Take an epic drive around the pristine landscapes of Scotland on this active 12-day adventure. Begin your journey cycling across historic Edinburgh, then rent a car and drive north to Cairngorms National Park, where a wild river fishing expedition awaits. Then, conquer new heights as you summit Ben Nevis, Scotland's towering pinnacle, and take a boat tour off the Isle of Skye. If that's not enough, ride a horse in Loch Lomond, snorkel and eat seafood in Oban, and finish with a beer tour in Glasgow.


  • Cycle and walk your way through Edinburgh with local guides
  • Go wild river fishing in the heart of Cairngorms National Park
  • Conquer Scotland's highest peak, the towering Ben Nevis, on foot
  • Explore the Isle of Skye with a guided sea kayak experience
  • Ride horses in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Edinburgh, Private Walking Tour Edinburgh
Day 2 Ultimate Cycling Tour of Edinburgh, Free Time Edinburgh
Day 3 Drive to Inverness via Killiehuntly  Inverness
Day 4 Drive to the Isle of Skye, Underwater Boat Trip Isle of Skye
Day 5 Guided Sea Kayak Experience, Free Time Isle of Skye
Day 6 Ferry to Mallaig, Drive to Fort William, Mountain Biking Fort William
Day 7 Hike to the Top of Ben Nevis Fort William
Day 8 Drive to Oban via Glen Coe, Private Guided Glen Coe Walk Oban
Day 9 Experience Scotland's Snorkel Trails, Free Time Oban
Day 10 Visit Inveraray Castle, Drive to Glasgow via Loch Lomond, Horse Trekking  Glasgow
Day 11 Free Time, Glasgow Beer Tour Glasgow
Day 12 Drive to Edinburgh, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh, Private Walking Tour

Edinburgh, Scotland
Explore Edinburgh's Old Town and the famous Royal Mile on today's private walking tour

Welcome to Scotland! You've landed in Edinburgh, a captivating historic and modern city known for its festivals, thriving arts scene, and friendly locals. On arrival, take a taxi to your hotel. En route, you might catch a glimpse of the majestic Edinburgh Castle, sitting atop an ancient volcanic hill and overlooking the Old and New Town centers. Drop your bags, refresh, and lace up your walking shoes.

Puzzled by wynds and closes? This afternoon, you'll find answers on a private three-hour walking tour of Edinburgh's Old Town. Together, you'll trace the Royal Mile that runs between the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official royal residence, and the castle. Admire 17th-century mansions, visit old breweries and sugar houses, and discover many landmarks. Discover a Scottish alleyway and hear stories of royal murders, espionage intrigues, and former artisan guilds. Discover Edinburgh's social history and tales of Mary, Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and a ghost or two.

Day 2: Ultimate Cycling Tour of Edinburgh, Free Time

Cycle Edinburgh
Art imitates life on the streets of Edinburgh

Discover off-the-beaten-path locations and secret spots with this morning's small-group cycling tour. Jump in the saddle of a bike and make a full lap of the city on two wheels, taking in the sights and beautiful parts of Edinburgh that most visitors don't get to see. Cycle out of the city, around Arthur's Seat, and to the (sometimes) sunny seaside while your guide shares fascinating facts about the city. You'll pass canals, aqueducts, railways, gardens, beaches, mountains, and tunnels, covering 18 miles (29 km) while stopping for refreshments and photo opportunities along the way. 

Then, the afternoon is yours to explore Edinburgh as you wish. Since you've ticked off the sights, use your free time to relax at the Royal Botanic Garden or explore history, art, and culture at the National Museum of Scotland. Pretend you're a local in Stockbridge, a trendy inner-city neighborhood known for its independent shops, galleries, thrift stores, cafés, and bakeries. Or stroll to Dean Village, admire the well-preserved 19th-century architecture, and wander alongside the tranquil Water of Leith. If the weather is nice, head to Calton Hill for sunset, or if it's rainy, duck into a cozy pub.

Day 3: Drive to Inverness via Killiehuntley

Fishing scotland
Go fishing for salmon or trout (depending on location and the season)

The lochs and rivers surrounding Killiehuntly offer prime fishing opportunities for both seasoned fishermen and happy beginners. First, collect a rental car and make the 2.5-hour drive north, lapping the west side of Cairngorms National Park. In Killiehuntly, you'll be in the safe (and dry-witted) hands of some ghillies, who have fished these waters for decades. You'll fish for salmon on the world-famous River Spey, with space for four to six rods on the Kinrara beat. If you prefer, fish for trout on four secluded lochs with the help of a highland pony who will transport equipment and lunch.

