Highlands and The Isle of Skye - 3 day tour
Highlands and the Isle of Skye
3 day / 2 night tour
Price range: £330 - £575
There are so many famous sights to be seen on this popular three-day tour including Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, the Great Glen and Loch Ness. From your base in Inverness explore the beauty of the Isle of Skye in comfort including the soaring peaks of the Cuillin Hills and the wonderful coastal vistas. Spend time in Portree, the island’s main town and discover how Talisker Malt Whisky is produced. There is so much to enjoy on this popular tour.
Glen Coe - Scotland’s most famous valley is awesome! We’ll stop so you can capture the scene
Loch Ness - enjoy a visit to ancient Urquhart Castle and a short cruise on the loch
Isle of Skye - see the amazing Cuillin Hills, visit the colourful town of Portree and take a stroll to see the beautiful Fairy Pools
Eilean Donan Castle - enjoy views of this picturesque castle sitting on its little island on Loch Duich
Beauly - enjoy free time to discover this attractive town then step back in time to discover the fascinating story of its 13th Century priory
Movie locations - The Quest for Fire, Being Human and Outlaw King
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Glen Coe - Inverness
Edinburgh is hardly behind us before we join the highway to the Highlands! There are great views on the way of Stirling Castle, once a great Royal residence of the Stuart kings and queens, as we take the historic cattle drovers' route towards Doune and pretty Callander. The Pass of Leny is a narrow gorge with a fast-flowing river and, as we reach the northern end, we're in the Highlands.
Enjoy views over Loch Tulla as the coach climbs the Black Mount to reach the plateau of Rannoch Moor, a land of heather, peat and lochs extending over 50 square miles. We learn the tragic story of Glen Coe when we stop to view the hauntingly majestic beauty of Scotland's most famous glen.
Our tour continues through Fort William, which has an idyllic location on the banks of Loch Linnhe at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain.
Next explore the Great Glen, a scenic landscape that extends all the way from Fort William to Inverness. Enjoy the ever-changing panorama of towering mountain scenery and three picturesque lochs - Lochy, Oich and, of course, Ness!
We drive the complete length of Loch Ness, stopping at Urquhart Castle for the option of a visit and then enjoy a cruise on the loch. The castle sits at the deepest part of the loch, so keep the camera ready just in case you-know-who makes an appearance!
A short drive takes us to our home for tonight in Inverness, the 'Capital of the Highlands'.
Overnight: Inverness (2 nights)
Day 2 - Isle of Skye and Eilean Donan Castle Excursion
Today we point our compass west to the beautiful Isle of Skye.
We begin our journey with a drive through the Black Isle to reach Achnasheen. The journey continues with a scenic tour through Glen Carron, stopping to enjoy the panoramic views over Loch Carron.
A short drive takes us “over the sea to Skye”, where we follow the coastal route which includes beautiful vistas towards the islands of Pabay and Scalpay. The jagged Cuillin Hills dominate Skye; so we will find the very best vantage point to appreciate them along the way.
The destination for this part of the tour is Portree, the island’s main town. We will stop so you can enjoy lunch and browse the many independently owned shops that can be found off the main square. You might want to take a stroll to admire the attractive harbour surrounded by pastel-painted buildings.
This afternoon we make for Talisker Distillery, set by the banks of Loch Harport. Dating from 1830 this is the island’s original distillery, and it produces a smoky-tasting malt whisky that is enjoyed by aficionados all over the World. During our time here, there is a chance to tour the distillery to learn about the production process and enjoy a tutored tasting.
Our last stop on Skye is to see the delightful Fairy Pools. The 20-minute walk is rewarded with the glorious sight of the bright-blue waters cascading over waterfalls to fill a series of natural pools. With the Cuillin Hills in the background, it makes an excellent social-media post.
Back on the mainland, we stop to view iconic Eilean Donan Castle, which sits on a little island at the point where three great sea lochs come together.
Fascinating stories of battles and bloody clan feuds add colour to our trip through Glen Shiel before stopping in Invermoriston to see Thomas Telford’s famous bridge and the rushing falls of the River Moriston below. The last part of our tour takes us along the banks of Loch Ness to reach Inverness.
