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
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.
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 your 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
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! Heading
south now through the Grampian mountains along Loch Laggan, made famous now as
“Monarch of the Glen Country” before passing Dawhinnie, home to Scotland’s highest
whisky Distillery, and onwards into Perthshire where we stop for refreshments before
heading back to Edinburgh past Perth and over the Forth Road Bridge. Arriving at 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.
Forced air ventilation as standard.
Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide
All ferry and bridge crossings.
Rabbie's Discount Card - money off restaurants, shopping and attractions
All meals and refreshments.
Entrance fees 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.
For the Islay section of this tour we have pre-booked a number of rooms in the beautiful Bowmore Distillery Cottages on Islay. These are self catering cottages in the grounds of the distillery itself and offer a unique accommodation experience. The cottages have between 3 and 6 bedrooms and these are all ensuite. The kitchen and lounge facilities are shared and self service continental breakfast ingredients will be provided. PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THE SHARED NATURE OF THE ACCOMMODATION INDIVIDUAL BEDROOMS DO NOT HAVE LOCKABLE DOORS. Prices are £35 per person per night twin/double share or £60 per night for a single. For this option please select "B&B ensuite" as your first choice when booking. When these rooms are full we will book you into a nearby B&B. There is also a limited number of 3* hotel rooms available on this tour - for this option please select 3 star hotel as your first choice when booking.
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.
Students, Seniors over 60 and Children between 5 and 16.
We regret we do not carry children under 5 years.
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!!
Photography Credits: VisitScotland.