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From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

1. From Edinburgh: Orkney and The Far North 5-Day Tour

The 5-day tour from Edinburgh takes you on a discovery of the Scottish Highlands and the Orkney Islands. Heading north from Scotland’s capital city, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands and explore the history of the Orkney Islands. On day 1, travel north to Loch Ness. The spectacular tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The route then takes you through the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, the scene of the terrible massacre of the MacDonald Clan, and on through Fort William and the Great Glen to arrive at the fabled shores of Loch Ness. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 2, head north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then, board the ferry for a memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Islands. Once you arrive, take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war, as well as the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 3, explore the ancient history of the islands. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to explore, spend the whole day exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you will be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae, and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight at Kirkwall. On day 4, start with a ferry ride back to the mainland. Then you will get the chance to take in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 5, head back to Edinburgh. On the way, visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You will also pass the stunning Cairngorm Mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

2. From Edinburgh: Orkney, Skye and the Far North 8 Day Tour

On day 1, travel through the Trossachs to Oban. This wide-ranging Highland and Islands tour starts by heading west through the beautiful scenery of Loch, Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to Kilmartin Glen. Explore Scotland’s ancient past; with over 5,000 years of history laid out before you, you’ll be able to walk in the footsteps of the first Scots at Dunadd Hill Fort and the Temple Wood Stone Circle. Then stay overnight in Oban. On day 2, enjoy a day of high hills and history. Discover the haunting landscape of Glen Coe, past Ben Nevis - Britain’s tallest peak, and make a stop at Fort William. If traveling between May and September you will board the Jacobite Train from Fort William to Mallaig. Crossing over the sea to the Isle of Skye by ferry for your second night, staying overnight in Skye. On day 3, enjoy a whole day to explore Skye’s beautiful landscape. Here the mountains and beaches beckon, so lose yourself amongst the spectacular scenery of the Cuillin Mountains, the slanting hills of Quiraing, and the incredible Trotternish peninsula. Stay overnight in Skye. On day 4, discover castles and mountains and then head to Loch Ness. Once you leave Skye the first stop is a visit to the idyllic Eilean Donan Castle. You will then continue onwards to the fabled shores of Loch Ness, where you have the option (extra cost) to visit Urquhart Castle and take a cruise on the loch. Enjoy an overnight stay in Inverness. On day 5, head over the sea to the Orkney Isles. Travel north via Inverness and the spectacular coastal scenery of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. Then board the ferry for the memorable trip to the mysterious and magical Orkney Isles. Once you arrive, you can take in the stunning scenery and start exploring. Visit the beautiful Italian Chapel, which was built by Italian prisoners of war. You’ll also see the famous Churchill Barriers – causeways that were constructed to protect the British naval fleet from submarines. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 6, explore the ancient history of the Isles. From your base in Kirkwall, which boasts many craft and gift shops to enjoy, you’ll spend the whole of day six exploring the islands. This is a land full of ancient history and you’ll be able to take in prehistoric marvels such as the Maeshowe chambered cairn, the world-famous Neolithic village of Skara Brae and the brooding stone circles of Stenness and the Ring o’Brodgar. The day will finish with a visit to the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral. Stay overnight in Kirkwall. On day 7, head back to the mainland again and start your journey south. You will be treated to some fantastic scenery, and may have the chance to visit Dunrobin Castle as you make your way back to Inverness. Stay overnight in Inverness. On day 8, as you head home, you’ll be able to visit the battlefield of Culloden, the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. You’ll also pass the stunning Cairngorm mountains and explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry.

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What people are saying about Kirkwall

Great trip, Orkney brilliant, driver informative and accommodating.

Loved this trip. Really appreciated that Highland Experience still ran the trip even though the numbers were below the normal minimum. That meant a bit more flexibility as to timing as well. The driver was good fun and very informative and accommodating. Very much enjoyed the Highlands and loved Orkney. The Neolithic sites are wonderful but also loved the town of Kirkwall itself and just wandering the streets. As always, one could always do with more time, but we had plenty of time at each place to appreciate it. I recommend this tour. As a solo traveller, it would have been nice to be in the same B&B as other participants but that was probably because I booked not long before the trip started.

Nice tour to the Orkney Islands

It was a nice bus tour around the Highlands and to the Orkney Islands. There were three different accommodations in four nights. Nice B&B. We were 17 people at most but the first day we were only two. The days were well used and we stayed in many different places every day. The driver was also a guide and spoke (of course) in Scottish dialect. He was very accommodating and friendly. Most entrance fees were added. The group did not live in the same place but in 3-5 different places and it probably depended on what you paid for. Not all accommodation was centrally located. The only thing you can complain about is the communication and information mainly before but also during the trip.

What a great trip! Robert, our guide, was exceptional. He was very knowledgeable and made adjustments based on the small group's needs. We had plenty of time at each stop and he even added in a few extra stops. The lodging booked for us was superb. The rooms were very comfortable and the breakfasts were tasty and plentiful. We saw all the sites on Orkney and a lot along the way. This is a great 5 day trip and we'd highly recommend it.

Gram, our tour guide, has been sensitive to the wishes of each person on this tour. The amazing landscape speaks for itself but our tour guide was also very informative about where we were going and what we were saying.

Excellent tour guide, gorgeous scenery, plenty of time to get off bus and explore.