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The Castle Trail & Scottish Highlands

(10 days / 9 nights)

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Explore Scotland’s Castle Country

Experience two of the things Scotland is best known for: historic castle ruins and rugged Highland scenery. Starting in Edinburgh, follow the Castle Trail through regal Aberdeenshire and into the beautiful Trossachs National Park area of the Scottish Highlands. Take your time as you explore famous sights like Dunnottar Castle and Loch Ness and taste local whiskies and fresh seafood from Scotland’s coast. It’s an ideal road trip for hikers, foodies and history buffs alike.

Please note that certain dates have limited availability due to major events and festivals in Edinburgh. If you are unable to book your preferred arrival date, please contact us for assistance.

10 days / 9 nights

Price p.p. from

Approx 1053 GBP

The amount will be charged in GBP

Travel style

Self-Drive i

Interest

Castles and Royalty i, Countryside and natural scenery i, Culinary Experience i, Culture and History i, Heritage i, Highlands i, Honeymoon & Romance i

Season

Apr - Nov

Departure

Daily

Driving distance

605/974 km/mi

Itinerary

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

Download PDF
  • Day 1: Arrival day in Edinburgh

    Welcome to Edinburgh. For an easy and comfortable way to get from Edinburgh Airport to your hotel in the city centre, we are happy to arrange a private transfer for you (at additional cost). After settling in, go out and explore the charming city. 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.

    Attractions
  • Day 2: Edinburgh at your leisure

    Today is free for you to explore Edinburgh as you wish. This city 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 and Holyrood Palace, the official Scottish residence of Queen Elizabeth II. You can easily travel around the city centre on foot, so we recommend strolling along the historic Royal Mile or walking to Castle Hill for a spectacular view of the city.

    Spend another night in Edinburgh.

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 3: Fishing villages of Fife & St Andrews

    Drive across the Firth of Forth, with views of the remarkable Forth Rail Bridge, and then follow the Fife coastal route. Take your time to visit the enchanting fishing villages of Anstruther,  Elie and St Monans… and perhaps enjoy the freshest seafood you can taste! Another possible stop on your journey today is the historic city of St Andrews, known as the “home of golf”. It’s also home to the third oldest university in the UK as well as lovely castle ruins and a stunning shoreline. You can also choose to drive an alternative route to visit the delightful village of Falkland and its palace.

    Then continue to Dundee, a designated UNESCO City of Design, where you can find attractions galore, including the ship RRS Discovery and the V&A Museum of Design opening in 2018.

    Spend the night in the Dundee area.

    Driving distance: 75 miles / 121 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 4: Dunnottar castle & Aberdeen

    Today you will make your way to the beginning of the Castle Trail.  Why not start with visiting Glamis Castle, the birthplace of the late Queen Mother. Along your drive you can visit the St Cyrus National Nature Reserve and the spectacular ruins of Dunnottar Castle, perched on some gigantic sea cliffs.

    Spend the rest of the day exploring Aberdeen, often referred to as the “Granite City". There you can visit the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum or the Maritime Museum and dine at one of the many wonderful restaurants in the city.

    Spend the night in the Aberdeen area.

    Driving distance: 70 miles / 113 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 5: Aberdeenshire castle country & the highlands

    Today you will find yourself in Aberdeenshire—“Scotland’s Castle Country”—a region that boasts over 300 castles! In fact, there are more castles per acre here than anywhere else in the UK.

    In this area you can visit the 16th-century Crathes Castle and Garden with its intricate maze of turrets, towers, oak panels and painted ceilings. Another worthwhile sight, Drum Castle, has something for everyone, from the medieval High Hall and Scotland’s oldest tower houses to modern art exhibitions. And of course, no Castle Trail journey is complete without stops at the 17th-century Braemar Castle and/or Balmoral Castle (open April - July), the Scottish home of the Royal Family in the Highlands. Then continue into the Highlands via Cairngorms National Park to Inverness.

    Spend the night in the Inverness area.

    Driving distance: 120 miles / 193 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 6: Inverness, Loch ness & more castles

    Spend some time exploring Inverness, “The Capital of the Highlands”, and its surroundings such as the Black Isle Peninsula and Moray Firth, where dolphins can sometimes be spotted. You can also visit the Battlefield of Culloden Moor, site of the last battle on British soil in 1746—an event considered “the beginning of the end for the Highlands.” Nearby are the Clava Cairns, a series of tombs and standing stones that pre-date Stonehenge by about 1,000 years.

    Then get back on the road and head to the renowned Loch Ness. In this area you can visit Urquhart Castle ruins on the shore or opt to take a detour to view the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle.

    Spend the night in the Fort William area.

    Driving distance: 80 miles / 129 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 7: Glen Coe, Kilchurn castle & Loch Lomond

    Head to the Trossachs National Park and Loch Lomond area today. This journey takes you past Scotland’s most famous valley, Glen Coe, which combines incredible scenery and history. On the way, visit Kilchurn Castle at Loch Awe— one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland—that was built in the 15th century by Clan Campbell.

    Continue to the charming village of Inveraray, where you have the opportunity to visit Inveraray Castle, home to the Duke of Argyll. Before heading to your destination in the Trossachs area, we recommend enjoying a fine seafood dinner on the shores of Loch Fyne.

    Spend the night in the Loch Lomond / Trossachs National Park area.

    Driving distance: 105 miles / 169 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 8: Free time in the Trossachs & Doune castle

    Enjoy the day at your leisure in the magnificent Trossachs National Park, an area of immense natural beauty. We recommend a walk in the ancient village of Luss, with its characteristic stone cottages overlooking the shores of Loch Lomond. You may also wish to do some light hiking in the national park to spot wildlife, or perhaps enjoy a boat tour on either Loch Lomond or on Loch Katrine. Other great options in the area include touring a local whisky distillery and visiting Doune Castle, which is the setting for “Castle Leoch” in the popular TV series Outlander.

    Spend another night in the Loch Lomond / Trossachs National Park area.

    Driving distance: 79 miles / 127 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 9: Stirling & return to Edinburgh

    It’s time to head back towards Edinburgh today. On your way back you may wish to spend some time in the historic city of Stirling, visiting such popular attractions as Stirling Castle and the monument of William Wallace (Braveheart). Other worthwhile stops on your return journey include Linlithgow Palace and the Kelpies, two giant horse head sculptures that make for a great photo opportunity.

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

    Spend the night in Edinburgh.

    Driving distance: 76 miles / 122 km

    Attractions Attractions Attractions
  • Day 10: Departure

    To get to Edinburgh Airport, you can take the Airlink 100 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 your travel route, 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 breakfast..

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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 of that s..

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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
  • x3
  • x1
  • 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

Kia Sportage (automatic)
or similar

  • x5
  • x5
  • x3
  • A

Kia Sportage (automatic)
or similar

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

Mercedes Vito
or similar

  • x9
  • x3
  • x9
  • M

Mercedes Vito
or similar

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

Price per person from

Approx 1053 GBP

The amount will be charged in GBP

Monthly price comparison Our best price per person when booking for two.

2018
2019

Tour Information

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 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. Furthermore, with Scotland being big on all things outdoors, the summer is also the time for various popular activities such as Highland Games, music festivals and sporting events! Please keep in mind that 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. 
 
 
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.

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