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Scottish Highlands

Culture & history

Our most recommended Scottish Highlands Culture & History

Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

1. Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Scottish Highlands Tour

Head for the Highlands, whether in search of the Loch Ness Monster or just a scenic day trip from Edinburgh. After pickup, relax on the bus and listen to the guide’s entertaining commentary. Visit Kilmahog for an introduction to the famous Highland Cows and a cup of coffee. Discover what a ‘hairy coo’ really is. Next, travel up the road to Glencoe and enjoy a 10-minute photo stop in front of the unforgettable Highland views. Have lunch in the Fort William area, where your guide can advise you on where to eat. If you're interested in the mysteries of the kilt, you can even get a ‘wee’ kilt introduction here. Then be whisked to Loch Ness itself. Customize your experience at Loch Ness. Choose to visit the majestic Urquhart Castle, and hop on a boat in search of ‘Nessie’, as the locals call it. Or simply hang out on the pier and grab a coffee with gorgeous views. On the way home, make a short snack stop in Pitlochry, a beautiful village in the heart of the country, before returning to Edinburgh.

Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

2. Loch Lomond: Scottish Highlands Sightseeing Cruise

Depart from Balloch village and set sail beyond the stately homes of historic Scottish industrialists within view of Ben Lomond, Scotland's most southerly Munro. Continue towards Inchmurrin Island, the largest inland island in Great Britain and home to the ruins of the 12th century Lennox Castle. Learn the history and legend of Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas while enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Enjoy a cruise commentary by famed historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, best known from BBC's "Coast" and "A History of Scotland." 

Loch Lomond: Island Discovery 2-Hour Cruise

3. Loch Lomond: Island Discovery 2-Hour Cruise

Discover the legends and secrets of the islands of Loch Lomond on this cruise from Alexandria. Learn the history and the legends of Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas, while enjoying some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Hop aboard the spacious and comfortable boat that Balloch Village Ferry Landing. Have plenty of space for indoor and outdoor viewing with opened and closed deck space, and full bar facilities where you can purchase a drink. Begin you circular cruise which passes the world-famous Loch Lomond Golf Club. Explore the middle island of Loch Lomond, sail through an area known to locals as "The Narrows", and continue onwards to the village of Luss. Listen to cruise commentary by famed historian and archaeologist Neil Oliver, best known from BBC's "Coast" and "A History of Scotland." Return to your starting point at the end of your journey.

From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

4. From Inverness: Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

Cruise on Loch Ness and visit Urquhart Castle on this coach and boat tour that transports you directly from Inverness city center to the legendary Loch Ness. You’ll learn everything there is to know about the stirring past of these famous shores as you relax on a guided coach tour. After departing from Inverness by coach, you will drive to Loch Ness. Once you arrive, hop on board a boat to cruise across the Loch’s world-famous waters. Keep an eye on the sonars for a blip that could be Nessie. There is a fully stocked bar on board and a selection of Scottish snacks. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are also served, should you require a little warming up. Once you are back on shore, explore the historic ruins of the once-mighty stronghold of Urquhart Castle. After you have seen the castle, relax on the coach as you make the return drive to Inverness city center.

From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

5. From John O'Groats: Orkney Islands Day Trip

Start the tour by boarding the ferry at John O'Groats. Depart 8.45am. Take the 40-minute ferry crossing, keeping a lookout for marine wildlife including puffins and orcas on the way. When you arrive on Orkney, board a luxury coach which will be waiting for you to begin your tour of the island. As you set off, enjoy the commentary from a local guide. First, see the Churchill Barriers built during the First World War. Stop in Kirkwall which is Orkney's capital city and discover St Magnus Cathedral, shops, the museum, and the scenic harbor.  Continue along the northern coast of Scapa Flow and admire the beautiful views of the Hoy hills. Then, arrive in Stromness, one of Britain's most picturesque towns. Stroll through the winding street, visit the museum, and find plenty of places to eat lunch.  Next, set off for the neolithic village of Skara Brae, established in around 2,500 BC and which has been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved for thousands of years. Follow the route onwards along a narrow tongue of land between the lochs of Harray and Stenness, making a stop at the mystical Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Finally, board the return ferry, and make a stop at the Italian Chapel which is beautifully decorated inside 2 Nissen huts. Return to John O'Groats 6.15pm with incredible memories of your excursion.

From Luss: Loch Lomond Sightseeing Cruise

6. From Luss: Loch Lomond Sightseeing Cruise

Enjoy a cruise on Loch Lomond aboard a sightseeing boat. Take in views of Ben Lomond, sail between the middle islands, and learn about Scotland's rich history and culture. Depart the historic village of Luss on circular cruise. Be treated to magnificent views of Ben Lomond and the middle islands. Sail past the Highland Boundary Fault line that separates the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland. Learn about the history, legends and wildlife in and around Loch Lomond, known as the Queen of Scottish Lochs. Listen to onboard commentary as you relax with a hot drink or refreshment from the bar. Stay comfortable throughout your journey with both indoor and outdoor seating available.

