This epic two-week adventure brings together some of Scotland's most iconic experiences, from golfing at St Andrews to whisky tasting on the Isle of Skye. Explore the hidden corners of Edinburgh's Old Town, take a three-day trek along the famed West Highland Way, discover the wild beauty of Cairngorms National Park, and hop over to the Hebrides Islands to sample world-class cuisine and tour whisky distilleries.

Highlights

  • Golf the hallowed courses of St Andrews Links
  • Embark on a three-day trek along the West Highland Way
  • Tour the famed whisky distilleries of Skye
  • Spot rare wildlife in Cairngorms National Park
  • Discover the history & hidden corners of Edinburgh's Royal Mile

 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Edinburgh, Drive to St Andrews St Andrews
Day 2 St Andrews Walking Tour & Golf at the Carnoustie Links St Andrews
Day 3 Guided Tour of Bannockburn, Drive to Bridge of Orchy & the Highlands Bridge of Orchy
Day 4 West Highland Way Trek Day 1: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse Glencoe
Day 5 West Highland Way Trek Day 2: Kinghouse to Kinlochleven Kinlochleven
Day 6 West Highland Way Trek Day 3: Kinlochleven to Fort William Fort William
Day 7 Drive to the Isle of Skye, Torabhaig Distillery Whisky Tour  Isle of Skye
Day 8 Skyeskyns Tannery Visit & Three Chimneys Culinary Experience Isle of Skye
Day 9 Isle of Raasay Whisky, Gin & Chocolate Tasting Isle of Skye
Day 10 Drive to Aviemore, Cairngorms National Park Wildlife Tour Aviemore
Day 11 Golf at the Spey Valley Championship Golf Course  Aviemore
Day 12 Drive to Edinburgh, Historian Guided Walking Tour Edinburgh
Day 13 Edinburgh Private Photography Tour Edinburgh
Day 14 Depart Edinburgh  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Edinburgh, Drive to St Andrews

Welcome to St Andrews

Welcome to Scotland! Upon arrival at the airport in Edinburgh, you'll collect your rental car and make the roughly 1.5-hour drive north to St Andrews, your base for the night. After settling into your accommodations, the rest of the day is free for you to explore.

For a small town, St Andrews has made a big name for itself, first as a religious center and place of pilgrimage, then as Scotland's oldest (and Britain's third-oldest) university town. But its status as the home of golf has propelled it to even greater fame, and today's pilgrims mostly arrive with a set of clubs in hand. It's a lovely place to visit even if you've no interest in the game, as there are impressive medieval ruins, stately university buildings, sandy beaches, and an excellent dining scene.

Aside from that, the Old Course—the world's most famous golf links—has a striking seaside location at the western end of town, and it's a thrilling experience to stroll the hallowed turf. Nearby is the magnificent beach of West Sands, made famous by the film "Chariots of Fire."

Day 2: St Andrews Walking Tour & Golf at the Carnoustie Links

St Andrews old golf course
The famous Old Course in St Andrews

Join an expert guide on a tour of the world's most famous golf course this morning. Walk in the footsteps of the game's greatest icons, and experience a player's eye view of the fabled links. Historic records show that golf has been played in St Andrews for more than 600 years, although many believe the game's origins in the area date back to the 12th century. As well as exploring the birthplace of the game, today's tour will provide insight into the town's unique history.

In the afternoon, grab your club and head over to the beautiful Carnoustie Championship Course to play a round on its hallowed turf. This famous seaside course has hosted eight Open Championships, two Women's Opens, two Senior's Opens, and is one of three courses used for the annual Dunhill Links. Consistently voted Best Golf Course in Scotland over the years, playing these scenic links is an unforgettable experience.

Day 3: Guided Tour of Bannockburn, Drive to Bridge of Orchy & the Highlands

Old Military Road, Bridge of Orchy
Rugged scenery in Bridge of Orchy

Today you'll depart St Andrews and drive west, stopping along the way for an evocative history tour of Bannockburn, the site of one of Scotland's most important battles in 1314. Here you'll join a local expert historian on a guided walk of the vast battlefield. As you follow the route taken by the Scots to reach the English camp, you'll learn about the tactical decisions that won Scotland its freedom.

