7. Edinburgh: 5-Day Outer Hebrides and Highlands Tour
Your tour will begin as you depart the cosmopolitan city of Edinburgh and travel into the Highlands. Your first stop of the day is in the village of Dunkeld. There you can stretch your legs and admire the cathedral’s unusual mixture of architectural styles, before you venture through the shadows of the great and gorgeous Grampian Mountains and stop for lunch at a Highland town in the Spey Valley.
After lunch, head to Loch Ness where your driver/guide will help you attempt to catch a glimpse of Scotland’s most famous mythical monster. Corrieshalloch Gorge is a lesser-known Scottish sight, but it’s sure to be one that you’ll also love. In the early evening, you will arrive in the scenic fishing port of Ullapool for your overnight stay.
First on your second day's agenda is a ferry journey across the sea. This 2.5-hour boat trip takes you through the Summer Isles to Stornoway, the main town of the Western Isles. Once you’ve arrived on Lewis and Harris, you will head to the north-west coast. Your driver/guide will make the most of what weather you’ve been blessed with, taking you through traditional crofting towns and seaside ports. You will later spend the evening in Stornoway; a bustling port town and the home of Scotland’s most delicious black pudding.
On your third day, it will be time to enter the region of Harris. Harris boasts the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and is home to one of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches in Britain, Luskentyre. After a morning of exploring the dramatic landscapes, you will stop for lunch. Depending on the weather, you may even go for a picnic on the beach. Back onto the Isle of Lewis, you will visit the Callanish Stone Circle, a prehistoric sight which still mystifies archeologists today. A little down the road, you will visit the stone fort of Dun Carloway, before heading back to Stornoway in the late afternoon.
On your fourth day, you will travel through a landscape littered with crofting villages to Arnol Blackhouse. There you can experience what traditional farming life was like in these remote reaches, without getting your hands too dirty. Following lunch, you will head back to Stornoway where you will take a ferry back to the mainland. You will then head straight for Inverness, the capital of the Highlands and your final overnight stop.
On your final day, you will leave Inverness and head for Tominoul, the highest village in the Highlands. You will then head into Royal Deeside where you will pay a visit to the Royal Lochnagar Whisky Distillery. There you can witness the craftsmanship of the distillers who make one of Scotland’s finest 12 year old single malts.
Following the distillery visit, it will be time for lunch in the charming village of Braemar in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. From there the route south passes over Scotland’s highest mountain pass, Highland Perthshire, before stopping at Scone Palace, the home of Scotland’s legendary Coronation Stone (also known as the "Stone of Destiny"). From there, it will be a short journey back to Edinburgh.