Day Trip options are marked in Red on the map.
This flexible itinerary allows you to explore some of the larger islands of the west coast; Mull, Skye, Harris & Lewis. The guide provides lots of scope for adapting the duration of the tour. Ideal if you want to stay several nights on the islands to really get into their more relaxed pace of life.
This tour itinerary can be adapted from 7 days (at a push!) to 3 weeks depending on how many of the day trip options you wish to follow.
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Arrive in Glasgow – We provide a stopover guide to the city's main attractions and some of its best restaurants. The guide includes tips on how to get into the city centre from Glasgow Airport. We also provide directions to possible places to stay in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park.
Glasgow to Fort William – You enter the Scottish Highlands with a journey along the banks of Loch Lomond. You can break the journey at a haunted 1700's Coaching Inn that is little changed since the days of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Heading north west, you pass through Glen Coe and arrive at the west coast. The route includes a detour option to our favourite seafood restaurant with a great lochside location. Once in the Lochaber area, we can guide you for a walk to a secluded waterfall, or you could take a cable car ride up a mountain top for elevated views of Ben Nevis.
Stopover in Fort William Area
Fort William Day Trips – Fort William has a good position for exploring the western Highlands. We supply day trip options for doing a :
• Day trip to the Isle of Mull, the trip starts with a drive through the rugged hills of Sunart to join a short ferry crossing to Mull. The island has distinctive castles, charming villages, a small distillery and opportunities for boat trips to Iona & Staffa.
• Day Trip on the Jacobite Steam Train, Fort William is the departure point for the "Hogwarts Express" steam train that travels to Mallaig (mid May – Oct). This is one of the world's great scenic rail journeys and a must for “Harry Potter” fans.
Lochaber to Skye by Bridge or Boat – We suggest 3 options for the journey to Skye:
1) - The classic route along the "Road to the Isles" from Fort William to the Skye ferry. This route passes Glenfinnan and locations from Harry Potter films.
2) - A longer route through the scenic wilderness of Moidart to join the "Road to the Isles" to Mallaig and the Skye ferry.
3) - An inland route through sections of the Great Glen, Glen Garry and Glen Shiel to join the west coast near the iconic Eilean Donan Castle.
Stopover in the Lochalsh area or Isle of Skye
Skye Day Trips – We provide a choice of day trips around Skye and Lochalsh area. You really need a minimum of 2 days on Skye and our guide gives you enough to fill even more days.
• Discover Skye, a touring route around Skye with directions to craft shops, dramatic viewpoints, wildlife spotting locations, the Talisker distillery, tearooms (for the rainy days) and embarkation points for boat trips. More than you’ll be able to fit into just one day!
• Day trip around Loch Alsh, this route takes you to Eilean Donan castle, Iron Age Brochs, a coastline where otters can be found and returns via the Glenelg Ferry (April – Sept).
Sail From Skye to Harris – Due to the ferry schedule, you often have to choose between arriving on Harris around mid-day or in the evening. Consequently the ferry schedules will dictate much of how you pace your trip, but we provide ideas for how to make the best use of your time.
Stopover on Lewis or Harris
Discover Lewis & Harris – You could fill a week with sightseeing in the Western Isles, but you really shouldn’t consider less than one full day to do Harris and another full day to do Lewis. We will supply you with a detailed guide for touring the attractions of Lewis (e.g. Callanish, Dun Carloway, the Black House villages, Butt of Lewis, Uig Bay). Harris is the most scenic part of the island so we will give you tips on the must sees in this part of the island as well as some ideas for short trips that you could do from Stornoway (the capital of Lewis).
Sail From Lewis to Ullapool – The ferry times from Lewis are usually painfully early in the morning or just after lunchtime. It often makes more sense to take the early afternoon ferry and then get to Ullapool in the late afternoon. We would recommend that you spend a night in the pretty fishing village of Ullapool and we also provide directions for an exploration of the nearby Inverpolly Nature Reserve with its distinctive mountains.
Optional Stopover in Ullapool Area
Ullapool to Cairngorms via Inverness – We propose a fast route that takes you from Ullapool to Inverness in less than 2 hours. Along the way, you can stop for a visit to a dramatic bridge over a 150ft drop of a waterfall. Further along the route there is another waterfall that is a frequent spot for viewing salmon leaping. As you approach the east coast you have the choice of a direct drive to Inverness or a scenic route via the shores of Loch Ness. From Inverness to Aviemore in the Cairngorms, you can take a fast drive of under an hour.
Stopover in Aviemore / Newtonmore Area
Cairngorms Day Trip - a route around the many attractions of the Cairngorms. We guide you via the beautiful back roads of the Rothiemurchus forest. The route has options for woodland walks, steam train rides, a trip up the Cairngorms in a funicular train, sheepdog demonstrations and lots of outdoor activities.
Cairngorms to Edinburgh – Heading South, we provide 2 sets of directions for the journey to Pitlochry. You can take a Direct route with suggestions for journey breaks, OR a more Scenic route that weaves past forests, pretty villages and castle ruins. We recommend a journey break in Pitlochry, where you have a choice of distilleries and a wealth of gift shops. After Pitlochry, you follow a fast route to Edinburgh that has detour options for a visit to Perth.
Stopover in Edinburgh
Edinburgh Day Trips – We provide a choice of 3 walking routes around the city. There are enough attractions in Edinburgh to keep you busy for several days, however, we also provide you with directions for day trips out of Edinburgh that cover:
• the nearby castles of West & East Lothian,
• details of various day trips from Edinburgh by bus or train.