Day 01, U.S. to Edinburgh
Overnight flight from the U.S. to Edinburgh, to begin your adventure. Arrive in Edinburgh the next day.
Day 02, Edinburgh
Arrive Edinburgh and transfer [included] to your pre-booked accommodations. Spend your day independently exploring Edinburgh on your own. (Please note, check-in time at most hotel's is from 2:00 pm). Overnight in Edinburgh.
Day 03, Edinburgh - Touring begins - Inverness
Make your way to the Edinburgh departure point (see departure point information below) for 8:15 am (If you booked a departure point transfer at time of booking, your driver will collect you as noted on your voucher). Depart Edinburgh at 8:30 am, Heading west towards Stirling, passing Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. You also pass Doune Castle (set of Monty Python's “Holy Grail”) before stopping in the small town of Callander for a refreshment stop.
We now drive along the splendor of Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle and Glen Dochart, as you travel north over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor into Glencoe. The stunning views and spectacular landscapes of our own super (extinct) volcano and scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. We continue north up the Great Glen to the mysterious beauty of Loch Ness, traveling the whole 23 miles of the famous Loch plenty of time to try and spot “Nessie!” The evening in Inverness will be free for you to explore the‘Capital of the Highlands'.
Day 04, Touring - Kirkwall
Today sees an early start, crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie's Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, traveling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery, with views of some of Europe's oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as golden eagles and red deer. Close to Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, we board the ferry crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. It is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, where we stay for two (2) nights. Visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.
Day 05, Touring - Kirkwall
Explore this fantastic ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.
Day 06, Touring - Ullapool
Time to leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here we travel right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. You then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. We continue to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you spend your last night's stay on tour.
Day 07, Touring -Edinburgh
Your morning includes visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge, the ancient Clava Cairns and the more recent bloody history of the Culloden battlefield, before returning south through the grandeur of the Cairngorm National Park, the ancient Caledonian pine forest and Highland Perthshire to Edinburgh, arriving at approx. 6:30 pm. Your tour ends at Waverly Bridge in Edinburgh, where you will make your own way back to your pre-booked hotel.
Day 08, Edinburgh - Home
After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to the Airport for your return flight to the U.S.