Sometimes called "the Highlands of the Lowlands", Galloway Forest Park has outstanding scenery that you can enjoy from the comfort of your car. If you have brought a bicycle with you, there are also some well-maintained cycle trails. Walking, fishing and wildlife spotting are other popular pastimes for visitors to the park. With its art galleries, shops and restaurants, Glasgow, around an hour's drive to the north, is a great contrast to the park.
Well-known as a winter ski centre, Aviemore is also a fantastic place for walking, climbing, horse riding, white water rafting or simply enjoying some of the UK's wildest scenery. The Highland Wildlife Park offers a more low-key, although no less enjoyable, way to spend a few hours out of your car.
Around 30 miles to the north of Aviemore lies Inverness, the traditional gateway to the Highlands. As well as enjoying this very pleasant and picturesque town in its own right, it is hard to visit Inverness without diverting to nearby Loch Ness. Although it is possible to drive around the loch, the narrow road can get crowded, particularly in high season. You may prefer to stop at Castle Urquhart, which lies just north of the village of Drumnadrochit, to enjoy the loch views properly and watch out for any sightings of the fabled monster.
Slightly north of the village of Canisbay in Caithness, John o'Groats is famous as the most northerly inhabited part of the British mainland. It is also a great place for getting out of your car to walk some of the scenic coastal paths or visit the Pulteney whisky distillery. Thanks to the northerly latitude, lucky visitors also have a chance of spotting the Northern Lights. If you want to continue your journey north, ferries run from John o'Groats to South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands.
The road trip between John o'Groats and Cape Wrath, around 70 miles to the west, offers up some of Scotland's most awe-inspiring scenery. Most people take their car as far as Durness and then use the passenger ferry to reach the Cape. Alternatively, you can walk via Sandwood Bay.