5 day / 4 night tour
Enjoy famous sights and hidden gems on this popular tour centred in Inverness. From your base explore the Highlands in comfort including the picturesque Isle of Skye and iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Travel to the Far North to experience stunning seascapes and explore the beauty of the Cairngorm National Park. On this tour you’ll discover some of the finest scenery Scotland has to offer.
Price range: £520 - £1,115
Loch Ness - visit the impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle and enjoy a monster-spotting cruise on the loch
Isle of Skye - see the majestic peaks of the Cuillin Hills and visit colourful Portree
Eilean Donan Castle - explore Scotland’s most romantic castle
Cairngorm National Park - experience the spectacular mountain panoramas
Northern Highlands - discover one of the most breathtaking coastlines in Europe
Movie locations - Made with Honour, Outlaw King and Highlander
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Glen Coe - Inverness
From Edinburgh we will make our way to Rannoch Moor, a wilderness that extends over 50 sq miles. Next we'll enter brooding Glen Coe. There is a stop in the heart of the Glen so we can enjoy the spectacular surroundings for ourselves. Our crossing of the Ballachulish Bridge will bring us to Fort William which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis. The majestic beauty of the Great Glen is next - Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and finally Loch Ness will provide wonderful views at every turn. We'll drive the entire length of Loch Ness stopping so you can visit Urquhart Castle and take a monster spotting cruise. Our tour is based in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, for the next four nights.
Overnight: Inverness (4 nights), Overnight: Inverness (4 nights)
Day 2 - Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Excursion
Leaving Inverness behind we make our way to Garve then on through Strath Bran to the remote village of Achnasheen. From there we strike out through picturesque Glen Carron, stopping to enjoy the panoramic views over Loch Carron.
We cross "over the sea to Skye” and follow the picturesque coastal route, enjoying the wonderful vista over the sea lochs to the Isle of Scalpay. There are grand views of the mighty Cuillin Hills too as we make our way to Portree, the island’s main town. We’ll make a stop here so you can discover the town on your own and enjoy time for lunch. The colourful houses that surround the harbour make a wonderful backdrop for an "I was there” selfie!
Returning to the mainland we stop to visit fairytale Eilean Donan Castle set on its little island on Loch Duich. There is time to explore this iconic castle before our return journey continues through Glen Shiel, where the Five Sisters of Kintail will come into view. These soaring peaks are each over 3,000 feet (914 m) high!
The final part of our journey takes us through Glen Moriston to the timeless beauty of Loch Ness and onwards to Inverness.
Day 3 - John O’Groats and the Far North Excursion
We leave Inverness and head across the Black Isle to the Cromarty Firth where, depending on tide conditions, we may see our first seals. We will make a stop in the town of Golspie. High above the town is an astonishing statue, 27m (90') high. This is of the First Duke of Sutherland, whose agents were involved in the most notorious of the Highland Clearances during the 19th century. We'll hear more about this sad episode in the history of Scotland as we head into the North Highlands.
There will be a stop in John O' Groats for that "I was there” photograph before making our way to stunning Duncansby Head where, after a stroll along the cliff-top path, we'll see the lonely lighthouse and enjoy dramatic views of the sea stacks. The cliffs at Duncansby are rich in birdlife so we should see some Guillemot, Kittiwakes and, the most famous residents, Puffins (until late July).
After our visit to Duncansby we turn southwards for home. Our journey will take us through Wick and there will be a comfort stop along the way before we make journey's end in Inverness.
Day 4 - Cairngorm National Park and Whisky Trail Excursion
From Inverness we make the short journey to the seaside resort of Nairn, a popular holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin. Our first stop of the day will be at fairy-tale Brodie Castle, the seat of the Brodie Clan for over 400 years. There will be time to discover the impressive apartments which are home to an extensive art collection and library containing over 6,000 books! The extensive grounds are ideal for taking a relaxing woodland walk. If you prefer you can enjoy free time in the neighbouring town of Forres which is known for its delightful floral displays.
Later we make for the Spey Valley and our lunch stop at Glenfiddich Distillery. The chef at this popular restaurant is famed for their creative dishes using locally sourced ingredients.
In the nearby village of Craigellachie we’ll stop to make a fascinating visit to Speyside Cooperage. Here you’ll see the coopers at work creating and repairing the barrels that are used to store scotch whisky. Using traditional tools and methods the casks produced here are exported all over the World.
This area of Scotland is famous for the production of Whisky so no visit would be complete without a visit to a whisky distillery. We’ll stop at famous Glenlivet Distillery where after hearing how "the water of life” is produced during our guided tour of the whisky stills we can sample a "wee dram” in the tasting room.
Alternatively, if whisky isn’t your thing, you can visit romantic Ballindalloch Castle, a family home since 1546. During your tour you can see the grand ding room, vaunted hall and enchanting nursery complete with antique toys.
Our return to Inverness will take us through the natural beauty of the Cairngorm National Park.
Day 5 - Inverness - Dolphin Spotting - Edinburgh
After breakfast we make our way through Glen Convinth to reach Beauly. The monks who built Beauly Priory in the 13th Century called it Beau Lieu or beautiful place. You'll soon discover why! On certain departures you’ll also have the opportunity of visiting the nearby Glen Ord Malt Whisky Distillery to see how Scotland’s national drink is lovingly produced. Our tour continues through the Black Isle where we will enjoy scenic views over the Cromarty Firth as we travel to the little fishing village of Cromarty. Our next stop is at Chanonry Point, a popular vantage point to spot the community of bottlenose dolphins that live in the Moray Firth. On the outskirts of Inverness join your motorcoach for our tour south.
