Discover the capital city of Edinburgh, charming St. Andrews & Aberdeen, the Scottish Highlands, historic Inverness, breathtaking Isle of Skye & the port city of Glasgow.
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. (Some exceptions, including special promotional packaged, may accommodate up to 24.) More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Group Size||16 travelers max|
|Themes||History & Culture, Bucket List|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.|
|Already booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.|
Get updates about this package
From the magnificent landscapes dotted with timeless castles and the mystery behind the famous Loch Ness monster to sipping traditional Scottish whisky in some of the numerous quaint and historic towns, it's clear how Scotland captures the hearts of travelers with ease. This fascinating 11-day adventure begins and ends in one of the world's finest capital cities: Edinburgh. Spend time wandering the medieval streets and visiting well-known landmarks, including the Royal Mile and Calton Hill. Bask in the collegiate atmosphere surrounding the charming town of St. Andrews and visit the Dunnottor Castle in Aberdeen before diving into the award-winning whisky process at a local distillery and discovering the traditional working day of a Highland Shepherd. Then, journey to the Isle of Skye to cross the Skye Bridge and enjoy the incredible panoramic views of the island's mountains and rocky coast. And, of course, a trip to Scotland is complete with a visit to the famous Loch Ness Lake: be on the lookout for the mystical creature who calls this lake home, Nessie! Round out your journey with a visit to the Eilean Donan Castle, one of Scotland's most iconic images, surrounded by some of the country's most breathtaking scenery in the Scottish Highlands.
- Round-trip flights from New York (NYC) to Edinburgh (EDI), including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees
- All ground transportation and transfers
- 9 nights in Deluxe and First-Class Superior hotel accommodations
- 15 Meals: 9 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 4 Dinners
- Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
- Professional, English-speaking tour guide
- Flights from other cities are available. Request pricing when making your reservation.
- Optional visit to the battlefield of Culloden
Why you'll love it
- Explore Scotland's two most prominent cities: Edinburgh and Glasgow.
- Cruise along Loch Ness and visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle, rumored to be the best place to spot the elusive Loch Ness Monster!
- Enjoy a demonstration of a typical working day of a Highland sheepdog at a local farm.
- Stop in Culross and Falkland, two stunning little villages featured in the hit television series, Outlander.
- Explore the collegiate town of St. Andrews, known worldwide as The Home of Golf, and where the iconic opening sequence of Chariots of Fire was filmed.
- Stand in the footsteps of William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots at Dunnottor Castle.
- Take part in a Scottish whisky tasting and learn how to make Cranachan, a typical Scottish dessert.
- Cross the Skye Bridge and admire the dramatic panoramic views of the landscape.
- Visit the Falkirk Wheel, the world's only rotating boat lift, before enjoying a boat ride along the canal below.
- Admire the 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, one of Scotland's most visited attractions.
- Discover what life in the Iron Age was like at the Scottish Crannog Center.
Itinerary at a Glance
- 1 Depart USA
- 2 Arrive Edinburgh
- 3 Culross, Falkland, St Andrews, Aberdeen
- 4 Dunnottar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Aberdeen
- 5 Scottish Highlands
- 6 Inverness
- Optional Excursion: Tour of Culloden Battlefield site, $35
- 7 Isle of Skye
- 8 Falkirk Wheel, Glasgow
- 9 Glasgow, Edinburgh
- 10 Edinburgh
- 11 Edinburgh/USA
Day 1 Depart USA
- Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Edinburgh, ScotlandFull Day Itinerary
Depart the USA on your overnight flight to Edinburgh, Scotland
Day 2 Arrive Edinburgh
- Upon arrival, meet our representative and transfer to your hotel
- Meet your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at your hotel
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh or similar DinnerFull Day Itinerary
Upon arrival in Edinburgh, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Most flights arrive early in the morning, but your hotel will allow you to safely store your luggage while you explore the city on your own. Today is yours at leisure to discover Edinburgh independently or relax at the hotel. This evening, join your fellow travelers for dinner.
