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Iona, Mull, and Isle of Skye: 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

1. Iona, Mull, and Isle of Skye: 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Spend 5 spectacular days exploring the unruly beauty and fascinating history of the Scottish west coast, and visiting 4 of its beautiful islands. On your second day, take a ferry to explore the dramatic coastlines of the island of Mull, and then continue to the island of Iona to visit its ancient abbey and craggy cliff-side. Take advantage of the opportunity to take a small boat to Staffa to explore its beautiful basalt columns, and spend the majority of your third day exploring the famous Isle of Skye. Day 1: Edinburgh – Loch Lomond – Oban Your first day of the journey takes you north past Stirling Castle, and then west to Scotland’s first National Park near Loch Lomond. Travel through the mountains of the West Highlands, passing the magnificent white-washed town of Inveraray, and spend the afternoon in the heart of Argyll before arriving to bustling town of Oban, the gateway to the islands, for your 2-night stay. Day 2: Oban – Mull – Iona Begin early with a ferry ride across the Mull and spend the morning exploring the island’s dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, before taking the small ferry to Iona – the birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Visit the historic abbey and its intricate carved crosses or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem. There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out to the island of Staffa (except Saturday departures in September) and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalized by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture “Fingal’s Cave”. You then return on the ferry to Oban for your second night. Day 3: Oban – Glencoe – Plockton Today takes you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1,344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles. The tour continues through the Great Glen, a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland. From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening. Day 4: Flexible Day  Your fourth day of the journey is very flexible, with many possibilities (depending on the weather). Your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group, which could include traveling north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass for a walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery or a visit to the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns and cascading waterfalls. After lunch, you may travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye, or you may pay a visit to Dunvegan Castle, ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod, returning to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon to enjoy a free evening in the village. Day 5: Loch Duich – Loch Ness – Edinburgh You will be collected from your accommodation and travel south through the Cuillin Hills, stopping to visit the famous stronghold Eilean Donan Castle, before traveling east to take in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Onto Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting “Nessie,” and then head south through the Grampian mountains and long Loch Laggan, passing Dalwhinnie, home to Scotland’s highest whisky Distillery. Stop in at Perthshire for some refreshments before heading back to Edinburgh over the Forth Road Bridge, arriving at approximately 19:00.

Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides 6-Day Tour from Edinburgh

2. Isle of Skye and Outer Hebrides 6-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Day 1: Edinburgh to Inverness. Depart Edinburgh at 8:30 AM and head north towards Bannockburn, which is the site of the famous battle won by outlaw king Robert the Bruce. Learn about William Wallace as you pass Stirling Castle. Catch a glimpse of Doune Castle, which appears in Monty Python & the Holy Grail, Outlander, and Game of Thrones. Soak up the atmospheric scenery in Glencoe. Look out for Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest mountain, on your journey toward Loch Ness. Learn about the legend of the ‘Nessie’ the Loch Ness monster then continue onto Inverness. Arrive around 5:30 PM and spend free time enjoying a walk along the River Ness or to Inverness Castle for views of the city. Then you can wander around the various bars and restaurants.  Day 2: Inverness to Stornoway. Begin your day with fresh air and stunning scenery at Black Water Falls. Continue north along a beautiful stretch of road then take to the water on the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Keep an eye out for dolphins along the way. Explore the remote and rugged Atlantic coastline of Lewis. Visit the Butt of Lewis, the most northerly point on the island, to see the isolated lighthouse and dramatic force of the sea against the cliffs. Return to the main town of Stornoway for the night. Day 3: Stornoway. Prepare for an exciting day touring the cultural attractions on the Isle of Lewis. First, go back to the Neolithic period as you visit the mysterious 5000-year old Callanish Standing Stones. Then fast-forward to the Iron Age at the broch of Dun Carloway. Experience 17th century island life at the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village and unwind with a wee dram of whisky at Abhainn Dearg, which is the most westerly distillery in Scotland. Spend free time back in Stornoway. You can wander around the pretty harbour and go in search of fresh seafood in the local restaurants.  Day 4: Stornoway to Portree. Depart Stornoway and drive south towards the idyllic Isle of Harris. Marvel at the flawless white sand beaches with turquoise sea and a backdrop of mountains on West Harris. Board the ferry and go over the sea to the Isle of Skye, where you will spend the afternoon exploring the Trotternish peninsula. Soak up the enchanting scenery and learn about the island’s myths and legends. Arrive at your final stop, Portree, in time to enjoy dinner in one of the town’s restaurants. Day 5: Portree. Enjoy a magical day of island exploration on the Isle of Skye. Hear about the island’s resident fairies on a stop at one of the famous Fairy Bridges. Visit the enchanted waters of the Sligachan River, with views of the old bridge and the breathtaking Cuillin mountains. Drive over the Skye bridge to the iconic and absolutely beautiful Eilean Donan Castle. This castle was used in the filming of Highlander and James Bond, The World is Not Enough. Spend free time back in Portree visiting the shops, restaurants, and picturesque harbour with its colourful facades. Day 6: Portree to Edinburgh. Explore more of the beautiful Isle of Skye before taking the ferry to the west coast fishing village of Mallaig on the west coast. Experience one of the most spectacular railway journeys in the world and travel over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Jacobite Steam Train, made famous by Harry Potter. Take the scenic route back to the city, through the Cairngorms National Park. Arrive into Edinburgh around 8:30 PM. 

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What people are saying about Isle of Skye

This trip met, and even exceeded, our expectations. We're usually not big fans of organized bus trips. However, when faced with limited time, this option made perfect sense. This tour gives you a perfect feel for the beauty and history of Scotland from the Highlands to the Outer Hebrides. Highland Explorer Tours does a phenomenal job in creating a wonderful experience. Our tour guide (Caitlyn Burnett) was truly exceptional. She deftly drove our mini bus while narrating our trip with a lovely mix of rich history and funny anecdotes. She is professional and courteous, and has a youthful exuberance with a wicked sense of humor. Of course, one must realize even one unruly or rude fellow passenger can ruin a trip. We were lucky to be among a group of likeminded and laid-back souls. We can heartily recommend this tour.

Amazing scenery and very knowledgeable driver/guide. Seafood was also top notch. Our tour bus guide/driver did the most amazing job of driving us, picking up ferry and train tickets and making sure we were booked in easily to all accommodation and any event we had booked. I would love to go back and would certainly request the same driver as Rich was very knowledgeable about the area and the historical events. Dont drive be driven and then use your energy to sight see. Way to go from booking and talking with the office staff to enjoying the route from start to finish.

We enjoyed the 5 day tour very much with a brilliant guied - Gill from rebbies. She gave us a profound knoledge of Scotlands history, geografy, music and many more. The accomodation in oban- alltavona house was not very comfortable, stuffy, small bedroom, very small bathroom, and no dinning room for the breakfast.