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Scotland's Highlands, Islands and Cities

Operated By:
Tour Pace: Comfortable
Rugged Scottish Highlands
Tour Style: First Class
14 Days from $3,038 per person

Scotland's arresting natural beauty and centuries-old heritage are the highlights of this adventure that will see you visit the isles of Skye and Mull, the Orkney Islands and the beauty of Loch Ness. View the remarkably intact ruins of Melrose Abbey, where the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce is said to rest, and visit Glamis Castle, the setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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  1. Board your overnight flight to Europe (not included).
  2. On arrival to Edinburgh Airport transfers will operate at 9 am, 11.30 am and 2 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Enjoy your day at leisure before joining your fellow travelers and Travel Director for a Welcome Reception to kick start your turas through an unimaginably beautiful part of the world.

    meal(s):WR
    hotel:Novotel Centre
  3. Let your Local Specialist take you on an informative sightseeing tour of Edinburgh, stopping to view the regal Palace of Holyroodhouse and nearby new Scottish Parliament Building. We ramble down the Royal Mile, before visiting Edinburgh Castle, from whose Castle Rock vantage point we can admire beautiful cityscapes. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. If your visit coincides with the Edinburgh Festival, tickets for the rousing Edinburgh Tattoo will be included.
    meal(s):FB
  4. A scenic day's excursion brings us to the ruins of the 12th century Augustinian Jedburgh Abbey, which we will have an opportunity to view before admiring the ornate decorations that don the façades of nearby Melrose Abbey.
    meal(s):FB
  5. This morning we cross the Firth of Forth to the celebrated home of golf, St. Andrews, where we will view its ancient university and the course that golfing greats have clamoured to play for centuries. Shakespeare's Macbeth takes center stage as we visit Glamis Castle next. Enjoy a guided tour of the castle and explore its beautiful gardens before we travel to the waterfront city of Dundee.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:Apex City Quay
  6. Indulge in a Cultural Insight into local whisky production at a famous distillery, which includes a tasting of Scotland's much-loved golden nectar. Hearts and hands warmed, we wind our way to visit the tragic battlefield and Visitor Center at Culloden past rugged landscapes and the imposing Cairngorm Mountains. Our final stop for the night is Inverness.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:The Columba
  7. The mystical haunt of Nessie is our first stop today en route to Dunrobin Castle. Spend your afternoon exploring its château-like façades and picturesque setting that was once home to the Clan Sutherland. Arriving in Thurso, our home for the next two nights, we enjoy dinner at our hotel.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Royal
  8. We board a ferry across the Pentland Firth to South Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands, viewing the 1.5 mile stretch of WWII causeways known as the Churchill Barriers. Delve into the stories of the Neolothic Skara Brae village, which was ‘lost' for millennia, before seeing the prehistoric free-standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. En route to our hotel for dinner, we stop at beautiful Kirkwall Cathedral for a photo opportunity.
    meal(s):FB, D
  9. Visit the remote village of Ullapool on the shores of Loch Broom, then journey to the magical setting that is the 13th century Eilean Donan Castle, before continuing to the Isle of Skye where we'll enjoy a delicious dinner in our hotel.
    meal(s):FB, D
    hotel:Kings Arms
  10. The breathtaking scenery of the Isle of Skye behind us, we travel back to the mainland following a beautiful route that takes us past the Glenfinnan Viaduct along which Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express would journey to his beloved school of magic. We pass Fort William, renowned as the gateway to Ben Nevis, before continuing to Ballachulish, our Highland home for the next two nights.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:Ballachulish/Isle of Glencoe
  11. Set sail from the resort town of Oban to the vacation retreat that is the Isle of Mull, where we disembark at Craignure. We cross the pretty countryside of this small island to catch a ferry from Fionnphort to the island of Iona. Before our journey back to Ballachulish, we'll visit Rèilig Odhrain, the final resting place for many of Scottish kings.
    meal(s):FB, D
  12. A solemn reminder of the MacDonald clansmen who were massacred at the Glen of the Weeping in 1692 marks our morning meander south to Glasgow. We follow the banks of picturesque Loch Lomond, before arriving in the edgy city of Glasgow. Enjoy an orientation tour that will see us view George Square with its statues of Britain's famous sons, and St. Mungo's Cathedral.
    meal(s):FB
    hotel:Holiday Inn Theatreland/Novotel Centre
  13. Enjoy a guided tour of Stirling Castle's grounds. Then visit the splendidly decorated Royal Palace of King James V and view the renowned Stirling Heads, before venturing to Bannockburn. We join the Wood family this afternoon for a memorable Be My Guest lunch at their 15th century historical farm on the shores of Loch Ard where we'll enjoy tales of Rob Roy.
    meal(s):FB, BG
  14. It's time to say a fond farewell to our travel companions and Travel Director as our memorable vacation comes to an end. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Glasgow Airport at 7 am and 9 am. Conditions apply.

