Iona, Mull, Skye and Orkney Small Group Tour
9 day / 8 night tour
This engaging tour showcases the amazing diversity of Scotland’s islands. Explore the lonely glens of Mull and experience the tranquillity of Iona. On Skye, the largest of the Hebridean islands, see the dramatic Cuillin Hills and the bizarre landscape of Trotternish. Journey to the Northern Isles to visit the pre-historic gems of the Orkney Islands. This epic island adventure has it all!
Price range: £1,125 - £1,445
Small Group Tour - travel in an intimate group of just 16 passengers
Mull and Iona - explore the remote glens, sweeping bays and charming villages of Mull and the tranquillity of the little island of Iona
Skye - discover the soaring peaks of the Cuillin Hills, the jurassic landscape of Trotternish and the colourful fishing port of Portree
Loch Ness - enjoy relaxing in the loch-side village of Fort Augustus
Orkney Islands - visit pre-historic standing stones; the Neolithic village of Skara Brae and see the Viking graffiti at Maeshowe Cairn!
Movie locations - Prometheous, Highlander and The Silver Darlings
Guest house accommodation included - hotel upgrade option available
Full Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Edinburgh - Oban - Tobermory (Isle of Mull)
It’s goodbye to Edinburgh as we make our way across Scotland to reach Glasgow then onwards to Loch Lomond, the Queen of Scottish lochs. Enjoy the panoramic views as we travel along the “bonnie, bonnie banks” to reach the little village of Tarbet.
Next we travel through the Argyll Forest Park and use the Rest and be Thankful Pass to climb through Glen Kinglas. The picturesque town of Inveraray sits on the banks of Loch Fyne. We’ll make a stop here so you can view Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Duke of Argyll. As our journey continues along the banks of Loch Awe look out for the romantic ruins of Kilchurn Castle which date from 1440.
Oban sits in a sheltered bay and is a bustling fishing and ferry port. We’ve got some free time here so you can choose to browse the many shops or sit by the bay and watch the ferries come and go. Located in the centre of the town is Oban Whisky Distillery which creates fine malt whisky. Why not enjoy a tour and have a wee taste of the end product too! If you are feeling energetic then the climb to McCaig’s Tower will reward you with wonderful views of the town and islands beyond.
Later we board the modern ferry for our crossing to the Isle of Mull. As we make our approach to the island look out for Duart Castle, a stronghold of the Clan MacLean.
Overnight: Tobermory, Isle of Mull (2 nights)
Day 2 - Mull and Iona Excursion
Today we have a full day excursion to the tranquil and serene Isle of Iona to enjoy. Our tour commences with a scenic drive through the varied island scenery of Mull to reach the little port of Fionnphort. We leave our coach behind and join the ferry for the short crossing to reach the Isle of Iona.
Centuries of Scottish History can be traced through the ancient monuments, pictish carvings and Celtic Crosses that are scattered across this little island. Visit Iona Abbey and Nunnery, built by St Columba in the sixth century, and a place of pilgrimage ever since. Later seek out the graves of the Kings who were buried in the nearby graveyard and explore the thirteenth century nunnery. After time to contemplate the significance of this enchanting island return to Mull to rejoin the coach for the journey back to Tobermory.
Day 3 - Tobermory - Glen Coe - Isle of Skye
We bid farewell to the Isle of Mull and make our way through remote Morvern. This is one of the remotest parts of the UK and home to a wide variety of wildlife including deer, wildcats and eagles. At Ardgour we board another ferry for the short crossing of the Corran Narrows then head into the spectacular scenery of Glen Coe. During our journey hear the tragic tale of the Massacre that took place here in 1692.
Please note at this point you will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide.
Fort William is our next highlight followed by our drive through The Great Glen, one of Scotland’s most beautiful destinations. Take time out to visit pretty Eilean Donan Castle which sits on a little island where three great sealochs meet. Star of many movies including Highlander and James Bond Eilean Donan is one of Scotland’s most iconic castles.