After being immersed in nature, you'll have a choice—release the fish back into the water or ask the team to cook your catch for your supper. From Killiehuntly, continue another hour up the road to Inverness. The capital of the Scottish Highlands is a city rich with historical sites, and this afternoon, you could visit Inverness Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the River Ness. End the day with a hearty Scottish meal at a cozy local pub, topped off with a dram of whisky.

Day 4: Drive to the Isle of Skye, Underwater Boat Trip

Portree is the island's largest town and makes for a great base on Skye

Today's destination is the Isle of Skye, a 2.5-hour drive away. Set off early to reach the often dramatic and ethereal isle known for its rugged, mountainous terrain and the iconic Cuillin Range. The island's coastline is scattered with high cliffs, sea stacks, and picturesque fishing villages, which you'll explore this afternoon and tomorrow morning from the water (and away from the crowds).

At the appointed time, board the Seaprobe Atlantis glass-bottom boat to explore both above and below the sea at once. You'll sail out under the Skye Bridge or head down Lochalsh looking for seals, otters, and wildlife. Venture below the deck to glimpse a fascinating underwater world teeming with marine life through large panoramic windows. After, continue the drive to your guesthouse on the Isle of Skye.

Plan your trip to Scotland
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Guided Sea Kayak Experience, Free Time

The myth-shrouded Fairy Pools are a popular hiking destination on Skye

Today, you'll venture out to explore Skye's gorgeous coastline from the water once more during a half-day guided sea kayak experience. Grab a paddle and follow your local kayak expert on a scenic journey along the coast of Skye. A magnet for explorers seeking a taste of Scotland's untamed beauty, this adventure gives you an alternative perspective on the special island while learning about its history, nature, and folklore. Pause at a remote beach for a picnic and spot wildlife on the coast.

This afternoon is yours to explore as free time. You could take another hike, perhaps to the crystal-clear, blue-hued Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, or hike through the otherworldly landscape of the Quiraing. Another option is to explore the historic Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, and its beautiful gardens, or see the Neist Point Lighthouse, perched atop a dramatic cliff.

Day 6: Ferry to Mallaig, Drive to Fort William, Mountain Biking

Time it right and see the Jacobite Steam Train crossing the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Wave goodbye to the Isle of Skye as your ferry crosses over to Mallaig on the mainland, then continue an hour east to Fort William, the adventure capital of the UK. En route, you could pause at the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland's longest concrete railway bridge at a whopping 1,250 feet (380 m). Made famous by the "Harry Potter" movies, the Jacobite Steam Train runs twice a day, so time it right to experience a little magic of your own.

If you're an adrenaline amateur or simply enjoy cycling or biking, you'll love this afternoon's mountain biking adventure. The Nevis Range is famed as a World Cup venue, and all three race courses are open to the public to ride. Picture sweeping, flowing, or technical descents of up to 3,940 feet (1,200 m) that take you along grand ridges and via some of the most inspiring Scottish scenery. To test your skills, jump on the gondola to ride The Red Giant, a single-track descent packed with 1,780 feet (543 m) of gravity-fed fun, or try the World Cup downhill track!

Day 7: Hike to the Top of Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis summit
Climb Ben Nevis today, the highest mountain in the British Isles

The ascent to the top of the UK's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is a relatively straightforward six or seven-hour hike without any scrambling or technical elements. So, if you're feeling up to the challenge (and have a good level of fitness), even beginner hikers can tackle the summit. This self-guided hike begins at almost sea level, and you'll climb 4,500 feet (1,371 m) to reach the very top. Unsurprisingly, the peak offers jaw-dropping views across the highlands and lochs. 

You can learn more about the mountain and its history by arranging for a local mountain guide, who'll share their knowledge while leading you on a perfectly planned climb. Return to Fort William for dinner, and try the local mussels or other specialties!

