An itinerary that takes you around some of Scotland’s most beautiful countryside. This tour heads north from Edinburgh to navigate the country via the fairytale castles of Royal Deeside, the unspoilt beauty of Caithness, the rugged landscapes of Skye and the varied scenery of mountains and islands along the west coast . The ultimate scenic tour.
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Day 1 – Arrive in Edinburgh and take in some of the city’s magical atmosphere by following our guide to its many historical, cultural, supernatural, culinary and convivial charms. We provide directions for a choice of 3 walking routes that explore the city.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Day 2 – A leisurely day to take in the atmosphere of Edinburgh. There are enough attractions in Edinburgh to keep you busy for several days, but we also provide you with directions for day trips that cover:
• the nearby castles of West & East Lothian,
• details of various day trips from Edinburgh by bus or train.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Day 3 – We propose that you spend your morning in the city. In the afternoon, the tour heads north from Edinburgh and into the Kingdom of Fife. The route contains the option of a small detour to visit the country Palace retreat of Mary Queen of Scots. Directions are provided for either a direct drive to St Andrews, OR a scenic coastal trail via the quaint fishing villages of East Neuk.
Stopover in St Andrews / East Neuk area
Day 4 – Our route takes you across the Tay and then northwards via Scone Palace where Scotland’s Kings were traditionally crowned. An optional route is included for a visit to Scotland's most haunted castle, Glamis. From Scone, you continue North and into the area known as Royal Deeside because of its popularity with the Royal family. Suggestions are supplied for gentle woodland walks, or you may prefer to follow our directions to see some of the castles that this area is famed for.
Stopover in Royal Deeside
Day 5 – After crossing the Cairngorms, you descend into the Spey Valley where you’ll never be too far from a whisky distillery. You may recognise some of the names along the route: Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Glen Grant, Macallan…
We provide details of how to book into some of the region's connoisseur whisky tasting tours.
Stopover in Craigellachie / Dufftown / Elgin area
Day 6 – A short drive along the Moray Coast takes you to Inverness, but you will find lots of places of interest to break the journey (e.g Culloden Battlefield & Cawdor Castle). After arriving at Inverness, you might wish to follow our directions to the Black Isle to do a dolphin spotting cruise.
First night in Inverness / Black Isle area
Day 7 – Is an opportunity to take things easy and explore the Inverness area at leisure. We provide a selection of day trips from Inverness that take you to:
• Loch Ness for a round trip tour of the Loch,
• Glen Affric, where you can see the last remains of the Ancient Caledonian Forest,
• Dunrobin Castle, waterfalls where salmon leap & a remote Highland glen with a poignant reminder of the Clearances.
Second night in Inverness / Black Isle area
Day 8 – Your route heads across country to the wilderness of the west coast with an option of taking the quiet road through the dramatic Inverpolly Nature Reserve. This is a landscape of lonely mountains and idyllic beaches. The day ends in the fishing villages of either Ullapool or Lochinver.
Stopover in Ullapool area
Day 9 – The route heads south on roads that pass beside great coastlines and lochs as well as through the timeless landscape of the Torridon mountains. Today’s route goes through Gairloch where we can recommend some great places for lunch. A highlight near the end of today's journey is the iconic Eilean Donan Castle and a village that we consider among the prettiest in Scotland.
First night in Lochalsh area / Isle of Skye
Day 10 – Tour Skye – A full day touring route around Skye with directions to craft shops, dramatic viewpoints, wildlife spotting locations, the Talisker distillery, walking suggestions, tearooms (for the rainy days) and embarkation points for boat trips. More than you’ll be able to fit into just one day!
Second night in Lochalsh area / Isle of Skye
Day 11 – Return to the mainland with options to go via the Skye bridge or the more romantic sea crossing to Mallaig. Today’s travelling takes you to Argyll and the area around Oban, but we have suggested some detours (including Glen Coe) and alternative roads so that you may visit parts of Scotland that most tourists bypass.
The journey ends in the lively harbour town of Oban, “Gateway to the Isles”, where some of the best seafood restaurants in Scotland are found.
First night in Oban / Appin area
Day 12 – We suggest a second day in the Oban area and provide a choice of day trip options:
• Day trip to the Isle of Mull, only 45 minutes by ferry from Oban. It’s a must when staying in Oban, as the island has distinctive castles and charming villages. In the evening, return to Oban to try some of our Seafood recommendations, or stay on Mull and dine at the restaurant that has its own fisherman.
• Day trip on the Jacobite Steam Train. Oban is not far from Fort William, where you can join the "Hogwarts Express" for a steam train ride out to Mallaig. This is one of the world's great scenic rail journeys.
Second night in Oban / Appin area
Day 13 – On the move again, with a tour route along one of Scotland's best roads for coastal scenery. This route takes you past Iron Age burial sites & standing stones. You can end the day in an active little fishing village with some great fish restaurants, OR in the lovely 1700's town of Inveraray with its ornate castle.
Stopover in Loch Fyne area
Day 14 – And we guide you back to Edinburgh or Glasgow. We give you a scenic route that includes Loch Lomond, but which also features detour options to visit Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument.
Stopover in Edinburgh or Glasgow