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Highland Adventure

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
5 days From $1,395 $1,345 per person
4.3 stars(32 reviews)

The very best of northern Scotland lies ahead on this international adventure, which uses the water-side city of Inverness as homebase for spectacular mainline and steam railway adventures around the island.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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Mobility Rating 2

2024 Tour code: HAS24

About the tour

The varied landscape of northern Scotland and astounding history of the region draws tourists from all around the world each year; however, those that choose to explore the country using this 5-day tour are in for a treat. Based out of Inverness, this tour begins with free time to get acquainted with the country. Soak in the pub culture, see the sites or enjoy the contrast of the storied city against the lovely waters of the River Ness. It is on the third day that the adventure begins, as travelers make their way along famed rail lines such as the Jacobite Steam Train,  the West Highland Line, the Kyle Line, the Highland Railroad, and the Strathspey Steam Railroad.  While the railways and trains themselves are incredible, it is the stops and views along the way that make this journey magnificent. Enjoy things such as crossing the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct (famed for its feature in the Harry Potter films), a tour of the Eilean Donan Castle and a journey through Cairngorm National Park, amongst other stops and excursions. With so much to do and see during this brief journey, travelers have a true chance to immerse themselves in the wonder that is Scotland.



What’s included


Day 1 - Inverness

Our tour begins in Inverness at the Palace Hotel & Spa, which overlooks the River Ness in the center of the city. Perhaps familiarize yourself with the city on a riverside stroll before meeting for this evening's meal. This delightful city is considered to be the capital of the Highlands, and it is crowned by the stunning Inverness Castle.

The history of Inverness dates back well over 2,500 years, and one of the most famous residents, King Mac Bethad Mac Findláich may seem familiar as he is the inspiration for one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies, Macbeth. Overnight Inverness.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Jacobite Steam Train

Today we transfer to Fort William, where we join the Jacobite Steam Train* for the journey to Mallaig, traveling on the magnificent West Highland Line, which is arguably the most scenic railroad journey in the UK. During the journey, the train steams past Ben Nevis, then climbs into the mountains surrounding Glenfinnan, where we cross the 21 arches of the Glenfinnan Viaduct. After time for lunch we return along the West Highland Line to Fort William, from where we continue by coach to Inverness, stopping briefly at the Commando's Memorial and Fort Augustus along the way. Overnight Inverness.

*The Jacobite Steam Train does not operate until mid-April. Earlier departures are booked onto Scotrail.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - The Kyle Line & Eilean Donan Castle

Today we enjoy an excursion to beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, on the tiny island in Loch Duich. Eilean Donan is undoubtedly one of the most striking castles in Scotland. Perched atop a tiny island at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh, this iconic castle has been filmed and photographed numerous times over the years, most famously being featured in the classic film Highlander. Enjoy some time at leisure, perhaps absorbing the magnificent surroundings or taking a short walk by one of the lochs that feed the watery surroundings. After our visit, We return to Inverness on the  Kyle Line, one of Scotland's most scenic railroads, skirting alongside lochs and through wild mountain landscapes. Overnight Inverness.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Strathspey Steam Railway

Our excursion today is on the tracks of the historic Highland Railroad. Traveling to Aviemore by rail, we join the nostalgic Strathspey Steam Railroad. From Aviemore through to Broomhill, the train passes moorlands, woods and by the River Spey. Through the large windows of the excellently restored carriages, take in the stunning sights of the Cairngorm National Park. From rolling hills blanketed by purple heather, to the craggy top of Cairngorm Mountain, to mysterious depths of the thick pine forests, pass through some of the most delightful stations in Scotland on this short but rather spectacular journey. The final station on the line, Broomhill, could also be recognisable thanks to its use in the television series 'Monarch of the Glen', where it is used as the station for 'Glenbogle'.

Finally, we travel by coach to Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Center. The atmospheric battlefield was the site of the 1746 Battle of Culloden - the last major battle fought on British soil. In a bid to reclaim the British throne, the Jacobite rising of 1745 faced British troops in what would turn out to be their final confrontation. The tragic battle lasted less than an hour and resulted in around 1,500 deaths, the majority of which were Jacobites. We have the chance to visit the moving battlefield site as well as the fascinating Culloden Visitor Center, which features interactive exhibitions and Jacobite artefacts including weapons and clothing. After some time here we return to our hotel by coach, where we enjoy a final farewell meal together; the perfect opportunity to share stories and reminisce on your adventures. Overnight Inverness.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Farewell from the Highlands

Your Tour Manager bids you farewell from Inverness and you are free to travel home independently.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness

Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa, Inverness

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Jacobite Steam Train
The Kyle Line
Strathspey Steam Railway

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4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 32 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


4 stars

Submitted 24 Oct 2023

Great tour guide. Very flexible travel - weather permitting. It was fun although I thought we would be sleeping on a train and did not realize it was an out and back in adventure every day. Hotel was nice, their food was average. Tea magnificent and staff very accommodating.

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3 stars

Submitted 25 Sep 2023

Liked the steam train portions, but the Scotrail portions could have been better.

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3 stars

Submitted 16 Sep 2023

The name VacationbyRail is a misnomer.

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steve hanson

5 stars

Submitted 16 Sep 2023

The itenerary was top-notch. The tour manager was caring and professional. The train rides were great. What else could we ask for?

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Casey in Los Angeles

3 stars

Submitted 12 Sep 2023

Let me start with the positives. Sue Thomas was wonderful and did a terrific job. The tour was as advertised. What we hadn't counted on was how long we would be travelling on coaches. This is probably our thought. We should have given this more thought before signing up. We decided that 2 days of coaches and trains were enouogh and took the third day off to explore Inverness on our own. ALSO, while the accomodations were lovely, the hotel food was not very good at all.

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4 stars

Submitted 11 Sep 2023

The guide, Elizabeth Marshall, was excellent. She is personable and knowledgeable. The steam train rides were excellent. Expected more rail time, and didn't expect the level or amount of coach travel.

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