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From its historical castles to its stunning landscapes and from its exciting cities to its charming, small towns, Scotland has it all. On this comprehensive Scotland tour, you’ll overnight in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Thurso, Isle of Skye, and Isle of Mull. Along the way, you’ll visit some of its historical castles; witness its unspoiled, breathtaking scenery; experience its cities and some of its small towns; learn about its fascinating history; and much more.
Scotland is known for its many castles, and you’ll have the opportunity to visit Stirling Castle, the favored residence of Scottish kings and queens; Edinburgh Castle, dating to the 12th century and home of the Scottish Crown Jewels; Cawdor Castle, the romantic, fairytale castle dating back to the 14th century; and Dunrobin Castle, where you’ll visit the formal gardens. Scotland is also known for its interesting and often bloody history, and you’ll have an opportunity to visit some of its historical sights. On the Orkney Islands, visit Skara Brae, with remains from a 5,000-year-old Neolithic village. Learn about 13 centuries of clan history at the Museum of the Isles on the Isle of Skye. Hear about the famous battle in 1314 at the Bannockburn Visitor Centre and the battle in 1746 at the Culloden Visitor Centre.
Of course, no vacation to Scotland is complete without seeing the amazing scenery. Throughout this Scotland tour, sit back and enjoy as you witness Scotland at its best—the breathtakingly wild and unspoiled scenery and miles of yellow sandy beaches on Scotland’s northern coast; the waterfalls and jagged, dark peaks on the Isle of Skye; the inspiring hills, green woodlands, and spectacular beaches on the “Road to the Isles”; and much more—while being escorted by an expert Tour Director who will bring Scotland to life with in-depth knowledge of its history, customs, stories, and secrets.
DAY 1 Arrive in Glasgow, Scotland
Welcome to Glasgow! Check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax in Scotland’s largest city. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner with wine at your hotel.
DAY 2 Glasgow–Glengoyne–Stirling–Bannockburn–Edinburgh
Start your grand tour of Scotland with a guided tour of a WHISKY DISTILLERY, where you hear about the ancient art of converting barley, water, and yeast into a heart warming liquor. Next, visit STIRLING CASTLE, a great symbol of Scottish independence and favored residence of Scotland’s kings and queens. Today’s final highlight is the BANNOCKBURN VISITOR CENTRE, commemorating the key battle in the Scottish Wars of Independence of June 23-24, 1314. Drive on to Edinburgh, your base for the next three nights. Tonight, don’t miss our optional Scottish evening with Highland dancers, bagpipers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis.
DAY 3 Edinburgh
Morning city sightseeing with a Local Guide introduces you to the 200-year-old “New Town” and famous scientists, inventors, and novelists who lived there. In the “Old Town,” drive up the narrow Royal Mile to EDINBURGH CASTLE to admire Scotland’s Crown Jewels, then explore HOLYROOD PALACE (when available). After time on your own in Edinburgh, why not take an optional excursion to Rosslyn Chapel, made world-famous by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and also one of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings.
DAY 4 Edinburgh. Abbotsford Excursion
Today’s excursion brings you into parts of the Scottish Lowlands and Border Counties. Drive through rolling hills and leafy valleys to ABBOTSFORD HOUSE and enjoy a guided tour of Sir Walter Scott’s home. It contains an impressive collection of historic relics, weapons, and armor, as well as an extensive library with over 9,000 rare volumes. Then, visit MELROSE ABBEY, the burial place of Robert the Bruce’s heart. This afternoon, join a unique optional experience: board the former Royal Yacht Britannia to see how the Royal Family and crew of 240 lived and worked on board. Dinner rounds off this optional evening. For departures August 6, August 13, and August 20, tickets are included for tonight’s performance of the world-renowned MILITARY TATTOO.
