Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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clock-o5 days (Approx.)
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Overview

Get a comprehensive look at Scotland during this 5-day journey through its rugged and rural landscapes. Travel through the Lowlands, Northern Highlands, West Coast and the Isle of Skye, including a stop at Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle plus a seasonal railway ride on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. Enjoy overnight stays in Oban and Fort Augustus , and a 2-night stay in Isle of Skye , with daily breakfasts included

  • 5-day tour of Scotland’s highlights, departing from Edinburgh
  • Journey through beauty spots such as Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
  • Visit famous sights including Kilmartin Glen, Loch Ness, Glencoe and the battlefield of Culloden
  • Ride the Jacobite steam train on a scenic journey from Fort William to Mallaig
  • Make the most of ample free time to explore the Isle of Skye independently
  • Enjoy overnight stays in Oban and Drumnadrochit, and a 2-night stay in Kyleakin, with daily breakfasts included
See a diverse range of rural landscapes on this 5-day Scotland and Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh. You’ll travel with a small group in the comfort of a minivan, with personalized commentary from an expert guide who details the sights. Visit Scottish glens, mountain peaks, lochs and mysterious castles along a vividly scenic route.

Relax with hotel or guesthouse accommodation (depending on option selected) in Oban, Kyleakin and Drumnadrochit, with daily breakfasts included.

Enjoy a seasonal railway ride aboard the Jacobite steam train (May 16–August 29) or an alternate Loch Ness cruise and admission to Urquhart Castle (March 21–May 9; September 10–October 10).

Itinerary

Day 1: Edinburgh – Oban
Meet your guide at the prearranged departure point in central Edinburgh, and then hop inside an air-conditioned minivan and travel west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Stop first in Kilmartin Glen, where Neolithic and Bronze Age remains abound. With more than 350 ancient monuments in the area, it is one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. Walk in the footsteps of the first Scots at Dunadd Hill Fort and see the impressive standing stones of the Temple Wood Stone Circle.

Next, continue to the beautiful fishing town of Oban, known as ‘The Gateway to the Isles’ because of its link with the Hebrides. Then, after checking in to your hotel or guesthouse, enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.
Overnight: Hotel or guesthouse in Oban


Day 2: Oban – Glencoe – Isle of Skye (B)
Savor a delectable breakfast at your hotel or guesthouse, and then check out of your accommodation and travel to Glencoe — perhaps Scotland's most famous and most scenic glen. On arrival, marvel at the breathtaking scenery and hear from your guide how the picturesque spot was the site of a terrible massacre in 1692 that took the lives of many members of the MacDonald clan. 

After enjoying some free time to explore Glencoe independently, return to your minivan and continue on to Fort William, a settlement dominated by the UK's tallest mountain: Ben Nevis. Hop aboard the Jacobite steam train, considered one of the greatest train journeys (included May 16–August 29). When you reach Mallaig, enjoy a seafood lunch (own expense) before crossing the sea to the magical Isle of Skye.

Arrive in the delightful village of Isle of Skye and check in to your hotel or guesthouse, where you’ll stay for the next two nights. The rest of the evening is yours to spend at your leisure.
Overnight: Hotel or guesthouse in Isle of Skye

Day 3: Isle of Skye (B)
Start the morning with a hearty breakfast at your accommodation, and then enjoy the rest of the day to explore the Isle of Skye as you wish.
Perhaps pull on your hiking boots and head to the Cuillin Mountains to lose yourself amid the spectacular scenery. Or, maybe visit Dun Beag Broch, a small fortress near the village of Struan that dates back to the Ice Age. You might even travel to Dunvegan Castle, the 13th-century home of the Macleod clan, or take a cruise to see the Loch Dunvegan seal colony.
Overnight: Hotel or guesthouse in Isle of Skye


Day 4: Isle of Skye – Loch Ness (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel or guesthouse and journey to the harbor town of Portree. Make the most of some free time to explore the small island capital, and then head to Trotternish Ridge, which is formed by a series of landslips including the well-known craggy pinnacles of the Old Man of Storr and the dramatic sea cliff of Kilt Rock.

Next, cross back over the sea to the Scottish mainland to visit Eilean Donan Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. Used as a filming location in the 1986 movie Highlander, the ruins of the castle look out over three sea lochs, and the landmark is widely considered as one of Scotland’s most iconic sights.

Then, travel into the heart of the Highlands. Gaze out at the rambling green hills and other scenic sights of the Scottish countryside, and then arrive at your accommodation in Fort Augustus near the mysterious Loch Ness. After checking in to your hotel or guesthouse, enjoy the evening at your leisure.
Overnight: Hotel or guesthouse in Fort Augustus near Loch Ness


Day 5: Loch Ness – Edinburgh (B)
Following breakfast, gather your bags and check out of your accommodation. Then, with your guide and group, relax on the short journey to Loch Ness. Hop out of your minivan by the mysterious stretch of water to snap photos and look out for Nessie, the fabled Loch Ness Monster.
Should you wish, set off on a 30-minute cruise (own expense) from Clansman Harbour to Urquhart Castle. After taking in the sights from the water, disembark at the castle’s ruins and head inside (own expense) to explore at your leisure. (Note: Loch Ness cruise and admission to Urquhart Castle are included March 21–May 9; September 10–October 10.)

Alternatively, head to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition (own expense), which boasts seven themed areas crammed with more than 500 million years of history, mystery and legends of Loch Ness and its famous monster.

When the time comes, join back up with your guide and travel south to the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the short but brutal hand-to-hand Battle of Culloden in 1746 that marked the defeat of the Jacobite forces.