Day 3 Culross, Falkland, St Andrews, Aberdeen
- Stop in the villages of Culross and Falkland, filming locations for the Outlander series
- Visit Falkland Palace and Gardens, the hunting lodge of Mary, Queen of Scotts
- Stroll through the charming town of St Andrews
Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel & Spa or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
After breakfast, depart Edinburgh for Aberdeen. Along the way, stop in Culross and Falkland, two stunning little villages featured in the hit television series, Outlander. Step into the Falkland Palace and Gardens, the hunting lodge of Mary, Queen of Scots, and home of one of the few 'Royal Tennis' courts. Continue to St. Andrews, known worldwide as The Home of Golf, and for the magnificent West Sands beach, where the iconic opening sequence of Chariots of Fire was filmed. This famous town also boasts Scotland's oldest university and is often compared to Oxford and Cambridge for its defining presence and the collegiate feel it lends to the town. See for yourself on a walking tour of this charming and historical place where you can see the exterior wall of St Andrews Cathedral, once the largest church in Scotland.
Continue to Aberdeen for your overnight stay.
Day 4 Dunnottar Castle, Balmoral Castle, Aberdeen
- Stop at the ruins of the cliff-top fortress of Dunnottar Castle
- Visit Balmoral Castle, Queen Elizabeth II's private Scottish home*
- Enjoy afternoon cream tea
- Visit St Machar's Cathedral
Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel & Spa or similar BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
This morning, see Dunnottar Castle's ruins, perched on a cliff on the edge of the North Sea. The fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, at one time one of the most powerful families in Scotland. William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, and the Marquis of Montrose have graced the castle with their presence. However, the castle is most famously known for its location, where a small garrison held out for eight months against Cromwell's mighty army and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction.
Later pay a visit to Balmoral Castle, a large estate house in royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, owned by Queen Elizabeth II. The estate was purchased in 1852 by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, and later expanded to present-day Balmoral Castle. Although this private property remains in the hands of the British Royal Family, it is not part of the Crown Estate. Instead, it was the summer residence of Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the estate on September 8, 2022.*
Enjoy some free time in the village of Ballater, with an afternoon cream tea before returning to Aberdeen for a panoramic tour of old Aberdeen, the University area, and a visit to St Machar's Cathedral.
*Note: Balmoral Castle is open for public visits from April 1 to August 2, 2023
Day 5 Scottish Highlands
- Take part in a Scottish whisky tasting at a well-known distillery
- Visit Cairngorms National Park
- Enjoy a demonstration of a typical working day of a Highland sheepdog at a local farm
AC Hotel by Marriott Inverness or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
Today, immerse yourself in learning about some of Scotland's great traditions! First, visit a local distillery and learn about every part of the Scotch whisky-making tradition. Tour the distillery to see how artisans create whiskies with generations of understanding. See the still house where the stillmen capture the sweetest part of the distillate from unusually sized copper stills. View the generations of gently maturing casks. Learn how they achieve depth and flavor consistency through their range of exceptional whiskies. Conclude your visit with a guided tasting of Scotch whisky world-renowned single malts.
Next, head to a local farm for a sheepdog demonstration amidst some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery. Participate in the traditional working day of a Highland Shepherd and their dogs and witness up to eight dogs working as a team, maneuvering sheep and ducks through various obstacles. Learn the dogs' commands and how each responds to their whistles while their handler explains each move. Keep your camera handy, as you're sure to make some unforgettable memories today!
Later, visit the Cairngorms National Park and enjoy the spectacular landscape. Continue to Inverness and check in to your hotel.
Day 6 Inverness
- Try to spot the elusive Nessie during a cruise on Loch Ness
- Step back in time at the medieval Urquhart Castle
AC Hotel by Marriott Inverness or similar BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
After breakfast, enjoy a cruise along Loch Ness. Loch Ness is the most voluminous lake in the UK and contains more water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined. This area of the Highlands is world-renowned for its dramatic scenery, not to mention the mysterious tales of a giant monster living beneath the dark expanses of the loch! Disembark at Urquhart Castle, offering a taste of the Highlands at their most dramatic. Experience a glimpse of medieval life and stunning views of Loch Ness from the ruins of the most extraordinary castle in the Highlands. The castle is home to a remarkable collection of artifacts left by its residents and historical replicas, including a full-sized, working trebuchet siege engine. Urquhart Castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in Scotland's history. Acts of chivalry and defiance here inspired the Wars of Independence, where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for power. Urquhart Castle's 1,000 castle ruins are rumored to be the best place to spot the Loch Ness Monster!
