Find the loftiness of Mull, Skye, Iona, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides on this visit from Edinburgh. You will investigate the boundaries of north-west Europe’s last incredible wild more than 17 days. Appreciate eight fabulous west coast islands and the ancient magnificence and history of the northern Orkney islands, combined with a getaway toward the Western Isles of Lewis and amazing Harris.
Visit features incorporate the bourbon island Islay “Ruler of the Isles”, the moving wonder of the island of Mull, the harmony and otherworldliness of Columba’s Iona, with a discretionary visit to the amazing and melodic island of Staffa, trailed by the sensational magnificence of our most well known of Islands, Skye. Let the ‘dim island’ charm you with her mind boggling abundance before going to the Orkney archipelago, wealthy in its archeological fortunes. Ullapool, settling on the shores of Loch Broom, is the place we go from to Lewis and assimilate ourselves in Gaelic culture, and appreciate the genuinely rousing surroundings of Harris with her mountains and superb white shorelines before intersection the ocean again to the show that is the island of Skye.
Spots you’ll investigate:
Oban – This Victorian harbor town offers amazing fish and an enchanting closeness.
The Islay Single Malt Whiskies – On an island referred to locally as ‘The Queen of the Hebrides’, there is a great quality to the unmistakably peaty style of its single malt bourbons.
Inveraray – Explore the breathtaking main residence of the Duke of Argyll and the dazzling tribal manor.
Loch Lomond National Park – Enjoy the emotional magnificence of a standout amongst Scotland’s most celebrated lochs and the wonderful national park that encompasses it.
Iona and Staffa – Visit the little Island of Iona, possessed by just around 120 individuals.
Isle of Skye – One of the world’s most shocking islands.
Eilean Donan Castle – A notable and ravishing thirteenth century château that once averted Viking intrusions.
Orkney Isles – These excellent islands are brimming with old history and untamed life.
Glencoe and Rannoch Moor – Be moved by the sheer excellence and grievous stories of a standout amongst Scotland’s most popular scenes.
Loch Ness – Take an opportunity to go on a discretionary pontoon journey or meander around this appealing and shocking loch.
Skara Brae and Ring of Brodgar – Learn how individuals used to live in old occasions at these ancient landmarks.
Lewis and Harris – These two regions with particular scenes make up the greatest island in Scotland.
Sightseeing at Edinburgh
Leaving Edinburgh you will head west to Stirling and into the Highlands with a short stop in the holiday town of Callander for refreshments.
Sightseeing at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
After travelling through the mountainous northern part of the Loch Lomond National Park you will arrive in the busy harbour town of Oban.
Sightseeing at Oban
You will have a couple of hours here with the chance to visit the Oban Distillery and sample some local seafood for lunch.
You will then depart Oban mid-afternoon for the journey to Kennacraig to catch the evening ferry to Islay. The sail is just over two hours and you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales and seabirds.
On arrival on Islay it is a short drive to Bowmore for your night stay.
Local Flavor (Whisky Tasting) at Kilchoman distillery
A full day exploring Islay. The itinerary today is quite flexible with a mixture of beautiful scenery, white sand beaches, short walks and of course the famous Islay whiskies – renowned for their strong peaty flavours and nurtured by the salty sea air. In the morning you will take the short drive to the west of the island via Saligo Bay for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery (the newest and smallest on the island) with the option of a coastal walk to Machair Bay for any non-whisky lovers.
Local Flavor at Portnahaven
After lunch you will explore the tiny harbour village of Portnahaven (look out for seals) before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays, on the way back to Bowmore.
Local Flavor (Whisky Tasting)
You will have the chance to visit Bowmore distillery or just relax and explore the village.
Bowmore for your night stay.
Local Flavor (Whisky Tasting) at Ardbeg distillery
We will visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky.
Local Flavor (Whisky Tasting) at Lagavulin distillery
We follow this up with a visit to Laphroaig and if time allows a short stop for a tasting at Lagavulin.
Sightseeing at Kildalton Cross
It should also be possible to visit to the ruins of Kildalton church with its famous 8th Century Celtic cross.
Alternatively we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit the community craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.
Bowmore for your night stay.
Sightseeing at Kilmartin Glen
This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland and travel the short distance to Kilmartin Glen where we will have lunch. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin and you will have the chance to see the mysterious stone circles and standing stones and visit the community museum.
Sightseeing at Inveraray
From here the tour continues round the coast to the beautiful little village of Inveraray on the banks of Loch Fyne.
Here you’ll join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Oban. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.
Once we arrive in Oban you’ll have a free afternoon to enjoy this bustling and busy highland town. For those who are partial to some retail therapy, there are numerous shopping possibilities, or for those who wish to continue their thirst for Scottish whisky, Oban distillery is nicely situated in the heart of the town. A hike uphill will bring its own rewards with stunning views from the most photographed structure in the west, McCaig’s folly. The folly built on instruction by a local banker in 1897 resembles the coliseum in Rome, and provides magnificent vistas over the distant Firth of Lorne.
