Welcome to The Highlands & Islands


Lonely Landscapes

Since the 19th century – when the first tourists began to arrive, inspired by the Romantic movement's search for the sublime – the Scottish Highlands have been famed for their wild nature and majestic scenery. Today the region's biggest draw remains its magnificent landscape. At almost every turn is a vista that will stop you in your tracks, from the bluebell woods, gentle hills and warm autumn colours of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs to the primeval grandeur of Coigach and Assynt, where pillared peaks rear above desolate expanses of gnarled and ancient gneiss. Keep your camera close at hand.

Outdoor Adventures

Scotland's mountains, lochs and seaways offer some of the most rewarding outdoor adventures in Europe. As well as classic challenges such as the West Highland Way and the ascent of Ben Nevis, there are wilderness walks through the roadless wilds of Knoydart and Sutherland, and spectacular summits such as An Teallach, Stac Pollaidh and Suilven. Mountain bikers can enjoy a multitude of off-road routes, from easy trails through ancient pine forests to strenuous coast-to-coast rides, while the turbulent tidal waters around the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland provide the ultimate test of paddling mettle for sea-kayaking enthusiasts.

Legend & Tradition

Legend and tradition run deep in the Highlands. Crumbling forts and monastic cells were once home to Gaelic chieftains and Irish saints; lonely beaches and mountain passes once echoed to the clash of clan battles; and empty glens are still haunted by the ghosts of the Clearances. History is everywhere: in the tumbled stones of abandoned crofts preserved on a hillside like a fossil fragment; in the proud profile of broch and castle silhouetted against a Highland sunset; and in the Gaelic lilt of Hebridean speech and the Nordic twang of Shetland dialect.

A Taste of Scotland

Visitors will soon discover that Scotland's restaurants have shaken off their old reputation for deep-fried food and unsmiling service and can now compete with the best in Europe. A new-found respect for top-quality local produce means that you can feast on fresh seafood mere hours after it was caught, beef and venison that was raised just a few miles away from your table, and vegetables that were grown in your hotel's own organic garden. Top it all off with a dram of single malt whisky – rich, complex and evocative, the true taste of Scotland.


Top experiences in The Highlands & Islands

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The Highlands & Islands activities

$90.86 Day Trips & Excursions

Orkney Islands Day Trip from Inverness

Leaving Inverness behind, this day trip of the Orkney Islands departs every summer morning. Settle back and enjoy the spectacular drive through Scotland's Far North Highlands, before arriving at famous John O'Groats - the end of the line, the northern most point of Scotland.Cross the Pentland Firth to the Islands in just 40 minutes, looking out for puffins, seals, gannets, porpoise and even the occasional whale along the way. Island hop across the Churchill Barriers which thread together five islands to form the Eastern boundary of Scapa Flow. Visit the capital town, Kirkwall, home to the magnificent Viking cathedral of St Magnus and step back 3,000 years as you enter the stoneage village of Skara Brae. The village was hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, until uncovered 150 years ago during a winter storm.

$66.20 Day Trips & Excursions

Isle of Skye Day Trip from Inverness

Leave Inverness and head southwest to Loch Ness, the legendary freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands. As you travel by minibus along the shore-side road, your expert guide will talk you through the myth of ‘Nessie’ – the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Stop at the wee village of Invermoriston to stretch your legs and see the delightful Thomas Telford Bridge. Continue travelling through pretty glens like Glen Moriston, and then pass alongside the Five Sisters mountain range. Stop outside Eilean Donan Castle to admire its incredibly picturesque beauty sprawled across the banks of three spectacular lochs. At the Kyle of Lochalsh, cross the famous Skye Bridge to reach the Isle of Skye itself. First stop is at the island’s second-largest settlement, Broadford. Then your tour of this beautiful island begins! Following the coastal road to Glen Suardal, pass the iconic Red Cuillin Hills and enjoy sweeping views of pretty Bla Bheinn (Blaven Mountain) from the village of Torrin. From here we'll head to Portree, the capital of the island, for lunch (own expense). Take a stroll with your guide around the banks of Loch Slappin – one of Scotland’s most photographed lochs. As you amble around this picturesque spot, your guide will indulge you in the local pastime of beachcombing – scouting the shores for interesting rocks and fossils. After walking along the shores, enjoy a steep walk up Strathaird Peninsula to reach the tiny village of Elgol. Spend time at leisure here. Your journey back passes the little island of Eilean Ban, home to a large colony of otters and a wealth of wildlife. The famous British writer Gavin Maxwell calls Eilean Ban home, and the wildlife here influenced his best-selling novel, Ring of Bright Water. Head back to Inverness via the village of Achnasheen and the dramatic Black Isle, arriving in the early evening.

