodations, including hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses, and self-catering apartments. When choosing accommodations, consider factors such as location, price, amenities, and reviews from previous guests. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak travel season.

Planning activities and attractions

Planning activities and attractions is an exciting part of planning a self-drive tour. Both Ireland and Scotland have a wealth of attractions to explore, from historic sites and museums to natural wonders and outdoor activities. When planning your activities, consider the duration of your trip and your interests. You can use online resources and travel guides to research popular attractions, or you can seek recommendations from locals or other travelers.

Must-See Destinations in Ireland

Ireland is a country that is steeped in history and culture, with a rich natural landscape that boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. If you’re planning a self-drive tour of Ireland, here are some must-see destinations to add to your itinerary.


Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and is home to a wealth of attractions, from historic sites to museums, art galleries, and fantastic restaurants. Must-see attractions include Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Take a walk around Temple Bar and explore the vibrant cultural scene that Dublin is famous for.

Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a 179-kilometer scenic drive that takes you through some of Ireland’s most beautiful coastal landscapes. Starting in Killarney, the drive takes in stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, rolling hills, and charming villages along the way. Be sure to stop at Muckross House and Gardens and the picturesque village of Sneem.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most iconic natural attractions, towering over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Located in County Clare, the cliffs offer breathtaking views and plenty of opportunities for stunning photographs. There is a visitor center on-site that provides information about the history and geology of the cliffs.

Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder located in Northern Ireland. The site is home to 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, which were formed by a volcanic eruption millions of years ago. The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most unique and visually stunning natural attractions in Ireland.

Connemara National Park

Connemara National Park is located in County Galway and is a paradise for nature lovers. The park features rugged landscapes, mountainous terrain, and pristine lakes, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, and wildlife watching. Be sure to visit the park’s visitor center, which provides information about the park’s history and geology.

Must-See Destinations in Scotland

Scotland is a country that boasts a rich and unique culture, with a rugged and beautiful landscape that is steeped in history. If you’re planning a self-drive tour of Scotland, here are some must-see destinations to add to your itinerary.


Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and is home to a wealth of attractions, including historic sites, art galleries, and fantastic restaurants. Be sure to explore Edinburgh Castle, walk down the Royal Mile, and visit the National Museum of Scotland. If you’re looking for panoramic views of the city, take a hike up Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano.

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is a remote and rugged island off the northwest coast of Scotland, famous for its breathtaking scenery and ancient history. Highlights of the island include the stunning Quiraing mountain range, the Old Man of Storr rock formation, and the Fairy Pools. Take a hike and explore the island’s wild beauty.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is a large freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands, famous for its legendary monster, Nessie. Take a boat tour of the loch and keep an eye out for Nessie, or explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which overlooks the loch. Loch Ness is also a great place for hiking and nature watching.

St. Andrews

St. Andrews is a picturesque coastal town in Fife, Scotland, known for its ancient university and historic golf course. Visit the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, take a stroll on the sandy beaches, or explore the charming streets of the town.


Glencoe is a stunningly beautiful valley in the Scottish Highlands, famous for its dramatic mountain scenery and turbulent history. Take a hike in the glen and explore the waterfalls, gorges, and wildlife. Be sure to visit the Glencoe Visitor Center, which provides information about the glen’s history and geology.

Off-The-Beaten-Path Gems in Ireland and Scotland

While the must-see destinations in Ireland and Scotland are undoubtedly stunning, there are also many hidden gems that are well worth exploring on a self-drive tour. Here are some off-the-beaten-path destinations to add to your itinerary.

Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilkenny is a charming medieval town in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, with a wealth of history and culture to discover. The town is known for its castle, cathedral, and ancient city walls. Be sure to visit the Kilkenny Design Centre, which showcases the work of local artists and craftspeople, and stroll along the picturesque Kilkenny River.

Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

The Dingle Peninsula is a scenic coastal region in southwestern Ireland, with a rugged landscape and stunning sea views. The area is home to a number of ancient sites, including the Gallarus Oratory, a well-preserved early Christian church, and the Dunbeg Fort, an Iron Age fortress. Take a hike on the stunning coastal paths or visit one of the many traditional Irish pubs for a pint of Guinness.

Achill Island, Ireland

Achill Island is the largest island off the coast of Ireland, with a unique landscape and a rich history. The island is known for its rugged beaches, traditional fishing villages, and the towering cliffs at Keem Bay. Take a hike on the Great Western Greenway, a 42km-long cycle and walking trail that winds its way through the island’s stunning scenery.

Orkney Islands, Scotland

The Orkney Islands are a group of islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland, with a rich history and a unique culture. The islands are home to a number of ancient sites, including the Skara Brae prehistoric village, the Ring of Brodgar stone circle, and the Maeshowe tomb. Be sure to visit the bustling harbor town of Stromness and the charming village of Kirkwall.

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The Cairngorms National Park is a stunningly beautiful area of the Scottish Highlands, with a unique landscape and a rich biodiversity. The park is home to a number of rare and endangered species, including the capercaillie and the wildcat. Take a hike in the park and explore the rolling hills, pristine rivers, and ancient forests.

Safety Tips and Precautions

Safety should always be a top priority when embarking on a self-drive tour in Ireland and Scotland. Here are some essential safety tips and precautions to keep in mind.

Emergency Contact Information

Before setting off on your self-drive tour, it’s important to have emergency contact information readily available. Make sure you have the phone numbers for local emergency services, as well as the contact information for your rental car company and your accommodations.

Staying Safe on the Road

Driving on unfamiliar roads can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to stay safe. Always wear your seatbelt, obey traffic laws, and be mindful of other drivers. Be extra cautious when driving on narrow, winding roads or in adverse weather conditions. If you’re feeling tired or unwell, pull over and take a break.

Dealing with Weather Conditions

Ireland and Scotland are known for their unpredictable weather, so it’s important to be prepared for all conditions. Bring appropriate clothing for both warm and cold weather, as well as rain gear. Be aware of the local weather forecast and any weather warnings or alerts. If you’re driving in snowy or icy conditions, make sure your car is equipped with appropriate tires and chains.

Wildlife Safety

Both Ireland and Scotland are home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, sheep, and cattle, which can sometimes wander onto the road. Be alert for wildlife crossings, especially in rural areas. If you encounter a wild animal, do not approach or feed it, and always keep a safe distance.

winding roads through Burren National Park

In conclusion, a self-drive tour in Ireland and Scotland can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience. By planning carefully, driving safely, and exploring both popular and off-the-beaten-path destinations, you can create memories that will last a lifetime.

Recap of Key Points

Throughout this guide, we have covered a variety of important topics related to self-drive tours in Ireland and Scotland. We discussed the advantages of self-drive tours, essential planning considerations such as route selection and budgeting, driving tips and safety precautions, must-see destinations in both countries, and some off-the-beaten-path gems.

Book a Self-Drive Tour

If you’re considering a trip to Ireland or Scotland, we highly recommend booking a self-drive tour. With the freedom to explore at your own pace and the ability to visit both popular and lesser-known destinations, a self-drive tour is a fantastic way to experience the beauty and charm of these two incredible countries.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

As you plan your self-drive tour, be sure to do your research, stay safe, and keep an open mind. Ireland and Scotland are filled with surprises and hidden gems, and with the right approach, you can discover them all. Finally, we encourage you to book your self-drive tour with a reputable travel company that can help you navigate the complexities of planning and executing an unforgettable trip. Happy travels!

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