Day 3 - Inverness - Beauly - Edinburgh
Our last day starts with a visit Clava Cairns, an ancient burial site surrounded by standing stones which date back over 4,000 years. Fans of the Outlander novels will be interested to know that this is where Diana Gabaldon is thought to have taken inspiration for Craigh Na Dun, the split-stone where Claire falls back in time to 1743.
Next, there is a brief stop at Culloden Moor, where you can take a walk on the battlefield where the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was routed by the Government troops.
After a drive through Glen Convinth, we reach the attractive town of Beauly. The monks who built Beauly Priory in the 13th Century called it Beau Lieu or beautiful place. It's easy to see why.
Our tour continues through the Black Isle to reach Cromarty, a historic fishing port on the Cromarty Firth. After enjoying some free time make for 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 the tour south. The route will take us into the spectacular Cairngorms National Park then the Spey Valley, for the best views of the Cairngorm Mountains. There’s dramatic scenery all around as we travel through the Pass of Drumochter and head for Highland Perthshire.
After a break in delightful Pitlochry, we continue through the rolling countryside to Perth. The final part of our journey is through the Kingdom of Fife then over the Firth of Forth to journey's end in Edinburgh.
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.
What are the optional extras on this tour and how much do they cost?
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:
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.
Will I see dolphins?
It’s thought that there are approximately 195 dolphins living in the Moray Firth and we will visit Chanonry Point which is possibly the most famous place in Britain for land-based dolphin watching. Please bear in mind that the dolphins are wild animals so we can’t guarantee a sighting on any given day.
Will there be stops for meals and are they included in the price of the tour?
Meals are not included in the tour price, but we will make stops where you can get refreshments and something to eat. If you wish, you can bring a packed lunch or pick up lunch items at a previous stop. Vegetarian food is widely available.
- 2 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Inverness (2)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (2)
Visits, Admissions and Experiences
- Full day excursion to Eilean Donan Castle and the Isle of Skye 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 1 Parliament Square
Royal Mile/High Street
Edinburgh EH1 1RE
Check-in: 07:45 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:00 hrs
Tour Returns: 20:00 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.
Book by paying a 20% deposit. Make date changes or get a full refund with 8 days notice before travel. Click here for more information.
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.
Blogs and Guides - discover insider tips and ideas
Customer Reviews Overall Rating:
Rating:(4 /5) 15 May 2018
Hello and thank you for the tour. To start with, we loved the guest house (The Ach Aluinn) in Inverness.We took the freestyle tour. There was lack of information about what time and where we would be picked up. (and also what the freestyle tour is, when we first booked) This might make some guests uncomfortable. Maybe a whatsapp number that people can easily reach, can be better than mailing. The driver/guides were also nice. Especially the driver on 10th May was very informative. I think the last day of the tour can be improved. Until we meet the motorcoach, the driver was less informative, we didn't know the place of where we stopped or if there was any stories about that area, unlike others. and after we met the motorcoach, it was more like letting people rest and it felt like the tour was finished half-day. On itinerary there was the views of Blair Castle but we didn't get to go know when we passed it by neither went nearby the castle. I would prefer to see inside the Blair castle. Kindest Regards Thank you Sezen UmitliSEZEN from ANKARA, Turkey
Rating:(4 /5) 09 Apr 2018
Could have spent more time in places like isle of skye and skip places like cow feeding and other less interesting places. Felt the time spent in isle of skye is too rushed. Also a little too much driving around. Maybe reduce number of bus stop spots and allow more time each spot.Kanit from Bath, United Kingdom
Rating:(5 /5) 21 Sep 2017
The tour was amazing with a homely accommodation(Scorrybreac - the landlady Sandra is Wonderful and Lovely women she made the Best English Breakfast I have ever had). I would come back again to tour with you guys if I ever get a chance. Driver-Guides were Brilliant and knowledgeable. Day1 - Mike & Louis; Day2 - Victoria(Vicky); Day3 - Alison; I really had a fantastic time the whole 3 days and have loads of Beautiful memories made and met new people, was amazing... Thanks guys.DEEPIKA from CHESTERFIELD, , United Kingdom