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Inverness, or join an optional tour to Culloden, the site of the 1745 battle between the Scots and the English.Optional Excursion: Tour of Culloden Battlefield site, $35
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Inverness, or join an optional tour to Culloden, site of the 1745 battle between the Scots and the English. The Battle of Culloden was end of a ferocious war the set clan against clan. Here the Jacobites took their last stand to restore exiled James III as King. The tired are exhausted Jacobites were defeated in less than 1 hour, leaving an estimated 1,300 men dead, 1,250 of them were Jacobites.
Day 7 Isle of Skye
- Witness spectacular views down Loch Ness from Fort Augustus
- Travel “The Road to the Isles”
- Take a ferry to Isle of Skye
- Enjoy a fish and chips lunch
- Cross the Skye Bridge and see the Eilean Donan Castle
AC Hotel by Marriott Inverness or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day Itinerary
Following an early breakfast, travel south towards the Isle of Skye. The first stop of the day will be at Fort Augustus. Lying on the impressive 60 mile long Caledonian Canal, halfway between Inverness and Ft Williams, Fort Augustus offers spectacular views down Loch Ness. Continue towards Fort William, follow “The Road to the Isles”, and arrive in Mallaig. In the words of the song written about Bonnie Prince Charlie fleeing to the Island, take the ferry and cross “Over the Sea to Skye”. Travel up the east coast through the beautiful Red Cuillin Mountains and onto the colorful harbor town of Portree where you can enjoy fish and chips for lunch. Later, journey back to the mainland over the Skye Bridge and see the Eilean Donan Castle, notably one of the most iconic images of Scotland. It is home to where three great sea lochs meet and some of Scotland's most breathtaking scenery in the Scottish Highlands. Make your way back to Inverness.
Day 8 Falkirk Wheel, Glasgow
- Visit the Scottish Crannog Center and learn what life in the Iron Age was like
- Enjoy lunch and assemble your own Cranachan
- Visit the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal
- Continue to Glasgow
Clayton Hotel Glasgow City or similar Breakfast & lunchFull Day ItineraryThis morning, depart the Highlands and head south to Glasgow. Along the way, stop at the Scottish Crannog Center, an award-winning, interactive center that shows what life in the Iron Age was like in a reconstructed prehistoric loch-dwelling. Originally built as an archaeological experiment based on underwater discoveries, the thatched roundhouse in the shallows of Loch Tay is a living museum on the water. The center overlooks the remains of 4 of the 18 ancient crannog settlements preserved in the loch, with the picturesque village of Kenmore to the east and stunning views toward Ben Lawers and Killin to the west.
Later, arrive to a local restaurant where you will sample a whisky or two, choose the one that best suits your pallet and assemble your own Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made of cream, fresh seasonal raspberries and Scottish whisky and oats; known as the king of Scottish desserts. Then enjoy lunch while the cranachan chills and later have it for dessert.En route to Glasgow, visit the Falkirk Wheel, the world's only rotating boat lift, linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Union Canal 114 feet above, allowing vessels to sail through the sky thanks to a unique fusion of art and engineering. At the Falkirk wheel, you also see the 30m high Kelpies sculptures representing Scotland's reliance on the heavy horse industry and the mythical Celtic creatures. Enjoy a boat trip on the canal.
Arrive in Glasgow and check in at your hotel.
