Orkney, Shetland & the Highlands
A captivating voyage through Scotland, this tour captures the glory of the North through scenic train rides, castle visits and cruising along the awe-inspiring coastline.
Our biggest sale of the winter season is here! Book a qualifying 2020 rail vacation in the USA, Canada, Europe and Beyond by December 13, 2019, and save up to $300 per person.
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From the major cities of Edinburgh and Inverness to scenic destinations, such as the Orkney and Shetland Isles, this grand introduction to the country of Scotland is one to remember. We take on the country by train, motorcoach and cruise liner, as we explore sites that bring Scottish heritage to life. The tour begins on the mainland, with visits to Loch Ness and two castles, as well as a taste of authentic Scotch whisky in a former courthouse. As we board the MV Hamnavoe, the beauty of the Orkney Islands comes into view. Later, we cruise along coastal Scotland and through the Shetland Isles aboard either the MV Hrossey or the MV Hjaltland. As we arrive in Aberdeen on the East Coast of Scotland, a heritage train ride presents the untouched Scotch countryside. One last stop, this time in the charming city of Pitlochry, allows you to close this journey in a region known for its vibrant heritage and year-round offerings, as well as its idyllic views of the Highland Perthshire and the Grampian Mountains. A memorable impression, a comprehensive adventure: This 9-day tour showcases Scotland in a way never seen before.
Your vacation start or end can be tailored to meet your travel needs.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on Scotrail
- Scenic rail excursion on the Royal Deeside Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 6 nights
- 2-night ferry journey on the MV Hrossey or MV Hjaltland
- 16 meals
- Loch Ness cruise
- Excursions to Dunrobin, Balmoral and Urquhart Castles
- Enjoy a whisky talk and tasting at Carnegie Court House, Dornoch
- Transportation aboard a deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
Days 1-2 - Edinburgh and Inverness
Our Tour Manager greets us in Edinburgh at our hotel, where we enjoy dinner this evening. On Day 2 we travel by rail to Inverness, our base for the next 2 nights. (Day 1 - D; Day 2 - B, D)
Days 3-4 - Loch Ness, Dunrobin Castle and Dornoch
Today, we visit Loch Ness for a cruise across this fabled body of water. We then visit 13th-century Urquhart Castle, set on a headland looking over the loch. On Day 4 we travel by rail from Inverness to Dunrobin Castle, where there's time at leisure. After exploring the beautiful stately home, you could relax in the popular tea room, or catch the daily falcon display. We continue to Dornoch where we check into our hotel. We head to Carnegie Court house this evening to indulge in a quintessential Scottish activity - a dram of whisky - before taking a leisurely stroll back to our hotel, enjoying views of the sea. (Day 3 - B, D; Day 4 - B, D)
Day 5 - Orkney
We transfer by coach to Scrabster to board the MV Hamnavoe for our journey to the Orkney Islands. On arrival, we enjoy a guided coach tour that features Skara Brae and Scapa Flow, the area's natural harbor. After dinner in a local restaurant, we board either the MV Hrossey or the MV Hjaltland to begin our 2-night cruise of the Shetland Isles and coastal Scotland. (B, D)
Days 6-7 - Shetland and the Royal Deeside Railroad
We arrive in Lerwick for a guided tour of this port town and other parts of Shetland. In the evening, we sail to Aberdeen, where we arrive on Day 7. After disembarking, we transfer to Crathes and join the Royal Deeside Railroad. Our charming train trundles its way alongside the pretty river Dee, granting an unspoiled look at rural Scotland. We continue by coach to Balmoral, the vacation home of the Royal Family, spending 2 nights in Pitlochry at the Fishers Hotel. (Day 6 - B, D; Day 7 - B, D)
Days 8-9 - Pitlochry and Home
We enjoy a day at leisure before a farewell meal at our hotel. We return to Edinburgh on Day 9, where our vacation ends and you are free to make your way home. (Day 8 - B, D; Day 9 - B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness
The welcoming 3-Star Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa on the banks of the River Ness is a short walk away from the city center and the perfect place to relax and watch the river flow by. Built over 100 years ago, the hotel is equipped with a swimming pool, leisure club, brasserie and lounge. Rooms include hairdryer and television.
Fisher’s Hotel, Pitlochry
In Pitlochry, we stay at the centrally located 3-Star Fisher's Hotel. The hotel is situated a short walk from the Pitlockry Golf Club, an 18-hole golf course surrounded by the dramatic mountain scenery typical of the Scottish highlands. The hotel offers a restaurant, a whiskey bar, and a coffee lounge. The rooms here are all en-suite, and amenities include a television and tea & coffee-making facilities.
Far North Line
The Far North Line runs from Inverness to both Wick in Scotland's north east, and Thurso - the most northerly railroad station in Britain. Hugging the east coast for most of the route, the Far North Line crosses the dramatic firths of Beauly, Cromarty and Dornoch, before heading into the Helmsdale Valley. Close by, the railroad passes Dunrobin Castle, the home of the Dukes of Sutherland. The 3rd Duke was so fond of the line that he arranged for his own station to be built there - Dunrobin Castle station still opens in the summer. Shortly afterwards, the train veers inland from the sea front; the scenery appears ever more wild as the train continues to one of Britain's emptiest corners. After heading right across Caithness the Far North Line terminates at the fishing town of Thurso, overlooking the Orkney Islands.
Royal Deeside Railroad
The Royal Deeside Railroad Company was formed in 1996, with the aim of re-opening a section of the former branch line from Aberdeen to Ballater, which was closed in 1966 by British Rail.
After years of work from the dedicated volunteers, rail services were able to commence in 2010. Trains now run between Birkenhead Crossing and Milton of Crathes, with plans to extend the line in the near future.
Providing the entirety of mainland Scotland with transport links, Abello Scotrail is a fantastic commuter service that means even the farthest reaches of this wild and wonderful country is easily accessible. Running since 1983 under a variety of operators, this service has numerous lines, including one that stretches from the tip, Thurso, down to Edinburgh.
NorthLink Ferries MV Hrossey or MV Hjaltland
All accommodation on board NorthLink Ferries ships have been built with your comfort in mind. Cabins are modern, clean and fully equipped with en-suite washbasin, toilet and shower facilities. All cabins are equipped with an individual temperature control and tea & coffee-making facilities.
Passport & Visa Requirements
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|22nd April 2020||$2,305||Book Now|
|26th May 2020||$2,455||Book Now|
|29th July 2020||$2,455||Book Now|
|2nd September 2020||$2,455||Book Now|
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: Departs 22nd April 2020 ($2,305), 26th May 2020 ($2,455), 29th July 2020 ($2,455), 2nd September 2020 ($2,455)
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