Isle of Skye Vacation Package: Small Group Tour of Scotland

Discover geology, history and culture on this 5 day Scottish Highlands vacation. On this scenic tour of Scotland enjoy 2 days on the Isle of Skye, with top quality accommodation.

Highlights

  • Kick off your Highlands and Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh with a train journey across the beautiful Scottish countryside to Inverness, then travel over the sea to experience the wonders of the Isle of Skye.
  • Hear the most dramatic stories of Skye and Scotland, as you stand on the landscapes upon which they unfolded.
  • Learn from local experts and guides as you visit whisky distilleries, slow-motion landslips, and one of Scotland’s most dramatic lochs, hidden in Skye’s Cuillin mountains.
  • Stay at two welcoming and charismatic four-star hotels: a Georgian mansion outside Inverness, and a former hunting lodge on Skye.
  • Taste the finest food in Scotland with traditional meals made from quality, locally-sourced ingredients.

Overview

Live the stories and traditions of Scotland on our five-day, four-night Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh as part of a small group. You’ll explore the history, geology and traditions of Scotland in the Highlands and on the Isle of Skye, known as the Misty Isle.

Travel from Edinburgh to Inverness to take in the sights and sounds of the Highlands, before exploring the enchanting Isle of Skye. This Scotland vacation package encompasses loch-fringed coastlines, towering mountain ranges and hidden-away gems, all in the company of our local guides. They’re experts in bringing Scotland’s history, culture and geology to life.

Between spectacular locations, stay at two Good Hotel Guide-recommended and family-owned four-star hotels. We’ve carefully chosen places that we believe best showcase Scotland’s traditional comforts and best local ingredients.

Highlights of your Scotland vacation include castles laden with tales of conflict, clans and courage. You’ll dig deep into the local landscape, marvel at the landscape’s rugged beauty and uncover its deep-time origins.

But perhaps the biggest highlight of the tour is Skye itself. This ‘Misty Isle’ just off the Scottish mainland holds so much history, culture and traditions that you’ll be enthralled the moment you set foot on the island. Our Skye vacation takes you from one end of the island to the other, from peaceful ports to jagged mountain peaks, with all the richness of island life in between.

  • Activity Level: Moderate, with a range of optional walks and hikes across the Scottish landscape between 1 and 3 miles long, with a slightly longer hike on Day 5 (see definitions here). This holiday also includes boarding a boat via a ramped pier.
  • Transport: Getting there: First-class rail travel between Edinburgh and Inverness, with a pre-ordered taxi to/from your hotel. Getting around: Luxury minibus; passenger boat once on Skye.
  • Accommodation: First night stay at the Coul House Hotel, Strathpeffer, a welcoming 18th-century Georgian mansion; two nights at the Cuillin Hills Hotel, Portree, on Skye, with one of the best views of the island’s landscape and mountains. Final night at Coul House before return to Edinburgh. A la carte dinner at the hotel(s), each night of the trip.
  • Weather: The Isle of Skye’s weather is generally cool to warm over spring and summer, but there can often be a risk of rain. Skye is also known as the Misty Isle, but we find that this often enhances its craggy landscape, and won’t affect our itinerary.

Further Tour Information

Now go to top of the page for Itinerary, Need to Know and Gallery tabs

Tour Map

Day 1 – Edinburgh to Inverness: The Heart of the Highlands

Coul House Hotel

Meet your fellow travellers and Scottish guide at Edinburgh Waverley railway station, travel by train to Inverness, and settle into the glorious Coul House Hotel.

The first journey of your tour is by first-class train from Edinburgh to Inverness. It’s a gentle introduction to the Scottish Highlands, with views of lochs, mountains and moors. After a morning departure, you will arrive in Inverness around midday.

Visit the site of a battle that changed the history of Scotland, and a much older burial ground from the country’s pre-history.

You’ll receive a warm Scottish welcome at Coul House Hotel. A well-kept, family-run Georgian mansion, Coul House will be your base for one night as you get some Scottish Highlands experiences under your belt. For now, get settled in, admire the countryside views and Coul House’s garden, and raise a glass to the start of your vacation in Scotland.

You’ll also visit Scotland’s most famous loch to hear about its most reclusive resident, and visit Urquhart Castle, a much-contested stronghold with a picture-perfect view of Loch Ness.

  • Check into Coul House Hotel, Strathpeffer, for one night
  • Group dinner

Day 2 – Inverness: Beasts and a Contested Castle

Loch Ness

Hear tales of conflicts that shook the Scottish Highlands, and search for an elusive loch-dwelling creature…

After waking to a Highlands view and a hearty breakfast you’ll explore the local area, which is home to key sites from Scotland’s past.