Day 8: Drive to Oban via Glen Coe, Private Guided Glen Coe Walk

Explore the luscious green valleys of Glen Coe on a guided walk

Jump back behind the wheel this morning and continue half an hour south to Glen Coe. Considered one of the most hauntingly beautiful of the Scottish glens, this hidden gem is often shrouded in mist and runs for 10 miles (16 km) beneath rugged peaks formed from lava flow and shaped by millions of years of erosion. Once you reach the volcanic valley, you'll set off on a guided hike through the lusciously green Lost Valley. Pack a picnic lunch and follow an idyllic 4.5-mile (7.2 km) walk.

You'll hike alongside a deep gorge before emerging into the large, flat river basin surrounded by high peaks. Stop here to enjoy your snacks surrounded by the beauty of Scotland's wilderness. If you're a keen hiker, you could continue up the valley or tackle one of the summits. Later, return to your rental car and continue another 45 minutes south to Oban, the seafood capital of the UK. This waterfront town is set on a delightful bay with sweeping views of Kerrera and Mull and is considered the main gateway to the Hebridean Islands. Settle in and find a local spot for a seafood dinner.

Day 9: Experience Scotland's Snorkel Trails, Free Time

Climb to McCaig's Tower for views over Oban and its harbor

Snorkeling in Scotland? Yes, really! Zip on a wetsuit and dive into the icy water close to Oban at Ganavan Sands. Within the safe bay, you'll explore rocky outcrops to the west and east, revealing glimpses of kelp forests and seagrass beds. The grasses and kelp provide safe nurseries for local fish and shellfish, so keep your eyes peeled as you swim around in the sea. Beyond providing a home, your guide will share how these special sea forests also remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The rest of the day is yours to explore as you wish. You could visit McCaig's Tower, a striking hilltop monument with panoramic views of the town and its stunning surroundings. Then, descend to the waterfront for a walk around the harbor, taking in sea breezes and eyeing up possible dinner spots for the evening. If you're a whisky fanatic, squeeze in a visit to the Oban Distillery to sample the local dew. Round out the afternoon with a stroll through Oban's charming streets and shop for souvenirs at local artisan boutiques.

Day 10: Visit Inveraray Castle, Drive to Glasgow via Loch Lomond, Horse Trekking 

Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is still the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century

After breakfast, pile into the car and drive an hour south to Inveraray Castle. This grand family home has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the Clan Campbell castle we know today was designed in the 1700s. This truly modern Baroque, Palladian, and Gothic-style castle was architecturally significant before its time. Tour the castle and its gardens, then continue south to explore the beauty of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Loch Lomond is the biggest lake in all of Britain, and the word "Trossachs" refers to this area that's thought to be the Scottish Highlands in miniature. In other words, expect to see sleepy villages, enchanting forests, and twinkling lochs. This afternoon, you'll jump in the saddle for an equine adventure. A local guide will lead the way, showing you the beauty of the area with this one-of-a-kind experience. Together, you'll explore the park, finishing with a climatic viewpoint of the banks. Finally, continue an hour south to Glasgow and check into your accommodation.

Day 11: Free Time, Glasgow Beer Tour

Glasgow pub scene
Perhaps you'll try haggis, neeps, and tatties while tasting Glasgow's pub scene

Glasgow is a modern, creative city that has been shaped by its rich industrial heritage. This is reflected in the grand Victorian architecture that's now juxtaposed with modern structures. Enjoy a relaxed morning exploring the city's sights, from the Gothic Glasgow Cathedral to the beautiful Kelvingrove Park.

Save some energy, as this afternoon, you'll join a special beer tour and hear stories of the characters who created Scotland's largest city. Discover the history of Glasgow as you learn about the brewers who laid the groundwork for it to become the world's largest exporter of bottled beer. Naturally, on this walking tour, you'll stop to enjoy beers from award-winning breweries and dip into charming local pubs. As it's your final night, choose a cozy pub to enjoy your last meal and raise a glass to what's been a great active adventure exploring the wilds of Scotland.

Day 12: Drive to Edinburgh, Depart

Until next time, Edinburgh!

Your road trip across Scotland comes to an end today. Hop in the car one last time and make the hourlong drive from Glasgow back to Edinburgh. Make sure you allow enough time to drop off your rental car ahead of your flight home or onward. Safe travels!

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Map of Active Scotland: Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, Ben Nevis & Loch Lomond - 12 Days
Map of Active Scotland: Edinburgh, Isle of Skye, Ben Nevis & Loch Lomond - 12 Days