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4.5 star rating: Recommended 17 Reviews

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  • Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Duration:  5 days (approx.)
Explore the Highland beauty of Scotland's west coast and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day excursion from Edinburgh. This in-depth tour of Scotland’s classic locations includes visits to Stirling, the Scottish Highlands, Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield, plus a ride on the ‘Jacobite Steam Train’ — a mode of transport made famous as ‘Hogwarts Express’ in the Harry Potter films. Choose from 3-star guesthouse or hotel accommodation with breakfasts in Oban, the Isle of Skye and Inverness.

Highlights

  • 5-day Highlands and Isle of Skye trip from Edinburgh with an expert guide
  • Sit back and relax on a scenic drive through Stirling and the wild Rannoch Moors
  • Admire the legendary Scottish Highland scenery in Trossachs National Park
  • Take a ride on the Jacobite Steam Train, known as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express from many of the Harry Potter films
  • Visit attractions and landmarks such as Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness, Clan Donald Skye and Culloden Battlefield
  • Enjoy a choice of 3-star guesthouse or hotel accommodation in Oban, the Isle of Skye and Inverness

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

5-Day Isle of Skye, Loch Ness and the Jacobite Steam Train from Edinburgh

Visit the Isle of Skye on a 5-day tour from Edinburgh!

Your 5-day Scotland tour includes four nights of 3-star accommodation with breakfasts in Oban, Portree (Isle of Skye) and Inverness. Choose to stay in hotels for traditional accommodation or opt to stay in cozy guesthouses for a more personal, local experience.

Ample free time is included in between daily tours and excursions, and breaks are factored in to each day’s itinerary for lunches and dinners (own expense). No activities are arranged in the evenings, allowing you to explore the towns as you wish.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Edinburgh – Stirling – Highlands – Oban
Leave the Royal Mile in central Edinburgh by air-conditioned minibus, and head north to the ancient Scottish capital of Stirling to see the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge — a fight that took place during the 13th-century First War of Scottish Independence. From the site, take in stunning views of Stirling Caste and the towering Wallace Monument.

Next stop is Doune with an optional visit to Doune Castle, a historical monument that featured in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Pose for a picture by one of the beautiful Highland cattle (nicknamed ‘Hamish the hairy coo’) on the way into Trossachs National Park, where the Scottish Highlands begin. Travel through the wild plains of Rannoch Moor and into brooding Glencoe, site of the massacre of 1692. Gaze out of your window at the scenery, pass the Isles of the Dead, and continue to Oban, a lovely west coast fishing port where your overnight accommodation awaits.

Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Oban


Day 2: Oban – Jacobite Steam Train – Isle of Skye (B)
After breakfast, travel along the west coast by minibus, and then take the Jacobite Steam Train from Fort William to Mallaig — a journey voted by UK travel magazine Wanderlust as the 'top rail journey in the world.’ The train itself starred as Hogwarts Express in many of the Harry Potter films, and its route crosses Glenfinnan viaduct — a sight made famous in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Relax as you pass the village of Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the start of the failed Jacobite campaign, and hop off the train at Mallaig. Then, board your ferry and travel across the sea to the beautiful Isle of Skye, typified by its awe-inspiring mountains, myths and legends. Your first stop on the island is Clan Donald Skye, a sweeping 20,000-acre (8,094-hectare) estate, for a walk around before your final journey of the day to the island’s capital Portree. Check in to your accommodation and spend your night at leisure.

Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Portree, Isle of Skye

Day 3: Isle of Skye – Eilean Donan Castle – Loch Ness – Inverness (B)
Enjoy breakfast in your accommodation and then spend your morning exploring the Isle of Skye with your guide. Visit the Quiraing rock formation at Trotternish Ridge, stroll around Kilt Rock to marvel at its basalt columns, and soak up the raw beauty of the island’s wind-whipped cliffs and extraordinary geological scenery.

In the afternoon, return to mainland Scotland by crossing Skye Bridge, and then travel through the glorious west coast countryside to one of Scotland’s most-photographed landmarks: Eilean Donan Castle. Used as a filming location in the 1986 movie Highlander, the ruins of the romantic castle look out over three sea lochs, and the landmark is widely considered as one of Scotland’s most iconic sights.

After admiring the ruins and taking photos, travel through the Great Glen to Loch Ness, home of the fabled Loch Ness Monster, aka Nessie. Use some free time for a stroll along the banks of the famous freshwater loch, and then make your way to Inverness, capital of the Highlands, to check in to your overnight accommodation.

Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Inverness


Day 4: Inverness – Loch Ness – Ullapool – Inverness (B)
Relax over breakfast, and spend your morning back at Loch Ness looking for the monster on a Loch Ness boat cruise. Soak up the scenery, and stop to visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, an impressive medieval stronghold that sits on the bonnie banks of the loch.

Back on dry land, leave Loch Ness behind and head through the northwest Highlands to the small coastal village of Ullapool for a look around. Stretch your legs on a stroll, and take in the stunning vistas of Loch Broom, a photogenic sea loch located nearby. In the late afternoon, return to Inverness and spend your last evening in the Highlands doing whatever you wish.

Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Inverness

Day 5: Inverness – Culloden Battlefield – Aviemore – Pitlochry – Edinburgh (B)
Check out of your accommodation after breakfast, and visit the atmospheric Culloden Battlefield, scene of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s defeat at the end of the Jacobite Rebellion. Explore the site with your guide, and perhaps check out the visitor center and exhibition to learn more about the Jacobite Rebellion — the series of battles that helped shape Scottish history.

In the afternoon, travel through Cairngorms National Park and stop for a visit to Aviemore, a village set within the National Park that offers breathtaking views of the Cairngorms Mountains. Enjoy some free time for a walk before traveling south to Pitlochry. Here, you have the opportunity to visit a local whisky distillery (admission own expense) to learn about the Scotch whisky that’s produced in the town. Finally, return to the start point in central Edinburgh, where your 5-day tour finishes in the early evening.

Customer Reviews

Buffykc
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Fabulous trip - you saw so much of Scotland, the beauty is stunning and all the activities were great.
Only down was would have been good t have a little more time in Inverness to look around instead of the trip to Ullupool.
The driver Angela was a pleasure, nothing too much trouble and full of interesting facts and mythical stories. Loved the castles and all our stays on the trip - A++ comes highly recommended as a must do - this company is brilliant!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2013

I had an absolutely lovely time on this trip. The weather was cooperating (only rained for about 5 minutes), we had a great driver, Keith, and the scenery was absolutely FANTASTIC. On Skye, I sat awestruck and teary-eyed most of the time, it was just so beautiful. We had booked the B and B accommodation and all of them were great. Close to the town centre, great hosts and spacious rooms.

There was a good mix of activities on this tour - castles, gardens, scenery, whiskey and the like. Keith talked a lot about Scottish history as we were driving along, but not too much. He also mixed it up with some great Scottish music - not just bagpipes. For me, time was never quite enough on any of the places where we stopped - I would have liked more time to both soak up the information, listen to audio guides and take (lots of!) pictures. At the same time I wouldn't have liked to miss any of the places we stopped at to have more time somewhere else, so it all comes out okay in the end. And I guess that just means that I have to come back later...=)

I highly recommend this tour!

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Tour code: 5211SKYE5D

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