Calanais Stone Circle | Lewis and Harris | Scotland | United Kingdom
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FROM: USD $5,444 pp
Scottish Islands Encompassed - 17 days map

This all-encompassing tour of Scotland and its Islands uncovers the picturesque landscapes, scenery, and rich history of Islay, Mull, Iona, Skye, Orkney and Lewis and Harris. Throughout this 17-day escorted tour you will experience four different whisky distilleries where you will taste this famous Scottish drink. Whilst exploring the beautiful landscapes you will visit famous castles, see the UNESCO sites at Brodgar and Stenness, and also have the opportunity to search for 'Nessie' at Loch Ness.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Whisky Coast - Visit four whisky distilleries with the chance to taste the produce, learn about the production process and tour the distilleries
Isle of Mull - Spot eagles and other wildlife on this pristine island, one of Scotland's wildest, and explore nearby Iona
Isle of Skye - Take in the highlights of this beautiful island, with plenty of hiking and sightseeing to enjoy
Scottish Highlands - Uncover some of the UK's best scenery as you traverse coastal roads, pass mountains and native pine forests
Ullapool - Stay in this pretty whitewashed fishing village, on the shore of Loch Broom
Isle of Islay - Uncover the dramatic scenery and highlights of one of the most beautiful Scottish islands, including Dunyvaig Castle
Glencoe - Soak up the stunning mountain views and learn about the tragic and famous massacre that took place here in 1692
Loch Ness - Hunt for 'Nessie', the mythical beast believed to dwell in the dark waters of Scotland's most famous loch
Orkney - Spend two nights in the Viking town of Kirkwall and uncover the ancient history of the archipelago at Skara Brae, Brodgar, Stenness and Maeshowe
Lewis and Harris - Discover traditional farming life, the fort of Dun Carloway, and the prehistoric site of the Calanais Stone Circle

Included

16 breakfasts & 2 lunches
Escorted by a local driver-guide
Admission to Skara Brae
Admission to Arnol Blackhouse
All necessary ferry journeys between Scottish Islands and the mainland
20kg luggage - see Trip Notes for details
16 nights simple guesthouse
Visits to four whiskey distilleries: Ardbeg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Laphroaig including tour & tasting (subject to change)
Admission to Maeshowe
Transportation in 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach with air-conditioning
All road tolls
Note: This tour is operated in conjunction with our trusted partner and you will join travellers from different operators, not solely On The Go.

Not Included

International flights & visas
Meals not specified in itinerary
Entry fees unless specified
Airport transfers (pick up and drop off information can be found in the Trip Notes)
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture!

Itinerary

Day 1

Loch Lomond, Oban & Islay ferry

Edinburgh - Trossnachs National Park - Oban - Islay. Departing Edinburgh this morning, we head west, first visiting Trossnachs National Park. Admire some of the country's famous scenery and perhaps taste some regional delicacies. We then make our way through the mountainous Western Highlands to Oban, a port town once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans.

Modern Oban is known for two things, seafood and whisky. We have the opportunity to taste both, including a dram of locally produced whisky and an optional seafood lunch.

We then make our way through the Kilmartin Glen, home to standing stones and historic fortified strongholds dating back more than 1,500 years. At Kennacraig, we catch the ferry to the island of Islay. The crossing takes around 2 hours, and we can see the Paps of Jura as we sail past the island of Jura. Landing at Islay, we make our way to our accommodation in Bowmore.

Please note: Check-in closes at 08:15 (tour departs at 08:30) - Edinburgh Bus Station Pick Up, Gate J and Gate K, inside Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay

Day 2

Whisky, whisky & whisky

Tuck into breakfast at the accommodation before we depart on a day of whisky adventures! We are visiting three distilleries today, starting with Bowmore, one of the oldest distilleries in the whole of Scotland. There's an included tour and whisky tasting before we continue to Kilchoman Distillery, where we can try more whisky and enjoy an included lunch of Scottish specialities. We then travel through the beautiful countryside of Islay to our third distillery. This will either be Bruichladdich or Bunnahabhain, depending on the departure. Bruichladdich specializes in unpeated whisky, whilst Bunnahabhain is the most remote distillery on the island. Feeling slightly light-headed, we then head back to Bowmore, where the evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Exploring Islay

Today we are exploring the southern half of Islay, one of the most beautiful of the Scottish Isles. First we visit the distillery at Ardbeg, owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy! There's an included tour and tasting here, plus we enjoy lunch in the vibrant restaurant.

The final distillery of our tour is Laphroaig, a 200-year-old distiller known to be a favorite of the British Royal Family.

Throughout the day, we will also stop at some of the island's main highlights. See the historic ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle, which was once held by the chiefs of the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg. We then return to Bowmore for our last night on Islay.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Islay to Oban

Islay - Inveraray - Oban. This morning we take the return ferry back to the mainland and replace the smell of whisky with the crisp air of the Scottish Highlands. We pass through the pretty village of Inveraray on the shore of Loch Fyne. There's a stop here as we change minibuses and guide. Some of our group will be returning to Edinburgh, but we are continuing our Scottish adventure! Meet the rest of the group before we continue to Oban for the evening.