Overnight: Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Day 4 - Exploring the Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides. It is famed for its scenic beauty and today it is ours to discover! Our drive will skirt the base of the Cuillin Hills that dominate the landscape. We will make a stop so that you can capture the scene considered by many to be one of the most attractive mountain views in the UK.
The Trotternish Peninsula provides a striking landscape. On our tour we’ll see The Old Man of Storr, a large pinnacle of rock created by an ancient landslide. Later visit Kilt Rock, said to resemble the pleats in a kilt as well as the Quiraing, an extra-ordinary cluster of pinnacles and peaks which looks just like a mountain range, in miniature.
We’ll make a stop for lunch in Portree, the main town on the island. This attractive community is clustered around a colourful natural harbour that is home to a small fleet of fishing boats. In the bustling town centre you’ll find a wide selection of shops, restaurants and pubs all serving freshly prepared food to enjoy.
This afternoon enjoy a scenic drive to visit Dun Beag Broch, an amazingly well-preserved Iron Age fort which has wonderful views over Loch Bracadale and the Cuillin Hills. Later tour through the attractive Sleat Peninsula, famed for its strong Gaelic connections. We’ll stop at pretty Eilean Iarmain where you can enjoy a tasting of some traditionally produced island whisky before returning to your accommodation.
Day 5 - Isle of Skye - Loch Ness - Fort Augustus
A very relaxing day today as we make the short journey through Glen Shiel. As we travel through this historic valley look out for the imposing Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range. Our home for tonight is in the popular village of Fort Augustus, scenically located at the southern end of Loch Ness. The rest of the day is at leisure here. While you are in these attractive Highland surroundings why not enjoy a relaxing monster-spotting cruise on Loch Ness?
Please note at this point you will join a new group of travelling companions and meet your new driver-guide on day six.
Overnight: Fort Augustus
Day 6 - Fort Augustus - Inverness - Kirkwall (Orkney Islands)
After breakfast drive the entire length of Loch Ness to reach Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands. Continue across the Moray Firth and Cromarty Firth and enjoy spectacular sea views as we make our way northwards along the famous North Coast 500 (NC500) route.
At Gills Bay join the modern ferry for the crossing of the Pentland Firth. Soon we are in the ancient Orkney Islands and ready to step back in time to discover over 6,000 years of history!
Italian Prisoners-of-War during World War II built the Churchill Barriers originally as naval defences but now used as a network of causeways linking the islands together. As we travel from island to island you’ll get a good view of Scapa Flow which was an important naval base during both World Wars. The POW’s also created the hand-painted Italian Chapel on the Orkney Mainland as a place of worship. We’ll make a stop so you can visit this ornate building which was created from a simple Nissen hut.
The main town on the Orkney Islands is Kirkwall and it makes a superb base of our stay.
Overnight: Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (2 nights)
Day 7 - Exploring the Orkney Islands
We spend the entire day exploring the Orkney Islands and visiting some of its most significant pre-historic sites.
Skara Brae was buried by sand for nearly 4,500 years. In 1850 a storm uncovered the well preserved remains of a stone-age village. On our visit you’ll be able to see the nine surviving Neolithic houses complete with their stone furniture then step inside a replica house to discover more about the lives of the Neolitic villagers who lived here.
It’s a short drive to Maeshowe Chambered Cairn , an amazingly well preserved Neolithic Burial Chamber which dates from around 2,500 BC. With a massive vaunted chamber it is a wonderful example of prehistoric architecture. During your visit look out for the “graffiti” left by the Vikings who are thought to have raided the tomb 1,000 years ago!
Orkney is home to a number of mysterious stone circles. We’ll visit one of the most impressive, The Ring of Brodgar which features a circle of 36 stones thought to have originally been part of a ceremonial site.
Back in Kirkwall we’ll make a visit to the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral which dates from the 12th Century before enjoying a relaxing evening with our fellow travellers.
Day 8 - Orkney Islands - Dunrobin Castle – Inverness
We have a leisurely start this morning. There’s time to explore the many craft shops in Kirkwall before boarding the coach for our drive to the ferry terminal. During our short crossing watch as the views of the Orkney Islands fade away as we make our way to mainland Scotland.