DAY 5 Edinburgh–St. Andrews–Braemar–Inverness
Over the elegant Forth Road Bridge and through Fife to St. Andrews. Cross the Firth of Tay and from Dundee, head into the Highlands with a lunch stop in pretty Braemar, home of the Royal Highland Games. Drive through the Grampian Mountains and Cairngorms National Park to Inverness, the Highland capital where you spend the next two nights.Breakfast
DAY 6 Inverness. Highlands Excursion
Fascinating visits on today’s excursion. At CULLODEN VISITOR CENTRE the story unfolds of the crushing Hanoverian victory over Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Scottish clans. Then, call at romantic, fairy-tale CAWDOR CASTLE, set in stunning grounds with beautiful gardens and home to the Thanes of Cawdor since 1370. Back in Inverness, the rest of the day is at leisure. Our recommendation for this afternoon would be to join the Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle optional excursion, which includes a cruise on the loch.
DAY 7 Inverness–Thurso
Continue an unforgettable journey and follow the coast road to majestic DUNROBIN CASTLE, for centuries the seat of the Dukes and Earls of Sutherland. Visit the formal gardens and enjoy a fascinating [Globus Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] FALCONRY DISPLAY. Before dinner you may want to join an optional excursion to a local pub.Breakfast
DAY 8 Thurso. Excursion to the Orkney Islands
A fascinating day full of adventure. At John o’Groats, board a FERRY for the 45-minute crossing to South Ronaldsay, one of the Orkney Islands, where a local coach and driver-guide await you. Cross the four Churchill Barriers and overlook Scapa Flow, where the German fleet scuttled itself in World War I. Visit the ITALIAN CHAPEL, built by prisoners of war in 1943 from scrap metal, concrete, and other materials. After [Globus Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] a light LUNCH at the Tasting Hall café, take a guided tour of the award-winning ORKNEY BREWERY and sample the local ale. Then, head for SKARA BRAE, where you see the fascinating remains of a 5,000-year-old Neolithic village and visit SKAILL HOUSE. Yet more highlights: the Ring of Brodgar, the Orkneys’ Stonehenge, and finally Kirkwall, the small and picturesque island capital. Return to the mainland by FERRY in the late afternoon.Breakfast
DAY 9 Thurso–-Durness-Ullapool-Isle of Skye
A day to sit back and enjoy the breathtakingly wild and unspoiled scenery, some of the finest in Britain. The northern coast is lined with miles of yellow sandy beaches and pretty estuaries, and the hills and mountains take on a purple hue as the summer progresses. This is Scotland at its best! Drive via Durness to the quaint fishing port of Ullapool, where you enjoy a [Globus Local Favorite] [Globus Local Favorite] traditional FISH & CHIPS lunch at a local restaurant. Late-afternoon arrival on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Skye.Breakfast
DAY 10 Isle of Skye
Striking landscapes, weird rock formations, and dramatic waterfalls will capture your attention on your drive around the Trotternish peninsula. Visit the thatch-roofed cottages at the MUSEUM OF ISLAND LIFE, close to the last resting place of Highland heroine Flora MacDonald. Then, follow the spectacular coast route, stopping for photos of waterfalls and gorges, to the island capital of Portree. On the way back to Broadford, take in the views of the jagged and dark peaks of the Cuillin Hills.Breakfast
DAY 11 Isle of Skye–Glenfinnan–Isle of Mull
Call at the Clan Donald Centre for a visit to its MUSEUM OF THE ISLES and insight into 13 centuries of clan history before boarding your FERRY at Armadale to sail across the Sound of Sleat. Rejoin the mainland at Mallaig and follow the “Road to the Isles,” passing Glenfinnan. Take the FERRY to the Isle of Mull, where you conclude your day with a visit to the quaint island capital of Tobermory.Breakfast
DAY 12 Isle of Mull. Iona Excursion
A leisurely day to relax and enjoy the best of the Scottish western isles. Drive across Mull for a visit to the beautiful and fascinating Isle of Iona. Time to visit the ABBEY and explore the religious settlement before returning to the hotel in the early afternoon.Breakfast
DAY 13 Isle of Mull–Inveraray–Glasgow
The final island FERRY crossing brings you to Oban. Then, over the Pass of Brander and from Inveraray to the “Bonnie Banks” of Loch Lomond. Back in Glasgow this afternoon, your orientation city tour takes in the fine 12th-century cathedral, imposing university buildings, and elegant Georgian squares. Time for last-minute shopping before enjoying a farewell dinner with wine at your hotel.Breakfast
DAY 14 Glasgow
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.Breakfast
Scottish Highlands and Islands