This itinerary is completely customizable
Your trip begins in the hilly Scottish capital city of Edinburgh. The beautiful Edinburgh castle is the centerpiece, which holds the Scottish crown jewels and the stone of destiny. After you explore Edinburgh Castle, you can walk through medieval Old Town with its cobblestone streets and numerous narrow alleys to gaze at buildings from centuries past or stop to watch street performers performing along the Royal Mile. Underneath the Royal Mile you can tour the streets lined with tenements from the 17th Century on tours with guides that teach you about the hidden history of Edinburgh. As you walk through Edinburgh you will constantly hear the distinctive music of the bagpipe and see shops lined with Scottish woolen products and the world-renowned Scotch whiskies.
Stop into the numerous pubs around Edinburgh to taste scotches from every region of Scotland. To learn about Scotch whisky and the differences in the whisky from various regions, visit the Scotch Whisky Experience. Arthur’s Seat, a hill just 1 mile east of Edinburgh Castle, overlooks the city and a short walk up the hill rewards hikers with beautiful views in all directions. Just underneath Arthur’s Seat you can tour the impressive Holyrood Palace, which is the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland, and the ruins of the Holyrood Abbey, which was founded in the 12th Century. As much as Edinburgh has to offer, you will also want to get out of the city to explore the surrounding areas. If you are a golf fan, then a trip to St. Andrews golf course is a must. Some of the other day trip possibilities include Tantallon Castle, St. Andrews Cathedral or the National Wallace Monument.
Speyside and Inverness
The scenic Speyside region is where sixty percent of Scotch whisky is produced and distilleries in this region include Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Macallan, Aberlour and Balvenie, as well as numerous others. Whether you are a Scotch whisky lover or you are new to Scotch whisky the distilleries have tours that are right for you. The distilleries are located in beautiful natural settings and just driving through the region is a delight in itself.
Cairngorms National Park looms next to the Speyside region and offers wildlife tours throughout the park as well as beautiful hiking opportunities – and even a mountain railway! A short drive west is the famous Loch Ness, which is said to be the habitat of the Loch Ness Monster. North of Loch Ness is the city of Inverness, which is the gateway to the Scottish North Coast 500 drive. Inverness’ Chanonry Point is a popular spot to watch dolphins or sea life tours can be arranged if you want to spend the day watching various wildlife along the coast.
North Coast 500 and Isle of Skye
Days 7 - 10
From Inverness you can head north to drive part of the route known as the North Coast 500. This rugged otherworldly drive alternates between hugging the coastline and winding through massive green hills. Streams and waterfalls roll down the hills on either side of the road as you drive through the breathtaking scenery. This is as wild as Scotland gets and as narrow to single-track roads you will notice that the amount of tourists greatly decreases. Seals can be seen sunning on rocks just off the coast and Scottish red deer roam the hills. Near the most northerly point on mainland Scotland you can see the Stacks of Duncansby emerging out of the water just off of Duncansby Head.
Scotch distilleries along this route include Glenmorangie and Dalmore. The Applecross Smokehouse, which is situated along one of the most beautiful drives on this route, sells locally caught and smoked fish as well as cheese. Whether you want to walk along scenic landscapes, search for wildlife, or just drive through stunning mountain passes, visit the North Coast 500 route and you will not be disappointed. The North Coast 500 route leads into the Isle of Skye, which is a large island connected to the mainland with bridges. The Isle of Skye’s rugged landscapes with towering mountains overlooking narrow lochs and fishing villages is a photographer’s dream. Walk up the rock pinnacle named Old Man Storr to enjoy the picturesque scenery or walk down to Neist Point lighthouse.
Days 11 - 12
Driving from the region around the Isle of Skye to Glasgow you pass through the beautiful Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. It is a popular day trip from Glasgow and for good reason. The drive through the park borders the stunning Loch Lomond nearly the entire length of the park. Between the National Park and Glasgow is a lesser-known scotch distillery, Glengoyne, that has great tours and even better scotch. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and, as such, is filled with diverse attractions. Head to Kleingrove Art Gallery and Museum to view both Scottish art and artifacts from around the world. Stroll through George Square and look at the statues of famous Scots that decorate the location. Then visit the beautiful Glasgow Cathedral and walk through the neighboring Glasgow Necropolis, an eerie yet picturesque cemetery.
Glasgow was the first city in the UK to be designated a UNESCO City of Music and every night you can find live music to suit your taste or you can tour the music scene with Glasgow City Music Tours. You can also visit the National Piping Center to learn about the history of the bagpipe and even learn how to play the bagpipe. After you have explored what Glasgow has to offer, sit down and relax on Ashton Lane to enjoy the Scottish specialty of haggis at the popular Ubiquitous Chip restaurant. Glasgow is the last stop on the tour and with a large international airport there are many convenient flights out daily.
After our initial conversation, we will build you and your group a custom itinerary based on your interests. We have traveled through Ireland and can give you insight into the country and recommend many places and activities along the way. Once you decide to go on the trip, we will book everything and guide you through the process of preparing for your trip. We will assure that all of your travel documents are in order and will answer any questions you might have.
During each of our trips, we provide remote support for the entire duration of your trip. Our meticulous preparation prior to the start of your trip will reduce the possibility of something going wrong during your trip. When you book your trip with us you will spend your vacation enjoying the country you are visiting instead of dealing with logistical issues. We live in the same time zone and are only a quick call away to resolve any issues that might arise during the course of your trip.
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* price may fluctuate based on dates booked and number of people above or below four
* price excludes airfare to and from the country
* price excludes lunch and dinner