Impressive Dunrobin Castle has been the home of the Clan Sutherland for over 600 years and is modelled in the style of a French Chateau. We’ll stop here so you can explore the many attractions including fine furniture, tapestries and family portraits. The formal gardens are particularly pleasant with falconry displays on the castle lawn daily.
Our journey continues across the Cromarty and Moray Firths to reach Inverness our home for tonight.
Day 9 - Inverness - Culloden Moor - Edinburgh
The last day of our tour starts with a visit to Culloden Moor which sits on the outskirts of Inverness. It was here in 1746 that the Jacobite Army of Bonnie Prince Charlie met the Government Troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland in a bloody battle. During our visit you can walk on the moor to soak up the atmosphere or discover more about the battle and its impact on life in the Highlands at the Battlefield Visitor Centre.
Next enjoy scenic views as we travel through the Cairngorms National Park and make our way through the Grampian Mountains. We’ll make a stop in the pleasant town of Pitlochry before making the last part of our journey through the Kingdom of Fife back to Edinburgh.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect on this Small Group Tour?
With an average of just 16 passengers (and never more than 20) a Small Group Tour will provide a more intimate and flexible travelling experience. These tours are carefully planned to travel off the highways so you’ll discover quaint villages and picturesque vistas that other tours just can’t access. All the small group tours that we feature are operated by purpose built luxury minicoaches that feature air-conditioning, panoramic windows, wifi, usb charging points and comfortable seating. Each group is led by an experienced driver/guide who will entertain and inform you with stories of our history, nature and folklore. 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. A delicious Scottish breakfast is included each morning of your stay. If you’ve got more time to spare a series of extraordinary itineraries has been created by combining one or more shorter tours. Seamless in operation these unique holidays allow you to discover even more of Scotland’s Highlands and Islands. A feature of these tours is that you will travel with a different driver/guide and fellow travellers for each portion of the itinerary.
Can you tell me more about the optional extras on this tour?
The tour fare includes transportation by luxury mini or midicoach and the services of a professional driver/guide. Admission to the attractions featured on this tour is optional so you can choose to visit or not depending on your interests. The tour itinerary will allow time for you to enjoy visits to:
The links above will give you more information on these attractions as well as current admission 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 price 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 facilities. Bedding, towels and basic toiletries are provided. Some guesthouses and B&B’s 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. Most have restaurants offering a selection of Scottish and international dishes as well as comfortable bars where you can relax and un-wind. Accommodation is spread throughout the communities that we stay in and are seldom more than a 10/15 minute walk from the town or village centre.
How much luggage can I bring?
Luggage space on the tour is restricted so the amount of luggage that you can bring is limited. Please check the relevant tour web-page for details.
What meals are included ?
A full Scottish breakfast is included from day 2 onwards. This hearty meal consists of fruit juice; a choice of cereal; bakery basket; cooked items such as eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato and, maybe, a taste of haggis! plus tea or coffee. Vegetarian and lighter Continental options are always available. Lunch and dinner are not included in the price. During the touring day there will be a stop where you can enjoy lunch in a local pub or restaurant. Your driver/guide will be happy to suggest a conveniently located restaurant where you can enjoy good food for dinner.
- 8 nights guest house or hotel accommodation
- Location: Tobermory, Isle of Mull (2); Isle of Skye (2); Fort Augustus (1); Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (2) and Inverness (1)
- Scottish/Continental breakfast (8)
- Transportation by luxury air-conditioned minicoach with wifi and usb charging points
- Live commentary in English
- Ferry to Isle of Mull
- Ferry to Isle of Iona
- Ferry to the Orkney Islands
- Services of an experienced 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: 08:15 hrs
Tour Departs: 08:30 hrs
Tour Returns: 19:00 hrs
Concession discount applies to adults aged 60 years and above; students and children aged 3 to 15 years inclusive.
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.
One medium sized suitcase/bag per person (maximum weight: 15 kilos)
In order to give you maximum flexibility admission fees are not included in the cost of this tour. See Frequently Asked Questions for more information and guidance on prices.