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Express Scotland

(6 days / 5 nights)

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Edinburgh & the Highlands in one go

You’ll be surprised how many amazing things you’ll take in on this condensed road trip! From the capital city of Edinburgh, you will be able to explore many of the top attractions in the Scottish Highlands, including the beautiful Isle of Skye and legendary places such as Loch Ness, Glenfinnan and Trossachs National Park, along with historical towns like Inverness. It’s the perfect blend of Scottish culture and nature for travellers short on time.

Type

Self-Drive

Interest

Castles and Royalty, Classic, Culture and History, Highlands, Isles, Off the Beaten Path

Season

1 Apr - 31 Oct

Departure

daily

Driving distance

897/557 km/mi

Price p. p. from

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Itinerary

A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

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  • Day 1: Arrival Day in Edinburgh

    Welcome to Scotland. For an easy and comfortable way to get from the Edinburgh or Glasgow airport to your hotel in the Edinburgh city centre, we are happy to arrange a private transfer for you (at additional cost). After settling in, go out and explore. Edinburgh has a long and storied history, so there’s no shortage of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, museums and landmarks to visit, including the majestic Edinburgh Castle.

    You can easily travel around the city centre on foot, and we recommend strolling along the Royal Mile or walking to Castle Hill for a spectacular view of the city. For a good introduction to the city, why not join the Edinburgh Tour, a guided tour on a double-decker bus covering the top attractions, or a guided walking tour of the Old Town. And of course there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy some warm Scottish hospitality—not to mention a taste of the local whisky.

    Spend the night in Edinburgh. 

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  • Day 2: Into the Scottish Highlands

    Start your drive today across the remarkable Forth Road Bridge and head towards the majestic Scottish Highlands. There are many possible stops depending on your time and interest. Notable highlights include the picture-perfect village of Dunkeld, perched on the banks of the River Tay, and the 13th century Blair Castle nestled in the heart of Highland Perthshire. Travelling through the Cairngorms National Park, another ideal stop is at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore, where actors and restored buildings help bring Highland history to life.

    If time allows, head to the Battlefield of Culloden Moor, where the last battle on British soil occurred in 1746—an event considered "the beginning of the end for the Highlands." There you can also visit Clava Cairns, a series of tombs and standing stones which pre-date Stonehenge by some 1,000 years. Then continue on to Inverness, regarded as the "Capital of the Highlands."

    Spend the night in the Inverness area. 

    Driving distance: 251 km / 156 miles

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  • Day 3: Loch Ness, Castles & Isle of Skye

    Experience some of Scotland’s most famous attractions today. Drive along the shores of Loch Ness where—time permitting—you can take a boat tour on Loch Ness in search of its notorious and elusive monster, or go explore the nearby Urquhart Castle ruins on the shores of the lake. Further along the drive, make a stop at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a sight you will surely recognize from many photographs, films and TV shows.

    Then head for the picturesque Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. Explore the scenic fishing-village of Portree with its colourful buildings and boutiques and dine at one of the cosy local restaurants.

    Spend the night on the Isle of Skye or nearby vicinity.

    Driving distance: 182 km / 113 miles

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  • Day 4: Northern Skye & Glenfinnan

    Today we recommend starting the day early to explore Skye, a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. Drive around the northern part of the island via the breathtaking Trotternish Peninsula, passing "The Old Man of Storr," one of the island’s most famous landmarks. Visit the beautiful Kilt Rock waterfall and enjoy the scenery of the Quirang rock face. We also suggest a short walk around the magical Fairy Glen.

    Then head to the Sleat Peninsula and take the ferry over to the mainland. In Glennfinnan you can visit the Glenfinnan Monument, a tribute to the Jacobite clansmen overlooking the mysterious and beautiful Loch Shiel. From there, enjoy more amazing Highland scenery enroute to Fort William.

    Spend the night in the Fort William area.

    Driving-distance: 203 km / 126 miles

    Ferry duration: 30 minutes

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  • Day 5: Famous Glens, Loch Lomond & Stirling

    Head to Rob Roy country, the Trossachs and Loch Lomond area today. This journey takes you past Scotland’s most famous and scenic valley, Glen Coe, as you drive through the Trossachs National Park area. For a fun photo opportunity, don't miss the Doune Castle, featured in the classic film Monty Python & the Holy Grail and the Outlander TV series as "Castle Leoch." Another ideal place to visit is Stirling Castle and the monument dedicated to William Wallace, the rebellious Scottish knight and subject of the film Braveheart.

    Back in Edinburgh, return your rental car and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure, perhaps with a fine dinner to top off your amazing journey.

