When you look at the map, Glasgow and Fort William seem just a hop, a skip and a jump apart. You could easily drive the 108 miles in 2.5 hours; maybe a bit longer if there is a lot of traffic, as opportunities to overtake slower vehicles are rather slim. But why would you want to rush through one of Scotland’s most beautiful road trips? From iconic mountain views to gorgeous waterfalls, there are many scenic stops between Glasgow and Fort William. This road trip guide includes everything you need to know about getting from Glasgow to Fort William by car – which stops to include, driving info, where to stay and of course a guide to vegan-friendly restaurants in the area!
Scotland is full of amazing road trips, and even though you can easily travel around the country by train or bus, hiring a car will always be my preferred mode of travelling around Scotland! There is just nothing like the ability to stop wherever you want, hang around as long as you want and take detours to reach even more beautiful spots along the way.
These are some of the most-asked questions I see regarding Scotland road trips: Should we spend a night somewhere on our way to Skye? If so, where? What are some nice places to stop along the way? Yet, way too many people seem to rush through this section of the Scottish Highlands, often in pursuit of making it to Loch Ness or the Isle of Skye from Glasgow or Edinburgh in one day.
The scenic drive from Glasgow to Fort William is particularly dear to me. It was one of the first road trips I’ve ever done in Scotland, driving to Ballachulish for a weekend trip with a local mountaineering club. Last year I hiked part of this journey along the West Highland Way and got even closer to this beautiful landscapes.
This is why I want to share some of my favourite photo spots and scenic stops along the way from Glasgow to Fort William by car!
13 scenic stops between on the road to Fort William
Far from a hidden gem, Luss village is one of the most popular stops on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. Expect to share the gorgeous views with a lot of other tourists; potentially even bus-loads of them!
From the beach of Luss you get great views over towards Ben Lomond and back down towards the many islands in the loch. I also like walking through the village, especially during the summertime, when the flowers bloom in all colours!
Stop for 30 minutes for a little walk or coffee
There are several viewpoints along Loch Lomond, but my favourite is by far Inveruglas, about 3/4 up the shoreline. There is a cafe that is open during the summer and a trail that leads through a small woodland towards the water. You can also catch one of the Loch Lomond Cruise boats from here, if you want to make it a longer stop.
Last year they built a new viewing platform facing south and overlooking the loch, which makes for a great photo op.
Stop for 15-20 minutes for a little walk
Alternative hiking stop | If you spread out this road trip across a few days, this is your perfect opportunity to hike Ben Vane! Leave your car parked at Inveruglas and make your way to the top – the hike takes 4 – 6 hours. There are a few options for accommodation at Loch Lomond, or also in the nearby town Crianlarich along the road towards Fort William.
3. The Drovers Inn
The Drovers Inn is one of Scotland’s most famous pubs and has welcomed prominent guests like Rob Roy or Gerard Butler. The interior of the pub looks like it has not changed much since it was first opened in 1705.
A visit to the Drovers Inn is like a journey back in time. You will rub shoulders with many curious day trippers, but also with hikers who stop here along the West Highland Way. The pub serves food and drinks and for a very special experience, you could also spend the night here. But beware, it is rumoured to be one of the most haunted hotels in Britain!
Stop for 20-25 minutes for a hot cup of tea or overnight
4. Falls of Falloch
Falls of Falloch is a beautiful waterfall on the River Falloch, just north of Loch Lomond. It drops 10m in a single leap into a large pool surrounded by woodlands. It is a great stop for a quick leg stretcher and a few photos of the waterfall. Make sure to not overlook the rust-coloured viewing platform that blends perfectly into the winter colours of the woodland.
Stop for 20-25 minutes for a little walk
5. Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy is a tiny, but picturesque hamlet along the A82, barely more than a hotel, a few houses and a train station. Yet – or maybe because of that – it is an incredibly scenic stop in the Scottish Highlands. This photo was taken from the small bridge over the River Orchy below the hotel, which by the way also serves great food (and has vegan options available)!
Stop for 10-15 minutes for photos, or longer for lunch
Alternative lunch stop | The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum (7 miles before Bridge of Orchy) serves award-winning fish & chips and they also have a great vegan selection!
6. Loch Tulla
Loch Tulla is a beautiful Highland loch that you drive along soon after Bridge of Orchy. On the western shore lies Inverornan Hotel, a popular stop off for hikers on the West Highland Way. Once you’ve passed the loch, the road climbs upwards to a viewpoint from where you can overlook the valley the loch lies in. From this point onwards you can no longer deny that you are in the heart of the Scottish Highlands!
Stop for 5-10 minutes for photos
7. Rannoch Moor
Rannoch Moor is one of Scotland’s most remote landscape as it stretches for miles entirely uninhabited. The road leads you right through the boggy moorland, past shallow lochs beneath towering peaks.