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30 Day Refund Guarantee

We promise you’ll enjoy a stress-free travel experience from the minute you start your vacation planning or we’ll refund your deposit. Make your reservation with a $350 deposit. If you change your mind for any reason within 30 days of booking, we’ll offer you a full refund.
  • Definite Departure
  • Edinburgh Tattoo
Depart Date Return Date Price Discount Availability Price
6 May 18 19 May 18 checkmark $3,375$3,038pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
13 May 18 26 May 18 checkmark $3,375$3,038pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
27 May 18 9 Jun 18 checkmark $3,375$3,038pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
10 Jun 18 23 Jun 18 checkmark $3,395$3,056pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
17 Jun 18 30 Jun 18 checkmark $3,395$3,056pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
1 Jul 18 14 Jul 18 checkmark $3,425$3,083pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
15 Jul 18 28 Jul 18 checkmark $3,425$3,083pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
29 Jul 18 11 Aug 18 checkmark $3,475$3,128pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
3 Aug 18 16 Aug 18 checkmark $3,725pp Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
5 Aug 18 18 Aug 18 checkmark $3,725pp Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
10 Aug 18 23 Aug 18 checkmark $3,725$3,353pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
12 Aug 18 25 Aug 18 checkmark $3,725pp Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
17 Aug 18 30 Aug 18 checkmark $3,725$3,353pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
19 Aug 18 1 Sep 18 checkmark $3,725pp Request Quote Book Now
Edinburgh Tattoo
24 Aug 18 6 Sep 18 $3,575$3,218pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
2 Sep 18 15 Sep 18 checkmark $3,395pp Request Quote Book Now
7 Sep 18 20 Sep 18 checkmark $3,395$3,056pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
9 Sep 18 22 Sep 18 checkmark $3,395$3,056pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
14 Sep 18 27 Sep 18 checkmark $3,395$3,056pp Early PaymentPay by Jan 11 Request Quote Book Now
  • Edinburgh Tattoo: This departure includes the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo event.

Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.

Single Room Supplement: $580 p.p.

Triple Discount: $10 p.p.

Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $124 per person.

Airport transfers: On arrival to Edinburgh Airport transfers will operate at 9:00 am, 11:30 am and 2:00 pm. Guests arriving later should make their own way to the hotel. Return transfers on the last travel day will arrive at Glasgow Airport at 7:00 am and 9:00 am.

AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift!  Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.

Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.

  • Professional Travel Director Professional Travel Director
  • Sightseeing with Local Experts Sightseeing with Local Experts
  • Cultural Enrichment Cultural Enrichment
  • Expertly Selected Hotels Expertly Selected Hotels
  • VIP Access VIP Access
  • Hotel Tips Hotel Tips
  • Personal Flight Options Personal Flight Options
  • Most Meals Most Meals
  • WIFI on Coach and in Hotels WIFI on Coach and in Hotels

Meal Summary

12 nights, 12 full breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners, On-trip transport, .

Included Highlights

Be My Guest

  • Join the Wood family at their 15th century historical farm on the shores of Loch Ard for a home-cooked Scottish dinner, tales of Rob Roy and a few foot-tapping Ceilidh tunes

Cultural Insight

  • Enjoy a whisky tour and tasting at a local distillery

Local Specialist

  • For included sightseeing in Edinburgh

Hidden Treasure

  • Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure

Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour in Edinburgh
  • Orientation of Dundee, Inverness, Orkney Islands, Stirling, Glasgow
  • Visit Edinburgh Castle, Glamis Castle, the battlefield and Visitor Center of Culloden, Dunrobin Castle, John O'Groats, Skara Brae, Ullapool, Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull, Isle of Iona, St. Mungo's Cathedral in Glasgow, Stirling Castle
  • View Jedburgh Abbey, the 18th green at St. Andrews, Eilean Donan Castle, Glencoe
  • See Loch Ness, Loch Lomond, the Battlefield at Bannockburn

