- Explore the mountainscapes of the Cairngorms, Ben Nevis, and more
- Take in the history and culture of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital
- Stay in enchanting city hotels and extraordinary luxury country house hotels
- Taste regional specialties featuring unique local ingredients
|Days 1-2||Arrive in Perthshire Highlands||Stirling|
|Days 3-4||Cairngorms National Park, Speyside & the Moray Firth||Inverness|
|Day 7||Fort William & Ben Nevis||Fort William|
|Days 8-9||Glencoe & Edinburgh||Edinburgh|
Days 1-2: Perthshire Highlands
You'll kick off your Highland adventure in Perthshire, where you'll be greeted by serene glens, endless expanses of lush forest, beautiful moors, rushing rivers and tumbling waterfalls. Don a "coarse" tweed coat and take to the hills to immerse yourselves in traditional country pursuits. Scale awe-inspiring peaks like Schiehallion and Ben Lawers, or slow down to observe the rhythms of nature: if you keep your eyes peeled, you can glimpse animals like majestic red deer stags and soaring ospreys.
You could also gather your fishing tackle and casting a fly for incredible local salmon, or try your hand at falconry or clay pigeon shooting. After conquering the great outdoors, it's time to taste some phenomenal local whiskey. If you're curious about the spirit's history and production, don't miss visiting Glenturret, Scotland's oldest distillery.
Days 3-4: Cairngorms National Park, Speyside & the Moray Firth
Your journey continues as you head deep into the Cairngorms National Park, one of the best scenic drives in the UK - think wild high mountains, heather moors, waterfalls, peatlands and magnificent forests dotted with farms and crofts. Depending on the time of your visit, you may be able to wander the grounds of Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s Highland retreat.
Meander through the beautiful Spey river valley and its Malt Whisky Trail: make a pilgrimage to the Macallan Distillery, founded in 1824, which produces one of the world’s leading single malt whiskeys. Snag a bottle or two to take home with you, then discover the rich history of the 13th century Elgin Cathedral ruins, also known as the ‘Lantern of the North’, one of Scotland’s most beautiful medieval buildings. Make your way to the rugged coastline of the Moray Firth to witness dolphins frolicking in the sea and indulge in a gorgeous sunset overlooking the wild beach.
Days 5-6: Torridon
On day six, you'll head west to Torridon an ancient and enchanting wilderness considered by many to embody the Highlands landscape. Relax in the splendor of the majestic mountain or find adrenalin-fuelled adventure: choose from kayaking, gorge scrambling, coasteering, climbing, mountain biking, and canoeing.
If hiking a mountain is more your thing, tackle a Scottish Munro. You have nine peaks to choose from in the mountains that surround this glen; all offer fantastic views across the West Highlands and beyond. Keep your eyes peeled for golden eagles in the sky, otters on the loch, or red deer on the hills.
Continue on to the coast of Loch Torridon to Shieldaig and Applecross and over the Bealach na Ba for some extraordinary scenery. Make time to discover the iconic Eilean Donan Castle on the Kyle Of Lochalsh, one of the most recognized castles in Scotland, before you depart this incredible region.
Day 7: Fort William & Ben Nevis
On day seven, you'll head southeast to meet the majestic Caledonian Canal, considered one of the greatest waterways of the world. Find historic Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis on the shores of Loch Linnhe. You might be inspired by the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis, but there are also many excellent short walks in the Nevis Range.
A short jaunt to the Steall Falls takes you through the dramatic and beautiful Nevis Gorge. If you're feeling less energetic, a gondola can whisk you up the north face of Aonach Mòr, one of Britain's highest peaks. From here you can enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding Great Glen and Ben Nevis mountain range and on a clear day, the distant Inner Hebrides archipelago. Be sure to also discover the local hero Bonnie Prince Charlie, who led the Jacobite rising of 1745, at the West Highland Museum.
Days 8-9: Glencoe & Edinburgh
As you journey to your final destination, you'll travel through the awe-inspiring deep glaciated valley and towering mountain peaks of Glencoe and the Trossachs National Park. At the end of the route, Edinburgh awaits. The capital of Scotland since the 15th century, Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with culture, history, delicious cuisine, and arts that beg to be discovered. Start at Holyrood Palace, the official residence of Kings and Queens since the 16th Century; then, stroll the Old Town’s picturesque jumble of medieval tenements piled high along the Royal Mile.
Visit the many treasures of Edinburgh Castle, a royal fortress since the 12th century, which dominates the townscape from its position on Castle Rock. Later, tuck into a traditional dinner of haggis (a savory meat pudding) served with "neeps," a mouthwatering blend of mashed potatoes and turnips, all served with a whiskey sauce.
Before heading back to your hotel, seek out the characterful old world subterranean drinking dens and street life. If you're visiting in the late summer, stay for the iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts celebration of its kind, which swells the city with unique productions, world-premieres, and star-making performances.
More Great Scotland Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Scotland? Check out these other Scotland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.