Accommodation: Kathmore, Altavona or similar
Overnight: Oban  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Mull & Iona

Oban - Mull - Iona - Oban. It's an early start this morning as we take the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Take in dramatic coastlines and wild natural beauty, and keep our eyes on the skies for majestic white-tailed eagles, the UK's largest bird of prey.

We then take another ferry to Iona, the birthplace of Celtic Christianity and home to the ancient burial grounds of famed Scottish kings. We can see the historic abbey and take in more of the windswept coastline of the Scottish Isles.

There's an optional small boat trip to the uninhabited island of Staffa to see the basalt columns of Fingal's Cave. We then return to Oban on the ferry.

Accommodation: Kathmore, Altavona or similar
Overnight: Oban  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Glencoe, Ben Nevis & Plockton

Oban - Glencoe - Fort William - Plockton. Driving north along the coast, we pass Castle Stalker and visit Glencoe, a truly beautiful location haunted by the 1692 Glencoe Massacre. Around 30 members of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were slaughtered here for failing to pledge allegiance to King William III and Mary II.

We then pass through Fort William and past Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Great Britain. Continuing through the Great Glen, we arrive in Plockton, a small fishing village known for its palm trees! We overnight here.

Accommodation: Sabhal na Mara, Hillview, Haven Guest House or similar
Overnight: Plockton  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Exploring the Isle of Skye

Plockton - Skye - Plockton. Today we will be exploring the remote Isle of Skye, but there is no fixed itinerary for the day. The weather can be unpredictable, so our guide will choose the best highlights to show us in accordance with the conditions and any events that may be happening on the island during our visit. We are likely to be hiking, in order to enjoy the dramatic scenery of the island. Options include The Quiraing hill walk and the Old Man of Storr Walk, probably the most famous trail on the island. We can also see the Neist Point Lighthouse. Spend the day taking photos, sampling the view and enjoying everything this pristine environment has to offer. In the late afternoon, we return to our accommodation in Plockton.

Accommodation: Sabhal na Mara, Hillview, Haven Guest House or similar
Overnight: Plockton  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Loch Ness to Inverness

Plockton - Loch Ness - Inverness. Today we visit Eilean Donan Castle, a 13th century fortress, located on an island. We then drive to Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail, taking in more of Scotland's dramatic scenery. There's a stop for lunch at Loch Ness, so keep your eyes peeled for 'Nessie', the Loch Ness monster!

We then stop in the village of Spean Bridge. Here our group splits once more, as some travelers will be returning to Edinburgh, whilst we continue north to Orkney. Our guides will be on hand to help us move our luggage and introduce us to the new group for the remainder of our trip. We then complete our journey to Inverness, travelling up the entire 23-mile length of the Great Glen.

Accommodation: Dalmore, Pine Guest House, Aye Stay or similar
Overnight: Inverness  |  Breakfast

Day 9

John o'Groats & Kirkwall, capital of Orkney

Inverness - John o'Groats - Kirkwall. Departing Inverness early, we head past Dunrobin Castle and along the coastline of the northeast Highlands, taking in some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery. If the ferry timetables allow, we will enjoy a stop at John o'Groats, on the north-eastern tip of Great Britain. Arriving in Gills Bay, we board the ferry to Orkney, crossing Pentland Firth. Landing on the archipelago, we stop for a visit to the colorful Italian Chapel before arriving in the former Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands. The evening is free, we recommend paying a visit to the magnificent Viking Cathedral of St Magnus, dating back to the 12th Century.

Accommodation: Bellavista Guest House, Heatherlea B&B. Hildeval B&B or similar
Overnight: Orkney  |  Breakfast

Day 10

Exploring Orkney

Today we explore Orkney, taking in the stunning nature of green pastures and windswept sandy beaches alongside Orkney's past. We take in the 5,000-year old village of Skara Brae, A Neolithic settlement older even than the Pyramids of Giza or Stonehenge! We also take in the prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones at Stenness. Each of these sites is UNESCO-listed as part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

We also visit Maeshowe, home to a number of well-preserved Viking runic inscriptions, dating back to the 12th century. We then return to Kirkwall for the night.

Accommodation: Bellavista Guest House, Heatherlea B&B. Hildeval B&B or similar
Overnight: Orkney  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Back to the mainland

Kirkwall - Ullapool. This morning after breakfast, it is time to depart Orkney, as we take the return ferry back to the mainland. We then take a spectacular drive along the northern coast of Scotland, taking in the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben hope mountains and a picturesque coastline. We stop to admire Ardvreck Castle in the far north-west mountains of Assynt before reaching Ullapool, a pretty whitewashed fishing village located at the mouth of Loch Broom where we spend two nights.