The route will take us into the spectacular Cairngorm National Park and the Spey Valley, for the best views of the Cairngorm Mountains, then through the dramatic scenery of the Drumochter Pass and onwards to Glen Garry - watch out for imposing Blair Castle. We continue our journey through the rolling Perthshire countryside to Perth from where it’s homeward bound to journey's end in Edinburgh.
The order in which excursions are operated may vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Freestyle Mini Tour?
These tours are ideal if you are an independent spirit as they offer the ideal blend of structured sightseeing and relaxing free time. Instead of spending your entire tour with the same group you’ll join a different party of fellow passengers each day to explore different aspects of the Highlands. All Freestyle Mini Tours are based in Inverness, which is an excellent base offering good quality accommodation, great shopping plus a wide choice of dining opportunities and evening diversions. A bonus is having to unpack, just once, plus there is no luggage restrictions. On the journeys between Edinburgh/Glasgow and Inverness you’ll travel in a large motorcoach allowing you to relax and enjoy the journey in comfort. Once you are based in Inverness you will travel on a different excursion each day by air-conditioned mini or midicoach. Each tour is led by a local driver/guide who will provide an entertaining and informative commentary. Comfortable guest house accommodation with en-suite bathrooms, tv and other amenities is included in the price of all tours. You can choose to upgrade to hotel accommodation, at extra cost, if you wish. Breakfast is included during your stay in Inverness. Each morning you’ll be picked up from your lodgings by the tour coach. After a day of discovery you’ll be dropped in Inverness City Centre where you can get something to eat before returning, independently, to your accommodation. If you are a free spirit that likes to get behind the tourist veneer then a Freestyle mini-tour is just for you.
Can you tell me more about the optional extras on this tour?
Admission fees are not included in the cost of the tour so to complement your itinerary you can choose to participate in these exciting options:
Visit to Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Cruise
Visit hauntingly beautiful Urquhart Castle, once one of Scotland’s largest castles. The castle boasts a commanding presence overlooking the loch. After time to explore the castle and admire the views take to the water for a cruise on Loch Ness. Please note that for operational reasons it’s not possible to visit Urquhart Castle only.
The cost of the ticket is £19 per adult and £15 per child.
The links above will give you more information on these attractions as well as current prices. On some tours discounted prices are available to tour passengers - your driver/guide will provide more information if this applies. Not all attractions accept payment by credit or debit card so you should carry sufficient cash should you be planning a visit.
Tell me about my accommodation and which type of room should I choose?
The cost of accommodation is included in the cost of your tour. On this tour you can choose between Guesthouse/B&B or Hotel accommodation: Guesthouse and B&B. The guesthouses and B&Bs are family run and offer comfortable accommodation in bedrooms that have en-suite bathrooms, tv, tea/coffee making facilities and other amenities. Bedding, towels and basic toiletries are provided. Some guesthouses and B&Bs offer enhanced facilities such as a resident’s lounge where you can relax with other guests. Hotel. We select comfortable hotels that are a minimum of 3 stars with bedrooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, television, tea and coffee making facilities and other amenities. All have restaurants offering a selection of Scottish and international dishes as well as comfortable bars where you can relax and un-wind. All hotels are city-centre located. The guesthouses and B&Bs are a 10/15 minute walk from Inverness City Centre.
What sort of weather can I expect?
Ah, this is the $64,000 question! It may surprise you to know that we have a very temperate climate in Scotland. The geography of Scotland means that it does rain more frequently in the west of the country and there are stronger winds in the east. If it does rain on your tour we will not be too concerned and neither should you be – we need it to make our whisky!
Tell me what the visit to a whisky distillery will be like?
A visit to a traditional whisky distillery is a feast for all the senses. After a warm welcome you’ll normally have a short audio/visual presentation on the the history of the distillery and the traditional methods used in the distilling process. Next is a tour of the distillery where you you will experience all stages of the whisky making process from mashing and fermenting to distilling and maturation. Your tour will end with a tutored tasting of a malt whisky and the opportunity to buy a souvenir of your visit in the distillery shop.
- 4 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Inverness (4)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (4)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Full day excursion to Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye with local driver/guide
- Full day excursion to the Cairngorm National Park with local driver/guide
- Full day exursion to John O'Groats and the Far North with local driver/guide
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned touring coach or mini/midi coach
- Live commentary in English
- Services of an experienced guide and/or driver/guide
- Service charges and taxes
- Admission charges
- Meals, snacks or items of a personal nature
- Gratuity to your driver/guide
From 87 High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1SG
Check-in: 07:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 20:30 hrs
Child discount applies to children aged 3 to 15 years.
We’re really sorry but children aged under 3 years cannot travel on this tour.
Photo-ID may be requested to confirm discount entitlement.
The price of this tour includes guest house accommodation with en-suite bathroom. You can up-grade to hotel accommodation at extra cost during the booking process.
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour.
Please see the FAQ section for more information on this tour.
Product code ST 02089