Portree: Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour

7. Portree: Best of Isle of Skye Full-Day Tour

Discover the magic of the Isle of Skye on this day trip from Portree. Travel aboard an airconditioned coach on this sightseeing adventure. Try to spot wildlife at Neist Point, or view the fantastical rock formations of Quiraing, and the stone pillar of Old Man of Storr, Be picked up at a centrally-located meeting point in Portree and hop aboard the spacious pus. Relax on the drive to the Fairy Pools in the shadow of the Cuillin Mountains where the fairies are thought to bathe. Have the chance to take a dip in crystal clear green pools of the River Brittle. Admire the natural arches and waterfalls in this picturesque location before heading to the Talisker distillery based in Carbost, one of the three whisky distilleries on the Isle of Skye. Have free time to purchase a single malt Scotch, with a very distinctive peaty-smoky taste. Choose to go to Neist Point or to Dunvegan Castle. Look for whales, dolphins and sharks at Neist Point or capture pictures of the hilltop medieval style castle. Stop at the magnificent Fairy Glen, the most important meeting place of the fairies on Skye. Wander between countless conical mounds, known in the Highlands as Fairy Knowes, and put your ears to the grass to listen for the fairies at work inside. Bend down to search for elves in the glen's miniature forests. Follow the twisted path to the top of the fairy castle or walk the faun’s maze. Continue up to the Trotternish ridge and marvel at the views of the Quiraing, a landscape of rock formations and stunning coastal views. Arrive at Kilt Rock and the Dinosaur Museum before heading to the Then, continue 200 foot tall stone pillar called the Old Man of Storr which has featured in many movies including the Ridley Scott epic 'Prometheus.'

From Glasgow: Loch Lomond, Trossachs & Stirling Castle Tour

8. From Glasgow: Loch Lomond, Trossachs & Stirling Castle Tour

Embark on a guided bus tour of Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, and Stirling Castle from Glasgow. Take in the views of the lush Scottish countryside and learn about William Wallace and Rob Roy from your driver. After leaving Glasgow, stop at the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond, one of the prettiest and largest lochs in the whole of Scotland. Take a cruise, enjoying spectacular views of the loch’s many islands and the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, take a stroll through the picturesque loch-side conservation village of Luss, with its quaint houses, cafes, and stunning views across the loch’s western shoreline. Eat lunch in the village of Aberfoyle, nestled in the heart of Trossachs National Park. Continue through the Trossachs, Scotland’s first national park, known as ‘the Highlands in miniature’ for its abundance of lochs, mountains, and forests, and homeland of the legendary outlaw, Rob Roy MacGregor. Your final stop is Stirling Castle, which sits high on volcanic rock and offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Have time to visit the castle and learn of the exploits of key historic figures including William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Mary Queen of Scots. After your visit to Stirling Castle, make your way back to Glasgow.

From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

9. From Edinburgh: Loch Ness, Glenoce & The Highlands Day Tour

Following pickup from central Edinburgh, you will head towards Stirling, catching views of the Castle and Wallace Monument as you venture to the Highlands. Visit Callander, and stop for morning coffee in this bustling town described as the gateway to the highlands. Head northwards over Rannoch Moor until you reach the dark, brooding Pass of Glencoe. Stop for lunch and free time nearby the Fort William area, then follow the Caledonian Canal up the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Here, you have some free time with the option to cruise on the Loch, or if you don't want to take the cruise you can relax in one of the bars or restaurants in the tranquil village or on the pier.  After Loch Ness you will head South East and take in magnificent views of Loch Laggan. On the way home, enjoy a refreshment stop in Pitlochry, a delightful Victorian resort town. Then, head south through Fife, and cross the Forth next to the amazing Forth Bridge, before arriving back in Edinburgh.

From Glasgow: Oban, Glencoe, Highland Lochs & Castles Tour

10. From Glasgow: Oban, Glencoe, Highland Lochs & Castles Tour

Explore the stunning lochs and castles of the Western Highlands on this small-group tour from Glasgow. You'll see the superb ruins of Kilchurn on Loch Awe, the bustling west coast harbor town of Oban, and the dramatic beauty of Glencoe. Depart Glasgow at 8:30 AM and travel through gorgeous Glen Fruin, driving parallel with Loch Long. You'll then cross the Highland boundary, where the scenery changes quickly and dramatically–the flat plains of the Lowlands give way to shimmering lochs, rugged mountain tops and forest-filled glens. Continue your drive over the Rest and Be Thankful mountain pass before traveling through the Arrochar Alps. You'll then arrive at the picturesque harbor town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. From here you will drive along the shore of Scotland’s longest loch, Loch Awe, where you'll stop to take photos of Kilchurn Castle, a magnificent ruin right in the middle of Loch Awe and the former home of the Campbells of Breadalbane. You will then continue to the harbor town of Oban, gateway to the Isles, where you will eat lunch. After lunch you'll travel north along the coast around Appin, passing imposing Castle Stalker, and into Scotland's most famous valley, Glencoe. This is Scotland's largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond. The last stop of the day will be in Luss, an 18th-century conservation village with old workers' cottages, built for the laborers of the estate.

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Frequently asked questions about Scottish Highlands Culture & History

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Other Sightseeing Options in Scottish Highlands

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What people are saying about Scottish Highlands

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9,950 reviews

The trip was excellent! No delays, many stops for photos, coffee etc. Big shout out for our bus driver& guide Anthony! He told stories about Scotland and about every place we visited and at the same time he is absolutely amazing person. The trip with him was so funny! Laughed all 12,5hrs! And left the bus with big smile on my face! Absolutely fantastic trip and i wont forget it for sure!!!!

Had a fantastic time with Paul H! Spent most of the time off the bus and enjoying all the sights. There is so much packed into this tour, so if you can only fit in one, choose this one!

David was an excellent tour guide very cheerful and helpful he kept the bus well entertainined... the scenery was beautiful and we got to meet the hairy coos

a lovely, peaceful trip. the boat had a bar so we were able to get hot, cold and alcoholic refreshments

We really enjoyed this tour. Our guide was informative and funny.