Accommodation: Foinaven, Ullaviews, The Sheiling Guest House or similar
Overnight: Ullapool  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Exploring Ullapool

We have a free day in Ullapool before joining our new driver-guide and companions. This picturesque town, surrounded by stunning mountains, is a wildlife lover's paradise. We can spot seals, dolphins, porpoises, and sea birds on a cruise around the Summer Isles, or take a two-hour walk up Claypool hill for Loch Broom views. Ullapool offers relaxation and Highland charm with craft boutiques, whisky tasting, and top-quality seafood. Enjoy live music and mingling with locals before the next leg of our journey.

Accommodation: Foinaven, Ullaviews, The Sheiling Guest House or similar
Overnight: Ullapool  |  Breakfast

Day 13

The Summer Isles to Stornoway

Ullapool - Stornoway. Today we wake up to breakfast overlooking Loch Broom's sparkling waters. We start with a ferry journey across the sea, a 2.5-hour trip through the Summer Isles to Stornoway, the main town of the Western Isles.

Keep your eyes peeled during the crossing; dolphins and whales may grace our journey. Upon arrival on Lewis and Harris, we head to the North West coast. Our driver-guide will showcase traditional crofting towns and seaside ports, including the iconic Butt of Lewis with its sweeping views towards America.

We cap off the day in bustling Stornoway, known for Scotland's tastiest black puddings.

Accommodation: Dunroamin, Hebridean Guest House, Twenty Seven or similar
Overnight: Stornoway  |  Breakfast

Day 14

Discovering Lewis and Harris

Today we discover the history and beauty of Lewis and Harris Island. Starting in Arnol Blackhouse we experience traditional farming life on this island without having to get our hands too dirty. Following this we head to the fort of Dun Carloway. Built in 100AD it has a rich history for us to discover. We then travel to the Calanais Stone Circle, one of the most famous sites on the island. Late in the afternoon we head back to Stornoway to spend the night.

*Please note the Calanais Standing stone site will be closed between 1st September 2024 and 31st March 2025 and we will be unable to visit the site during these dates. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Accommodation: Dunroamin, Hebridean Guest House, Twenty Seven or similar
Overnight: Stornoway  |  Breakfast

Day 15

Mountains, Beaches and the Isle of Skye

Stornoway - Luskentire - Portree. Prepare for the dramatic as we venture into the realm of Harris. With its towering peaks and stunning white-sand beaches such as Luskentire, Harris showcases nature's grandeur at its finest. The region is steeped in history, from the renowned Harris Tweed to its captivating myths and legends.

After a morning of exploring these dramatic landscapes, we pause for lunch. If weather permits, a beach picnic awaits, so sunglasses are a must-pack item. Our journey continues with a ferry ride over the sea to Portree, the largest town in Skye, where we'll be based for the next two nights.

Accommodation: Caledonian, Duirinish, Dunborrodale or similar
Overnight: Skye  |  Breakfast

Day 16

The Isle of Skye

Having returned to the Isle of Skye our driver-guide maximizes our time amidst this marvel-filled landscape.

We can trek to the Quiraing mountain pass for a breathtaking walk, witness the majestic Kilt Rock and its towering waterfall, or embark on a boat excursion to the hidden gem of Loch Coruisk.

Having soaked in the sights of Skye, we conclude our day with a final evening in Portree. We can indulge in the fabulous seafood restaurants, celebrating a day well spent exploring.

Accommodation: Caledonian, Duirinish, Dunborrodale or similar
Overnight: Skye  |  Breakfast

Day 17

Return to Edinburgh

Portree - Ben Nevis - Glencoe - Edinburgh. As our journey comes to an end, take heart in the remarkable sights awaiting us on the return trip to Edinburgh. After crossing the Skye Bridge, we're greeted by the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a quintessentially Scottish sight perched atop a loch. Don't forget to capture this classic view with your camera.

Following this we pass beneath the cloud-shrouded peak of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain. On to the valley of Glencoe which carries profound historical weight, marked by a tragic massacre and framed by awe-inspiring mountains—a landscape etched with both beauty and sorrow.

As we journey onward through the Lowlands, the rolling hills give way to flatter terrain, leading us back to Edinburgh by early evening.

Please note: This tour ends at 19:00 - Edinburgh Bus Station Drop Off, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Departure dates are guaranteed with 2 travellers. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to all solo travellers, or if your booking party cannot reach the minimum of 2 persons in a room. Single Rooms can also be booked by any other person wanting the comfort and privacy of their own room.

2024
Twin Share
Single Room
11 Oct - 27 Oct 20% off
USD $6,805
USD $5,444
USD $8,365
18 Oct - 03 Nov 20% off
USD $6,805
USD $5,444
USD $8,365

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Edinburgh
Ends
Edinburgh
Departs
Fridays
Group Size
Min 2 / Max 16
Hotel Rating
Simple guesthouses
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 16, Lunch: 2
Countries
Minimum Age
18
Arr. Transfer
No
Dep. Transfer
No
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