5 star rating: Highly Recommended 38 Reviews

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  • Location:Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Duration:5 days (approx.)

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

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.


  • 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

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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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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.

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

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

This tour was spectacular. Our guide, Joe, was a true Highlander. He took us to some great places and told some wonderful stories. I would definitely do this tour again. The only thing I could do without was LochNess. It was a bit of a tourist trap but still fun. LOVE LOVE LOVE Skye. Our weather was amazing. I am ready to back.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

Absolutely amazing trip. Loved the tour and our tour director was fantastic. Definitely go on this tour!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

A wonderful trip: outstanding scenery, outstanding guide thanks Andy:-, fascinating history and great company. Would go again tomorrow if we could!!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

We went with Hghland tours 5HEX from September 7th-11th. It was most wonderful vacation we ever had.Our tour guide Jamiewas superb. He was so energetic and courteous and great story teller that he kept us entertained all day every day. I wish we could get more time in Oban to stay.Thnx. Manjusri Majumdar.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Great journey...Nick, our guide, was very informative, full of stories about each area. The accommodations were excellent. Not having to drive...a blessing! The train ride is a train ride...not a big deal, but getting to Portree, Oban, Inverness, Loch Ness, Culloden...all amazing. We all enjoyed it tremendously!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Great! Had a wonderful time and Nick took great care of us all!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

This tour formed part of a birthday present from my family and I could not have wished for a better present. My daughter accompanied me on the tour and we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The weather performed admirably. We had hot sunny weather for the entire 5 days apparently a rarity in Scotland! and this made the experience that much more enjoyable.
The tour arrangements were excellent. We drove through areas of magnificent scenery. At the various point of interest stops ample time was allowed for people to explore and take in the sights.
The accommodation arranged for the overnight stops was of a high standard. We selected the B and B option and were very happy with the comfort and quality of the food. The B and Bs were also conveniently located close to the town/village centers.
Andy our guide was tremendous. His joking banter kept us amused and his knowledge of the areas we travelled through and points of interest we stopped at was extensive. This together with his history lessons coloured with bits and pieces of folklore added to the enjoyment of the experience.
Andy had the ability to take a busload of strangers and convert them into friends. He also managed to find some degree of personal connection to Scotland for members of the tour party. These actions greatly enhanced the tour for us.
The highlight of the tour for us was our attendance at the Skipinnish Ceilidh during our overnight stop in Oban. Although this was an evening activity and not part of the official tour itinerary our attendance was based on a recommendation from Andy. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and got quite caught up in the spirit of things. We did not realize there was so much Gallic blood in us!
We would highly recommend this tour to anyone considering visiting the Highlands of Scotland.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This tour was really great and truly showed the beauty of Scotland. Our driver Andy was incredibly funny and knowledgeable and went out of his way to make sure we saw everything we possibly could so we wouldn't miss out. The b and b in Oban was just lovely and all had very nice breakfast.

John A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

5 day tour from Edinburgh through the Highlands in early June. We normally steer clear of organised tours but this was a small group and the experience was nothing short of fantastic. Accommodation was in B and Bs organised by the Tour Co and was very acceptable. The route chosen Edinburgh, Oban, Isle of Man, Inverness and back to Edinburgh was close to spot on for the time available with plenty of free time to do our own thing. The tour guide Heather was just wonderful. A bright and bubbly Scott with a great personality, incredible knowledge of history and the locals and wonderfully passionate and clear delivery. 10 out of 10 :
Highly recommended.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

The country was absolutely beautiful and the itinery was well planned out, but the best part about the trip by far, was our tour guide, HEATHER, who was a wonderful historian that brought the whole country to life with her animated stories which were always accompanied by thoughtfully chosen music! We were so fortunate to have been on her tour!!! We would highly recommend this to everyone as alterations were made to accommodate everyone young and old, fit and less physically able.

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Tour code: 5211SKYE5D


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