There is a very small car park at the beginning of Rannoch Moor to your right – it’s almost too easy to miss it. If you manage to stop, take a few moments to breathe in the wild air of the moor. If you raced past it, don’t fret – even from the moving car you get an idea of how beautiful and expansive this landscape is! Plus, there are a few more small car parks and parking bays to come!
Stop for 5-10 minutes
8. Glen Etive
Glen Etive has risen to world fame as a film location in James Bond’s Skyfall. But even without Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Craig or an Aston Martin, this glen is one of my favourite road trips in Scotland.
You follow a narrow single track road along the River Etive, which eventually flows into the scenic Loch Etive. The mountain views along this road are gorgeous and definitely worth the detour off the main road.
Stop for 30 minutes for a drive off the main road
9. Buachaille Etive Mor
One of Scotland’s most iconic peaks towers over one of it’s most instagrammed buildings: the mountain is Buachaille Etive Mor and the Highland cottage is Lagangarbh Hut. Both make the car park by Altnafeadh a very popular pit-stop for many road trippers.
I like to leave the car behind and walk towards the cottage, snapping photos of the mountain and the entrance to Glen Coe. A variety of hiking trails starts here, so if you can spare the time, plan in a longer stop (maybe even a full day) to climb a hill in the area.
Stop for 20-25 minutes for a little walk
10. Glen Coe
Before you reach shores of Loch Leven you first need to drive through one of Scotland’s most famous valleys – Glen Coe. Branded forever with the history of the bloody Glen Coe Massacre, but blessed with stunning mountain views, this valley is a must see destination in Scotland.
There are several car parks throughout the valley where you can stop for photos. One of the first ones allows you to walk towards a waterfall, nicknamed ‘Tears of MacDonald’, but if you drive a little further you should stop at the next car park on the left to get a good view of the mountain ranges enclosing Glen Coe. In the south you see various distinctive peaks, such as Buachaille Etive Beag and The Three Sisters; in the north there is only a wall of rock – the massive Aonach Eagach ridge.
A bit further, I recommend stopping at the An Torr car park to stretch your legs on a little walk to Signal Rock. The views back into the valley over the River Coe are magnificent – and don’t require much effort!
Stop for 1-1.5 hours for photos and a little walk
11. Glencoe Lochan
At the outskirts of Glencoe Village you can immerse yourself in nature without having to climb a strenuous mountain or stop for many hours. The trails around Glencoe Lochan – a small lake at the foot of the Pap of Glencoe hill – are easily accessible and easily walked in about an hour.
There are three different trail leading through the woodland, around the lochan and up onto a little hill, which are all clearly marked on a board at the car park.
Stop for 1 hour for a little walk
12. Loch Linnhe
From Glen Coe the road leads along Loch Leven and over the Ballachulish Bridge. Once across the bridge, there are a few car parks along the way and opportunities to stop for loch views, but one not to miss is the Loch Linnhe car park from where you can enjoy an unobstructed view across the water to the peak of Garbh Bheinn.
From here it is just a short drive into Fort William, where I recommend spending at least one night, before making your way deeper into the Highlands or towards the Scottish Isles.
Stop for 5-10 minutes for photos
13. Nevis Range, Fort William
If you hang around in Fort William for an additional day, I recommend visiting the Nevis Range! No matter what time of the year, the views you get from the mountain viewpoints on top of Aonach Mor are amazing! There is a gondola, making it even easier to reach them. Two loop trails lead to viewpoints overlooking the Great Glen, Fort William, Loch Linnhe and the mountains beyond. You might even spot Ben Nevis behind you!
The walks only take about 40 minutes to and hour each and are clearly marked. During the winter, it is a great idea to rent snowshoes and try a new activity, while also taking in the views!
Stop for 3-4 hours for easy walk to the viewpoints
How to get from Glasgow to Fort William by car?
As I mentioned above, theoretically it takes 2.5 hours to drive from Glasgow to Fort William. However, you should plan at least one full day for this road trip in order to be able to stop at all these places.
If you use my 7-day Scotland itinerary, this list translates into a suggested itinerary for day 2, but you could easily add another night between Glen Coe or Fort William to get the most out of the area. This is particularly recommended during the shorter days of winter!
The roads are generally in very good condition, only between Tarbet and Ardlui along Loch Lomond the road is pretty narrow and wedged between the water and rocky walls on either side of it. There are a few potholes and sometimes road works slow down traffic. Always be prepared to give way to oncoming traffic, particularly lorries and campervans!
A note on petrol | There are plenty of service stations between Glasgow and Fort William, but as you might be able to guess, petrol is cheaper in the bigger cities, so try to avoid having to fill up in the middle of nowhere!
