5 Ways To Get From Edinburgh To Inverness

One of the questions we get asked regularly is how do you get from Edinburgh to Inverness? The two cities are around 160 miles apart, are well connected and there are a number of ways to travel.

The Route

Travellers leaving Edinburgh will travel North and usually head over one of the Forth Bridges, either the iconic rail bridge or the Forth Road Bridge and make the crossing to Fife. Heading North through Fife is a pleasant journey, passing through farmland and low hills. Whatever method of travel is employed, the route will bring you to Perth.

DunkeldNorth of Perth takes you through more farmland until you get near the ancient towns of Dunkeld and Birnam. At this point the landscape changes completely. You have crossed over the Highland boundary fault and are now in Highland Perthshire.

All routes now stay very close together and you travel north through Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and Bruar until reaching the highest point on the journey at Drumochter – just over 1,500 feet above sea level. In winter this can be a bleack and wild place and the road os often closed by storms, even though the road crews make heroic efforts to keep it open.

North of Drumochter you are into the Highlands proper and will travel through Strathspey, past the memorable distillery at Dalwhinnie, the towns of Kingussie, Aviemore and Carrbridge.

The road then climbs again up to the summit of Slochd at 1,300 feet before approaching Inverness.


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Car

Loch Morlich near AviemoreBy car, the drive is easy. There are rest stops and petrol stations at many of the towns mentioned in the route guide above. Of course by car you can stop at many of the fantastic places along the way like The Hermitage at Dunkeld, Bruar Falls or take a break for a walk round Loch an Eilean near Aviemore.

Train

The railway journey from Edinburgh to Inverness stops at most of the towns mentioned and is a very enjoyable way to travel. Trains are run by First Scotrail and travel regularly between the cities. Where possible try to get a ticket where you can get off and explore some of the towns along the way.

Bus

At the time of writing, Megabus and Scottish Citylink run buses between the two cities. Buses tend to cost a lot less than train travel and booking ahead on the internet can result in really cheap travel.

Cycle

There is a National Cycle Route that connects Edinburgh and Inverness. Some of the route is on quiet roads, other parts are on custom built cycle paths. It is a long exposed route though, so good equipment and planning is essential.

Hitch

It is entirely possible to hitch from Edinburgh to Inverness and I have done it myself. However the rules of the road must be followed and this prohibits pedestrians on motorways. To this end it is advisable to try and get the first lift to at least Perth. North of Perth it is easier, however the main road is a clearway to it is advisable to hitch at signposted parking places and laybys so that you are not putting drivers in danger.

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