Reviews

Friday, October 13, 2017
Scotland s Highlands Islands and Cities
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : I would buy from Grand European Travel and highly recommend them to others. Their service is excellent.
Vacation : There is no way in hell anybody from the US should be allowed to drive in all of the United Kingdom! A professional driver and coach is the only way to go. We were safe and very comfortable.
Response from Grand European Travel:
We could not agree more! Thank you for taking the time to write.  We're so happy you enjoyed Scotland.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : I found Michelle very helpful and responsive. We have worked with her for three vacations now. I am not always sure she remembers but she is responsive and when different issues came up she found out the information we needed quickly.
Vacation : We loved the trip. We knew that it would involve alot of bus time since we were going so far north. We expected the time in the bus, but the bus itself was not well taken care of and the seats were broken backed and hard to travel in. The guide was extraordinarily well informed, organized and careful. He gave a powerful and lucid historical context to everything as we travelled the high lands and islands areas. The "specialists" especially the one in Edinborough were buffoons over dressed in "romantic" Scottish style, mossbacked conservatives and not all that historically accurate. If you are going to get specialists, make sure they know their stuff and are not simply buffoons dressed for a part. At times we would have enjoyed more time especially at the older and neolithic ruins. We had enough time at places like Culloden but at other places like Brodga and even Skara Brae we felt really rushed even though no other folks were around. The time allocation was uneven with lots of time for some places but hurried at others. For historical folks, it felt very rushed. We loved the Okneys and wish we could have spent more time and even a night or two there. So beautiful and so unique but rushed. We knew that going to the far north the accommodations would be limited and we expected that and the guide did a good job preparing but I must admit even being generous the Thurso place was awful. No real service ethic, pretty bad food and almost dismissive personnel. The beauty and many homes and abbeys and for me the neoltithic ruins and sheer majesty of the north was fantastic. Loved ending in Glasgow which is a fantastic city.
Friday, September 8, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : This was the first time that I took a guided tour and they were very helpful in helping me choose the best package for me. Whenever I had questions they were available to answer, and they called with updated info when there were some changes with the hotel accommodations. Will definitely use their services again.
Vacation : This was the best tour/vacation/experience that I have ever had. This was the first time that I took a guided tour, and I don't think I could have had a better experience. The tour guide and driver, Simone and Pat, were awesome. Simone was very knowledgeable about the country and history, and if she didn't know something she would look it up and make sure she got the question answered. I went in August, specifically to see the Tattoo and I was not disappointed, it was wonderful! I chose this itinerary because I wanted to get a taste of what Scotland has to offer, and I did. The scenery, the people, the history, the castles, just amazing. I looked at this trip as an adventure, up to and including the food and hotels, and had the best time imaginable. If you want 5 star rooms and are expecting high end foodie type food, then I do not recommend this tour, you will be disappointed, the hotels in the Highlands are older and could use some "sprucing up", and while the food was perfectly delicious and I enjoyed it is not what I would call high end. However, if you want to see what Scotland has to offer, and enjoy castles, beautiful scenery, good simple food, and meeting friendly people, then I highly recommend this tour/experience. I hope that I will be able to return to Scotland and make more memories in the future!
Response from Grand European Travel:
Thank you for taking the time to write this helpful review.  Comments like this really help other travelers who are choosing a trip.  We're very glad to hear your vacation to Scotland was memorable, though not surprised...it's a truly wonderful destination!
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : actually I thought I was going with Grand European, and it turned out to be Trafalgar
Vacation : I liked the schedule but not the crowded bus and several of the hotels in the Highlands were not up to my standards; there was mold in the bathrooms and the rooms were very difficult to get to due to the age of the facility. I don't object to old and charming, but the staircases taking one to the rooms were difficult to navigate as one would have to climb up and then climb downstairs to reach the room.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Have program director tell us why driver didn't show up at scheduled time after "Welcome dinner. Tell us why an excursion was cancelled. Why the bus could not drop us off closer to the airport departure gate. Not Happy.
Vacation : Didn't buy much. Mosty post cards.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Itinerary and tour director
Vacation : driver too - every thing finr
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Service:
Vacation:
Service rating : Not good. Would not do again.
Vacation : Not what expected. Once GET had my money they didn't care. Never heard from Randy after I paid. Discriminated as a single traveler. Given the WORST rooms even after paying a premium of $540! Next to the elevator, on third floor (with no elevator), at one point fellow travelers went down to request a better room for me. Will do my own next time. Treated as second class on bus and spent most of the tour in the back where it was cramped and my knees were jammed by the person in front of me reclining their seat when I only had 1/2 inch clearance and I am only 5'8"!
Response from Grand European Travel:
We are terribly sorry to hear about your experience.  We do strive to provide a positive and enjoyable trip for all our guests. We will be reviewing all of your comments thoroughly for immediate improvement and thank you for taking the time to bring this to our attention.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
  • U.S. citizens traveling to Scotland must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering Scotland.

