Witness the hypnotic beauty of Scotland’s northern islands on a 6-day tour of the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Skye from Edinburgh. With a friendly guide, journey through far-flung islands spotted with white-sand beaches and jagged peaks. Savor panoramic views from towering cliffs, and visit charming villages and landmarks like the Callanish Stone, Dunvegan Castle and Glendale Castle. Five evenings in 3-star accommodation and daily breakfasts included.
Explore the beautiful beaches of the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides!
Your 6-day excursion of Scotland’s breathtaking Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Skye begins in Edinburgh, where you’ll meet your guide. You’ll set off in the morning through the rugged Highlands to Scotland's western coast. During the next days, you’ll travel by minibus and ferry, island hopping and soaking up stunning vistas. Experience the region’s greatest treasures, from historic landmarks like the blackhouse at Arnol, Dun Carloway Broch and the Callanish Stones to picturesque beaches and craggy peaks rising into the clouds. Spend your days touring in a small group and your evenings independently exploring Ullapool, Stornaway and Plockton.
Your tour includes round-trip transport, five nights stay in a 3-star hotel or guesthouse and daily breakfasts. All other meals and fees are at own expense.
Day 1: Edinburgh – Highlands – Loch Ness – Ullapool
Leave Edinburgh and travel north into the Highlands, a region typified by mist-shrouded mountains, open moorland and wooded glens. Stop in the tiny village of Dunkeld for a forest walk to see the pretty waterfalls, and then continue north along the passes that weave around the Grampian Mountains.
After a break for lunch in Spey Valley, visit Loch Ness—home of Nessie, the famous Loch Ness Monster—and then enjoy some free time for a stroll around the capital of the Highlands: Inverness. Travel to the nearby waterfalls at Corrieshalloch Gorge and, after stopping to take photos, travel west to the fishing port of Ullapool on Scotland’s northwest coast. Check in to your accommodation and spend your evening at leisure.
Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Ullapool
Day 2: Ullapool – Stornaway, Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (B)
Enjoy breakfast and then leave your Ullapool accommodation to catch the morning ferry to Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides. Lasting roughly two hours, the crossing follows a route along Loch Broom, past the Summer Isles and across a stretch of water known as the Minch where dolphins, whales and seabirds can often be seen. Dock in Stornaway, the main town on the Isle of Lewis and capital of the Outer Hebrides, and then set out to explore the northwest coast by minibus.
See the historical blackhouse at Arnol with its straw-thatched roof, pass through several traditional crofting villages to the Port of Ness, and stop for photos at the Butt of Lewis on the island’s northernmost tip. Pose for pictures in front of the lighthouse and hear how the building is the last physical landmark between the British Isles and America. Return to Stornaway in the late afternoon, check in to your accommodation, and then spend your evening doing whatever you please.
Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Stornaway
Day 3: Stornaway – Dun Carloway Broch – Callanish – Uig – Stornaway (B)
Relax over breakfast and head out to discover some of the island’s prehistoric remains and fine sandy beaches. Visit the circular stone fort of Dun Carloway Broch — an ancient defense structure — and spend time in some of Lewis’ traditional crofting communities such as Gearrannan and Shawbost. The crofts (small rented farms) are popular in many rural areas of northern Scottish.
After a break for lunch, travel to Callanish Stones, a cross-shaped formation centered on a circle of tall standing stones and a chambered tomb. Dating nearly 5,000 years, the site’s reason for being is a mystery, but many believe it was built as an ancient observatory. Continue to the remote district of Uig to see its fine, sandy beaches at Bhaltos, and enjoy free time to walk around the dramatic sea cliffs and rugged hills. Finish your day trip with a drop-off at your Stornaway accommodation and spend your evening at leisure.
Overnight: X-star guesthouse or hotel in Stornaway
Day 4: Stornaway – Isle of Harris – Plockton, Isle of Skye (B)
Leave Stornaway after breakfast and travel south to the Isle of Harris, at the southern end of the main Outer Hebridean island. With a mountainous inland and white sandy coastline, the area is often known as the heart of the Hebrides. Explore Harris’ southern shores, learning about the mountains and seeing Luskentyre (an award-winning British beach), and then stop for lunch in the port town of Tarbet.
Catch the late-afternoon ferry to the neighboring Isle of Skye, check in to your accommodation in the town of Plockton, and then enjoy an evening of free time.
Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Plockton
Day 5: Isle of Skye (B)
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at your accommodation, meet your guide to work out your plan for the day. The day’s itinerary is flexible, and your guide will assess the weather conditions and use local knowledge to help you get the most out of your time on the gorgeous island. Perhaps visit Dunvegan Castle, the 13th-century home of the Macleod clan, take a walk through the emerald–green Glendale valley or enjoy a photo stop against the sea cliffs and lighthouse at Neist Point. In the afternoon, maybe explore the southern part of the Isle of Skye and visit towns such as Elgol, Cuilin, Talisker or Glenbrittle with its magnificent waterfalls. Return to Plockton in the evening.
Overnight: 3-star guesthouse or hotel in Plockton
Day 6: Plockton – Highlands – Edinburgh (B)
Leave the Isle of Skye by ferry after breakfast, and travel south through mainland Scotland by minibus toward Edinburgh. The journey is long, but your route takes in many highlights of the Highlands along the way. Enjoy a stop at Eilean Donan Castle, a romantic ruin sat on a small tidal island in Loch Duich, and then visit Fort William — one of the largest towns in the Highlands.
Pass through Glencoe while learning about its dark history from your guide, and enjoy a final stop in Killin to see the spectacular Falls of Dochart. Your tour finishes back at the start point in central Edinburgh in the early evening.