Glen Etive is an outstanding spot of Scotland that everyone, whether you’re a tourist or resident of the country, should visit. I admit that I haven’t made the most of exploring my beautiful home country, which has so much incredible scenery and dramatic landscapes to offer. Visiting Glen Etive, which sits near the famous Glen Coe mountainous region in the Scottish Highlands, has really encouraged me to discover more of the country – something I should’ve done a long time ago!
Glen Etive is just over a two hour drive from Glasgow, and a three hour drive from Edinburgh, so is a great option for a day trip or weekend adventure. Accessible by car, it is best known for its famous location in the James Bond movie Skyfall, Harry Potter, and Braveheart. When you visit, you’ll understand why it has been the chosen location for so many top films! Nearby the iconic rocky pyramid shaped Mountain, Buachaille Etive Mòr, one of the most photographed mountains in Scotland, it is a popular spot for day trippers, hikers and weekend adventurers.
Whether you’re visiting on a day trip or planning on camping for an extended stay, here are some tips to keep in mind whilst visiting this beautiful part of the country to enjoy it at its very best!
Take your time
Coming from Glasgow, we visited a few stops along the way, including the Falls of Falloch (around an hour from Glasgow), and Loch Tulla, before reaching Glen Etive. Both of which are very worth visiting to take in the sights and stretch your legs!
Glen Etive is situated on a narrow single track road off the A82. Once you come off the main road, it takes around 45 mins to 1 hour to reach the end of the road, which finishes up at the stunning Loch Etive. However, you will want to stop off at one of the many passing points on route to take in the full beauty of it. Just make sure you allow enough space for cars to pass by. There are many passing places along the way, allowing oncoming cars to get by, but as the road nears the end it gets narrower and bumpier, so just take your time – it’s so worth it!
Glen Etive road is 12 miles long in total
Our favourite spot was around 15-20 minutes in and had the river streaming through rocks with a bridge overlooking it. It was so perfect it almost seemed man-made, but it wasn’t! You can climb down onto the rocks at the river, which makes for a beautiful photo spot.
How long does it take?
The Glen Etive road takes around an hour to drive
Set off early
Glen Etive is a popular destination, and it’s clear to see why. It’s best to set off early in the morning to avoid not only the traffic on the drive up, but also on the Glen Etive road (especially if it’s a sunny day or a weekend). As it is a narrow road, expect to pull in to let other cars by every few minutes. We were lucky on the way there to not have to stop too many times, but on the way back it was getting busier which meant it took a little longer with more stops along the way – all the more time to gaze at the unreal views!
Don’t let the single track road put you off! It’s so worth it and there are lots of passing places on route.
There are stunning spots along the river on Glen Etive road, with super clear water like I’ve never seen before in Scotland! If it was a slightly warmer day and we had swimming stuff packed, we would’ve taken a dip!
We took a picnic and enjoyed it at the end of the road overlooking Loch Etive. Its a stunning piece of landscape, so please don’t leave your litter lying around to help preserve Scotland’s stunning scenery!
There’s also a chance of spotting wild red deer along the route, which are pretty tame, but it’s not suggested you feed them to allow them to maintain their natural feeding habits.
We saw lots of campers along the way who had pitched their tents in the many beautiful spots. Wild camping is permitted, so if you’re into that, go for it! I’m not much of a camping person, but it sure did look amazing and those views would be amazing to wake up to! There are also a few lodges along the road, which is maybe a more realistic option for me…
Many people also take kayaks down to Loch Etive, which I imagine would be an incredible way to take in the stunning surroundings!
Also, there are no toilets around (surprise, it’s pretty remote), so expect to get pretty close to nature…
Take a picnic and enjoy lunch with a view at Loch Etive
Photos really can’t do the scale or beauty of Glen Etive any justice, so take a visit for yourself and you won’t regret it! It was a beautiful sunny Spring day when we visited, but I would also love to see how the landscape changes during Winter, so will be heading back for sure! If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.