Next, visit a local distillery, where you can sample a wee dram of Scotch whisky (own expense). Then, catch glimpses of the stunning Cairngorm Mountains on route to Pitlochry. Enjoy free time in the charming town before traveling back to Edinburgh.
Your 5-day tour then concludes with a drop-off at the original start point.

Reviews

Viator Traveller's Reviews

5.0
47 reviews
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m
, Oct 2018

While we absolutely loved our tour guide Neil and the beautiful sights of Scotland we did not appreciate being lied to regarding the accommodations we were to receive. Our reservation clearly stated only 3 star minimum B and B’s were to be used. Not the case. Our very first night we were taken to the worst B and B I have ever had the misfortune to stay in. The Trip Advisor rating is 2 star and I don’t feel it deserves even that. There was no heat (we were told the heat had gone out that day and were provided with space heaters for our room). The bed was so broken down the springs were bulging through the mattress. The entire place was miserable. And although after complaining to the company our next 3 nights accommodations were great, it did not make up for the false advertisement of this trip. Additionally we had a mechanical issue on our bus on day two which left us stranded on the side of the road for three hours, no company apology was forthcoming for that fiasco. Definitely not what I expected or paid for. As I stated the only saving grace was our excellent tour guide.

s
, Sep 2018

Our tour guide, Ferguson ('Fergie'), entertained us throughout this well-organized and wonderful trip. He provided valuable advice about restaurants and the local neighborhood as we arrived in each town for the night. We had plenty of 'extra' stops along the way as he shared his enthusiasm for Scotland and its beauty. He clearly wanted to give everyone a great time! Mission accomplished! Thank you for a most memorable experience.

j
, Jul 2018

I loved everything about this. The guide, the small tour group, every single site we visited, the guesthouses. Highly recommend as a great way to see a lot of this beautiful country.

i
, Jul 2018

The tour was amazing! The BnBs were great and our tour guide, Neil, was amazing. I would definitely book this tour again.

J
, Dec 2017

It was a great trip and we had a fantastic tour guide. HOWEVER, we chose the B and B option and the quality was varied. THAT wasn't so much of a problem as the fact that we were not aware that we would have to share bathrooms. From the reviews we read it sounded like other travelers using the guesthouse option had all en suite bathrooms. Sadly, we did not. If we had to book it over again, we would have chosen hotels.

U
, Dec 2017

I can not say enough about Neil, our guide. Has to be one of the best story tellers' in the country. His kindness and professionalism as a guide was superb AND his story telling was incredible. You just felt yourself sinking into your seat to just listen to his stories. We've traveled to many countries and Neil's stories will stay with us forever! Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and such a treat to share it with Neil and his passion of his country will stay with us forever!

S
, Nov 2017

This 5 day tour was amazing and our guide was the best part! Absolutely the best!

W
, Oct 2017

The 5 day Best of Scotland Tour taken with Highland Experience Tours was fantastic. Our tour guide Aileen value added to out tour experience through a combination of history, story and song. As a tour company we would highly recommend them. However, the accomodation options offered by Viator were not as comprehensive as that offered by Highland Experience Tours. As we opted for more expensive hotel accommodation we expected that it would be of a superior quality. To our disappointment our hotel accommodation on Skye was substandard. Even after a room change negotiated by our tour guide after the first night we were left with a cold room and no hot water. We were also left wondering why Viator booked twin bed accommodation at all our hotel stays. Out of Four nights hotel accommodation we can describe the stays as follows: night one good, nights two and three at Skye substandard, night four at Fort Augustus superb. Consequently we would not recommend hotel accommodation to anyone as it does not represent value for money. Lastly, instructions to find the tour company at the Loch Ness Discovery Centre in Edinburgh were incorrect and if we had not taken the time to locate the tour office on the day before our tour commenced we would in all likelihood missed our tour. In conclusion while we were delighted with the actual Highland Experience tour we were very disappointed in Viator as the booking agent.

A
, Oct 2017

The tour is worth every penny. The itinerary is excellent. The tour guide Andrew was the Super Star. But Viator has not updated the info properly about the tour. The tour is operated by The Highland Experience Tours and it seems that modifications made by them have not been updated by Viator. The Viator booking stated that the 'Jacobite Steam train journey ' was part of the tour while it was found that this journey is not part of itinerary for September tours as the Afternoon train stops running after 31st August ! Similarly the baggage rules were not stated in the booking. However the overall experience was fantastic.

J
, Oct 2017

Our 5-day Best of Scotland tour was terrific. Our guide/driver, Neil, was the BEST. The tour began in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile, and proceeded to Dunadd Hill Fort and Kilmartin Glen, overnighting in Oban on day one. The climb up Dunadd Hill Fort was difficult, but the views were great. On day two we visited Glencoe, the Harry Potter aquaduct, Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie came ashore, and took the ferry to Skye. Day three was the tour of Skye, including Kilt Rock, waterfalls and great scenery. On day four we cruised Loch Ness, toured Urquhart Castle, with overnight in Fort Augustus. Finally, on day five we visited the Culloden battlefield, the Tomatin distillery and Pitlochry before heading back to Edinburgh.

Our accommodations were fine good in Oban, weak in Skye, and excellent in Fort Augustus. We were given sufficient time on our own for meals, shopping and exploring. The scenery was terrific everywhere we went. But the history, legends, and stories of Scotland from our guide provided the background we needed to get the most from our tour. All in all a wonderful tour.


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