Later, continue west into the heart of the Highlands to the charming village of Bridge of Orchy. Settle into a local inn and rest up for tomorrow’s first day of walking the famed West Highland Way.

Day 4: West Highland Way Day 1: Bridge of Orchy to Kingshouse

The breathtaking scenery of Glen Coe
Your first day's trek on the West Highland Way takes you 13 miles (21 km) through the beautiful and remote Rannoch Moor before crossing Glen Coe, home to some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the UK. Pass the impressive Buachaille Etive Mor to arrive at Kingshouse, one of Scotland's oldest inns and your base for the night.

Day 5: West Highland Way Day 2: Kinghouse to Kinlochleven

Hiking trail in Scotland
A Highland hiking trail

Day two starts with a hike from Kingshouse over the Devil's Staircase, the highest point on the West Highland Way. A steep ascent climbs 1,797 feet (548 m), rewarding you with sweeping views over Glen Coe and Ben Nevis. After 10 miles (16 km) of trekking, you'll finish up the day on the pristine shores of Loch Leven, where you'll settle in for the night in the secluded village of Kinlochleven.

Day 6: West Highland Way Day 3: Kinlochleven to Fort William

Mountain views along the West Highland Way

On today's 14-mile (23-km) section of the West Highland Way, you'll pass Lairig Mor, cross the beautiful valley of Glen Nevis, and skirt the foot of Ben Nevis, where the loch-side town of Fort William welcomes you for the night. Known as the “adventure capital of the UK,” this idyllic town's location between crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountains draws outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world.

Day 7: Drive to the Isle of Skye, Torabhaig Distillery Whisky Tour 

Whisky barrels Distillery
Whisky barrels at a distillery on Skye

Today you'll get back on the road and drive north to the Isle of Skye. The largest island in the Inner Hebrides, Skye boasts a breathtaking coastline of peninsulas and coves radiating out from a mountainous center. Known for its rugged beauty and charming fishing villages, the island is also famous for its excellent whisky.

Your destination for the night is the lush Sleat Peninsula on the island's southwest coast. After checking into your accommodations, learn more about Skye's whisky production with a tour of the nearby Distillery at Torabhaig. Located on the site of a historic farmstead, this small, traditional distillery is the second-ever licensed single malt Scotch whisky distillery on the island. Tour the historic farm buildings made by stone hauled up from the bay by horse and cart, and discover how water, climate, and land shape the character of the island's spirits.

Day 8: Skyeskyns Tannery Visit & Three Chimneys Culinary Experience

Learn about the history of sheepskin on the island 

Discover some Hebridean traditions this morning with a visit to Skyeskyns Tannery, where you'll learn about the time-honored methods of sheepskin production and leather making. After a 15-minute tour of the tannery and its processes, you'll visit the showroom to discover the many different breeds and types of sheepskin. 

In the evening, embark on an unforgettable culinary experience with a six-course tasting menu at the renowned Three Chimneys. Considered one of the best restaurants in the UK and the world, the dishes at Three Chimneys are all sourced locally, with oysters fished from the bay, crab from nearby Loch Bracadale, lobster from Loch Dunvegan, and local Talisker whisky flavoring sauces and deserts. The cuisine is traditional and inventive but always refined. You'll sit at the communal table and watch the tableau of a busy kitchen as the staff prepares world-class dishes and drink pairings.

Day 9: Isle of Raasay Whisky, Gin & Chocolate Tasting

Catch the ferry to the Isle of Raasay

Hop over to the small island of Raasay today, where you'll delight your tastebuds with a whisky, gin, and chocolate tasting. After a short ferry trip from Skye, a scenic 15-minute walk takes you to the historic Raasay Distillery.

Here you can enjoy a guided tour of the production areas followed by a tasting. Start with the Isle of Raasay single malt, a lightly peated whisky balanced with rich fruit flavors. Then sample the island's first Scottish gin, inspired by Raasay's remarkable geology and unique water sources. Pairing each tasting will be handmade chocolates from the Glenshiel Chocolate Company, including a specially commissioned Isle of Raasay single malt-infused chocolate. 