Visit a famous castle on the way to Skye, then cross to the island proper and check into the Cuillin Hills Hotel and its spectacular views.

We’ll break up the drive to Skye with a stop at a quintessentially Scottish landmark – Eilean Donan Castle.

Standing where three lochs meet, the castle’s fascinating history began long before BBC branding and James Bond films made it famous! You’ll have plenty of time to wander the battlements and the castle halls before we hit the road and cross the bridge to Skye.

Your accommodation on Skye is the four-star Cuillin Hills, a multi-award-winning hotel with an equally commended restaurant, inviting bedrooms and some of the most remarkable loch and mountain views on Skye.

  • Check into Cuillins Hills Hotel for two nights
  • Group dinner

Daily Walking Details:  1.2 miles  |  100 ft ascent  |  Approx. <1 hour

Day 3 – Straithaird: Sail the Seas of Skye

Elgol and Coruisk

Sail to a hidden loch and uncover the story of the Highland Clearances.

After breakfast with an unforgettable view of the Cuillin Hills, you’ll embark on a real Skye vacation adventure. We’ll head to a loch that’s notoriously hard to reach – if you travel there by land…

Luckily, you’ll be travelling by water! Board a boat in the village of Elgol to reach the elusive loch. Elgol also has attractions of its own, having hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie while he evaded government capture after the Battle of Culloden.

At the picturesque Loch Coruisk, you’ll find out how the area was formed from our expert geologist, and spend time wandering the shoreline of this hidden gem.

After getting the boat back to Elgol and a light lunch, you’ll be immersed in the story of the Highland Clearances, a key chapter in the history of Scotland that changed the face of Skye forever.

  • Return to Cuillin Hills Hotel in the evening
  • Group dinner

Daily Walking Details:  3.75 miles  |  130ft ascent  |  Approx. 2 hours

Day 4 – Duirinish and Waternish: Coastal Walks and Geology Talks

Neist Point and Lighthouse

Explore Skye’s western peninsulas, visit Clan MacLeod’s castle and taste whisky Skye-style.

Today we focus on the Duirinish and Waternish peninsulas, which make up a sizable part of Skye’s western coast. Your Skye tour travels to the very end of “Scotland’s Giant’s Causeway”, taking in the picture-perfect Neist Point and its lighthouse, framed against the backdrop of Little Minch strait.

Your guide will show you how this area came to be, taking you back through deep time to understand the fascinating geology behind places such as the Point’s impressive basalt pavement and lava field.

The journey back to the Cuillin Hills Hotel is dedicated to Highlands life and longevity, as we visit Scotland’s oldest continuously-inhabited castle and its gardens.

After a light lunch, we’ll see how the islanders produce the “water of life”, with a tour of the oldest working whisky distillery on Skye.

  • Return to Coul House 
  • Group dinner

Daily Walking Details:  1.5 miles  |  260ft ascent  |  Approx. 1 hour

Day 5 – Returning Home

Portree

The journey’s end. Return via taxi then train to Waverley station, Edinburgh.

Enjoy your last breakfast at Coul House, then transfer via taxi to Inverness station to get the mid-morning train to Edinburgh. Share your favourite stories from the vacation with the group on the way.

Note: this provisional itinerary is subject to change.

Single Supplement

There is a charge of GBP £609 / USD $762 for solo travellers.

Rail Ticket

For an extra charge of GBP £300/ USD $375 per person, we can arrange first-class return rail tickets between London and Edinburgh.

Activity Level and Transport

The activity level is rated as MODERATE, requiring an average level of fitness (see our definitions here). The tour will involve walking in generally easy terrain, but will require good walking boots and a moderate level of fitness (please note, some paths may be uneven and loose underfoot). Hikes are 1–3 miles long. This tour also involves climbing into and out of a boat to reach Loch Coruisk, from a ramped pier.

Transport will be by small luxury coach, boat and first-class rail.

Rain is always possible, so you should bring warm and waterproof clothing. Insect repellent is also recommended, as Scotland’s infamous midges might be about! Average temperatures on Skye range from lows of 5° to highs of 13° in May (41°F to 55°F).

If walking is an issue, alternative arrangements can be made during the scheduled longer walks, so please let GeoCultura know in advance. To enjoy the full experience, a good level of fitness is required – please call us to discuss this if you have any concerns.