You will stay in this glorious highland town for night.
Sightseeing at Iona Abbey
Is an early start crossing on the ferry to Mull and enjoying an island adventure exploring her dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, before taking the small ferry to the peace and tranquility of Iona – birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem.
Sailing at Staffa
There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture “Fingal’s Cave”.
You then return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.
Sightseeing at Glencoe
Takes you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692.
Sightseeing at Ben Nevis
You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Sightseeing at Great Glen
We continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland.
From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.
Sightseeing at Dunvegan Castle
Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group. For example: heading west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod – Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point.
Sightseeing at Neist Point Lighthouse
Sightseeing at Cuillin
In the afternoon the tour may concentrate on the south of the island. Spend time heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin, or Talisker and its beautiful bay or perhaps Glenbrittle and its famed waterfalls.
We return you to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village.
Sightseeing at Eilean Donan Castle
You will be collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film “Highlander”, set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders.
Sightseeing at Loch Duich
Then you travel east taking in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail.
Sightseeing at Loch Ness
Continue on to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting “Nessie”.
Half an hour south of Loch Ness you will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.
Sightseeing at Urquhart Castle
With your new crew you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle.
You can expect to arrive in Inverness, the Highland capital, and the place of our overnight stay at approx 18.30 where you will be dropped off at your pre booked accommodation.
Is an early start, leaving behind the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer.
Sightseeing at John o’ Groats
Onwards through Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John o’ Groats.
Sightseeing at Italian Chapel, Orkney
Then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. From here it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit
Continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney where you shall stay for 2 nights. Here you can visit Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.
Sightseeing at Skara Brae
Is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!).
Sightseeing at Ring of Brodgar
The mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. We stop in Stromness – one of Scotland’s most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.
Then its back to Kirkwall for our 2nd night after what is sure to be a memorable day.
Is a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline.
Sightseeing at Ardvreck Castle
We then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle.
From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend the night.
Leisure at Ullapool
Gives you a free day in Ullapool to do as you please before joining up with your new crew the next day. There are many possibilities available in this lovely town, Options for your day include enjoying a day just to relax and absorb the highland tranquil pace of life whilst browsing the small craft boutiques nestling through the streets of the town. Or why not take the local boat, the ‘Summer Queen’ from the pier for an idyllic ‘summer Isles’ cruise. Alternatively you could head up Claypool hill for an easy two hour walk offering wonderful views over Loch Broom reaching a maximum height of 900ft. Or for the even more adventurous add to this walk by completing a three hour circuit returning to the town via Rhiddoroch estate. (Full details of all local walks can be found at the local tourist information centre). There is also a local swimming pool, and a small museum giving an informative narrative about the natural and social history of the area.
Overnight in Ullapool.
Catch the morning ferry from Ullapool for the two hour sail along Loch Broom, past the Summer Isles then out across the Minch to Stornoway – the main town on Lewis and capital of the Outer Hebrides. Look out for dolphins, whales and seabirds during the crossing.
Sightseeing at Lewis and Harris Island
In the afternoon explore the North West coast from Arnol with its historic old “blackhouse”, through traditional crofting townships to Port of Ness and the very north tip of the island – the Butt of Lewis. From the lighthouse here there is nothing between you and the Americas!
Overnight in Stornoway.
Today will be spent exploring some of the prehistoric remains on the island as well as its finest beaches. The fascinating circular stone fort, or Broch, at Carloway will be our first stop followed by more traditional crofting communities such as Gearrannan and Shawbost.
Sightseeing at Callanish Stones
Then its on to Callanish with its mysterious ancient stone circle.
In the afternoon you will head for the remote district of Uig with its fine, sandy beaches at Bhaltos, dramatic sea cliffs and rugged hills. This is the wilderness of the Western Isles at its finest.
Overnight in Stornoway.
Sightseeing at Luskentyre Beach
Travelling south today from the wild moorlands of Lewis to the more mountainous Harris – almost but not quite an island on its own. Famous for the locally produced cloth, Harris Tweed, it is also home to the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and the stunning white sands of Luskentyre.
After a morning of exploring South Harris you will stop for lunch in the small port of Tarbet. Here you will catch the late afternoon ferry to Skye and continue on to the harbour town of Portree, your base for the next two nights.
Sightseeing at Skye Island
Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide’s knowledge will come to the fore in developing the best day out for you. For example you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery or visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns (reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt) with its waterfall cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below.
After lunch you could travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye.
Alternatively a visit to Dunvegan Castle, ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod, may be possible.
Overnight in Portree.
Sightseeing at Fort William
Departing from Portree the return journey to Edinburgh has many highlights – a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, Fort William, and the dramatic scenery and dark history of Glencoe.
Sightseeing at Falls of Dochart
Traveling back south through the Central Highland the last stop of the day will be in Killin beside the Falls of Dochart before returning to Edinburgh.