After your return ferry journey to Skye, head to the Skye Serenity Spa and soothe tired muscles with a full body massage using locally sourced seaweed oil. Designed to detox and balance the body while removing areas of tension and stress, it's the perfect way to pamper yourself after your trek along the West Highland Way. 

Day 10: Drive to Aviemore, Cairngorms National Park Wildlife Tour

Views over the remote Loch Avon in Cairngorms National Park

In the morning, you'll bid the Hebrides farewell as you head back to the mainland and drive east across the Highlands to the small town and outdoor adventure hub of Aviemore. Nestled at the foot of the mountains of Cairngorms National Park, it's the perfect base for exploring the wild beauty of this region. 

After settling in, meet your expert guide for an exciting tour of the park. Offering some of the best wildlife diversity in the United Kingdom, the Cairngorms' pristine landscapes are home to a quarter of the country's threatened species. Spot rare flora and fauna and traverse rugged countryside from the comfort of a 4X4 as your guide shares their boundless enthusiasm for the native wildlife.

Day 11: Play the Spey Valley Championship Golf Course 

Play golf in the heart of a national park at Speyside

Today you have the option of getting back on the links with a visit to the nearby Speyside Valley Championship Golf Course. Set on a magnificent heathland in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, this Dave Thomas-designed championship course is challenging but fair and offers stunning mountain views. The course has staged the European Challenge Tour's Scottish Hydro Challenge since 2009 and has established itself as one of Scotland's top inland courses. 

Spey Valley has an old-fashioned out-and-back routing, and water comes into play on several occasions. Holes are generally very open, though heather and gorse line many fairways, and strategically placed trees are cunningly located on more than one fairway dogleg. Along the 18 holes, you'll enjoy the beautiful scenery and unique wildlife including deer, red squirrels, and osprey.

Day 12: Drive to Edinburgh, Historian Guided Walking Tour

Explore the capital of Edinburgh

Say goodbye to the Highlands this morning and drive south to Edinburgh, Scotland's capital since the 15th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

After dropping off your car and checking into your hotel, join a three-hour, historian-led private tour of the city's rich history and hidden corners. It begins in the shadow of Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat, dramatic parts of the former royal hunting grounds of Holyrood Park. Move on to admire 17th-century mansions clustered nearby, visit sites of old breweries and sugar houses, and catch a glimpse of the city's industrial past. You'll learn about the typical Scottish alleyway, called a close, and wander through many of them in the atmospheric Old Town.
 
Continue to the Canongate Tolbooth and learn how this part of Edinburgh is closely connected with Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, both of whom stayed in the palace at different times. At the end of the Canongate, you'll reach the Flodden Wall. These fortifications were built in the16th-century to protect the city.
 
After this immersive tour, you'll see how the Royal Mile functions as the central spine of a town where medieval "skyscrapers" are crisscrossed by narrow lanes. More than anything, you'll come away with a deeper understanding of the pivotal moments that shaped Edinburgh's past.

Day 13: Edinburgh Private Photography Tour

Colorful shops in Edinburgh's Old Town

Celebrate your penultimate day in Edinburgh with a unique photography tour led by a local professional photographer (known for their portraits of luminaries like David Bowie). Combining a photography lesson with a historic tour of the city, you'll traverse the famously photogenic Old Town. Along the way you'll learn how to frame the perfect photograph and capture unforgettable images of your trip. 

The rest of the day you'll have free to enjoy at your leisure. Visit the magnificent Scottish National Portrait Gallery, climb up the extinct volcano of Arthur's Seat for sweeping views over the city, or spend some time relaxing in one of Edinburgh's idyllic parks. As evening falls, explore the city's vibrant culinary scene before ending your night at a cozy, traditional pub.

Day 14: Depart Edinburgh

Views across Edinburgh from Calton Hill
Your adventure draws to a close today as a private transfer takes you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Ultimate Scotland: Golf, Whisky & Trekking in the Highlands - 14 Days
Map of Ultimate Scotland: Golf, Whisky & Trekking in the Highlands - 14 Days