The Tour Includes/Excludes

The Tour Includes:

  • The services of your tour host and expert guide who will be with the group throughout the tour, staying at the same hotels
  • Local experts who will accompany the group and give talks on selected days
  • All transportation costs when travelling from Edinburgh on the first day, and when returning
  • All accommodation costs for four nights
  • All breakfasts, four a la carte dinners, one snack lunch
  • All service charges and gratuities in hotels and restaurants

The Tour Excludes:

  • Travel Insurance. Guests should carry their own health and travel insurance
  • Extra or optional activities not described in the tour
  • Four lunches not included
  • Personal expenditures, any alcoholic drinks with meals, and extras at hotels such as laundry bills
  • Transportation to and from Edinburgh Waverly railway station at the start and end of the tour
  • Passport and visa fees

Alternate Activities

Our tour leaders are happy to provide suggestions for alternative activities for guests who prefer not to participate in certain parts of the tour walks or visits, or group dinners.

Accommodation

Nights 1 & 4: Coul House Hotel, Strathpeffer

Coul House Hotel

A ‘stunning Georgian building with wonderful grounds’, this 1820s mansion has been run as a hotel by ‘lovely, friendly’ hosts Susannah and Stuart Macpherson since 2003 - Good Hotel Guide (46th edition)

Nights 2 & 3: Cuillin Hills Hotel, Portree

Cuillin Hills Hotel Room

With ‘possibly the best location in Portree’, the Cuillin Hills Hotel sits at a vantage point in the north of the town, providing exceptional views of Loch Portree, the Sound of Raasay and the distant Cuillin mountains. Good Hotel Guide (46th edition)

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternate accommodations of equal or higher quality.

Deposit and Payment Terms

Deposit: A deposit of 10% of the tour price is due upon registration for a tour.

Final payment: Full payment is due 60 days before a tour begins, or upon registration if within the 60-day window.

Cancellation by participant: A participant may cancel a registration after securing a confirmed place on a tour for any reason. The following refund terms will apply:

  • Greater than 60 days before tour begins: Any monies paid plus half of the deposit will be refunded
  • 30 to 59 days before tour begins: 35% of tour price will be refunded
  • 15 to 29 days before tour begins: 25% of tour price will be refunded
  • Within 14 days of tour or during the tour: No monies will be refunded

Cancellation by GeoCultura: GeoCultura reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrolment, inability to run the tour or concerns about the safety, health or welfare of participants. If a tour is cancelled before it begins, all monies paid will be refunded (including any deposit).

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions page for additional details.

Rob Butler 

Rob Butler

Thanks to his history of exploring and explaining Scotland’s prominent geological features, few are better placed than Rob to help you understand the landscapes you’ll be travelling through, whether you are a fellow geologist or simply curious!

He is an enthusiastic and captivating spokesman for geology, and delivers engaging talks on the landscapes and history of the Scottish Highlands (among other topics). You can see some of these on his YouTube page, The Shear Zone. He has also appeared in the BBC’s Men of Rocks series.

Rob is Professor of Tectonics at Aberdeen University, active in the Geological Society of London, and on the Board of the Scottish Geology Trust.
As an expert tectonic geologist, his best-known research is on the structural geology of mountain belts (Scotland, the Alps, the Himalayas, the Apennines and Arabia), and he has worked extensively on the "Salinity Crisis" in the central Mediterranean.

We’re not at all surprised that Rob has won a number of awards from the Geological Society of London, most recently the first Dewey Medal (2018), awarded for significant contributions to geology through field work, leadership and promoting geo-conservation. He’s the full package: an expert in his field who knows how to tell a good story!

 

Alison (Ali) Motion

Alison Motion 

With a lifetime of working in the great outdoors and an enviable knowledge of the best places to visit in Scotland, Ali has more than enough experience of guiding people around her homeland.

As a Blue Badge-accredited guide with the Scottish Tourist Guides Association, Ali delights in showcasing Scottish landscapes, wildlife, culture and history.

Career highlights for Ali include working as Education Manager for the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET), and running the Discovery Centre at the Royal Highland Show, Scotland’s biggest annual agricultural show which attracts visitors and exhibitors from across the country.

Ali’s Hill and Moorland Leader (HML) qualification means she is perfectly placed to take you on and off the beaten track in search of spectacular landscapes, captivating wildlife and history-rich sites in Scotland.

Upcoming tours
30 Apr - 04 May 2024
Prices from GBP £2,899.00
(NEW SHORTER 4 NIGHT TOUR)
PRIVATE TOUR OPTIONS

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