Please note: Combination tours - These itineraries are made up of individual tours which are scheduled to link up en route without having to come back to their starting point. Clients will be able to enjoy the individual styles and stories of the different driver/guides as well as a different group of travelling companions on each part of their trip.
Day 1 Leaving Edinburgh at 08.30 you will head west through Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, along
Loch Lomond then west through the mountains to the beautiful little village of Inveraray on
the banks of Loch Fyne. Here you can perhaps sample some of the local seafood for lunch
or just explore the historic town itself. After lunch you will then travel through Argyll and into
the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada. There are more than 350 prehistoric monuments within
a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin. You will stop here to see the mysterious stone
circles and standing stones and visit the community museum. From here it is a short drive to
Kennacraig where you catch the early evening ferry to Islay. The sail is just over 2 hours and
you should look out for wildlife such as dolphins, whales and seabirds. On arrival on Islay it is
a short drive to Bowmore for your 3-night stay.
Day 2 A full day exploring Islay. The itinerary today is quite flexible with a mixture of beautiful scenery,
white sand beaches, short walks and of course the famous Islay whiskies - renowned for their
strong peaty flavours and nurtured by the salty sea air. In the morning you will take the short
drive to the west of the island via Saligo Bay for a visit to Kilchoman Distillery (the newest and
smallest on the island) with the option of a coastal walk to Machair Bay for any non-whisky
lovers. After lunch you will explore the tiny harbour village of Portnahaven (look out for seals)
before taking the back roads along the west coast with its lovely sandy bays, on the way back
to Bowmore. You will have the chance to visit Bowmore distillery or just relax and explore the
Day 3 Another day in paradise! Today you will explore the southern side of the island, home
to the smokiest and peatiest of all whiskies – Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg. You
will visit Ardbeg for a tour, tasting and lunch. The restaurant here is a beautiful place
to relax and enjoy local produce as well as some unique whisky. You then follow that
up with a visit to Laphroaig or a visit to the ruins of Kildalton church with its famous 8th
Century Celtic cross. Alternatively we may stop in Bridgend where you could visit
the community craft producers at Islay House Square or take a walk through the
woods along the nearby River Sorn.Alternatively you could continue with the tour
to Bridgend where we will visit the community craft producers (and brewery!) at
Islay House Square or take a walk through the woods along the nearby River Sorn.
Day 4 This morning you take the ferry back to the mainland then travel up the coast to Oban – a busy
harbour town and the main ferry port for the islands.
On arrival in Oban your guide will drop you at your accommodation. You will say
goodbye to this group here, and will be collected by your new guide and group on the
morning of day 5.
You will have a free afternoon in Oban to enjoy this bustling and busy highland town. For
those who are partial to some retail therapy, there are numerous shopping possibilities, or
for those who wish to continue their thirst for Scottish whisky, Oban distillery is nicely situated
in the heart of the town. A hike uphill will bring its own rewards with stunning views from the
most photographed structure in the west, McCaig’s folly. The folly built on instruction by a local
banker in 1897 resembles the coliseum in Rome, and provides magnificent vistas over the
distant Firth of Lorne. You will stay in this glorious highland town for 2 nights.
Day 5 You will be collected from you accommodation by your new guide for an early crossing on
the ferry to Mull. Exploring her dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, you will enjoy an island
adventure before boarding the small ferry to the peace and tranquility of Iona - birthplace of
Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic
abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard 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 immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture “Fingal’s Cave”. You then
return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.
Day 6 Takes you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle
Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692.
You then pass through Fort William and take the historic road to the Isles to catch the
ferry to Skye. You will travel through Glenfinnan, at the head of Loch Shiel, this is where
the standard was raised to start the Jacobite rebellion. Glenfinnan is also home to a
100year old viaduct, which was made famous when the Hogwarts Express steamed
across it on the way to school in the Harry Potter film. From Glenfinnan the road crosses
mountains and glens before reaching Arisaig and on through a spectacularly scenic
stretch of coast with fantastic views of the islands of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Skye, This
beautiful coastline is formed by a series of white beaches and a turquoise sea, known
as the white sands of Morar. The road ends at Mallaig where you take the short ferry crossing
‘over the sea to Skye’ where you arrive on the Sleat Peninsula, commonly referred to the ‘Garden
of Skye’ with great views of the Cuillin mountains. From here you travel north to the picturesque
harbour town of Portree. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.
