Scotland's mesmerising scenery
From the stunning 'Road to the Isles' and legendary Loch Ness, to beautiful Royal Deeside and the mysterious Black Isle, this holiday features a host of Highland highlights. Enjoy a ride on the delightful Strathspey Steam Railway and take a cruise on the Moray Firth, home to around 190 resident bottlenose dolphins and a wealth of birdlife. In the company of our friendly, knowledgeable Tour Manager, unveil the beauty and variety that this very special part of the world has to offer.
Scottish Highlands Tour Itinerary
Fly to Inverness, meet your Tour Manager and make the short transfer to Carrbridge. Depending on your arrival time, spend the rest of the day enjoying the delights of this pretty village. Opposite your hotel, you'll spy famous Packhorse Bridge, which dates back to 1717 and is reputed to be one of the oldest bridges in Scotland.
Day One: Fly to Inverness
Our journey today takes us over the Grampian Mountains. We'll pass through Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands, before reaching Royal Deeside, much loved by the Royal Family and encircled by some of Scotland's most sublime landscapes. During the day we'll also visit the popular resort of Ballater and Crathes Castle (entrance payable locally, but free for National Trust members), which offers a fascinating insight into Scotland's turbulent past and is thought to be one of the most beautiful and best-preserved castles in the country.
Day Two: Explore Royal Deeside and Crathes Castle
We're treated to a ride on the nostalgic Strathspey Steam Railway through the Cairngorm National Park, home to five of Scotland's six highest mountains. Enjoy the ride as the vintage train skirts the course of the River Spey, past heather fields, moors and forests.
Day Three: Ride the Strathspey Steam Railway and visit Grantown-on-Spey
Our day also includes a visit to Grantown-on-Spey, a traditional Highland town with fine Georgian and Victorian architecture and an impressive tree-lined square. Perhaps visit the interesting Museum and Heritage Trust before taking a tea break at one of the quaint cafes or tea shops.
Today we visit beautiful, mysterious Loch Ness. We'll head to Fort Augustus, at the southern tip of the loch, where the Caledonian Canal Heritage Centre gives a fascinating insight into the history and operation of the canal. From here, we'll continue past the dramatic ruins of Urquhart Castle to Drumnadrochit, where you may like to visit the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre or perhaps enjoy a boat trip to go monster hunting. Nature lovers are in for a treat as the wooded shores of the Loch are home to an abundance of wildlife, including cormorants and ospreys.
Day Four: Spend the day exploring Loch Ness
Explore the capital of the Highlands today as we visit Inverness, home to a delightful Victorian Market, an excellent museum and art gallery, and attractive riverside walks. Board the Dolphin Spirit for a cruise around the inner Moray Firth, where hopefully you'll spot the resident bottlenose dolphins gliding through the waters.
Day Five: Explore Inverness, enjoy a dolphin cruise and tour the Black Isle
Later, we'll enjoy a short tour of the Black Isle, which, contrary to its name, is neither black nor an island, but rather an isolated peninsula surrounded by three bodies of water. We'll stop at Fortrose, which overlooks the Moray Firth, as well as the charming nautical town of Cromarty.
We head west today, following the evocatively named 'Road to the Isles' from Fort William to Mallaig. On this wonderfully scenic day we'll pass through diverse landscapes ranging from sandy beaches to flowering heather moors and dense woodlands. Our first stop will be at the Glenfinnan Visitor Centre, from where you can see the eponymous monument built overlooking Loch Shiel. Take the short uphill walk from the centre to get a wonderful view of the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Day Six: Take in the scenery on the Road to the Isles, from Fort William to Mallaig
The road ends at the thriving fish port of Mallaig, home to an excellent Heritage Centre. Make sure to try some of the delicious kippers while you're here, thought to be some of the tastiest in the country.
Your holiday in the Highlands comes to an end. Travel back to Inverness airport to catch your flight home. Those not flying until the afternoon will also enjoy a short visit to the Victorian seaside town of Nairn, where pretty walking trails run alongside the river and a seafront promenade overlooks the Moray Firth.
Day Seven: Fly back to your local airport
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 45 minutes.
Hotel transfer times
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
*Low deposit of £79pp applies to new bookings made between 28th December 2017 and 31st March 2018 (inclusive) only. This offer applies to flight-inclusive holidays only and excludes Lapland, Andre Rieu in Maastricht, Andre Rieu in Vienna, Deep South Rhythms, New Orleans & Caribbean Cruise, Five-Star Alaska Cruise & the Canadian Rockies, Canada's Rocky Mountaineer(TM), the Seychelles Island Cruise, Darjeeling & Bhutan - The Last Himalayan Kingdom, Classic South Africa, Under African Skies, Cape Town, the Garden Route & Big Five Safaris, Peru - Lake Titicaca to Machu Picchu, and fly-cruises on board Magellan and Columbus. This offer is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time.