This eventful 10-day trip through Scotland invites you to experience it all! Start in Edinburgh to sightsee and take a delicious local food tour before heading to Aberdeen to explore Dundee and visit a historic golf course in St Andrews. Next, spend time in Inverness and the Isle of Skye, visiting historic sites, distilleries, and castles. Then, transfer to Glencoe to walk the beautiful scenery, cruise around Loch Katrine in a famed steamship, and embark on a memorable architecture tour in Glasgow.


  • Go on an Old Town guided walk and a delicious local food tour in Edinburgh
  • Cruise around famed Loch Ness and visit the accompanying Urquhart Castle
  • Enjoy whisky, chocolate, and gin tastings, and go kayaking on the Isle of Skye
  • Board the long-running Jacobite Train, known to many as the Hogwarts Express 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive, Visit Edinburgh Castle & History Lovers Old Town Walking Tour Edinburgh
Day 2 Edinburgh Food Tour Edinburgh
Day 3 Self-Guided Dundee Tour & Old Course Walking Tour in St Andrews Aberdeen
Day 4 Elgin Cathedral, Pluscarden Abbey, Dufftown Distilleries & Macallan Estate Inverness
Day 5 Tour Culloden Battlefield, Lochness Cruise & E-biking in Inverness Inverness
Day 6 Visit Urquhart Castle, Skyeskyns Tannery Tour & Self-Care Massage in Skye Isle of Skye
Day 7 Whisky, Gin & Chocolate Tour, Torabhaig Whisky Immersion & Sea Kayaking Isle of Skye
Day 8 Jacobite Train Ride, Mallaig Wildlife Boat Trip & Private Guided Walk in Glencoe Glencoe
Day 9 Sir Walter Scott Steamship Ride & C.R. Mackintosh Glasgow Tour Glasgow
Day 10 Depart Edinburgh  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive, Visit Edinburgh Castle & History Lovers Old Town Walking Tour

Edinburgh Castle
Tour Princes Street for pretty views of Edinburgh Castle

Welcome to Edinburgh! Once your flight arrives, transfer to the city and get settled in your accommodations. Then, it's time to explore. The fun begins at the stunning Edinburgh Castle. Set in the heart of Scotland's dynamic capital, Edinburgh Castle is alive with exciting tales of its time as a military fortress, royal residence, and prison of war. As you climb Castle Hill, walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings, and queens—and even the odd pirate or two.

Next, embark on the two-hour History Lovers Old Town Walking Tour. A stroll through medieval Old Town offers a great overview of Edinburgh's most famous landmarks. It's also home to the city's most intriguing hidden streets and alleyways. After the tours, find a pub to grab a Scotch whisky and a hearty welcome dinner. 

Day 2: Edinburgh Food Tour

Take the Edinburgh Food Tour to learn about local food culture
Take the Edinburgh Food Tour to learn about local food culture

Bringing your appetite, take a three-hour tour to examine many of the ways Scotland is progressing its cuisine while still adhering to traditional culinary practices. Your gourmet guide provides inside access to some of the city's top food shops to meet shop owners, taste artisanal products, and discover some of the best-kept secrets of Scottish culinary traditions. Walk Stockbridge, stopping in at select food shops and market stands—exact destinations depend on the season and day of the week, and visiting Scotland's oldest and most famous specialist deli and wine merchant.

Head to the city's first independent coffee shop to savor some locally roasted beans and learn about the renaissance of good coffee. Next, look at this season's wild game in a butcher shop's window and perhaps slip inside to taste some game pies. In the market, indulge in some hot and cold smoked salmon, haddock, trout, and seafood from an award-winning smokehouse.

Along the way, examine how all of the products fit into the Scottish diet, its culinary traditions, and cooking approaches. Discuss how poverty and wealth have influenced the Scottish ways of eating and drinking, as well as how Edinburgh and its surrounding areas are becoming a center for fine dining and food trends. At the end of the walk, there's a deeper appreciation for the local food scene, which is sure to carry through the rest of your trip. The rest of the day and evening is yours to enjoy before departing Edinburgh in the morning. 

