Forget the debilitating heat and perpetual sunshine of exotic, faraway shores—why not spend a relaxing summer holiday in beautiful Scotland this year?  We have rounded up the most iconic Scottish trips that the whole family (including the dog) can enjoy. Here are our top four suggestions:

North Coast 500

Heralded as “Scotland’s answer to Route 66”, North Coast 500 (NC500) is a scenic coastal route around the top of the country, taking in stretches of beaches and spectacular ocean views, castles and ruins, charming villages and pubs, and the odd highland cow along the way. This 516-mile route officially begins at Inverness Castle, taking you on a stunning and fascinating journey through Dingwall, Black Isle, Sutherland, John O’Groats and Caithness, Wester Ross, Applecross peninsula, and then back to the starting point in Inverness.

The NC500 was recently named the UK’s most spectacular drive and has a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor, so that should give you an indication of how great this route is. There are some amazing places to stay, from luxury hotels and quaint B&Bs to lodges and yurts and bothies. We thoroughly recommend spending at least a week exploring everything that the North Coast 500 has to offer.

West Highland Way

Scotland’s first long-distance trail, stretching for 96 miles (155km) from Milngavie to Fort Willian, the West Highland Way remains as popular as ever and provides a great introduction to the pastoral landscapes, beautiful lochs and rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands. It’s a spectacular route for the whole family to enjoy and you’ll get to explore Mugdock Country park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Ben Lomond, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe and Ben Nevis, to name but a few, passing many traditional whisky distilleries and charming villages before reaching Fort William. Depending on your accommodation preferences, you can brave the great outdoors in a tent (not appealing to everyone!), or you can stay at any number of wonderful guest houses, hotels and self-catering lodges along the route.

Coastal sailing

Suitable for individuals, couples, families, and groups of friends, there are a number of companies offering tailored cruises around the various coastal regions of Scotland, including the Firth of Clyde, the West Coast, Skye, the Inner and Outer Hebridean islands, and the Orkney and Shetland Isles. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend a few days or even a week or more on the open water, experiencing the awe-inspiring scenery of Scotland from a totally different vantage point? It’s such a fantastic way to truly relax and escape the hectic daily lives we lead throughout the rest of the year, and you and the kids can learn a bit about sailing at the same time, too!

Western Isles Island Hopping

The Scottish Western Isles of the Outer Hebrides, situated on Europe’s Atlantic edge, are a diverse series of interconnected islands comprising Barra, South Uist, Benbecula, North Uist, St. Kilda, Harris and Lewis. There’s so much rich history and culture to explore across these tranquil islands, with a great selection of museums and galleries, medieval architecture and Neolithic stone structures, the Hebridean Celtic Festival of music (held in July), and a host of fun activities like cycling, kayaking, windsurfing, boat tours, photography nature trails, and a fantastic food and drink trail to savour the abundance of local produce of the Outer Hebrides.

Clyde Property is a leading independent, multiple award winning estate and letting agent with 30 years’ experience in selling and letting property in Scotland. Just call your local Clyde Property branch today, for friendly, impartial advice on finding your next dream home.