Day 7 Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and we
take passengers preferences into account. For example : Travel north to the stunning Quiraing
mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological
scenery, visit Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns (reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt)
with it’s waterfall cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you can go
over to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse that is the furthest point west on Skye. Or
go over to Dunvegan Castle, ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod. Talisker Distillery is
also here, as are the famous Cuillin Hills. We return you to your accommodation in Portree in
the early evening for you to enjoy your second free night in Portree.
Day 8 You will be collected from your accommodation and travel south through the Cuillin Hills
and back over to the mainland. You will stop to visit the famous stronghold Eilean Donan
Castle, used in the film “Highlander”, set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against
Viking raiders, before travelling east for stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters
of Kintail. On to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting “Nessie”. There is an
optional boat trip (Summer only) available here that will get you that bit closer!
Half an hour south of Loch Ness you will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and
join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help
you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.
From here, you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles
of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle. You can expect to arrive in Inverness,
the Highland capital, and the place of our overnight stay at approx 18.30 where you will
be dropped off at your accommodation.
Day 9 Is an early start, leaving behind the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, crossing over the Black
Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast
Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, and enjoy
amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such
as Golden Eagles and red deer. Onwards through Scotland’s most northerly mainland
village, John o’ Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the
Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. From here you have a short drive to the Viking
stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney, where you can visit Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking
Cathedral, and where you shall stay for 2 nights.
Day 10 Is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green
pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic
ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!),
the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. We
stop in Stromness - one of Scotland’s most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto
Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic
inscriptions. Then its back to Kirkwall for our 2nd night after what is sure to be a memorable day.
Day 11 Is a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the
mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving
past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning
golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. We then visit the far northwest highlands
and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to
view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at
the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where we spent our last
night’s stay on tour.
Day 12 Leaving Ullapool behind you, you take in the drama of the River Dorma as it plunges 60m
down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, before taking in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way
past the ‘Capital of the Highlands’ Inverness. You can then visit Culloden Moor, the site of The
Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have
been fought on the British mainland, before taking a short drive to the ancient standing stones
at Clava Cairns.
This prehistoric and stunning Bronze Age burial ground is one of the oldest in Scotland. From
here you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain
range. Lunch will be spent in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree
country of Perthshire, through the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh around 19.00.
207 High St, Edinburgh. Click Here to see map.
Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoach for a more personal experience with a maximum of 16 passengers on tour.
We believe a small group tour with a maximum of 16 passengers really does make a big difference to your trip. It allows us to give you a more personal service and remain the only 5 Star operator to offer this personal guarantee. Touring with a maximum of 16 passengers you get more for your money, more personal attention, more time with the locals, more time off the bus, more time on the back-roads and just more of an authentic, friendly experience. The smaller groups allow you to meet people from all over the world and make friends for life.
Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide
All ferry and bridge crossings.
Rabbie's Customer Card - money off restaurants, shopping and attractions.
Lunch, Dinner and refreshments.
Entrances to all Visitor Attractions.
The tour price does not include accommodation but this gives you an opportunity to choose your budget and the type of accommodation you wish to stay in and we will book it for you - Hostel, B&B or Hotel - please refer to the booking form on this web site for prices.
Please note that in the case of late bookings accommodation availability and choice may be restricted and we cannot guarantee to find your first choice. There is usually a supplement for single rooms. By giving you a choice of accommodation it allows you to choose your budget, stay in smaller places and get closer to the local people. This also means you help to sustain their communities in the long term.
For more information click here
*NB On occasions, when villages we stay in have events on, accommodation can be scarce and expensive so we may use other locations for your accommodation on the tour. We will always inform you of this when this is necessary.
Because we believe in time off the bus and give you opportunities to take nature walks we recommend you bring suitable clothing and footwear for your tour. Scotland can be a wet place! If you have mobility problems or special requirements please let us know when booking.
Photography Credits: VisitScotland, Geoff Wong (Stromness), Dorcas Sinclair (Lochinver) and Flaxton at en.wikipedia (Thurso).