Day 3: Self-Guided Dundee Tour & Old Course Walking Tour in St Andrews

Tour the Old Course at St Andrews
Tour the Old Course at St Andrews

Today, it's off to Dundee for a self-guided experience. Not sure what to do? Start at V&A Dundee & Verdant Works. A trip to Dundee is not complete without stopping at Scotland's first design museum. Plan visits to Broughty Castle Museum and McManus Art Gallery & Museum for other museum options. If you're more into science, visit the Dundee Science Centre. The Old Burial Ground is a great hidden gem, too. 

After your self-guided tour, embark on the 1.5-hour St Andrews walking tour of the famous Old Course, which is especially fun if you are a golf lover. Your expert guide will lead you on a tour of this world-renowned golf course, which follows some icons of the game and offers a player's eye view of the fabled links. The tour will take place around the 1st, 17th, and 18th holes. History shows that golf has been played in St Andrews for over 600 years, although many believe the game's origins here date back to the 12th century. 

Following the day's events, head to Aberdeen to check into your accommodations for the night. 

Day 4: Elgin Cathedral, Pluscarden Abbey, Dufftown Distilleries & Macallan Estate

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

Today, explore Elgin Cathedral and discover why it has earned the name, "Lantern of the North." Even as a ruin, the cathedral shines as one of Scotland's most ambitious and beautiful medieval buildings. Incepted in 1224, it lost its roof shortly after the Protestant Reformation of 1560, and later, its central tower fell. However, the cathedral's fortunes changed once it became a visitor attraction in the early 1800s. Begin by gazing up at the wonderful 13th-century west front, one of the finest architectural achievements in Scotland. Then, stand by the stone bishop in the nave, a larger-than-life statue that looks like a giant chess piece.

Next, step inside the octagonal chapter house where the cathedral clergy met, to see its stone carvings of beasts and faces before seeking out Scotland's tallest gravestone. View a rare image of Pictish falconry on the Pictish cross-slab found on the site of St Giles Parish Church and study the cathedral's carved stones in a new exhibition in the cathedral towers.

Then take a tour of Pluscarden Abbey, which owes its foundation to King Alexander II of Scotland, and dates back to 1230, as well as sister houses, Beauly in Ross, and Ardchattan in Argyll. Then, it's time to toast the day on your visit to Dufftown, home to the Balvenie, Glendullan, Glenfiddich, Kininvie, Mortlach, and Glenlivet distilleries. Next, visit the Macallan Estate, which sits on the banks of the iconic River Spey, in the region of Speyside. The Macallan Distillery Bar is home to the most comprehensive collection—840 bottles—of the rarest single malts, dating back over 70 years.

The circular whisky bar has one of the best views of Speyside, overlooking the Highland landscape and the iconic Easter Elchies House, The Macallan spiritual home, integral to the brand since 1824. After you've had your fill of whisky, head to Elchies Brasserie for a special lunch or dinner before calling it a night in Inverness

Day 5: Tour Culloden Battlefield, Lochness Cruise & E-Biking in Inverness

Visit Culloden Battlefield
Visit Culloden Battlefield

Today, head out on a private, two-hour tour of Culloden Battlefield, which sits on top of a ridge 4 miles (6 km) from Inverness. It is where the last battle on British soil was fought, and the Jacobite Army met a chilling end. This historical event is well-told in the multimedia center onsite. With your private guide, take a walk on the battlefield, to the Well of the Dead, the Main Cairn, and the Clan Graves where the fallen clansmen are buried. Because so many Highland families ended up leaving Scotland—whether by choice or force—Culloden has become a focal point for their returning descendants. 