    Driving distance: 261 km /162 miles

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  • Day 6: Departure

    To get to Edinburgh Airport, you can take the Airport Express bus from Waverley Bridge or a taxi directly from your hotel. If your flight is in the afternoon, use the morning to enjoy some last-minute shopping, visit one of Edinburgh’s museums or simply relax and take in the old world atmosphere of the city.

    If you wish to spend more time in Edinburgh or Glasgow before or after the tour, ask your travel consultant about adding extra nights or services, such as private airport transfers. We can also extend your trip with other destinations in the Nordic region such as Iceland or Norway. Contact us for details about customizing your itinerary.

Map

Here’s a map of Scotland, to help put things in perspective.

Accommodation

Sleep soundly, in the accommodation type of your choice, and wake up ready to enjoy another day of exploration.

Comfort

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a three-star hotel, B&B, well-appointed guesthouse or similar. All provide..

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Quality

Rooms with private WC and shower (or bath) in a boutique guesthouse, three- or four-star hotel or the best accommodation..

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Rental car

Enjoy the journey, with authorization for two drivers and free GPS in the rental car of your choice.

Toyota Yaris
or similar

  • x4
  • x3
  • x1
  • M

Toyota Yaris
or similar

  • Type: A
  • Passengers: 4
  • Luggage: 1
  • Doors: 3
  • Transmission: Manual

Kia Picanto (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x2
  • A

Kia Picanto (automatic)
or similar

  • Type: B
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 1
  • Doors: 3
  • Transmission: Automatic

Vauxhall Astra
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x2
  • M

Vauxhall Astra
or similar

  • Type: C
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 2
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Toyota Auris (automatic)
or similar

  • Type: D
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Automatic

Vauxhall Insignia
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x4
  • M

Vauxhall Insignia
or similar

  • Type: E
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Manual

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x4
  • A

Ford Mondeo (automatic)
or similar

  • Type: F
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Automatic

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x4
  • x4
  • A

BMW 520 (automatic)
or similar

  • Type: G
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 4
  • Doors: 4
  • Transmission: Automatic

Vauxhall Zafira
or similar

  • x7
  • x5
  • x1
  • M

Vauxhall Zafira
or similar

  • Type: H
  • Passengers: 7
  • Luggage: 1
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual

Kia Sportage
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • M

Kia Sportage
or similar

  • Type: I
  • Passengers: 5
  • Luggage: 3
  • Doors: 5
  • Transmission: Manual

Mercedes Vito
or similar

  • x9
  • x3
  • x9
  • M

Mercedes Vito
or similar

  • Type: J
  • Passengers: 9
  • Luggage: 9
  • Doors: 3
  • Transmission: Manual
  • *upgrade to automatic available upon request

Everything about this tour

Travel seasons and price savings
July and August are Scotland’s busiest travel months, known as the high season. August is an especially busy month in the City of Edinburgh, due to a number of major festivals taking place throughout the month. The Isle of Skye can also be quite congested in July and August, with its status as one of Scotland’s ‘must see’ destinations. During this season, there is less availability at accommodations and attractions tend to be the most crowded.
 
Booking a tour in the shoulder season — May and June — offers a more peaceful travel experience, a better chance at reserving preferred accommodations and prices that are as much as 15% lower than high season. For even greater savings and fewer crowds, consider booking in the low season, April and October. 
 
Our travel consultants are happy to offer you more information about the differences in Scotland’s travel seasons and the best times to visit based on your needs and interests.  
Contact us
 
Good to know:
  • Remember, motorists drive on the left side of the road in Scotland.
  • If you are not used to driving on the left, we highly recommend choosing a vehicle with automatic transmission when you book online. Keep in mind that in a manual transmission vehicle, you need to shift gears with your left hand as the driver seat is on the right. (Floor pedals are the same.)
  • On Day 6 of this tour, the optional longer route adds an extra 156 km (97 miles) of driving.
Currency rate
All bookings are charged in British Pounds (£, GBP). Prices displayed in other currencies are indicative only and based on the daily exchange rate. Therefore, conversions from GBP to other currencies will fluctuate from day to day.
 
After booking with Nordic Visitor
After booking your package with Nordic Visitor, you will be contacted within two working days by one of our travel consultants, who will serve as your dedicated contact person for all of your travel needs before, during and even after your holiday. Your travel consultant will provide you with details about your booking and your remaining payment (if not paid in full). You will also receive more information about what to expect during your holiday.

We are here to help

Whether you have a single question or a special request, we're here for you.