Highland Explorer: Skye & Far North
5 day tour

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Soak up the romantic beauty of the Isle of Skye and the Far North.

Tour map

Highlights

Mountains
Lochs
Walks
Castles
Beaches
National Parks

Places you explore


Cairngorms National Park - Gaze in awe at Scotland’s most beautifully rounded peaks.

Loch Ness - This loch holds more fresh water than all of the lakes in England and Wales combined.

Ullapool and Assynt - Explore outstanding natural scenery and breathtaking views in these beautiful locations.

Applecross & Torridon - Looking for some serenity? This peaceful spot offers unblemished landscapes in their most natural state.

Eilean Donan Castle - Located on its own little island, this famous castle is sure to be a favourite.

Glencoe - Famous for an ancient massacre, this beautiful spot offers intriguing tales and mystical views.

Five Sisters of Kintail - Gaze in awe at the powerful peaks and rising ridges of this impressive mountain chain.

Skye - The beauty of this island has inspired movie makers, poets and travellers from all round the world.


Your journey


Mountains, valleys, forests: we love all the wild places.

And there’s nothing we love more than sharing this passion with our passengers.

So on this trip we get you out exploring Scotland’s great wilderness. From the wind swept light house on the edge of Skye to the untouched beaches of the Northern Highlands.

But not everything on this trip is wild.

Because in the evenings we make sure you rest easy in Scotland’s calm and cosy little villages.


Tour Details

Starts
Check-in closes at 08.45 (tour departs at 09:00) - Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Luggage
You’re restricted to 14kg (31lbs) of luggage per person. This should be one piece of luggage similar to an airline carry-on bag (approximately 55cm x 45cm x 25cm / 22in x 17in x 10in) and a small bag for onboard personal items.
Discounts

Students, seniors over 60, and children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)

Important information
  • Pack your waterproof clothing and walking shoes
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking driver-guide
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • Tour accommodation

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Wander around the beautiful village of Dunkeld
  • Try your best to spot the Loch Ness Monster

You head north over the Firth of Forth to the charming highland village of Dunkeld.

From here, you head into the Cairngorms National Park and the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus estate.

If time allows, you'll take a short forest walk after lunch where you'll explore the ruins of Loch an Eilein castle.

You enjoy panoramic views of Loch Ness as you travel down to the banks of the famous loch, and the village of Dores where you can do some “Nessie” spotting!

Then it’s onto the shores of Loch Broom where you spend two nights at Ullapool*.


* Please note the tour departing on 9th May 2020 stays two nights in Inverness instead of Ullapool.

Day 2

  • Visit the crumbling ruins of Ardvreck Castle
  • Admire the pristine beach of Achmelvich Bay

Today, you explore the far northwest Highlands and the mountains of Assynt. This area is famous as being the first crofting area to be bought by the local crofters, the Assynt Crofters’ Trust.

You’re immersed in the history of the area and visit the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt.

The day is full of amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay, and the traditional fishing village of Lochinver.

You spend the night in the picturesque fishing village of Ullapool.

Day 3

  • Find out how palm trees arrived in the village of Plockton
  • Take the Bealach na Ba road, one of Scotland’s most beautiful routes.

You head south to take in the drama of the River Droma’s 60m plunge into the Corrieshalloch Gorge.

From here, you travel past the mountains of the Beinn Eighe nature reserve and along the picturesque coastline of Loch Torridon.

After your lunch stop in Applecross, you take one of the highest and most exhilarating roads in Scotland, Bealach na Ba.

In the afternoon, you stop in “tropical” Plockton, where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron and take time to enjoy its sheltered serenity. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbour town of Portree.

Day 4

  • Learn about Skye’s heroic landscapes
  • Spend an evening in the delightful town of Portree

Today is a flexible day on Skye; and your driver-guide ensures you take a unique route that suits the weather, the local events, and your group's interests.

You can travel north to the Trotternish Ridge and beyond. Here you find the geological wonders like Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, and the stunning mountain pass of the Quiraing. Or your guide may take you back in time and teach you about the legends and clan culture surrounding the 13th-century home of the Clan MacLeod, Dunvegan Castle.

You return from to Portree in the evening.

Day 5

  • Take a picture of Scotland’s ‘most photographed castle’, Eilean Donan Castle
  • Travel through the mysterious landscape of Glencoe

Travel south from Skye and visit the famous stronghold, Eilean Donan Castle.

Continuing east through the rugged mountains of Kintail, you drive down through Glen Garry past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and onto Fort William for lunch.

In the afternoon, you explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692.

You then start your journey towards Edinburgh.