Next, board a two-hour boat around famed Loch Ness. Cruise around with castle views as you follow in the footsteps of Queen Victoria. Board at Dochgarroch to experience a breathtaking journey that takes you along Thomas Telford's famous Caledonian Canal and, of course, across the legendary waters of the loch. Your final activity for the day is an easy electric bike tour of Inverness. One of the best routes around Inverness takes you past Caledonian Canal and River Ness to navigate a 15-mile (24 km) route with minimal traffic. Follow the signs for Great Glen Way, then turn onto the towpath to Dochgarroch.

In the other direction, Clava Cairns, Culloden, and Cawdor Castle are great for sightseeing. The initial climb out of Inverness, past the hospital, and toward Culloden Moor are an uphill effort, but the return journey will mostly be downhill. The restaurant at Dochgarroch is a good spot for lunch and is located where the route turns back to Inverness. 

Day 6: Visit Urquhart Castle, Skyeskyns Tannery Tour & Self-Care Massage in Skye

The gatehouse of Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness
The gatehouse of Urquhart Castle beside Loch Ness

Today, discover more than 1,000 years of history at Urquhart Castle centered on the Great Glen. The magnificent structure sits on the shore of Loch Ness and has seen some of the most dramatic chapters in Scottish history. Urquhart’s iconic ruins remain, offering glimpses into medieval times and the lives of its noble residents. Tour the castle with an audio guide using your mobile device with internet access. 

Begin by admiring the strategic setting of the castle, on a rocky promontory with an open outlook up and down Loch Ness, and then soak up the atmosphere of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs. Next, take in Grant Tower (you have partial access) before imagining splendid banquets staged in the Great Hall. Then, peer into the gloomy prison cell said to have held legendary Gaelic bard Dòmhnall Donn. Finally, go see the Urquhart Ewer and other medieval artifacts left by castle residents and view the full-sized trebuchet.

Next, it's time to visit Skyeskyns Tannery. As a northern country, the Scots know all about animal skins. Very well known on the Isle of Skye, the traditional tannery invites you to discover the different stages of sheepskin production. Not only is it instructive, but it also gives a good idea of the quality of the products offered for sale. Established in 1983, Skyeskyns is the sole remaining commercial woolskin tannery in Scotland. The tour lasts approximately 15 minutes, during which you can discover the tannery's story and more about the unique processes before visiting the showroom. 

Then, indulge in some well-deserved self-care with an invigorating, one-hour full-body massage at Skye Serenity Spa. The massage is designed to detox and balance the body while removing areas of tension and stress, soothing tired muscles, and encouraging the body to unwind and relax so you can leave feeling uplifted and refreshed.

Day 7: Whisky, Gin & Chocolate Tour, Torabhaig Whisky Immersion & Sea Kayaking

Torabhaig Distillery
Torabhaig Distillery

Today calls for the Isle of Skye & Raasay Whisky, Gin, and Chocolate Tour! Enjoy a tour of the production areas, followed by a mouth-watering whisky, gin, and chocolate tasting. The Isle of Raasay Single Malt, single-cask release, and gin are paired with handmade chocolates from the Glenshiel Chocolate Company, including a specially commissioned Isle of Raasay Single Malt-infused chocolate. Raasay's remarkable geology, island shores, modern Scottish island distillery, and unique water source inspired both the creation and presentation of the island's first Scottish gin, the first legal spirit from Raasay.

Next is the Isle of Skye Whisky Immersion at Torabhaig Distillery, the second-ever licensed single malt scotch whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye. Some time ago, the old farmstead at Torabhaig was identified as the perfect location for a small, traditional distillery. All the factors needed to make good, robust island whisky were in place, right down to the Allt Breach and the Allt Gleann, which offer the purest island spring water. The stone that forms this 200-year-old building was hauled up from the ruined castle in the bay by horse and cart.

After the indulgences, head to southern Skye for a 3-hour guided sea kayaking excursion. Discover Skye away from the crowds, journey along stunning coastlines, and experience a new perspective of the famous island. Enjoy a picnic on a remote beach, and see wildlife and interesting coastlines. The kayaking trip is geared toward beginner and experienced paddlers alike. Following the eventful day, the evening is yours to enjoy in Skye. 

