- Learn about Scotland's former rulers at Stirling Castle, followed by a hike
- See the UK's endangered wildlife species at Cairngorms National Park
- Paddle a kayak past historic castles and monuments in the vast Great Glen
- Snorkel through crystal clear kelp forests and seagrass in Ganavan Bay
|Day 1||Arrive in Edinburgh, Drive to Stirling, Hike Ben Vrackie Mountain||Pitlochry|
|Day 2||Wildlife Safari in Cairngorms National Park, Drive to Fort William||Fort William|
|Day 3||Bike Adventure in Ben Nevis, Drive to Glencoe||Glencoe|
|Day 4||Kayak in the Great Glen||Glencoe|
|Day 5||Snorkel in Ganavan Bay, Drive to Edinburgh||Edinburgh|
|Day 6||Bike Tour, Depart Edinburgh|
Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh, Drive to Stirling, Hike Ben Vrackie Mountain
Welcome to Scotland! Upon arrival in Edinburgh, pick up your rental car and make the one-hour drive north to Stirling Castle, located at the intersection of the Highlands and Lowlands. Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling was a strategic site for armies and home to Stuart monarchs. Nearby, visit the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey, the resting place of King James III, and walk around the old town of Stirling, where past and present merge.
From Stirling, continue your drive to Pitlochry and Ben Vrackie mountain. Depending on your energy levels, you can take a self-guided hike through woods and open moorland with Loch Choire views. After your walk, return to Pitlochry to stroll along the Tummel River and explore its Victorian architecture. Then take a tour of a traditional whisky distillery and settle into your Pitlochry hotel for the night.
Day 2: Wildlife Safari in Cairngorms National Park, Drive to Fort William
In the morning, drive 10 minutes north of Pitlochry to Cairngorms National Park, home to a quarter of the UK's endangered wildlife species. There, meet a local guide and hop into a 4WD vehicle to set off on a safari through the park. Get your camera ready as your guide points out the area's threatened species and leads you through easy hikes to some of the park's most scenic areas. After your safari, get back in your car to continue to Fort William, traveling about two hours west.
Take the rest of the day to see Fort William at your own pace, perhaps by tasting whisky at a distillery, climbing Ben Nevis mountain, or strolling by the sea with views of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna, and Skye Isles. You can also learn about the area's history and the Jacobite risings at the West Highland Museum or get tickets for an 84-mile (135 km) round-trip ride on the Jacobite Steam Train. The train starts near Ben Nevis and travels to Arisaig before passing Lochs Morar and Nevis. In the late afternoon, return to Fort William and settle into your hotel for the evening.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Bike Adventure in Ben Nevis, Drive to Glencoe
Today, you'll see the Ben Nevis mountain range from another perspective by choosing your own bike adventure. Experienced riders can get fitted for a mountain bike to reach 3,937 feet (1,200 m) along ridges and rugged terrain. You can also take your mountain bike on a gondola, The Red Giant, for a downhill challenge or keep the ride at a slower pace whether you opt for a full- or half-day adventure.
When finished, return your bike and get back in the car headed for Glencoe, where you'll spend the next two nights. Glencoe Valley is an ideal place for adventure at the heart of the Highlands, and it's also an important site featured in the "Game of Thrones." Glencoe Valley's waterfalls and hiking trails lead to peaks such as Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean nam Bian, offering miles of exploration. Opt to follow one of the trails in the afternoon or relax in the village and prepare for another adventure tomorrow.
Day 4: Kayak in the Great Glen
The Great Glen is a narrow valley of lochs running nearly straight for 62 miles (99 km) from Inverness to Fort William. On a half-day kayaking trip, see its shoreline and many lochs, starting from Glencoe. During your route, spot the obelisk monument, the Well of the Seven Heads, and the ruins of Invergarry Castle overlooking Loch Oich. Take a break from your kayak to try out one of the area's walking paths, and then return to Glencoe.
Back in Glencoe, depending on the time of day, you can visit the Glencoe Folk Museum, located in two thatched cottages, and learn about the area through its local heritage displays. You can also visit a distillery for a whisky tasting, walk in An Torr to Signal Rock, or relax at a pub before traveling to Edinburgh tomorrow.
Day 5: Snorkel in Ganavan Bay, Drive to Edinburgh
In the morning, take a trip headed south along Loch Linnhe and Loch Creran to Oban. From there, set off on an underwater journey, putting on your snorkel gear at the shores of Ganavan Sands. The expansive bay is home to kelp forests and seagrass that you can see through the window of your mask. Take a break from snorkeling to relax on the beach, and then set off for your next destination, Edinburgh.
The drive from Oban to Edinburgh is about three hours traveling east, and you can choose to break up the trip with stops along the way or to head there directly for more time to explore. Once in Edinburgh, walk through the Old Town along the Royal Mile, head for the city's castle to glimpse the country's crown jewels, walk in the New Town's gardens, or check out its nightlife.
Day 6: Bike Tour, Depart Edinburgh
It's time to say goodbye to Scotland! But first, you'll see more of the Scottish countryside with a local guide from the seat of a bike. Whether using an electric or manual bike, cycle with your guide on a scenic Scottish Highlands route past Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park along a disused railway line, away from traffic.
Following the ride, return to your Edinburgh hotel, and catch a transfer to the airport for your flight home or your next destination. Safe travels!