Customer Reviews

Autumn in the highlands

Ninsig Posted on 27/10/2019

Had an amazing tour to the highlands and Skye in October. Weather was good most of the time, and the light was exceptional. It is practically impossible to capture the scenery and light the way it is experienced when you see it in real life. I came prepared for cold, wet and windy weather and was surprised by nice, sunny and almost warm conditions. Scotland never stops to amaze me. Beautiful scenery, lovely experiences. I keep coming back and joining this tour has not done anything to change this. Scotland is awesome! The guide on this tour was Donald, and he was very good. He was friendly and funny and professional in both his driving and his guiding. So thank you Rabbies for yet another great tour.

Fabulous Tour, Amazing Guide!

Laura Jim Posted on 09/09/2019

We loved everything about this tour but must give special kudos to Murray. Not only that he is an amazing font of knowledge about every aspect of every single location with a very entertaining way of sharing that knowledge not only that he has astonishing driving skills he took extraordinary steps to help resolve my husbands illness during our trip. He called on personal contacts to assist us in getting him seen by the doctor in the small clinic in Ullapool the next morning and getting the required medication from the local chemist. I cannot praise him highly enough and would plan a future tour around his schedule!

Five Great Days

Sue Laabs Posted on 11/06/2019

Enjoyed cramming a lot in to these five full days of traveling through the northwest part of Scotland. Unfortunately the weather wasnt the best on this trip, we got rain every day, but it did not stop us from enjoying the adventure and seeing some amazing scenery. On this tour, you get a taste of the highlands, the lochs, the fishing villages, some castles, and the lovely Isle of Skye followed by the very interesting Eilean Donan castle tour. Wish we could have seen more on the Isle of Skye, it has so much to offer, but can only squeeze in so much in one day. May have to return for more some day! Edinburgh is a beautiful city to start and end from too, just amazing medieval history!

AMAZING TOUR

Pru greenwood Posted on 28/04/2019

Thank you to our amazing tour guide and driver Donald who showed our group all around the Highlands. Being in the small van meant we could access narrow roads and get off the beaten track. We saw so many incredible sights and always have enough time to explore and take photos. Donald always shared interesting and funny stories, accompanied by Scottish music. I would definitely recommend the Highland Explorer, we saw places we would have never been able to find ourselves. Thank you Rabbies and Donald!

Fabulous Experience

Charmaine Benfield Posted on 22/04/2019

We want to Thank Donald for a fantastic tour. It was a wonderful trip and he is a great travel director ! His love for his country and passion for people made our travel fun and absolutely fabulous. Donald is a Great Asset to Rabbies and we will recommend Rabbies to our friends and family. Thank You. Robert and Charmaine Benfield South Africa

Wonderful tour with one exception

Barb W Posted on 15/11/2018

We took this tour in April 2017 with Nicky and we enjoyed both our guide and our fellow travelers. The scenery was beautiful and with the small bus we were able to go to places others could not. Good choice of bbs and lunch stops. Overall a great tour that only made me wish for more. One place we didnt go that was advertised and the reason we took this tour over others was Plockton, I expressed my desire to go there but was told we are not going to go! If you advertise a specific town, then it should be included in the tour.

The Best Tour!

Wendy E. Posted on 14/08/2018

My husband and I recently went on the Skye and Far North Tour. This tour was outstanding. The tour bus is very comfortable, the tour was planned to perfection and we loved our bus driver Donald. He was very informative about everything we were seeing and did it all with a great sense of humor to keep us entertained. The Isle of Skye is not to be believed its so beautiful. We are back home in California and still sharing Donalds songs and stories from our trip. Added bonus, we met some great new friends from various countries. I highly recommend this tour.

Wow

Cathy Posted on 01/08/2018

What an amazing tour! Ok, so yes, we had the best tour guide to ourselves for 5 days (sorry to all the other tours last week), and yes, Scotlands weather decided to make it sunny - SUNNY and WARM - for at least half that time AND we had the best fellow travellers sharing and making friends. So these things kind of biased my opinion, but, for the first (of many?) Rabbies Tours I have been on, this was fantastic. Bucket List, schmucket list - gotta think of more things to put on it now Ive checked so many off. Bealach Na Ba, Quiraing, meeting Highland Coos, a stag....on a crag(!!), check, check and check! Not to mention the promised waterfalls, beaches, castles, harbour views and fishing boats. Highlight? a picnic, with everyone just chillin, in the sun, on a cliff, with panoramic views. Thank you to Gill B, our fabulous guide - with the knowledge and fun but importantly, the approachability to make a first time solo traveller feel welcome and comfortable. Thank you to my fellow travellers for my being able to share my experience with you. Gotta do this again xxxxxx

An unforgettable experience

Conchi Sánchez Verdeja Posted on 01/04/2018

I must say this experience of discovering the West Highlands and the Isle of Skye in 4 days has been amazing. Not only did we discover stunning places but also we had a fantastic guide. Pete was friendly, kind and helpful at every moment and helped us to taste a sip of the real life in the Highlands. We all had a fantastic time and had the chance tp mingle with the locals, which was fantastic. Thanks, Rabbies for this unforgettable experience and special thanks to Pete for discovering us the wonders of the Highlands and its people. Looking forward to being back in Scotland to have some new experience with Rabbies. 100 recommended.