Day 8: Jacobite Train Ride, Mallaig Wildlife Boat Trip & Private Guided Walk in Glencoe

Have an adventure aboard the Jacobite Train
Have an adventure aboard the Jacobite Train

Get ready for an adventure aboard the Jacobite Train for a 7.5-hour excursion. This steam locomotive-hauled tourist train operates over part of the West Highland Line. The Jacobite runs a distance of 41 miles (65 km) between Fort William and Mallaig, passing through an area of great scenic beauty. The route (and train) is also the same one featured in the "Harry Potter" films as the Hogwarts Express.

Described as the greatest railway journey in the world, this 82-mile (132 km) round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Start near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, then visit Britain's most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig. Next, pass the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar, and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar. Finally, arrive next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis. End in Mallaig, a busy fishing port and ferry terminal. 

Deboard the train and head out on a one-hour Mallaig wildlife boating trip around the Small Isles and Loch Nevis. The boat leaves the harbor with the isles of Skye, Rhum, and Eigg to your right. Then, cross the entrance to Loch Nevis, and travel to Green Island on the Knoydart Peninsula. The waters are frequently visited by a variety of birds, seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales, and basking sharks. There's indoor and outdoor seating, plenty of snacks, and a whisky bar to keep you satiated. 
Next, take a private, four-hour guided walk through the famed mountain, Glen Coe. The low-level Lost Valley walk is a typical route traveling up beside the deep gorge that creates the valley before emerging into the large and flat river basin surrounded by high peaks. If you're up for the challenge, carry on up the valley to the high col, with the option to take in one of the summits. Enjoy the evening in the village of Glencoe

Day 9: Sir Walter Scott Steamship Ride & C.R. Mackintosh Glasgow Tour

Sir Walter Scott Steamship cruising on Loch Katrine
Sir Walter Scott Steamship Loch Katrine

Today, board the Sir Walter Scott Steamship and enjoy a sightseeing cruise around Loch Katrine. The Sir Walter Scott has been sailing Loch Katrine since 1900 and is named after the Scottish writer whose famous works included the "Lady of the Lake" poem (set on Loch Katrine). Next, transfer to Glasgow for the three-hour C.R. Mackintosh Tour, which takes you through the city's heart to explore Mackintosh's work as an architect, artist, and designer. On the walk, discuss Mackintosh's life and work within the context of turn-of-the-century, industrial Glasgow and his legacy in the city and beyond.

Begin your walk at The Lighthouse, the former offices of the Glasgow Herald. Designed by architect John Keppie with a young Mackintosh as his apprentice, the building now houses Scotland's Centre for Architecture and Design. This includes the Mackintosh Interpretation Centre to see brilliant examples of Mackintosh's work as a designer while giving you a holistic picture of his career. Before moving on, take in the spectacular view from Mackintosh's water tower.

Take a short break at the Willow Tearooms to experience one of Mackintosh's total designs, followed by the Glasgow School of Art, badly damaged in a 2014 fire but currently being restored. Consider the school's dramatic impact on Glasgow's vibrant art scene. Conclude your walk with a visit to the last public commission Mackintosh was awarded: the Scotland Street School. In addition to the fascinating design and twin-windowed, Scottish-Baronial-style tower staircases, the museum offers a glimpse into the past, with recreated school rooms telling the story of Scotland's educational history. 

This evening, plan for a special last dinner in Glasgow to commemorate your eventful vacation. 

Day 10: Depart Edinburgh

Farewell, Edinburgh!
Farewell, Edinburgh!

In the morning, transfer back to Edinburgh to catch your return flight home. If there's time to spare, shop for any last souvenirs, perhaps a few bottles of whisky, before heading home.

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Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Scotland? Check out these other Scotland itineraries, with outdoor adventures, castle visits, and best-of tours to hit the highlights or explore different ways to spend a week in Scotland.


Map of Signature Scotland: Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Glencoe & Glasgow - 10 Days
Map of Signature Scotland: Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Glencoe & Glasgow - 10 Days