On this program we explore some of the vastly different landscapes of Scotlnd. The Highlands with mountains, ancient castles, and Lochs tucked into valleys is the traditional home of the "Gaels." The Western Isles are mostly unspoilt with waterfalls, sandy beaches, and small seaside villages.
Transfer to the Inverness area. Dinner and overnight in Speyside.
Visit Culloden this morning, site of one of the costliest and most tragic battles in Scottish history. Not far away is Cawdor Castle, whose original foundation dates back to the twelfth century and is linked to Macbeth. You will visit and tour the castle and take time to stroll in the lovely gardens. Return to Speyside, the most important region in Scotland for whisky, with a higher number of distilleries than any other region. You will visit one of them this afternoon; a tour of the distillery will be followed by a tasting, an appropriate aperitif before dinner back at the hotel.
Your first visit will be to the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitors' Centre, to see how this traditional costume is made and worn. We can also arrange a visit to the Highland Archive Centre for those who are looking for their Scottish roots. Alternatively, you may like to visit the Black Isle, a peninsula just north of Inverness, with beautiful landscapes mostly undiscovered by tourists. Two fascinating museums here are Groam House, a centre of Pictish and Celtic art, and Hugh Miller's Cottage, dedicated to a seventeenth-century polymath, known particularly as a stonemason, geologist and author. Later, drive north-westwards to Ullapool to take the evening ferry to Stornaway. Overnight Stornaway.
Today we tour Harris and Lewis Islands. Technically one landmass but split into two islands, Lewis and Harris lie at the top of the Outer Hebrides off Scotland’s west coast. Each island offers a different landscape – from beaches with white sands and clear turquoise waters on Lewis to high mountains with deeply indented sea lochs on Harris. Overnight Stornaway.
Take the ferry to Skye. Scenic drive to the hotel; Dinner and overnight.
Skye Island tour, including Dunvegan Castle, Clan Donald Centre and Portree.
Ferry to the mainland. To Fort William then Oban. Dinner and overnight Oban.
Across the north and west sides of the islands to Fionnphort. Cross to Iona, one of the earliest Christian sites in Scotland, where St Columba and his followers established their community on a tiny island off Mull. Visit the Abbey and enjoy a hike around the island led by your guide. Later, return to Oban for the night.
Via Glencoe OR Stirling Castle to Edinburgh
First on the itinerary is a visit to Edinburgh Castle, led by your personal Guide, followed by a walk down the Royal Mile, the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, where you will see St Giles Cathedral, the John Knox House, Lady Stair’s House, and many richly historic buildings. Your tour will end at the Palace of Holyrood, the Queen’s official residence in Edinburgh, which you can visit when it is open to the public. The rest of the day is at leisure for your own interests.
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