$77.88 Day Trips & Excursions

Orkney Islands Day Trip from John O'Groats

Leaving John O'Groats, this day trip to the Orkney Islands departs every summer morning. Cross the Pentland Firth to the Islands by ferry in just 40 minutes. The Firth is rich in marine wild life and the many isolated islands provide secure breeding places for thousands of sea birds. Look out for seals and whales along the way.Island hop across the Churchill Barriers which thread together five islands to form the Eastern boundary of Scapa Flow. Visit the capital town, Kirkwall, home to the magnificent Viking cathedral of St Magnus, and the lovely little village of Stromness, last port of call for sailing ships on their way to the Americas. Then step back 5,000 years as you enter the Neolithic village of Skara Brae. This Village was hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, until uncovered 150 years ago during a winter storm.On your way back to the ferry in the evening there will be a stop at the Italian Chapel. Beautifully constructed inside two "nissen" huts using only basic raw materials, the beauty of the Chapel must be seen to be appreciated.

$45.43 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Loch Ness Cruise with Centre and Urquhart Castle Admission

Meet your expert guide at the bus station in central Inverness to begin your tour. Then, leave the city by air-conditioned coach and travel southwest to Clansman Harbor. As you travel, listen to your guide sharing interesting stories and details about Inverness and Loch Ness.Set on the north shores of what is perhaps the most mysterious stretch of water in the world, Loch Ness’ Clansman Harbor lies at the foot of rambling hills, just a stone’s throw from Inverness’ city center. Here, switch your coach for a cruise boat and take in the stunning natural vistas as you slip away from shore toward the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Keep looking out for a glimpse of the fabled Loch Ness Monster as you glide!Enjoy a 1-hour tour of the dilapidated castle that, in its 500 years as a medieval fortress, has a particularly dark and bloody past. Learn about King Edward I’s invasion in the 13th century, its importance during the Scots’ struggle for independence in the 14th century and the raids from MacDonald Lord of the Isles during the 15th and 16th centuries.After exploring the ruins, reboard your coach and head to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. Opened over 30 years ago, the multimedia exhibition center boasts seven themed areas that are crammed with over 500 million years of history, mystery and legends of Loch Ness and its famous monster, Nessie.Following your 1-hour independent visit of the center, enjoy a scenic coach ride back to central Inverness, where your tour concludes.

$103.84 Day Trips & Excursions

Isle of Skye Full Day 8-Seater Bus Tour from Inverness

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Eilean Donan CastleExternal view of the Castle with toilet and coffee stopDuration: 30 minutesStop At: Urquhart CastleExternal views of CastleDuration: 15 minutesStop At: Loch NessPhoto Stop for Views of Loch NessDuration: 10 minutesStop At: QuiraingShort walk for stunning views and photo stopDuration: 30 minutesStop At: The Old Man of StorrPhoto stop Duration: 15 minutesStop At: Happy ToursMeet and Greet in front of the Columba Hotel for departure of all our toursDuration: 15 minutesStop At: Kilt RockPhoto Stop Duration: 20 minutesStop At: Portree VisitScotland iCentreLunch time stop and site seeingDuration: 1 hour

$36.35 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle from Inverness Sightseeing Tour

Make your own way to the bus station in central Inverness to meet your guide. Then, leave the city by air-conditioned coach and relax on the scenic journey to Clansman Harbour during winter months, or Dochgarroch during summer months. As you travel, listen to your guide sharing interesting stories and details about Inverness and Loch Ness.Swap your coach for a cruise boat and take in the sweeping natural panoramas as you cross the still waters toward the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Stay on the lookout for Nessie, the fabled Loch Ness Monster, as you glide.Enjoy around an hour of free time to tour the crumbled castle that, in its 500 years as a medieval fortress, has a dark and bloody past. Learn about King Edward I’s invasion in the 13th century, its importance during the Scots’ struggle for independence in the 14th century and the raids from MacDonald Lord of the Isles during the 15th and 16th centuries.Head to the visitor center to find out more about the noble families who held the castle and to browse the impressive collection of medieval artifacts housed there. Should you wish, refuel with a drink and a snack in the cafe and visit the shop to pick up a memento of your day. You can also head onto the center’s veranda for postcard-perfect views of the loch.After exploring the ruins and visitor center, enjoy a guided panoramic tour of the area by coach on your way back to central Inverness, where your tour concludes.