Michael at the wheel

David James Posted on 16/09/2017

Enjoyed five wonderful days and five types of weather, off and on the beaten track with Michael who went that extra mile every day to take us to locations that surprised and delighted us.

Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay two nights in the fishing village of Ullapool* and two nights in the harbour town of Portree, on the Isle of Skye (some tours may stay in Inverness instead of Ullapool).


* Please note that the tour departing on 9th May 2020 stays two nights in Inverness instead of Ullapool.


How does the accommodation work?

Your tour excludes accommodation; but when you book, you can ask us to reserve local accommodation for you, or you can choose to reserve your own accommodation in the overnight locations.


I want Rabbie’s to book my accommodation, what happens now?

Once you've booked your tour, we'll reserve all your accommodation, and your driver will drop you off with your hosts. You’ll pay your accommodation directly. Most don’t accept credit cards, so be prepared to pay cash.


What if I want to change my accommodation booking with Rabbie’s?

Plans can change, so we let you alter your accommodation choices for free within the first 48 hours of booking. After this time, amendments aren't guaranteed and carry a surcharge. Please contact rooms@rabbies.com if you have any questions.


I booked my own accommodation is there anything I need to do?

You’ll need to contact us with your accommodation details. Please only reserve accommodation within the overnight towns that your tour stops in. Your driver will drop you off at your chosen accommodation as long as it’s relatively central.


What if I cancel my tour at short notice?

You may be liable for the cost of your first nights’ accommodation for each separate accommodation booked. If you cancel less than three days before departure, you may be liable for all your accommodation costs.


What are the accommodation types?

We try to reserve accommodation that’s no more than a 20-minute walk from the town centre. We regularly check our accommodation suppliers to ensure they reach a certain standard. The prices below are for guidance only.

B&B (Bed and Breakfast) Standard

The toilet and showering facilities are shared with at least one other room in the house, and the price includes breakfast. The cost is £35 - £40 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single standard room is £40 - £60 per night.

B&B En suite

The showering and toilet facilities are private, and breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £45 - £60 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single en suite is £60 - £80 per night.

Hotels

Hotels have a bar or restaurant and provide evening meals. Breakfast is included in the price. The cost is £70 - £85 per person per night based on shared accommodation. A single is £85 - £130 per night.

Hostels

A hostel consists of dormitory rooms with 4 to 16 bunk beds. The bathroom facilities are a short distance from the dorm room. Kitchen facilities are equipped so you can make your own meals. The cost based on dorm beds is £19 - £27 per person per night.

Please note that SYHA hostels only offer same gender dorms. Some independent hostels will offer mixed rooms (males and females together).


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, you can read our FAQs, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, or email rooms@rabbies.com.


FAQs

Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

The UK and Ireland's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure, we only pick up from our central meeting points. What's more is leaving the city using the most direct route also reduces the carbon footprint of our tours.

Is there parking close to the departure point?

We don't recommend bringing your car into the centre of our departure cities. It can be hard to find parking, and there are excellent public transportation services.

When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive 15 minutes before your departure time. Due to waiting restrictions, we can't wait for you if you're late.

What happens if I'm late or miss the tour?

If you're late for your tour, our cancellation policy applies.

What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of three days for our one day tours, and 21 days for longer tours. If cancelled outside this period, we'll give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this period, refunds are at our discretion. Click here to view full terms and conditions.

What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.

Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable 16-seat mini-coaches have huge windows. So, you'll always get a good view.

Are there toilets on the bus?

Unfortunately, we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you'll have regular comfort breaks.

How do you cater for people with accessibility needs?

We aim to accommodate everyone. To read more information on how we do this, click here to go to our accessibility guide.

Do you take children on your tours?

We regret we don't carry children under the age of five on our scheduled tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.

How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy Britain and Ireland. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of time to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.

Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.

Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to. We stop in small towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.

Should I tip the driver-guide?

Let's be honest, our driver-guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.

What about travel insurance?

We advise you take out travel insurance.

What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you chose to let us reserve your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we become bankrupt. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com , or check out our full FAQs .

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities



BTA_2018.png Green Tourism Award Scottish Thistle Awards Winner 2015/2016 TC_2018_WHITE_LL_R-112x105.png queens-award.png Scottish Tourist Board 5 Stars
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