  • The currency in Scotland is the Pound (£). While it’s a good idea to bring some pounds for when you first arrive in Scotland, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination.  The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling.  It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.

  • Scotland’s culture is based on the country’s rich and colorful past, with a long-standing passion for festivals, myths, bagpipes, art, castles, and literature.  Highlights to explore include the city of Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Stirling Castle.

  • Food and drink in Scotland goes far beyond haggis, porridge, and whiskey.  Other specialties to try include kippers, fish and chips, Scotch broth, smoked salmon, sausages, shortbread, and Dundee cake.  For a meal that’s inexpensive and authentic, try a pub meal with a pint of Scottish ale.

  • The weather in Scotland is mild, moist, and quickly changeable. We suggest packing a variety of lightweight clothing items that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Important items to bring include sturdy walking shoes and a waterproof jacket with a hood. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List

  • Tipping is less common in Scotland than in the U.S. When dining in a restaurant, it’s appropriate, although not required, to leave a tip of 5-10 percent.  Leave your gratuity on the table rather than adding it to your credit card receipt to ensure that your waiter receives it.

    At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend £2.50 per person/per day for your driver and £4.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director.  Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 pounds per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit.  A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.

     

  • Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.

  • You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions.  All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers.  In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group. 

    If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.

  • We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions. 

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.

Edinburgh

Dinner And Ghost Walk

Adult Price: £39

Work up an appetite discovering some of Edinburgh's most haunted places with your Local Specialist, who’ll share ghoulish tales before you enjoy a three course meal in a local restaurant.

Rosslyn Chapel

Adult Price: £18

We’ll drive out of Edinburgh to the tiny village of Rosslyn, where you’ll hear the inside story on the famous Rosslyn Chapel. You’ll also visit one of Scotland's most unusual 15th century buildings, famed for its associations with the Knights Templar, the Masonic movement, and now 'The Da Vinci Code'.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Adult Price: £17

You’ll explore this magnificent ship, which has played host to some of the most famous people in the world. Now berthed in Leith, you’ll be welcomed on board to discover the heart and soul of this most special of royal residences – the former honeymoon sanctuary for four royal couples.

Scottish Show With Dinner

Adult Price: £58

Tonight is your chance to put on that tartan and join us for an evening of singing, dancing and bagpipe playing at an internationally famous venue. You’ll enjoy delicious food and wine, join in the singing and watch a Highland dance or two. There's even a chance to sample Scotland’s national dish – haggis.

Glasgow

Doune Castle

Adult Price: £24

Enjoy a visit to this famous castle, featured in film and television shows such as Monty Python, Outlander, and Game of Thrones.

Glasgow City Evening

Adult Price: £36

You'll enjoy a chance to experience a night out in the city of Glasgow. Your Travel Director will take you for an evening of good food, a drink, and undoubtedly interesting conversation.

Scottish Highlands

Cawdor Dinner Evening

Adult Price: £37

Join us for dinner at a traditional country pub in the charming village of Cawdor, home to Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Highland Farm Experience

Adult Price: £14

Visit a real Highland sheep farm and meet Neil the Shepherd and his border collies. He’ll show you how he uses different whistles to command each dog to carry out different tasks. You’ll also have the opportunity to try your hand at sheep shearing, feeding the pups and discover his training techniques. Weather permitting.

Loch Ness Cruise

Adult Price: £23

Sailing from Clansman Hotel, you'll experience a scenic one-hour cruise on Scotland's most famous waterway, Loch Ness. View beautiful Urquhart Castle from the lake while enjoying tea or coffee. The management regrets to inform you that Nessie sightings are not guaranteed!

Isle Of Skye Drive

Adult Price: £14

An opportunity to travel around the Isle of Skye with your Local Specialist. You’ll hear about the way of life on this remote inner Hebridean Island and discover its stories and legends.

Jacobite Steam Railway

Adult Price: £40

Take one of the world’s most spectacular steam train rides across the Glenfinnan viaduct, featured in the Harry Potter movies. You’ll enjoy beautiful coastal and mountain scenery as you relax on this once in a lifetime journey.

Ballachulish Dinner and Drive

Adult Price: £36

Enjoy a scenic drive on Loch Linnhe for dinner.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place every year in August.

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, often referred to as "the most spectacular show on earth," is an exciting celebration showcasing the best of Scottish music, dance, and military pageantry.  In 2018 it will take place in Edinburgh from August 3rd to August 25th, and is sure to draw entertainers and spectators from around the world. 

Tickets and arrangements have been included on these select departures. Book early as they will sell out quickly!

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