Think you can take 10 days of it? All the creepy castles, all the crazy history and all the eye bursting beauty? Yes? Then be brave and do the Compass Buster. It spans Scotland from pub to mountain, from beach to monster and all the best bits in-between. And if that wasn't enough, you get to absorb a ton of knowledge from our legendery guides. So be bold, be smart and take our most complete tour of Scotland.
Day by Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Edinburgh to Stornoway
Tour starts 8.15am. From Edinburgh, we pass the famous Forth Bridge and into Perthshire, surrounded by mountains, forests and salmon packed rivers. We stop in Dunkeld, heart of Macbeth country and visit its mighty cathedral. Then it’s through the Cairngorms National park, past Inverness and onwards to the far north-west coast of Scotland for our ferry over the sea to the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis.
Day 2: Lewis & Harris
We visit one of Scotland's most westerly distilleries for a unique insight into the way the islands approach life. Then onto the stunning Callanish Standing Stones, Neolithic in age and dating back more than 4,000 years. Their meaning remain a mystery, perhaps an ancient calendar but these are considered to be some of the most impressive and inspiring of any of the ancient stones in Britain. These Hebridean islands are predominantly Gaelic speaking and have an unbroken culture dating back millennia. We visit the Butt of Lewis with its isolated lighthouse and stunning ocean views, then to a traditional blackhouse and the home of tweed makers, a fabric exclusive to the islands but now considered very trendy!
Day 3: Lewis & Harris to Skye
In the morning we explore the amazing beaches of Harris, famous for its clear blue waters, magnificent mountain backdrop and traditional crofting culture. These islands are home to the Clan MacLeod who have lived here for centuries. After exploring the wonders of Harris, we leave their homeland and cross by ferry to the magical Isle of Skye where we spend the night.
Day 4: Skye to Loch Ness
Today we explore the magical Isle of Skye. Mountainous, rugged and stunning beautiful, you won't want to leave. Back on the mainland we pass Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic views in Scotland then it’s truly off the beaten track and into the wilds! We drive through the stunning north west Highlands, some of the most remote and most isolated mountain terrain in Europe.
Day 5: Loch Ness to Orkney
Today we journey to the tip of the British mainland where a ferry carries us from John O'Groats to St Margarets Hope in Orkney. Home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe, first we visit the Tomb of the Eagles, a Stone Age chamber that was filled with thousands of human bones and the remains of sea eagles many millennia ago.
Day 6: Orkney
Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3,200BC and 2,200BC. This incredible stone village is made up of eight dwellings (some still containing original furniture) linked together by a series of low alleyways and is a marvel of ancient building techniques. Then we visit the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the Italian Chapel built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War.
Day 7: Orkney to Loch Ness
We bid Orkney farewell and make the ferry crossing back to the mainland and a journey south through Scotland’s rugged terrain. We travel through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances. Our journey takes us past the ruins of Urquhart Castle along the length of Loch Ness whilst we monster spot! We return to Morag's Lodge, get ready for a party at Mo's Bar!
Day 8: Free day at Loch Ness
Loch Ness sits in the Great Glen and provides a fantastic opportunity to get out and about and enjoy the surrounding area. You'll have a free day to do what you want. Canoe on the famous loch, hike in the hills on a local trail, play a round of golf on a Scottish course or chill out and read a book in the hostel with a beer. It's entirely up to you. Whatever you do, we're sure you'll love the Highland Hospitality.
Day 9: Loch Ness to Oban
We leave Loch Ness for the chance to travel on the famous Jacobite Steam train also known as the 'Hogwarts Express'. We take the 'Road to the Isles' to view Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie began his claim for the throne of Scotland back in 1745 . From Fort William we pass under the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain and on to Oban. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ because of its spectacular views over to Mull, Oban is home for the night and this is your chance for a proper Highland Fling with some traditional dancing at a ceilidh!
Day 10: Oban to Edinburgh
We head for eerie Glencoe, home to some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery and the setting of the infamous 1692 massacre and used as a backdrop for many movies. Further south we enter Rob Roy country where the landscape changes from the Highlands to the Lowlands. We pass Doune Castle, setting for Outlander and Game of Thrones and our journey back to Edinburgh takes in views of magnificent Stirling Castle and the mighty Wallace Monument. Returns approximately 5.00pm.
For departure details refer to the "Prices, Dates, and What's Included" Section...
Orkney, Western Isles, Isle of Skye and Loch Ness Tour
Prices, Dates & What's Included:
Departure Point: 60 High Street, Edinburgh 8:00am (check-in from 07:45am)
Wednesday - May 1 to September 25
Prices Per Person (including accommodation)
Adult Hostel £900 (GBP)
Student Hostel £880 (GBP)
Click Book This Tour to find pricing on specific dates
**children are not accepted.
**Accommodation is in a dormitory style room, please email us for private room enquiries
See below for more price notes
- Beautiful Isle of Skye
- Jacobite Steam Train (aka the 'Hogwarts Express')
- Clava Cairns and Culloden as seen in Outlander
- Loch Ness free day with adventure activity options
- Traditional Hebridean blackhouse
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Eerie Glencoe, the ‘Weeping Glen’
- Callanish Standing Stones
- Skara Brae Stone Age village
- Visit an Island whisky distillery
- Orkney and Tomb of the Eagles
- Ceilidh dance in Oban
- Jacobite Steam Train journey
- Island whisky distillery visit
- Skara Brae Stone Age Village
- Tomb of the Eagles
- Gearrannan Blackhouses
- Entrance to the Italian Chapel
- Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
- All ferry crossings
- Callanish Standing Stones
- Butt of Lewis Lighthouse
- Dun Carloway, Iron Age fort
- Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones
- Accommodation in Hostels
- All meals
- Entrance fees as indicated in itinerary
Awesome Accommodation. We know through over 15 years experience that good accommodation on tour is key to a great tour experience. Unlike others, we are not tied exclusively to any hostel chain, so are free to select the very best hostels. We choose places packed full of character, everything from rustic cottages and farms to castles and country houses.
The Best Hostels Guaranteed! The hostels we use on tours are graded either 3 or 4 stars by independent assessors from VisitScotland as we know that quality accommodation is important to you. Don't let a second rate hostel ruin your tour!
Dorm accommodation We use only the best hostels. All have great facilities, provide free linen, (you don't need a sleeping bag), and have top quality self-catering kitchens, security, and laundry facilities.