Vegan Food on the road to Fort William
If you’ve followed my vegan travels around Scotland so far, you’ll know that it is a lot easier to find vegan-friendly restaurants in Scotland than you’d first expect. It is in no way different when driving from Glasgow to Fort William, and unless you bring your own packed lunches and stay at self-catering accommodation, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options to choose from along the way!
Country Mumkins At The Artisan Cafe | We stopped here for coffee along the West Highland Way and I was positively surprised to find that the little coffee shop just off the A82 by Auchtertyre actually offers soy milk.
Real Food Cafe | This fish & chip shop in Tyndrum has won many awards for its range of seafood suppers, but there even is a vegetarian and vegan section on the menu. I love the lentil burger with chips and vegan cheese, but they also do my favourite vegan haggis with peppercorn sauce!
Bridge of Orchy Hotel | This beautiful hotel at the side of the A82 is another popular stop for walkers along the West Highland Way. When I had dinner here during the trek, I was quickly shown the separate vegetarian menu and the staff was helpful in pointing out which dishes would be free of animal products. I had a risotto and it tasted delicious!
Clachaig Inn | The Clachaig Inn is a Glen Coe institution and a popular choice to reward yourself after a long day in the hills or on the road. The staff is very helpful in finding a vegan option for you. During out WHW trek I had a delicious burger with chips – and a view!
Vegan-friendly restaurants in Fort William | Surprisingly enough, it was actually a bit tricky to find vegan food options in Fort William, but they are there if you know where to look. For a special meal with a great view, head down to Crannog Seafood. I was told that the chef’s partner is vegetarian, so he is happy to whip up a vegan alternative for you. But book ahead – it’s a popular restaurant with limited seating. Along the High Street there are a few more options. The staff at The Grog & Gruel was very helpful in putting together a vegan Fajitas tray for me, and the Wetherspoon’s at the end of the West Highland Way even has a vegan section on the menu! If you’re looking for a coffee with soy milk, the only option I could find in town was the Costa coffee shop.
Snowgoose Restaurant | If you follow my advice to hang around Fort William a little longer and spend a day exploring the Nevis Range, consider having a hearty lunch at the restaurant inside the mountain station on top of Aonach Mor. There are several labelled vegan options on the menu; just specify that you don’t want the coleslaw, otherwise it might land on your plate by default.
Accommodation in Fort William area
There really is no shortage of accommodation in the Fort William area – Bed & Breakfasts line the shore of Loch Linnhe for miles before you reach the town, there are multiple hotels in the area, plenty of self-catering cottages and of course a variety of budget options and hostels. Here are a few options I’ve tested myself:
Caman Stay Micro Lodge | The most recent accommodation in Glencoe is Caman Stay, a micro lodge in Glencoe Village. It’s tiny – as the name says – but a great find on AirBnB nevertheless. We had everything we needed for an overnight stay in the area – a spacious bed, a comfy couch for the evening, a small kitchenette and a bathroom with a powerful shower. Amenities in the village are within walking distance and there is parking right outside the cabin. I was a little worried about the noise of the main road, but was surprised by how quiet it was inside the lodge!
Glencoe Youth Hostel | The Hostelling Scotland hostel in Glencoe is about half an hour’s walk from the village, but wins me over with its surrounding woodlands and nature. The hostel has small dorms (3-7 beds in bunks and singles) as well as a twin room – all with shared bathrooms. The self-catering facilities are amazing, the hostel is very clean and there is a handy drying room! £13.50/night pls membership fee.
Glencoe Independent Hostel | An incredibly budget-friendly option right next to Glencoe Youth Hostel. The lovely hostel is spread across several buildings and bunk bed accommodation starts at £14. The main building has a cozy fireplace for cold nights and you have access to self-catering facilities!
Minaig B&B | The first B&B in Scotland I’ve ever stayed in and I still remember it fondly whenever I drive past it. It’s a short walk away from Fort William, next to the main road, but still fairly quiet and offers gorgeous views from the rooms! Price per night starts at £37.50 per person (double occupancy).
Muthu Hotel | At the end of our trek along the WHW we stayed at Muthu Hotel (then West End Hotel) in the centre of Fort William. While the hotel could do with a bit of modernisation, its location is too good to be true! Price per night starts at £65 (double room).
House in the Wood | One of my favourite digs in the Fort William area is this self-catering cabin in Glen Achulish near Ballachulish. Surrounded by a light natural woodland, the cabin has a wood-burning stove, a fully equipped kitchen and is just a stone’s throw away from the shore of Loch Leven! Price starts at £175 for two nights (minimum) and the cabins sleep 6 people each.
Rushing through Scotland is never a good idea. Even a simple road trip like Glasgow to Fort William can easily be turned into a multiple-day adventure with plenty of stops for photos, food and hiking.
I hope that my guide for traveling from Glasgow to Fort William by car has inspired you plan a road trip to this wonderful region yourself! Or have you done it already? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.
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