Day 9 Glasgow, Edinburgh
- Panoramic tour of Glasgow and Cathedral of St Mungo
- Visit Kelvingrove Art Gallery
- Stop at Rosslyn Chapel, made famous in Dan Brown’s book, The Davinci Code
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh or similar BreakfastFull Day ItinerarySet out on a panoramic tour of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. From the magnificent St. Mungo Cathedral to the People's Palace and Glasgow Green, explore Glasgow's rich past as a religious center and one of Britain's most important industrial cities. The Victorian architecture of the city center offers a striking contrast to the expensive parks of the West End. Among those, Kelvingrove provides a haven of peace in the city, with amazing views of Glasgow University's buildings and the Kelvingrove Museum. It is not hard to see why Glasgow is home to Scotland's most celebrated architect: Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Continue to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery, one of Scotland's most visited attractions, housed in a magnificent building with 22 themed, state-of-the-art galleries displaying an astonishing 8,000 pieces. The internationally significant collections cover natural history, arms and armor art from various movements and periods, and much more. Take an expert-led journey to the heart of one of the great civic museums of Europe with collections of major international significance, including Dali, Rembrandt, Picasso, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Enjoy an overview of the incredible displays of art, archaeology, natural history, world culture, and Scottish history.Stop at Rosslyn Chapel, made famous in the Dan Brown book, The Davinci Code. The chapel was built in 1446 by the St Clair family, full of symbolic stone carvings from the Knights Templar to Nature motifs.Arrive in Edinburgh later today and check in at your hotel.
Day 10 Edinburgh
- Discover Edinburgh on a panoramic tour
- Visit Edinburgh Castle
- Farewell dinner at Grand Café
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh or similar Breakfast & dinnerFull Day Itinerary
Edinburgh is one of the world's finest capital cities, thanks to its cultural diversity and impressive history. The medieval streets run through the city, telling their story about Edinburgh's 1,000-year-old traditions and myths. The city is the medieval 'Old Town' and the Georgian 18th Century 'New Town.' Throughout today's panoramic tour, get to know different parts of the city, such as the Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyrood house, the Princes Street Gardens, Calton Hill, and many more.
Visit Edinburgh Castle and learn about its rich history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress. Head up Castle Hill and retrace the footsteps of kings and queens as you explore the Crown room, home to the oldest Crown Jewels in the UK, the Scottish Crown Jewels, and the Stone of Destiny, which all Scottish and UK Kings and Queens are crowned upon.
Spend the afternoon exploring the city independently or purchasing some last-minute souvenirs.
This evening join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at Grand Café in the 1905 Scotsman building on the North Bridge, the previous home of the national newspaper – The Scotsman.
Day 11 Edinburgh/USA
- Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA
BreakfastFull Day Itinerary
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the USA
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh is a short walk from the city center and only a 3-minute walk to The Real Mary King's Close. Scottish Parliament, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, and the Scottish National Gallery are also not too far away.
Sandman Signature Aberdeen Hotel & Spa is located in the center of Aberdeen, in one of the most historic buildings, the former Robert Gordon University, St Andrews Street Campus. The landmark building contributes to the architectural landscape of the city. The property includes a fully equipped fitness room and a signature spa where you can relax and unwind after a day of traveling.
AC Hotel by Marriott Inverness is located in the Scottish Highlands in one of Scotland's most picturesque cities, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth. The property is just a short distance from Inverness Railway Station, restaurants, and bars.
Clayton Hotel Glasgow City is conveniently located in the center of Glasgow, in a restored Custom House building, originally built in the 19th century, on the banks of the River Clyde. The hotel has historic charm with our modern amenities.
In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.
Reviews & Photos
We love hearing your stories and seeing your photos! Here are some moments other travelers captured on this package. Or check out our entire fan photo gallery.
- What should I know before I go? We've compiled a comprehensive checklist, including information on how to pay your balance due, flights & transfers, packing & luggage, and more.
- Do I need a visa or other documents? Are there any entry requirements? Please review the visa & entry requirements.
- Can I make changes to my trip? Want to upgrade your seats? Depart from another city? Stay a few extra days? Something else? Just ask!
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at time of travel.
- Should I purchase travel insurance? Yes! We recommend you purchase travel insurance to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer a plan provided by Travelex Insurance Services.
- What's the fine print? Review the terms & conditions for this package.
- What should I know about Scotland? Check out our guide for practical travel tips, the best time to go, videos, and more.
More Common Questions
- Common Questions Answers to our travelers' most frequently asked questions.